Friday, May 17, 2013

BPM within IT & Beyond

In many organizations, CIO and IT plays critical role in enterprise scope BPM implementation, however, within IT, some say, that maintaining the status Quo prevents organizations from implementing IT Process Automation (ITPA). Thus, what’re the lessons to share in managing processes within IT and across-enterprise as well?

1.  Ten Reasons IT Prefers Maintaining the “Status Quo”

There are both technical reasons and personal interest (change inertia) to stop IT from process automation. Technically, process automation is only effective if the processes being automated have low risk and high maturity. This must also be coupled with the obvious requirement of the underlying technology to allow the process to be automated in the first place. It is because of a lack of one or more of these things that process automation does not take hold. There may be other reasons as well. Perhaps the technology solutions in place already (that are not ITPA related) increase the overall efficiency of the organization that the "law of diminishing returns" takes effect and the cost-benefit analysis does not yield a compelling enough reason to pull the trigger.
  • The single biggest reason is resistance to change.
  • Failure of previous automation projects
  • Complexity 
  • Difficulty in quantifying tangible value (ROI) 
  • Security (read "insecurity") 
  • Price 
  • Desire to preserve investment in legacy in-house scripting 
  • Lack of organizational readiness for automation 
  • Tough choice to which automation can be applied (potential for ROI) 
  • Lack of integration capability with existing systems (potential for ROI) 
  • Some are simply not mature enough and automate those processes may create a lot of issues, not all processes are delectable for process automation

2.   The Benefit from IT Processes Automation

The competitive advantage of businesses is creativity and innovation, but many times, businesses do not look very deeply into "Best Practice" and challenging the Status Quo.So when the business is looking at cost recovery, they look at their most expensive resource for a quick fix or IT to solve a problem, without investing the time to look at different ways the workload should be managed and the opportunity that can result. The potential benefit from IT Process Automation:
  • Preventing revenue loss due to increased operational efficiency. Manual execution of run book scripts takes longer due to manual effort as well as the inability to take advantage of parallelism. 
  • Preventing revenue loss due to man made errors. Manual execution of run book scripts is prone to error and can cause more problems than they were originally intended to fix. 
  • Optimizing operational costs due to decreased need of specialized staff.  Because mature processes can be automated, the need to retain staff with specialized experience is significantly lessened. These specialized staff members may have a higher FTE than those without. 
  • Accelerating strategic goals with Simplicity and Pragmatism: Strategic importance of process in consideration can also be additional factor: processes with direct impact on strategic goals are preferred to implement process automation in order to accelerate business growth, while some processes have relatively low influence on results and when question arises, which process automation project resources should be allocated to,
  • Organizational Silos: A well-implemented process automation can bridge functional silos, as businesses today are information-intensive, data and process are usually correlated with each other, at most of businesses, IT is data steward, but business functions may declare “ownership” for their data, it makes situation tougher, as siloed data will cause bad decision making, siloed processes, resources wastes, as well as risk loopholes.

3.    Process Management Goes Beyond Automation

Process management goes beyond automation; also include process optimization & innovation as well. Usually process automation is to pursue efficiency, but more importantly, process effectiveness is to ensure the process is doing right in aligning with business goal via holistic design and well taking advantage of the latest technology. Thus:
  • BPM and EA may need to go hand in hand, to encourage cross-functional orchestration via well design, the focus of BPM project is about process optimization, It is upon how to enable the enterprise achieve its goals in the most effective and efficient way 
  • Change Management, for any process improvement project or regular IT project, Change management must work hand-in-glove with PM throughout the project life cycle to ensure all the necessary elements of success are in place; it's because creating and sustaining change is a leadership responsibility requiring strong governance /sponsorship on both the IT and business side; to create the need/culture for change (Executive support, alignment, incentives, understanding, communication, policies & procedures, etc.) which ensure the success of the project 
  • BPM Project is for Business Purpose, not for IT Sake: too many IT and business areas are too fixated on Business as Usual functions. This means they are continually fighting fires and operating in a reactive mode, leaving no energy left for strategy and looking at the bigger picture to introduce a continuous improvement strategy. Then often when Process Automation is tried to be introduced, it has been addressed from too much of a technical perspective and the right level business case simply hasn't been done correctly that truly identifies the business benefits and gains the support of the business key stakeholders. The management needs to correctly identify the business benefits including cost, productivity and revenue generation opportunities that are being introduced to help achieve strategic business objectives.
BPM management is both science and art, how to manage process more effectively, from automation to optimization, from inside out to outside in, from within IT to cross business ecosystem, from top-down, bottom-up, to system-wide,, only with right methodology and talent alignment, organizations can manage processes more strategically and holistically


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