Friday, August 9, 2013

How to Re-introduce Innovation in Process Design?

BPM is not just about process automation, tweaking or incremental improvement, there’s bigger demand upon process innovation and process optimization,  as the latest technology trends such as SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) brings new perspective upon how to delight customer and build outside-in, customer-centric business. But more specifically,  how do you re-introduce innovation in process design?

  1. Start with Future State: As Henry Ford once said "If I had asked them what they wanted they would have asked for a faster horse!" - Much of the opportunities to create and innovate are lost because the starting point for many process design projects is an analysis of what you have, and with automated process discovery even more time will be spent on this. So if you want to re-introduce more creativity and innovation then you need to start creating the “Future State” model first,  this will open up to thinking about new ways of delivering new products and services and new ways of working. Then you can consider whether to build on what we have or start again. When look at the future, perhaps it would be better off in some cases to create a whole new process starting from scratch rather than simply tweaking the existing ones. 
  1. The process designers can and should reference design principles to guide their redesign efforts. Prior to the redesign, challenge the design team with stretch goals (putting a man on the moon),  ask them to cut the steps, time, and cost by significant percentage, and to create a process that will delight the customer. Neither of these goals can be achieved by automating an "as is" process. The studies showed that many best change agents today all start with identifying the future state. they also then start questioning why this is really what is wanted - to build up the tension between future and current - then they look at only the parts of the current state that are relevant to the desired future state, thus saving a great deal of analysis time.  
  1. Analyzing the "as is" process can also create value. You want to discover the quality issues, bottlenecks, worker frustrations, customer expectations, delays, etc. Often the people who work in the process are unaware of all the issues and problems. And those who do not work in the process (like IT) will be oblivious to these issues. Develop a good understanding of as-is so that you can let the ideas come forward regarding the Future State. Then - by understanding the gap between CS and FS, you can develop your transformation plan to get there. As it is very difficult to get somewhere if you don't have a point of reference to your starting location. 
  1. There are three types of BPM projects: Some may be smaller process improvement exercises, some may be larger process re-engineering and the largest projects are truly transformational in nature, all three types of projects can bring about innovation. One of the key differentiators of BPM from previous "process improvement" initiatives is the concept of Process Ownership. BPM is about having visibility across the core business process and having someone owning the end-to-end process. with BPM, companies have a better chance to keep moving the bar forward. The differentiator with BPM is having ownership driving the change and always challenging the status quo. 
  1. BPM needs to become adaptive so that BPM solutions can work for more than just the 20% of fully modeled processes. Lots of BPM projects are only focused on automation, not in process deconstruction and implementing something that seeks another paradigm. After all, some 80% of processes or processing is not incorporated so by being adaptive. BY becoming adaptive, actually processes and processing emerges, and therefore the benefits of BPM are greater and greater.... . It means that the existing techniques may need maturing or to be different, if BPM doesn't embrace other thinking (mix of adaptive/ non-adaptive, outcome / output focus), transactional (KPIs, compliance drive out variability etc) vs. non transactional (management of variability, multiple links often at a behavioral level etc) then BPM will be stuck in managing and optimizing routine processes at a detailed level. 
  1. BPM is a not a one time project, but a journey. With the awareness and understanding of all of the process flaws, business users and IT can begin to visualize both the need and means to create a much better process. Although the future event can’t be predicted completely, but the risk to them and other outcomes (rather than outputs) can be measured. In effect making what is currently invisible visible, implicit explicit etc, armed with the information puts a different perspective of any BPM activity. Continue to capture opportunities for improvement, from the mouths of the people who know the process best. These identified improvement opportunities are weighed against the project and organizational goals and objectives, to choose and develop go-forward approach 
  1. Today's BPM at the enterprise level is really about getting everyone focused on the customer and the value their process bring to the customer. It's more than tweaking and incremental... BPM currently is just about small incremental improvements, and the reason being that is very few people have started to think more out of the box. Unfortunately BPM is also becoming somewhat restricted (especially in the way we think of using BPM). Some BPM projects are becoming ultimately a paradox. With the new wave of technology trends such as social or mobile, is the BPM technology/Discipline/ approach reaching another tipping point to make a big leap? And incremental (not disruptive) innovation shouldn’t be the only way forward.  
The BPM community has to continue evangelizing at all levels in and around the BPM space, tweaking is valid, but there’re still full of opportunities to have the big leap of process improvement and innovation.


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