Posts Tagged ‘Continuous Process Improvement’


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.


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.


Can technology improve agility?

October 16, 2011

Daily question in ebizQ forum.


Agility is a conceptual framework that can improve IT architecture and the enterprise architecture.  If applied as designed, agility can facilitate an iterative approach in development and strategic planning, promoting collaboration while encouraging rapid and flexible response to change which is critical in the current business climate.


What gain in productivity would you say is possible for a company new to BPM?

May 24, 2011

Any gains in productivity would have acceptance of business process management as a valuable discipline.

To achieve this requires adroit management with tactical maneuvers or best practices prior to implementation of BPM such as,

•Limit the scope, start small. Buy- in is easier.
•The business performance improvement must be seen as having high value towards attaining a performance objective.
•Clear alignment with important enterprise or business unit goals and strategies.
•Definition of and the means of measurement, using only a few metrics.
•Relevant process stakeholders working together to agree on the desired performance improvement goal.
•Fervent sponsorship to insure the project is done right and communication is across the enterprise.
•Getting the enterprise population involved, especially those involved in the value stream.


Improving Processes, Virtualized Infrastructure

December 26, 2010

Excerpts from Drive Even Greater Efficiency with Virtualization, Forrester Consulting

What is virtualization? The simple answer is multiple instances of an OS on a single server. Virtualization is another slant to server consolidation taken to the next level.

Server virtualization is a method of using untapped server computing potential by running multiple server programs on one physical server. This is done by ‘tricking’ the one physical server into believing it is actually multiple servers, so that there will be no unwanted interaction between programs running on the same physical server. (Appropedia)

Why virtualize your servers? To achieve efficiency savings through consolidation that lowers capital expenditures and server space, cut time in deploying applications and delivering services while lowering power consumption. It takes rethinking server management and the processes associated with a consolidated deployment infrastructure to achieve these results. Virtualization is perfect for those organizations or data centers that are short on IT staff.

In the study conducted by Forrester it is noted that “utilization can be ratcheted up further and operational efficiencies can be dramatically improved by adapting your processes and adopting new ones…”

There will be apparent savings and benefits with the implementation of virtualization also known as virtual machines or VM due to the latter reasons why an organization would virtualized. VMs will increase efficiency in the overall management of the data center and lower the cost of advance disaster recovery due to the immediate and long-term benefits of consolidating servers ( Introducing a new architecture into the operational environment requires reviewing current operational processes with changes and more than likely developing new ones. Take a phased implementation approach to make sure virtualization provides value to the organization and no detriment is done during transition. Forrester discovered during the study the SMBs that deployed VMs in a structured and consistent manner had average resource use double 40% to 60% vs. 20% to 40% for the less mature shops, and were considered the most efficient environments due to more stable, consistent deployment platform and more mature management processes. Some of these operational processes included VM life-cycle management, VM templates, and VM staging.

Forrester has four stages for infrastructure maturity; the third is Process Improvement which is the focus of this blog. By the time the organization gets to Step 3, they have evolved from the nuance of virtualization to the actual management of the VM environment. During this phase the focus is on determining what’s different, optimizing the infrastructure, driving up consistency of operations, automating routine tasks, rightsizing the environment and implementing operational and management processes developed during the early phases of implementation and use. This is the phase for replicating the virtualized servers for dedicated disaster recovery.

Adapting traditional server management processes can be used in the VM environment. Life-cycle management, cloning or mirroring and capacity management are process that are not used heavily in the physical server world, but are indispensable for managing the virtual environment. A virtualized environment means more workloads to manage on a smaller pool of resources that can be simplified with sever management tools permitting remote access, power and thermal optimization, plus embedded health monitoring. VM is a pool of resources that should be managed as a whole. It is imperative that consistency take the forefront.

A few management processes to adapt according to Forrester

  • Policy bases automation. VMs are dynamic workloads that increase or decrease according to use patterns and changes in the patterns. Managing and optimizing these dynamic workload patterns and the planning involved to ensure continued utilization goals requires a disproportionate amount of an Administrator’s time. Automated workload management software that uses mathematics to optimize the placement of VMs based on historical performance and actual resource consumption is a tool for policy based automation. This tool can also trigger live-migration when a conflict is apparent. The key to taking full advantage of automation requires consistency in the deployment infrastructure.
  • Tetris thinking. Not all VMs consume the same amount of resources, nor do their consumption patterns uniformly vary during the workday. Take the lessons learned in the popular tile stacking game Tetris and apply them to your virtual environment. A simple example is filling up a server with a pair of highly consumptive, business-critical VMs and myriad low-consumption, noncritical VMs. The available headroom will be ample for the most consumptive applications and in the event that they need even more resources, policy-based automation can live-migrate the smaller VMs away from the system to free up the necessary resources.
  • Standardize configuration management and software distribution. Managing OS configuration, patching, and auditing absorbs a lot of administrators’ time. You can simplify management tasks by standardizing on fewer variants of the software stacks you use and enforcing the use of VM templates. Rather than building configurations from scratch, start with a known good VM (also known as a Golden Master template) and simply clone and modify that base design. In many virtual infrastructures, clones can be linked to their original templates, meaning that changes to the original template — like patches — will propagate to all derived VMs.

