Business Process Management (BPM) is the discipline focused on optimizing the efficiency of a company. BPMS (Business Process Management System) is about bringing your improved processes to the actual IT-applications layer. Although there are many short and long-term benefits of BPMS implementations, a wrong approach can jeopardize the success of the improvement initiative. We have collected some tips and guidelines for you to help you successfully implement BPM within your organization.
1. Build based on how your company actually works
As with any new implementation, a starting point must be set. For example, identify benchmarks for how people currently perform a particular function by gathering measurement data. Use real data and documents (through interviews with employees, emails, telephone calls, etc.) to gain insight into how your company actually works. When you get clear and concrete insights into possible opportunities for improvement, record this in the new process model, determine a target level (KPIs) and then start developing the first workflows.
2. Think big, but start small
It's difficult to realize how business processes are connected to other business processes in the company, which in turn are linked to even more processes. That is why it is important to realize that changing to change your processes without a good strategy can negatively impact your business. When implementing BPMS, you should always consider to start with a smaller, easier-to-manage project (such as improving cost reports, purchase order flow, or administrative tasks) while keeping the larger processes and ambitions in mind.
3. Involve all stakeholders
In BPMS implementations, there are usually three key stakeholders: business users or functional owners: those closest to the process design (such as the purchasing director); IT people who can convert the process model into actual IT applications and end users: those who actually use the deployed application in practice. Encourage the collaboration between your developers and your end users during the implementation process.
4. Choose a BPM tool based on your needs
BPMS applications often serve many different purposes for many different types of stakeholders. Some tools are tailored to managers and are focused on keeping process data, with an emphasis on control, visibility and efficiency. Other tools are designed for software developers who perform application development driven by BPM. Many organizations therefore opt for a toolset or platform that brings the business world and IT together, such as Bizagi BPMS.
5. Select a "champion"
Choose a strong leader for the BPMS project. This person takes the initiative to drive the project and looks for solutions to common problems. It is important that the "champion" has dedicated time for this. The champion needs to focus on achieving all essential objectives, to oversee the implementation process, to guide change and report progress to senior management.
6. Establish milestones
A BPM implementation can be a daunting concept if it is viewed as a large, complex tangle of activities. To maximize the success of a BPM implementation, it is advisable to view the BPM project as a series of changes that work together towards the greater goal of the full implementation. Let your champion make a strong business case during an early phase of the implementation. This will convince the other (senior) stakeholders that the project is a good thing. By simplifying a large implementation in a series of smaller steps, control is increased and the risk of general failure is reduced.
7. Deliver quickly and make the result tangible
As soon as BPMS is implemented in your organization, the first benefits should become visible shortly afterwards. The ROI (return on investment) of BPMS is provided by process and organizational improvements, not by the BPMS investment itself. In order to qualify as such, the result of the BPM investments must be felt by others who effectively notice the improvements.
8. Work together
It is essential to ensure adequate communication and the right level of participation of all those responsible during the implementation process. That is why it is important there is good cooperation with all the groups involved. Ideally, your champion should work closely with everyone involved at every level. This will ensure connections between silos. Open collaboration, supported by tools and methodologies, such as collaboration software, and an 'agile' approach gives all parties involved a better understanding of the project and how everything fits together.
9. Measure results
When implementing BPM, the impact of the project must be measured to see if your strategy needs adjustments. This can be difficult, because BPM is more abstract than the daily practice of your organization. Identify which types of data you want to measure and how they are linked to the intended improvements, since without this data the effectiveness of BPM for a certain process cannot be assessed. Use KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the data and monitor the success of the implementation.
10. Seek external assistance
You will probably get better results when you use external consultants in addition to your internal team. The key advantage is the experience they bring on board. Consultants have access to accelerators, such as methodologies and blueprints, and expertise and knowledge that can positively influence the success of the BPMS project.