Now that you understood what BPM and BPMN are really all about, you might be asking yourself: How can I use BPM in my organization and take advantage of process management? Managing processes with a BPM Suite and implementing process automation can be new for you. And changing the way you do things is always scary, no matter how used to it you can be.
Changing towards Process Management
If you decide to give BPM a try, your organization will face a transformation. As risky as that might sound, change isn’t always so bad. The trick is to be ready for it and know what you’re dealing with.
In order to identify the transformation patterns that organizations normally face, we present you with an article written by Jim Sinur titled “Can You Order Transformations Over Easy?“
In his article, Jim describes three possible transformation patterns: Big Bang, Incremental, and Aggressive Incremental Transformation. Each one has particular advantages and risks, which should be well-known before choosing a particular option.
“Transformation can be a scary word and it’s better when it is not a “forced march”. If a business sees an opportunity to enhance or change its business model, supported by newer technologies, there is a positive feel to transformation despite the fears of the journey. However, it is not always the choice of the business. If there is an erosion of customer base, competitive threats, downward trends, or an upstart in the industry that redefines your sector, this may become a forced march. There are those that believe the emergence of new digital technologies will create an environment where organizations will have to step up or else. I have seen three kinds of transformation strategies used and had the challenge to implement all three, but they were rarely easy. I was fortunate enough to live through all three and deliver value to the organizations that employed them.
It’s a bit like taking a plunge in a lake without knowing the temperature of the water and racing at full speed before you sink. This is where a large scope with a high-risk / reward situation is in play. The benefit of these kinds of transformations is that they can deliver big results that take advantage of emerging opportunities or protect from emerging threats. It can take a long period of time before the benefits flow and take an incredible amount of confidence and patience. This is what I call the “all in” approach to transformation that requires extreme nerves and not for the frail of the heart. Instrumenting measures and progress by trusted managers is the key to success here with more than the normal amount of communication. Quite often, many external skill bases are imported temporarily to make this happen to overcome inertia. Having worked on a successful “super-sized” big bang effort, it took some super savvy executive leadership to pull it off even with a very talented skill base of nearly 1000 people over the duration of this 500 million dollar plus transformation.
This approach is a slow emergence approach to get used to the water over time. This is where a large transformation is broken into “bite-sized” pieces with benefit delivery points along the way to help fund the overall transformation. This approach allows everyone to see the benefits and learn incrementally while building up skills and confidence as you go. This mitigates risk and the amount of investment needed to get the benefits. This is what I call the “try it you will like it” approach that requires a smaller initial investment, but it does take a longer time. The advantage is that you can do this with your existing staff and help them learn and grow over time. This can be called the “small steps to a big change over time” approach. You can enjoy the cooling of the water with or without swimming. This is a balanced approach. Having worked on an innovative departmental-based effort that set the target by creating a user experience first and filling in the more difficult, but beneficial features later, delivered the goods for us.
Aggressive Incremental Transformation:
If you want to swim quickly, but want to back out of the water at any time or switch strokes in the middle of your race, this approach works well. This is where small portions of a transformation are tried and cobbled together quickly delivering experience, good or bad, and making appropriate adjustments. You have to have “a fail fast; scale fast mentality” that puts a premium on “do it, try it & fix it”. This is a great approach where there is a significant amount of new skills, technology, and methods. It is easy to fall into a trap here. One can just play and wander around without a larger target in mind or make adjustments to the larger goals and target business model. If the end game is considered well here, the speed to market is greatly increased over just incremental transformation. Having worked on one of these approaches with a rotating “c suite” representative per day for the confirmation of results, we ended up with a chaotic way of managing. Eventually, we steered ourselves to a final result that made all smile. The problem was that the executives wanted all projects going forward to work this way. Unfortunately, we had legacy code to deal with for our traditional processes and applications”.
Jim Sinur is an independent thought leader in applying business process management (BPM) to innovative and intelligent business operations (IBO). His research and areas of personal experience focus on business process innovation, business modeling, business process management technology (iBPMS), process collaboration for knowledge workers, process intelligence/optimization, business policy/rule management (BRMS), and leveraging business applications in processes.
You can also schedule a work session here to model a real-life process in your organization together