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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Process of Process Management

In some of the past discussions, we have talked about the Six
Business Process Management best practices to start BPM journey.

They are as follows:

1. Find the right process (Business Impact vs. Frequency of change
vs. complexity)

2. Identify KPIs and define success

3. Involve business users

4. Put governance in place

5. Get executive sponsorship

6. Achieve quick early wins

These are good pointers for a healthy start,
but what next? How can we make sure that the BPM practice in an organization is
not just limited to automating one odd process? To reap its full potential, it
should become a way of life, enterprise wide program. Companies that have
developed a successful BPM program have gained immense benefits, not only from
improved operational efficiency, better customer satisfaction but also reduced
IT costs and time to solution. Adept organizations are known to deploy new
process applications in a couple of weeks and make changes to deployed
processes in real-time.

Once you have achieved the success with your
first BPM project, start thinking about other opportunities that can benefit
from BPM as well as about “Process of Process Management”. Think about other
process improvement initiatives in your organization, how BPM can align with
those. Are you running on lean, six-sigma methodologies? Do you practice TQM,
have ISO certifications? Consider how BPM can help you achieve better quality
results while you leverage the existing business improvement methodology.

We talk about “process governance from the
start”, as one of the best practices, because it determines if your BPM
initiative will take the shape of enterprise wide business improvement program
or will be soon forgotten as a fad.

BPM is not just system integration or one
time automation of manual process. It is about continuous improvement. Unless
there is a right design and methodology in place, we are essentially creating a
new monolithic application that is as rigid as existing systems. We want
process design that is easy to maintain and flexible to change. If we do not
get that from BPM implementation, its further adoption suffers.

Here are some of the factors that will impact
the BPM adoption rate:

  • Methodology for
    modeling, analysis and approvals – What are the roles involved in process
    modeling and analysis. What is the process of review and approval?
     Determine the processes that need to be modeled; use strategy maps
    and value chains to prioritize the modeling of business processes.
  • Modeling
    standards and patterns – Are there any repeatable process modeling
    patterns in the business e.g. voting, 2-eye principal, approval chains.
    Identify and standardize those across all process applications. Determine
    the process model hierarchy ( level 1, level2, level3 etc.) where each
    deeper level has incrementally finer details of the process than one above
     and higher levels abstract the details for easier understanding.
  • Process storage
    and versioning – Establish a process repository where contributors can
    store their processes. Establish a standard way of versioning the process
    models and other process artifacts?
  • Process reusability
    – Perhaps most important factor in the success of BPM program is process
    reusability. Determine the reusable components in the process. Meaning, identify
    all the components that can be used in other similar processes. These
    could be sub-processes, forms, form fragments, business objects, rules,
    integration adapters. We do not need to redesign these for each process.
    We should be able to reuse these. We may also want to externalize some of
    these components like rules or integration adapters so that they can be
    changed independently of the process. This is something critical for
    process agility.
  • Process health
    checks – Determine the frequency to check the health of a process. Know
    the KPIs that should be monitored. Make sure that processes are running
    within their limits, and any variances raise an alarm. This should be a
    part of process design.
  • Frequency of
    change – Identify the processes that need to be updated quarterly,
    half-yearly or annually. Plan for newer versions, plan for instance
    patching and have instance migration strategy in place. Keep frequently
    changing components external to the process so that those can be changed
    without process redeployment e.g. business rules.

The idea is to expedite
the BPM adoption across organization and to move the organization higher up in
BPM Maturity. If you have not already, take quick self-assessment quiz and see how you compare to your
peers in BPM maturity. You will get a valuable customized report in the end
that you can review with your colleagues and discuss next steps.

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