Business Process Management: practical tips for a successful approach (1/2)

Roberto Hoeve
Posted by Roberto Hoeve on May 21, 2012

Business Process Management

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Many organizations try to gain insight into their processes by describing and in the end optimizing them. Business Process Management (BPM), or process management, is almost a trend to call. The field has evolved in recent years and may now be classified as mature. Despite this result, not all BPM initiatives necessarily achieve the desired results. There are few organizations that extend the capabilities of BPM to the full.

Not infrequently, the success or failure of a BPM project has to do with how the concept of process management is considered. Another important factor is whether commitment is given in the organization. Describing your processes does not mean you do process management. It is not about mapping the processes as quickly as possible, it is all about what you do with the insight. BPM is not an end in itself but a way to get a grip on your business and better serve the customer in the end. To ensure that your business actually benefit from process management; a number of things must be observed. Think of them as practical tools, each of which can make the difference in order to improve your business. In total ten practical tips will be discussed, five in this blog and five in an upcoming blog.

Create an integrated approach to BPM

It is important that the BPM vision is related to the overall vision and strategy of the organization. Therefore, input from top management is required. When the BPM vision fits the long-term interests of the organization and direction, you avoid having your BPM initiative stranded by lack of attention or relevance. A BPM vision that fits your organization is the foundation for a successful process.

Determine the scope

With a clear and integrated vision on BPM you are able to determine the specific goals for your BPM initiative and determine which parts of the business you want to hit. The scope must be determined. Some relevant questions are; what processes do we need to describe and control and what not? To what level of detail do we need to describe the processes?

Start with control

Although process management was focused on improving or redesigning processes in many years, in recent years BPM has become a common management approach. It has become a way for an organization to organize and control. We use the principle, "optimal control as a basis for governed optimization." This means that for successful process management, control of processes is required before improving or redesigning them.

After all, if you do not know what processes there are, how the procedure is and what the current process performance is, how do you know where optimization is needed? Many performance problems can be found in practical control problems.

 Figure 1: different levels of ambition with BPM

Search for similarities

Often we see that departments and domains from different disciplines in an organization are involved in managing and optimizing performance. Each discipline focuses on one aspect. If you look at the different disciplines and their initiatives better, then you will see that they all have one thing in common: processes!

Both, the quality assurance department as well as the risk and control department focus on the processes and try to find opportunities to improve them. Based on this thought we advise to analyze and map the processes in order to create common sense on the point of departure. Or in other words; ensure that the departments have the same truth from a different perspective to see.

Figure 2: Processes are the core for many initiatives in an organization

Customer focus

Throughout the entire process of implementing and working based on the thoughts of BPM the focus needs to be on the client. In the end your client is very important and he or she is the one you as organization work for. Strangely enough, a pitfall in some BPM projects is the fact that too much focus is on internal management and quality assurance in the workplace. As a consequence the customer perspective slowly moves to the background. Any change should ultimately lead to an improvement for the customer. Of course this can also be an internal customer. Wonder constantly; "Does the chosen process design result in better service and will there be a pleasant customer contact?

To be continued….

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