Posts Tagged ‘Business Process Improvement’

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BPM and Social Technology Converge

December 27, 2012

BPM has always been social, especially the analysis and modeling phases that are heavy with discovery and information exchange. Social is the glue that binds the process. As practitioners of improving how work is done, social technologies give us the tools to improve how we work.

EveryOnesTalkingWith the convergence of social we are able to take a more collaborative approach to promote greater stakeholder integration into the exchange of information and discovery, especially for those data and layer intensive processes. Discussions and the interchange of information via a social platform offer new possibilities for more effective and flexible process design.

The analysis and modeling phases are one of the most if not the most time consuming activities of BPI workflow. Taking advantage of social technologies to connect process owners and stakeholders, to get answers, resolve issues, and address specific business processes makes sense and advantageous in reducing time and cost. Social platforms offer the resources to better manage expectations. The wide range of participants collaborating eliminates many of the constraints associated with doing process analysis.

Incorporating social technologies into our schemes provides for the discovery of similar experiences and relationships between work and the information technology landscape. Taking advantage of social business models like Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, internal blogs and even knowledge management platforms provide venues for a library of information, and have the ability to deliver increased value in that they can facilitate improved communication and coordination of information, making them relative to the decision making process. Merging social with BPM eases the adaption to changes, as in the modeling process by minimizing the obstacles that arise between modeler and the process and stakeholder, which are often barriers to model adoption.

Social is natural, part of the human experience, an element of the corporate landscape, it makes sense for BPM and social technologies to come together.

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How can BPM be a driver of enterprise innovation? Question is from the ebizQ forum

June 5, 2012

I struggled with the question to come up with an answer that makes sense. When I thought about it, BPM is not the driver – corporate culture is the driver, BPM is part of that culture that gives it the structure to support innovation. BPM is about control; internal and external accountability measures, facilitating adroit management decisions, and visibility – if you can’t see it you cannot manage it or fix it, forget innovation. BPM creates the opportunity for organizations to take their efforts a step further to drive competitive advantages; taking advantage of social media, collaboration and mobile technologies that are catalyst for innovation. Visibility of tasks and integration of data with greater ability to monitor and measure the performance of the processing department(s) is innovation within itself.

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This a question from one of the BPM forums: If case management is the answer, what is the question?

June 5, 2012

Our response:
As an organization are we thinking on terms of collaboration and driving for a higher degree of customer engagement via channels our customer wants to use?

Case Management is an approach to improving how work is done. It is both methodology and technology. Processes have to be defined, understood and made efficient. Management must be adroit to acknowledge that not all knowledge workers work the same, understand how each worker works, what are the application expectations, what the user requires of the application, who is the knowledge worker, what do they do, what are the pain points – taking on an historical analysis. Rules have to be defined for collaboration to take place within the framework of the Case, thus governance and controls are important.

Recognition of social capabilities, the consumption of large amounts of data, how workers connect with one another, the different conventions used to collaborate and the ability to automate within the context of the Case are very important. For those organizations that are consumer driven, providing their customer with access to information when, where and how they want to see it is a strength of CM, you see this with banks and insurance companies.
These are just a few thinking points.

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Collaboration with Case Management, taking BPM to the next level

November 9, 2011

Case Management (CM) and collaboration creates an opportunity for those organizations who have already invested in BPM to take their efforts a step further and continue to drive competitive advantages.

Work is complex, information intensive, data driven and with more and more regulations. It takes more effort and resources on the knowledge worker’s part to complete a task from end-to-end. Social capabilities such as email, conversations, exchange of knowledge, collaboration, etc. are natural parts of work. Social media makes it easy to connect and communicate. With Web 2.0, mobility and unified communications people are always on. CM makes it easier to combine and keep large amounts of process-case context information in a controlled way while improving workflow.

Technologies ranging from email and chat to smart phones, mp3 players, and tablets that feature video calling and integration with social networks are used by knowledge workers for expert searches, to connect for solving problems and for connecting with more and more people. Organizations are pulling together social media and CM to allow for expediting work, storing process information, mapping to and creating a case, and adding context. More cloud base applications are available for sharing documents and collaborating. The push for higher customer engagement through channels they want to use, empowering knowledge workers and the need for a simple interface for all process information gathered are driving Case Management.  Providing social media capabilities, such as chat within a case management system, the information is captured, mapped to create history and saved as a record in the case for use in analysis, customer service, identifying trends and patterns, as a learning tool, in audits, etc.