Considering implementing BPM? Here’s what we think you should know.

November 27, 2010

What is Business Process Management?

Author: Groshan Fabiola

In order to run a great business and always be one step ahead of the competition there is a continuous need to change the ways in which you do business. A competitive market presents numerous challenges for those who do not understand the value of improving service delivery, cost effectiveness and especially finding effective and efficient ways of putting your business out there. This is where business process management steps in. By optimizing the processes, the technology and the human resources in a business, you improve the overall performance of your business and, subsequently, you have a considerably improved chance of finding yourself amongst the top leaders in your market.

Business process management is primarily focused on identifying the processes, technologies and people that must be changed in order to obtain performance. Consequently, business process management relies on optimizing these aspects. The end result of a successful management of these processes means aligning daily activities with the objectives of the business you are running. As a result, the people in charge with managing your business will better understand the business, understand the impact of their every decision and have total control over the decision making process.

There are several ways of approaching business process management. You can either focus on the technical part of the process or you can incorporate change management, governance and capacity competencies. The first approach to business process management is more traditional, but in the short term it is as effective as the second approach. However, staying ahead of the competition should not be a short term goal; therefore the second approach is more effective, as it ensures sustained optimization of processes. Capacity competencies and change management are important aspects that allow businesses to constantly evolve.

Understanding the processes of a business, working as a team towards making the best decision for the organization and achieving the desired objectives are three of the most important aspects that effective business process management can facilitate.

The future of any business ultimately lies in the hands of the managers. Whether you choose to improve service delivery, cost effectiveness or competiveness, no goal is impossible to reach, as long as your team of managers is properly skilled. However, in order to achieve that status, you must choose the best business process management solution. In addition to a successful philosophy, business process management should also be based on supportive methodologies. By combining these aspects, BPM strengthens and brings closer together the relations between human resources, processes and technology, all in an effort to increase the efficiency of the business in question.

Investing in highly successful and well-structured business process management is very profitable. The purpose of business process management is to allow your organization to remain competitive. As long as the company or organization chooses the most suitable business process management solution for them, the outcome will be a successful one. A team of equipped, skilled, empowered, in control leaders can make the difference between a struggling business and a successful one. Business process management makes sure that your team of managers is just such a team.

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BPManagement has a learning curve with clients

July 21, 2010

I posted this in a previous blog a year ago…in my professional opinion the content addresses a fresh discussion in one of the BPM user groups. This also makes a statement about where organizations are with BPM.

Repost from 7/2009

In the BPM groups today I noticed a trend in discussions… the lack of understanding from decisions makers on the importance of enterprise strategy in defining processes and how strategy designed processes create value for the customer and reduce cost and effectively manage risk.

We are brought in to fix something that is broken, without the goals and objectives of the enterprise we end up wrapping duck tape around a still broken process. As professionals it is our responsibility to not only design good processes that are based on corporate objectives to improve performance, we also shape strategies that guide their purchases. In order to be successful we have the professional responsibility to educate our clients on the recursive relationship between processes aligned with enterprise strategy and the success of the organization.  Let me take a few steps backwards. During the sales presentation we need to communicate not just the benefits of BPM but the real ROI is gained through buy-in at every level. Provide a high level view of the buy-in process, the meeting with senior management collectively to introduce the objective of the BP task, an individual or collective meeting with all managers (depending on the size of the organization) with emphasis on how collaboration will  allow you to capture strategy at the level of executive and below.

Assuming you did a good job showing off your prowess and the gig is yours – as you develop your models show them off, show them to the managers, IT architects and senior staff, and get them involved.  I would even go further to incorporate Change Management strategies to ensure the staff is kept informed.  Let them see how the strategy is being tied to every level in organization. Think of it like a JAD session for process improvement.

Now if there is not an enterprise strategy and everyone is clueless, bow out gracefully.