Business Process Management (BPM)
Business Process Management (BPM) combines management science with information technology to bring improvements to business processes. In BPM, we analyse the business from a processes perspective and introduce change as needed to produce measurable and meaningful business results. We also make sure technology is fully in line with the business strategy. A BPM project proceeds as follows:
- We understand your priorities as a business,
- We discover and document your processes,
- We gather data about performance (cost, speed, quality, etc.),
- We analyse the underlying causes of problems,
- We set targets for closing the gap,
- We work with you to redesign the process, in incremental or radical changes, as needed,
- We apply the changes on the human/organisational side,
- We apply the changes on the IT systems side,
- We set in place the systems to monitor and control your process execution,
- We set in place the systems to continuously review and update your process design.
In all that we are your partner for process excellence.
In this 1st stage we run quick workshops with senior management to identify, classify and prioritise processes. The results are visualised to show the importance of a process versus the pain level. This helps prioritise and set goals for the rest of the BPM project.
During this phase we get to understand the strategic objectives of the organisation and how the different processes align and contribute to these objectives. Strategic alignment is important and will be the equivalent of the North Star throughout the project. For example, in an organisation that aspires to be a leader in product innovation, radical cost cutting will not be the 1st priority when rethinking processes.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
Working on a single process at a time, the process manager and stakeholders, assisted by our experienced BPM analyst, document the process in meticulous detail using state of the art tools and techniques (BPMN 2.0). Data is gathered and different types of performance measurements (time, cost, quality, etc.) are taken. The end product is map of the existing process as it is currently in operation. This is a map that can be zoomed into to the right level of detail for different audiences. It is a visual report of the status quo of the process, one which can be examined in qualitative and quantitative detail.
Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.
George E.P. Box (1919–2013)
Process analysis aims to uncover the truth behind the data. Based on the information obtained in the previous step, process analysis takes place in light of the priorities of the organisation (a.k.a. strategic alignment). This is a two-pronged approach:
We use data and process mining technologies to analyse the performance data.
Qualitative analysis takes a critical look at the process to identify the locales of value creation versus waste. We use a number of techniques like value added analysis, root cause analysis, issue register, balanced scorecard, etc. We ask many questions, some sound silly at first, but eventually a ‘glacier dam’ bursts and new ‘pastures’ for improvement are discovered.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)
Trade-off. Process redesign is all about it. Reduce cost, and you may reduce quality, or end up with a slower process. What about flexibility of a process, its ability to respond quickly to changing demands and external (read: market) conditions? Redesign is the art of making choices. The right ones! Relying on experience gained through a relative large number, of mostly successful but also some failed, process redesigns, we will help your organization make the best choices within the realm of the possible.
We know what we are, but not what we may be.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
A vision change has been created and waits to be materialized. This takes place on two fronts:
Process Automation: The day-to-day management and follow-up is greatly facilitated by using IT systems such as Business Process Management Systems (BPMS). This not only reduces the human effort in running the nitty-gritty of the process cases, but also the speed, quality and performance are significantly reduced. BPMS software and implementation is a capital expense. We work with you to make sure that it meets your investment and risk profile. BPMS implementations can be simple and low cost or complex and comprehensive. We assist in the selection, planning, designing and implementation of any technology solutions you decide to employ.
Your new BPMS (2017-)
The use of technology affords us to gather and analyse data continuously while the new process is in operation. We can respond to internal and external changes. As we do so, we will gather opportunities for further improvement of the process, which will lead us back to process improvement bench. We help you set up a continuous improvement culture and put it in motion.
What gets measured, gets managed.
Peter Drucker (1909-2005)
Although we draw from many sources and experiences in process improvement and IT management, our central approach is based on the BPM method described in (Dumas et al., 2013).
* In certain situations, such as when the organisation suffers from “improvement fatigue”, the Process Architecture is postponed and work starts directly at the next stage, Process Discovery. In such cases we return to process architecture after a couple of successful process life-cycles.
Dumas, M., La Rosa, M., Mendling, J. and Reijers, H.A., 2013. Fundamentals of business process management (Vol. 1, p. 2). Heidelberg: Springer.