Friday, May 2, 2014

The Merit of BPM

BPM is about the journey not the end, and it touches core business culture and value as well. 
BPM is both philosophy and guidelines ; it involves both management practice and engineering discipline; it needs to take both problem-solving skills and software development methodology. BPM is also broaden its horizon, from traditional process automation expanding to process optimization and innovation. The point is the budget is always tight for most of organizations, what’re the very reasons shall they invest on BPM, and which barriers do they need to overcome?


Leverage BPM to improve operational excellence: First and foremost, clarify the value and broad concepts BPM brings in: Technology vs. methodology, process vs. workflow, automation vs. manual activities, BPM makes impacts on employee's life, and not mention that change management for BPM is so critical and difficult to control. Culture changes, human nature resistance, tangible returns and implementation complexity (ROI) make such prediction more difficult. However, more and more businesses have to find a way to increase their business operation excellence to gain competitive advantages in current dynamic, cost-effective driven environment and BPM is more and more recognized as the most effective way to leverage.

The main barrier is the absence of the common language: CxOs, usually prefer simpler big picture solutions, frameworks, etc. Ambiguity and complexity is the enemy of CxO attention. And there's lots of conversation in this broad area of BPM about adjacent areas such as ACM, HIM, BPMS, and so forth. And, while all of these "extensions" are valuable and noteworthy, they make the entire area far more complex or imperceivable. For getting CXO on board, you must talk in their language upon how the technology actually works that will deliver the ROIs in digitizing processes to support their people and most importantly will support change which is inevitable at this front end of digital transformation.

It is about business process analysis or improvement. Business process management is about the journey not the end, the end of business process management is a mature business model that is the goal. That is, the CXOs must understand that the road to achieving any effective and efficient business model is business process management. Those who “get it” understand what a mature business model is and what it will mean to a company; those who do not fall into the insane category; “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” Albert Einstein.

BPM changes have its unique impacts on organization and people. Change or "change management" is inherent in most concept adoption. The processes are strategic assets of the business and BPM touches core business culture and value such as management philosophy, operational discipline, people's way to work, training for new role, and in some cases, impact on people's life as well. Therefore huge resistance from top to bottom could be triggered. People don't like change which is not transparent and may have unknown effect on them. BPM, as a trio of methodology, tools, practices, architecture and executable processes can provide some impact estimation of proposed changes via simulation. 

Indeed ROI is the driver of most change. With the proper framing such as business processes as organizational service delivery mechanisms, one has the opportunity to create a business model and value proposition for any process and find both revenue enhancement as well as cost reduction opportunities. The brainstorming upon “how” may include:
#1 RALB (resource allocation, leveling and balancing) is needed to manage work. 
#2 BPM is needed to provide orchestration for some of the work (structured work) 
#3 Governance is needed for ACM to manage the rest of the work (unstructured work). 
#4 ECM allows all manner of documents to be linked to process steps and ad hoc steps

BPM is to manage known from flow. The merit of BPM needs to focus on solving business problems, not just conquering technical challenge; it has to stick to the long term goal such as harnessing business maturity, and pick some low hanging fruits as well to improve organizational efficiency. The future of BPM shall leverage the latest digital technologies in underpinning competitive business capabilities and enabling a more intelligent business.




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