Transformation is generally something that is avoided at all costs because it is viewed as big, difficult and costly, if not desperate and extreme. World economic conditions, extreme competition and the need for customized customer management are driving organizations into situations that cause them to consider real transformations. We have seen it in manufacturing, finance, healthcare and now retail. It seems that organizations had better be ready to move in a rapid fashion to grab the bone. That's the bad news, but the good news is that incremental transformation is easily ascertainable today with modern intelligent business process management (iBPM) technologies, methods and fleet change management. I hope to document some compelling case studies around the contributing factors to transformation in the coming months, but until then, I have documented seven areas for organizations to focus on while on this journey (below).
Surround Your Legacy to Differentiate:
Your existing technology assets can either be an anchor dragging you back or they can be leveraged going forward. Since business process management (BPM) is good at orchestrating resources in a new and better context, leading companies are adding BPM as a differentiating layer on top of existing processes, systems and applications.
Make Your Policies and Rules Explicit for Ease of Change:
Many organizations have their core policies and rule embedded in peoples’ heads and systems. This is fine, if your world is stable, but that is a luxury today that many global organizations cannot validate. There are specific BPM vendors that practice this approach throughout their platform, processes and solutions. This allows for change within the same structure and in some cases affects the actual structure of the solution.
Make Your Processes Agile by Minimizing Structure:
With newer process technologies, flexible process flows and cases are allowing for quick adaptation. Case management, with the ability to shift milestones and activities on the fly, is one visible way to enable unstructured and adaptable processes.
Make Your Desired Outcomes & Progress Visible:
By making goals and desired business outcomes visible, all those who are watching the score can affect the result. Visibility also helps point out the need for adjustment, tuning and potential change efforts. This is called the “Hawthorne Effect” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect)
Apply Intelligence Constantly and Proactively:
It is important to run active and on-demand analytics to see if changes might be necessary to intercept expected conditions. Even if your organization is not trying to be predictive in its analytic efforts, knowing when to react to changing conditions is the minimum price of admission today. I expect that organizations will not be able to capitalize on conditions without some predictive capability in the near future.
Design for Global Impact, but Customize Locally:
In todays’ world, you do not have to do business on a multi-national basis to want global process behavior with local variation. While you certainly need global process and rules in a multi-national situation, you may have needs for variation by product, service, vendor, customer and business context. Smarter processes take this into effect and allow for optimization on multiple goals simultaneously and shift goal weightings when necessary.
Design a People Centric Approach to Products, Services and Change:
Business change needs to be approached in a new way now. Until recently, process/application change was in the critical path to complete the change. With modern BPM, the technology change is not the problem. Change paths need to be designed to be faster and people change now becomes the issue to deal with going forward. New communication methods and training techniques have to be re-evaluated.
Leveraging the proper built-in levers in BPM and great change management practices, will give the executive suite and process owners unprecedented power to transform incrementally. This is a powerful ability that we have not had in the past.