How Can We Get Business and IT to Work Together in BPM and Process Improvement?

Who should drive BPM initiatives?  Gartner reports that in North America, IT leads 42% of the BPM efforts, and the Business leads 58% of the efforts. And these efforts range widely in scope from mapping individual processes, to improving end-to-end processes, but only a few organizations having a process based management structure.  The reason organizations tend to remain at the initial stages of BPM is because employees focus on their own jobs, managers have priorities in their own departments, and C-suite executives are incented by initiatives in their own divisions or business units. In order to move to a more enterprise approach employees, managers and C-suite executives need to think outside their area, identify how the organization serves the customer and then commit to creating results cross functionally for the organization.  My premise is that this wider thinking starts with the business and IT working together as leaders and as teams, driving initiatives together from the top and team level.

Getting Started: Creating the Foundation for Enterprise BPM

There are three initial elements that make a business process improvement a success and build process capability across the organization.

1.    Active executive leadership- an executive sponsor and a process owner need to sponsor and be active in the BPM/ process improvement effort

2.    Choosing the right process with goals – you need to know where to start and have a charter with specific elements defined by executive leaders and project lead

3.    The right team members – the team needs subject matter experts, IT, a data person, maverick, recorder, and sometimes a customer or a supplier

 

Don’t Throw Your Process Improvement Effort Over the Wall To IT! Instead:

Engage the business and IT together from the start.  They should both be members of the team.  When the two work together in all the phases of business process improvement effort, they see the end-to-end process as a unit, not just individually from their own perspective.  They work toward the same goal – the improvement goal designated by the leadership. 

Build the process model with a common language that all understand. 
The common language comes from four elements:

•   Developing the model together

•   Using agreed common symbols on the model (BPMN is the standard.)

•   Gathering quantitative data at key points about steps in the model

•   Hearing from the customer

In order to move from individual improvement activities to a BPM organization that sees process improvement as an integral practice of how it does work, widen the engagement circle. Get the right employees and management (that means the business and IT) involved in working together on key processes (not just giving input).

Want to learn more?  Sign up today for my live-online BPMessentials workshop on September 25 and 26, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project.  Found out how to write a charter in 90 minutes, how to build partnerships between the business and IT and how to document process models in the BPMN standard, using the free ITP software.  Use this promotional code from BPM.com and get 10% off the price np67.

------ About the Author

Shelley Sweet works with companies that need to transform the way they do work and use information.  She teaches them the concepts and tools, helps them develop high performance end to end processes, and implement successfully with users. Her track record includes over 20 complex projects redesigning processes to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.