Monday, September 1, 2014

The Life Cycle of BPM

The goal of managing the life cycle of BPM is to lift up process maturity from efficiency to effectiveness to agility.

Although process management is under the agenda of many organizations, most of the organizations commit theoretically to BPM, they haven’t achieved the full potential by exploring BPM solution more strategically and systematically.

Start with one problem, solve it and look at an enterprise wide BPM strategy. The journey should always start with the problem. One of the first questions is always what the problem you are trying to solve is. If the answer is a definitive as 'we are trying to enforce policy compliance in the business or build something to manage supplier', it means they have a definite goal and exactly knows the kind of problem they would like to solve for the business and once solved, it is very easy to show the kind of impact the tool had on the business. This discipline in implementing a BPM has translated it to huge benefits for all the stakeholders.

 Process ownership is always an interesting subject. Most of the organizations still retain business unit structure with no real process owner of end-to-end process, making it difficult to consolidate /redesign processes. The obvious consideration is the existing organization structure and how this aligns to the process hierarchy. It gets more interesting when you start to consider staff motivation how they are remunerated. The point is that the organizations shall spend time at the start of the program getting the business engagement and sponsorship right in order to deliver award-winning BPM programs. However, very few organizations achieve a true process oriented enterprise. There are many reasons for this. Most companies embark in BPM to solve a specific immediate problem. When embarking on a BPM journey, most organizations look at it as a tool that can solvetheir problems related to process efficiency (not to blame them but traditionally BPM was positioned that way). This may be strategic to the enterprise or a more modest departmental solution, but it is always narrow. If that succeeds, and if people with sufficient influence support it, it spreads, but typically on a project by project basis, solving immediate problems. How many organizations can afford to completely change their business operational model all at once? It is a very long journey which can get interrupted at any stage. Still, the organizational process strategy and well assigned process ownership can improve process effectiveness and agility.

The life cycle of BPM: When it comes to BPM implementation, it starts and ends mostly with BPM automation with some process reengineering with in project space rather than an enterprise asset. Very rarely process architectures are in place. Mostly the ones are partially complete. They either do not provide enough details on the process or they don’t provide enough KPI information to set the strategic vision for processes. Very few organizations go through the complete lifecycle of the BPM with measuring and optimization stages. Of course you can have quick-win tactical solutions where you save a lot of investment by automating business processes, and these can be highly beneficial to the business. Depending on where is the BPM positioning in the organization (IT, business, etc.) and the process maturity of the organization, these sparks can be used to kindle the big BPM flame or can contribute to even more splintered enterprise landscape. Many organizations struggle to deploy full end-to-end BPM,  because at the enterprise level there is a fear of creating a program that is simply so big it is destined to fail. So it is critical to have different business units working in collaboration to deploy end-to-end BPM.

BPM is a journey, it is important to reap the quick win and solve a immediate business problem to demonstrate the true value of a BPM tool. But it is more important to have an effective BPM strategy, to manage end-to-end process life cycle, and lifting process maturity from efficiency, effectiveness to agility. 


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