Programs deliver the business benefits of strategies.
“BPM” means Business Process Management.
A BPM program will always vary according to your needs, but the following will give you an idea of the phases and activities that form a business process program for human-oriented, decision-centric processes.
High-level process mapping
Process projects selection
Target process initial profile
Project terms of reference
Project teams selection
BPM software selection
The speed of business today demands that your organisation function without continual referrals up the line for direction, authorisations and approvals. Your people need to be able to respond immediately with confidence – their confidence that they know the right course of action, and your confidence that they can get it right.
Effective leaders provide a business framework in which people and business partners can work efficiently and effectively, both individually and collectively, and succeed for mutual benefit. A framework comprises:
goals and strategies,
organisation and culture,
relationship contracts and arrangements,
measures and incentives.
A good business framework creates an organisational environment in which people think and act for themselves, yet collaborate to achieve common goals and objectives. And the processes are the backbone.
Processes are how strategies are operationalised and goals are achieved
They guide your people as to how to get things done
Policy is embedded in business rules the processes use
Roles are defined to support process activities
Processes are implemented in systems that manage process flow
Systems report against process measures and objectives
Processes provide relationship interfaces
Business processes are how the organisation gets things done
Here are some of the strategic benefits which a Business Process Management (BPM) program can deliver:
1. Enables operationalisation of business strategy
2. Improves customer perception of value
3. Improves capacity/ throughput/ revenues
4. Encourages repeat business
5. Communicates clearer expectations
6. Reduces need for direct supervision
7. Enables local decision-making
8. Reduces up the line referrals
9. Increases resourcing flexibility
10. Shows participants how they contribute
11. Encourages collaboration
12. Reduces internal conflict
13. Ensures consistency of outputs
14. Ensures requisite output quality
15. Reduces cycle time
16. Reduces costs
17. Acts as checklist
18. Outputs are more predictable
19. Reduces risk
20. Improves staff satisfaction
21. Provides opportunity to look for fast track options
22. Aids planning and estimating activities
23. Provides baseline for further improvement
24. Facilitates continuous improvement
Business processes should be at the core of a strategic program to align the organisation and its operations with its business goals. Here’s the plan:
Define the business goals
Talk to Business Processes Australia, formulate the process strategy
Form the team
Document the status quo (AS IS)
Design the processes, agree policy and business rules (TO BE)
Select the software
Optimise the TO BE for automation (SYSTEM)
Define the business requirements and configure the system
Implement the processes, lead and manage change
See improved results, please the customer
Align the structure, empower your people
Achieve the benefits.
A senior BPA consultant supports your internal program team, with your senior business leader acting as program owner. This ensures strategic, business ownership of the program and assists policy and cross-boundary issues that will arise.
The consultant provides all of the necessary process, program and change management advice to the program manager and facilitates team workshops. The program team defines the process ‘architecture’ for the organisation and prioritises process work according to where the pain is felt most.
Individual process projects are initiated by the program team, each with its own business team leader and a consultant advising. Internal people do the best job of business analysis because of their existing knowledge, but need technical guidance. The project team designs the process across the whole organisation and implements it. You can run multiple process projects in parallel.
To secure the best business benefits, redesigned processes need to be implemented using automated workflow. Good workflow design allows human decision-making whilst automating the workflow and its management. This minimises resource usage, applies human decision-making at critical points, and provides flexibility to meet customers’ individual needs.
The business people in the project team define the business requirements and oversee automation. Ideally IT provides one or two project team members so that automation is collaborative.
That’s how to align your operations with your business strategies and reach your goals!