In organizations using CM, higher level knowledge workers use the information within cases to understand the metrics behind each process through the alignment of processes with case data. Customer focused organizations are providing high touch customer engagement through automation and controlled access to information they need and want to view. Businesses are connecting and making readily available process data within case context available to internal and external customers and their partners; reducing the time invested for solving problems and making decisions. Case Management and collaboration address the geo and economical factors of doing business. Both deal with the changing needs of today’s workforce that is largely of the mouse click internet born generation, the growth of telecommuting and job sharing. CM releases high level workers from administration of a task – jumping from screen to screen, moving between applications, etc. freeing them to invest more time in getting work accomplished.

CM is evolution of BPM. BPM must have a presence within the organization in order to understand CM and benefit from both CM and collaboration. Case Management is an approach to improving how work is done. It is methodology and technology. Process understanding and visibility of the process landscape is kernel.  Not all knowledge workers work the same. Performing an historical analysis of how they work, what their needs are and their expectations, taking a user experience based approach to design will allow work to advance quickly and easier; with the objective of creating a long lived case. Collaboration must be done within context of the case; control and governance are imperative.

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Which comes first, the content or the process?

July 17, 2011

Content is substance, message or subject matter that is parallel to the ideas, rules and goals of the organization. Within content are the individual items or topics addressed with in a publication or document.

Process as applies to this blog,  is the work, rules, and actions involved in the development and management of content.

When I think about it, the  answer is process comes first.  In creating content the preliminary actions involve research, analysis, etc., then the process of managing the content. In that scenario it is process – content – process.  If I’m receiving content, as in the case of end-2-end, the acceptance of the content is a process that would be modeled as an activity, possibly at the Start.

Here is an interesting read http://www.volacci.com/blog/ben-finklea/2010/september/01/content-strategy-process-phases-iii-v?nocache=1#comment-2724

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e2e Processes Overrated, Don’t Think So

February 11, 2011

A colleague posted a comment to our blog on End–to-End Processes Challenge the Best of Us pointing out to two things: (1) our “examples display the domain goggles each specialist wears” and (2) he thought our definition “is fuzzy and open to high interpretation.” His opinion on e2e ; it is overrated, “each business unit should have the autonomy to develop its own strategy plan and process improvements, keeping within the scope of the overarching corporate plan; analyzing an entire arbitrarily end pointed process seems counterproductive for the dynamic organization.” Ok…

Starting with point 2, our response to e2e being overrated was and is; we disagree. When there is a need for change it begins with communicating the need for change; then identifying the what, how and the risk associated with the change and the impact to the enterprise. To effectively manage change and risk begins with understanding the beginning and ending of processes and all the activities in the middle as they move through the organization.

Listening to a presentation on change management processes, the presenter was right on with identifying Notification as one of the key processes in managing change. This is an ideal example for end-to-end. Without going into detail, Notification involves informing all business units that a change is required. In response to Notification each unit assess their activities as part of the value flow, identifying process changes they need to make and noting the risk and cost associated with the change. In organizations where the focus is sustainability, such a strategy brings representation from each unit to the table for collaboration on change and an understanding about how each unit’s e2e processes impact the processes of other units, as an aggregate. In this way we can agree with our colleague on strategic planning at the business unit level.

Here is a remark from Akio Toyoda of Toyota Motor Corporation that gives value to end-to-end processes. It is taken from the transcript he made to Congress regarding Toyota’s Quality Control incident of 2010. “We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization, and we should sincerely be mindful of that.”

For point 1…unfortunately this is the way many business units operate, as silos. This is one of the main reasons Business Process Management and all its flavors have had the challenge of getting a solid footing in corporate operational culture, along with the lack of understanding of what BPM is and the importance of cross functional team collaboration. We touch on this in one of our blogs, BPM, A Learning Curve with Clients. I think addressing point 2 touches on point 1.

BTW, we did reply to our colleague prior to this blog.

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End-to-End Processes Challenges the Best of Us

January 27, 2011

Scrolling through threads in a BP discussion group about end-to-end processes it was clear that we all had a different take on what is really end-to-end. Can you imagine what would go on in the mind of a prospect looking to make some changes in processes if he were to speak with at least three us?

If he were to speak with a software engineer he would more than likely tell him end-to-end processing is input of data, capture data, data processing and generating output. If the question is put to a department manager the answer would be end-to-end involves a sequence of defined business processes entering his department or owned by the department, performing all the necessary steps until finished or an event triggers passing the next step in the process to another department. Now a COO or CEO would more than likely say end-to-end processing is all business processes that are performed within the enterprise.

End-to-end processing refers to coordination in performing a sequence of defined steps, also known as processes, to achieve business objectives, from the beginning to the end. Keeping this in mind, end-to- end process improvement projects can be as wide as the enterprise or as narrow as within a department.