Organizational leaders face difficult decisions when it comes to balancing change against ROI expectations. Does change justify the cost in terms of time, money and resources? At the end of the day, executives are looking solutions that can help them create and sustain an agile business while minimizing waste. Over the years organizations have achieved a tremendous amount of success by using business process management (BPM) tools to do exactly this. Increasing operational efficiency, swiftly responding to new compliance mandates, dramatically improving worker productivity, eliminating bottlenecks and cutting costs are the often touted benefits of BPM. However, despite thousands of BPM success stories, many questions remain about how to get the most out of your BPM investment.
A few weeks ago Clay Richardson Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, Nathaniel Palmer Editor-in-Chief of BPM.com and Donna Tellam, Director, User Experience Specialist of OpenText BPS hosted a roundtable-style webinar in which they discussed some of the lesser-known ways organizations can maximize the value of BPM. Here are a few key takeaways that can help you achieve the best possible return on your BPM investment.
Start small, think big, move fast
The majority of BPM projects are mission critical in nature and therefore have a much higher internal risk. Clay suggests that organizations start with a project that is big enough to demonstrate clear value to the management team, but still small enough that it doesn’t put your organization at too much risk. With the right amount agility in your process improvement efforts, you can rapidly drive organizational changes. For example, one company had a big vision for BPM. In order to prove the potential value of enterprise-wide BPM deployment to their organization they selected a specific project where they could engage the line of business manager. The scope of the project was small enough that only a fraction of the users were affected by the change. By having the line of business manger involved throughout the entire project, they were able to fully experience and convey how BPM could transform their organizational operations. Once users catch a glimpse of what BPM can do, the team is almost bombarded with requests to automate key processes across a variety of departments within the business. Breaking a large, often complex vision into bite-sized projects pieces can be an effective way to demonstrate the incremental value of BPM while setting the stage for how BPM can be expanded to support broader initiatives and goals.
People driving change
A compelling event is often the catalyst for a BPM project. However, some of the most successful BPM implementations start with a person, rather than an event, driving change. These process improvement projects begin with a change agent that truly understands the strategic value of BPM. This change agent is either in a senior management position or has the attention of senior management and is positioned to gain executive sponsorship. It is important for the change agent to collaborate with the person responsible for shaping the BPM project so that they can articulate the need and value of process automation. Securing the right executive sponsor and team for a BPM project is also critical to the success and adoption of BPM within organizations. This support must be secured from the outset and can make or break BPM projects.
To demonstrate value, you must understand and measure your success – which can be tricky. Successful organizations measure how effective they are able to transition their organization into a more process-driven culture. You can do this by taking a look at the number of process automation projects you do in a given year and how many of those projects take advantage of BPM capabilities.
As your BPM team shifts its focus from the typical cost-cutting objectives that involve automating the manual, mundane tasks and towards value innovation, you will begin to see how these improvements impact customer-facing activities. By improving core processes that would typically take several days, weeks (or even months) you are better prepared and have more time and resources to devote to delivering innovation, improving customer service and getting products to market faster.
If you are new to BPM or want to squeeze more value out of your BPM implementation, I strongly suggest you check out Clay Richardson’s Forrester Report, The ROI of BPM Suites. For those of you craving more information, download our recent webinar and podcast which unveils the steps to taking your BPM project to the next level.
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