Here are some examples of common issues driving process programs, root causes, goals for solutions, and the benefits you can expect from implementing the solutions built within a business process program.
|Customers are complaining about our service.
|Most organisations have got to where they are today by building processes for individual functions. Managers focus only on their own functional output, and so the end-to-end process for the enterprise as a whole will not be optimised and cost and effort is wasted in non-constraint functions.
|We want everyone focused on service to our customers, not functional outputs.
|We will get consistent, high quality, minimum cost service delivery and market credibility.
|There’s a lot of time wasting, we take too long, but we need help fixing it.
|Time is wasted waiting between tasks, this is unproductive wait time.
|We want our people to do things promptly, with minimal delay and time wasting.
|We will get reduced cycle time, which will keep our customers coming back and encourage them to recommend us to others.
|Things keep going wrong. We have internal objectives, KPIs, and all the ‘right’ management tools, but they don’t give us the excellence we want. There must be a better way.
|We have been trained to work on functional or departmental outputs, we are internally focused and facing each other; instead we need to face the customer and focus on delivering to the customer.
|We need to make what we do work for the organisation, not just for the function or department.
|We will be recognised for our operational excellence.
|We know we are inefficient, we’ve tried to improve, but somehow we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
|We are focused on tasks, not processes.
|We need processes to improve the way we do things.
|We will minimise our costs whilst improving value.
|No-one will take responsibility, there’s a lot of buck-passing and passing up the line.
|We are production and internal performance oriented, not customer and service oriented.
|We need front-line decision-making within guidelines, with people taking responsibility for their decisions. At the same time we need to have confidence in outcomes as a matter of governance.
|We will have a collaborative, customer-focused culture, with rapid response and high performance within policy and governance guidelines.
If you don’t see your issues or goals above, contact us and let’s discuss your issues and how we might be able to help you.
We offer a free 2 hour consultation visit with your CEO or other senior executive(s) at any Sydney location.
We have learned many things on our assignments, some important ones are set out below for your consideration when you plan your program.
Redefining business processes is a strategy to improve customer experience and staff effectiveness. This increases organisational throughout and raises service standards, which in turn raises revenues and margins. Cost or resource savings occur naturally out of good process design and elimination of rework and unnecessary activities.
End-to-end business processes must cross organisational boundaries. Typically existing processes comprise siloed activities that are designed and optimised for the silos, not for the organisation as a whole. This means the organisation is constrained to the capacity and effectiveness of the least efficient or tightly resourced silo in any process. The organisation may well not operate as an integrated service provider. Don’t work on functionally-based ‘processes’ alone.
Any modern process will be automated, at least to some extent. At the same time service organisations require the ability to personalise their services, as many of their customers want their special circumstances to be recognised. To provide excellent service the need is therefore to automate for the sake of efficiency, but to allow for variation based on human decision-making.
To get the best from a business processes program a subject matter expert is required to work with the organisation’s team, to minimise resource time, to provide timely expert guidance and leadership, to provide method templates and assist with technical tasks, and to keep the team focused on the strategic goals and objectives. The expert also assists the program owner in selection of individual process project teams and guides the project leaders and the work of those teams.
Business processes can be contentious as they cross internal territories. Territorial behaviour is normal and it can limit the progress of the program. It can result in the subordination of strategic objectives to territorial objectives or even the defeat of the entire program. It is an advantage to have an independent arbiter to provide an objective view to the executive management and program owner.
Organisations are best served by consultants guiding and up-skilling the organisation’s own people. Consultants should be used for their knowledge and experience, not as alternative resources. In this way an internal capability is built and consultancy costs are contained.
We welcome comments from practitioners and experienced organisations as to lessons you have learned during business process programs.
The following are the phases and activities of a process program
Interviews and workshops
AS IS process profiling
AS IS charting
AS IS documentation
AS IS metrics
TO BE objectives, constraints, CSFs, etc (extended profile)
Black box process scan
TO BE design workshops
TO BE charting
Business rules (micro policy) and policy clarifications
Process definition and documentation
Workflow automation/BPM system development
Optimise the TO BE for automation (SYSTEM)
System-level workflow charting
Screen shot reviews
Collaborative, iterative system development
BPM configuration/development reviews
Communications, education and training
You will notice that reference is made to the process program as distinct from process projects. This an important distinction. The program is all about business management and achieving the strategic outcomes that are sought, whereas projects are about delivering individual processes into operation.