Business process management (BPM) aims to improve performance by optimising corporate practices and procedures.
Business processes are as diverse as the companies that implement them, so it’s difficult to find a one size fits all model. Added to this hodgepodge is the internal politics that threaten successful implementation of BPM. Opposition to cultural change can quickly turn BPM into an unwieldy beast. Gartner predicts that organisational politics will prevent at least one-third of BPM efforts in 2016.
Successful BPM can be achieved if you take the process bull by the horns. Be the master of the BPM arena by breaking down the method into these three digestible chunks:
1. Analysis and Design
You first need to know where you are before you can decide where you’re headed. Nailing this stage will go a long way in shaping what technical and business resources are needed to get things right. Do the following in this phase:
- Decide who needs to be involved – list all the skills you can think of and match them to the person.
- Hold a kick-off meeting – clarify roles and responsibilities.
- Identify gaps in knowledge and organise the relevant training.
- Establish the project scope – define the limits, considering the budget and time.
- Prepare the project plan – this includes the communication, change management, governance and training plan.
- Start process mapping – suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs and customers (SIPOC) diagram will be useful here.
- Identify challenges – what’s going wrong with the existing process?
- Define an improved process – what needs to be removed, added, merged or automated?
- Explain the structure for standardisation – how to name, categorise and model data.
- Create business process rules – these include schedules, escalations and notifications.
- Measure success criteria – what are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- Describe the user experience – logins, views, navigation and access levels belong here.
- Explain the reporting structure – choose the software and design the dashboard.
- Outline the system requirements – consider issues like the number of environments required and system integration.
- Map the data migration process – what data will be moved and how it will be transferred.
2. Program Management
This is divided into two areas – people and projects. Without the right hands on deck, the BPM implementation will be dead in the water.
Add the following to your BPM crew to help ensure plain sailing:
- Process owners are responsible for ensuring the business needs are met.
- Business analysts are the bridge between IT and business. They carry out process mapping, analysis and redesign.
- Process designers plan the technical parts of the process. They work out how the new process will fit within existing systems.
- Process developers have the job of designing new interfaces and database properties.
- Project managers run the daily aspect of the BPM implementation. Risk and issue tracking and resource planning are some of their tasks.
- Program managers are needed if the PBM project involves multiple organisations or a very large organisation. They choose priorities and make sure best practice is followed.
- Subject matter experts take part in the design and testing of the new processes and systems.
Now that you have the right people on board, add these elements to the BPM mix:
- A work breakdown structure which will form part of the project plan.
- Resource management to account for absences and people leaving the organisation.
- Environment preparation so it should be ‘all systems go’ for deployment and integration.
- Change management processes help to maintain success after execution.
- Communication plans have details of what information is needed, where it’ll be kept and updated and who’s responsible for document control.
- Communication tools can include SharePoint, the intranet and newsletters.
- Lessons learnt logs to capture what went wrong and how it was fixed.
- Policy update documents show changes to policies and reflect the new processes.
- Testing schedules to include what will be tested, by whom and when.
Implementing a BPM process is just the beginning. The business must be educated on the best ways to use, monitor and improve the processes.
These aspects will make your training more successful:
- Spell out the training objectives.
- Identify what training is specific to which group.
- Give every opportunity for training attendees to give feedback.
- Involve trainees early by asking them about their expectations at the start of the session.
- Make the training as relevant as possible by using real life examples.
- Make it clear what impact the new processes will have on jobs.
The perils surrounding BPM implementation can be lessened if you develop a good foundation. Ensure that you have the gone through these steps at a minimum.
The key is to remember that all successful projects involve getting the support from the right people. This is even more important with BPM. Save yourself a lot of stress by trying to get the right people on your side. You probably won’t win them all but the more you have for the BPM implementation, the higher the likely success rate.