Slideshow 7 Keys to a Successful BPM Initiative

  • August 09 2013, 12:52pm EDT
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Over the last decade, business process management has primarily been a back-office function; however, a focus on improved customer service, regardless of industry vertical, has brought BPM to the foreground of organizations. According to Forrester, by 2015, the majority of BPM initiatives will be kicked off with customer experience improvement as a primary objective. So how can organizations take a first step toward this practice? And how can they make them sustainable? MWD Advisors’ “BPM Technology Review 2013” outlined 7 tips to introduce (and keep) BPM in your organization.

Business Takes the Driver’s Seat

It’s the first word in “business process management,” but often BPM initiatives are more focused on technology needs over involving business users. “BPM initiatives need to actually involve SMEs, operations staff and technology professionals if they’re going to offer real value,” said Neil Ward-Dutton, founder and research director of MWD Advisors. Ultimately, non-technical users, as well as technical users, need to be able work from one consistent model, even if they don’t utilize the same tools or techniques.

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Try to Maximize Participation

Too often BPM professionals get caught up in designing a beautiful model but can’t see the forest for the trees. “BPM is fundamentally about organization change … It doesn’t matter how great your design is – if the changes in your working environment aren’t accepted, it doesn’t matter,” said Ward-Dutton. The goal of BPM is to maximize participation in process systems, irradiate delays and provide great customer service.

Make Sure All Actions are Measurable and Justifiable

You will probably encounter difficulty in getting executive buy-in for a multitude of reasons, be they political, technological or otherwise. BPM tools can support a business case for broad deployment if you can clearly show how BPM technology and practices drive process efficiency. Moving beyond the first successful project, you need platforms and tools that can sell that to a broad group of people. The only credible way to do this is to measure effectiveness before application of automation and then after, so tools must support monitoring and measuring tactics before full process implementation.

Supports Decision-Making

“Successful business transformation is about much more than just being able to manage processes better … In reality, process change is very often a product of the decision to make a significant business change,” said Ward-Dutton. Because process change occurs downstream from business change, BPM initiatives are in a great position to drive higher-order decisions, be it moving into a new territory, launching a new product, buying a new company, etc. Instead of just being a simple system of records, BPM allows businesspeople to audit activity as it unfolds.

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BPM is “Part of the Furniture”

To improve the chances of BPM being utilized throughout an organization, rather than just a single project, the front-end elements of the product should be as intuitive and easy-to-use as possible. As Ward-Dutton said, “Systems users interface need to be able to be delivered in a context that people are already comfortable with.” If you can minimize the changes on the tools that an individual is comfortable with, you’ve exponentially increased your adoption rate.

Tools Support and Manage Change

Without the ability to manage change, BPM tools become unsustainable in the long run. Initially, they seem rather exciting, but when requirement change backlogs build up, disillusionment shortly follows. It’s crucial that organizations can manage versions of models, track changes, analyze the impact of possible changes and minimize the impact of changes to improve confidence and sustainability.

Platform Offers Integrated Experience

BPM platforms need to be able to support and help all kinds of work, be it automated/procedural, collaborative or explorative. BPM can bring about the biggest changes when improvements aren’t obvious; the technology has to able to improve efficiency in processes where structure can be determined up front, and also in processes that are far more dynamic in nature.