It seems that the only constant in todays business world is change. Markets, technology, suppliers almost any aspect of our business can change suddenly, and without warning. In order to stay competitive in this fluid, always shifting landscape, an increasing number of companies are incorporating that fluid changeability into the way they do business, by adopting the use of business process management systems.
Business process management involves treating your business processes, the ways in which you do business, as you would any other resource. Business methodologies are measured, analyzed, and regularly improved in an attempt to ensure optimal performance. It can be a significant challenge to start implementing a BPM strategy. Here are seven keys that can help to ensure success;
- Pick your battles
- Communicate effectively
- Set fixed goals
- Know whos in charge of what
- No silos
- Measure the right things
- Implement first, optimize later
Pick Your Battles
In particular when you first start your BPM implementation, it can be helpful to choose one or two projects with a shorter turnaround, high impact, and a higher chance of success to start with. While its a given that not all business process management initiatives will be successful, having some early successes to point to as quickly as possible can help make sure that everyone is on board.
The goal of business process management is to identify and fix problems with the way we do things. Without effective, honest communication its impossible to find problems, and therefore impossible to fix them.
Set Fixed Goals
Business process management results in regularly changing business methods, but the goals driving those changes should generally remain static. Think of it in terms of an archery competition. By consistently improving the way we fire an arrow, or the way we hold the bow, we improve our chances of hitting the target. By constantly moving the target, we worsen our chances considerably.
Know Whos in Charge of What
Responsibility and accountability are vital aspects of any management process. Assigning ownership of specific projects to specific people ensures that they will receive the necessary leadership and oversight to be successful.
A silo, in business process management terminology, is an isolated process or body of information that is disconnected from the rest of the company. In a truly effective BPM environment, every part of the company is connected with every other part of the company so that improvements in one area can spread to other areas.
Measure the Right Things
BPM is not just about making changes, its about making changes for the better, and in order to do that its important to have the best possible information. Good information comes from good metrics, so its important to accurately measure the information youll need to accurately evaluate your processes.
Implement First, Optimize Later
Because business process management is all about regular, incremental changes, theres no need to get everything exactly right the first time. Its possible, and most often beneficial, to implement a less-than-perfect system quickly with the intent to improve it down the road. That is, in essence, what BPM is all about.
When the only certainty we have is that things are going to change, it makes sense to incorporate change into the way we do business. By keeping these seven aspects of business process management in mind, we can help ensure we have the tools available to change with the times, no matter how quickly, and stay competitive.