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Business Process Management
A Strategic Imperative for a Down Economy

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Business Process Management [January 2009]
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Most organizations focus on levels two and three of the process hierarchy because it is easier to document the sub-processes and associated activities at those levels. However, research shows a more significant ROI on process improvement when streamlining and automating are also completed at level three and below.

A complete summary of the operations of an enterprise is essential in the creation and modification of business strategy. A business process architecture should accomplish the following objectives:

  • Formally trace what actually happens during a process and offer management a view into process dependencies;
  • Take the viewpoint of an external observer who looks at how a process has been performed and determines improvements to enhance performance;
  • Highlight redundant and unnecessarily complicated processes;
  • Define desired processes and how they should be performed;
  • Establish rules, guidelines and behavior patterns which, if followed, would lead to the desired process performance;
  • Explain the rationale of processes;
  • Identify areas of process inefficiency; and
  • Explore and evaluate several possible courses of action based on rational arguments, establishing an explicit link between processes and the requirements.

Understanding the following recommendations will enable your organization to successfully measure process results: define and understand the business drivers; recognize how processes contribute to revenues; determine the impact of processes on the total customer experience; identify goals and objectives of the line of business; and link process results to overall business strategy.

You will improve BPM adoption within the organization by increasing success visibility and demonstrating value—such as a compelling ROI. As previously mentioned, ROI gains have been significant for the majority of BPM projects.

Centers of Excellence
As organizations deploy BPM solutions across the enterprise, they often run into barriers associated with cross-departmental interaction and collaboration. Organizations have discovered that while intradepartmental business process projects usually execute with minimal issues, interdepartmental business process initiatives often become hindered in cross-departmental "walls of conflict" and political battles.

The objective of a BPM center of excellence is to foster strategic alignment of people, processes and technology to drive business success. It establishes quality assessment criteria (to measure conformance to requirements) and provides process governance for the enterprise.

A BPM center of excellence should: streamline internal and external business processes; provide visibility over entire processes; facilitate communication among process stakeholders; maintain control and accountability; eliminate redundancies; increase automation; ensure enforcement of the business framework to BPM projects; and implement BPM best practices.

The specific services delivered to the organization include: process modeling and simulation lab center; coaching and facilitating; BPM best practices; process training and education; assistance creating the business case; business process knowledgebase; business rules and process architecture; and BPM tool and methodology practices.

An economic downturn can be your organization’s opportunity to gain or increase competitive advantage. By continuing to invest in strategic technology projects, you can make your processes more efficient and reduce operational costs. A business process management initiative can not only improve your position in the current environment, but also establish your organization as an innovative industry leader when the downturn ends.

Simplified Architecture
One of the challenges of building a process architecture is the lack of an agreed-upon standard or methodology for creating the architecture. However, there are business process tools, such as EMC® Documentum® Process Analyzer, that make it relatively simple to design process architectures. In addition, EMC Documentum Process Simulator makes it possible to run automated "what if" scenarios to analyze the impact of a process change on the process or sub-processes.

EMC also highly recommends contracting out to a consulting company for your organization’s first venture into building a process architecture. The consulting company can greatly assist with business and IT alignment and drive the development of the business and IT collaboration structure.

Results and Objectives
Measuring process results is crucial to the success of a BPM project. During the BPM strategic discovery workshop, several deliverables are completed and tied to key organizational business objectives, including an analysis of targeted processes and the definition of process performance metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs). Actual process performance must then be determined.

With a BPM software implementation, it is now much easier to gain insights into performance. The EMC Documentum Business Activity Monitor (BAM) tool is designed to provide operational staff and executives with actionable intelligence such as in-flight business processes, KPIs, thresholds and SLA violations. The tool can greatly enhance the efforts to reposition the organization to take full advantage of emerging BPM opportunities. The measurement of process results with a BAM tool ensures process accountability and alignment of the organization’s key business objectives with actual business processes.

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