The first-generation adopters of Business Process Management (BPM) have achieved considerable benefits from a work automation focus, and have experienced tangible improvements in efficiency and service levels. But the full scale of benefits of an integrated, comprehensive BPM deployment remains elusive. First-generation BPM adopters, for the most part, have automated existing workflow and service levels – a benefit, yes, but far short of the actual and achievable BPM contribution. BPM is not only about automating a silo of work or deploying new technology; it is about orchestrating interactions and precise cross-departmental collaboration. BPM maximized means the discipline is embedded throughout the organization and is viewed as a way to continually improve business processes to drive real, tangible financial benefits. It is an outcome-driven mindset that pushes continuous improvement and prioritization.
There exist several tools to evaluate where an organization resides relative to BPM maturity, and these maturity models are absolutely helpful as a starting point to assist with BPM strategy development and operational focus. However, the true test for determining the strength of BPM in the organization, and hence optimal value being realized, is whether the business has relied on the metrics produced by the BPM initiative and views BPM not as a project, but as a constant, ongoing effort to drive continuous process improvement with efficiency, lower cost, and greater speed.
Further, the focus for second-generation BPM will be all about driving predictable business outcomes with a sincere focus on the customer. This will require examining the already automated (or soon to be) processes from a customer’s perspective while simultaneously reexamining end-to-end efficiency levels. The second-generation BPM organization will take an outside-in view of core processes. It will ensure that the original BPM deployment did not simply automate an inefficient workflow that does little to improve the customer experience, in a somewhat costlier fashion. The expanded BPM effort will (or must) continue to ensure a high level of collaboration between IT and the business, using BPM to drive the right business outcome, on a consistent basis, across the enterprise.
For many companies striving to deliver a truly customer-centric experience, the process has been internally challenged, expensive, and has generated a result that was far short of the ultimate goals that were envisioned. The reason for this less-than-desirable result is principally attributable to four dominant barriers: deploying customer centricity as a project vs. a permanent internal expertise; focusing the effort on internal processes vs. a customer process focus; inadequate or minimal use of the right data and analytics to measure success; and a surprisingly high level of management hubris. To realize greater efficiencies, improve customer service levels and retention, and expand product offering conversions, many firms have moved to adopt BPM concepts to guide internal functions to a more customer-centric orientation. The ultimate goal begins with the customer, and BPM drives the business process to consistently deliver on that ultimate goal. BPM also allows rapid deployment of change throughout the organization when those customer demands shift, thereby keeping the customer satisfied, retaining business and improving the likelihood of future purchase, not to mention promoter opportunity.
The initial, first-generation focus of most BPM deployments has concentrated on instituting technology to automate inefficient workflows with little to no attention on the ultimate business outcome and the true customer experience. The optimal benefit of BPM remains elusive for most firms, until this execution gap is addressed, and an embedded, continuous business process improvement capability is resourced and championed as a competitive advantage throughout the enterprise.
Has your organization realized the optimal benefit of BPM?
Advisory Services Staff Writer
One of Paragon's thought leadership staff writers in the Advisory Services Practice