BPM: Are You Driving Process Change, or Are You Being Driven by It?

Mia Leondakis, VP Business Transformation & Automation, VMware
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Mia Leondakis, VP Business Transformation & Automation, VMware

We live in an age where customers do not want a product or service, they want an experience, and they are in a constant search until they find something that delivers it. The pace of today’s technology is revolutionizing how new businesses operate, and existing businesses are transforming to stay relevant. In the last decade, we have experienced significant advancements in virtualization/cloud-based systems, IoT, self-service, and cognitive technologies making it simpler to run a business in areas of management, production, and customer service. As customer expectations and engagement models have radically shifted over the last decade, we need to look at Business Process Management (BPM) as a critical lever and enabler to embrace this change.

C-suite executives across all businesses are faced with some of the toughest decisions in today’s operating environment, as they shift from the physical past, to a future digital era. The customer journey is changing as well, not only from the ever-increasing expectations from consumers, but also from the workforce to get things faster and cheaper. Combined, these place a constant pressure on businesses to evolve. This leaves businesses with the challenge of getting answers and making more profitable and predictable decisions while not slowing down.

Drivers of Process Change-What is the rush? I cannot slow down! I am already meeting my mission, the customer is happy, and I am profitable?

More than ever before, aligning business priorities while evolving to meet the new wave of customer and employee expectations have become the central theme and key driver for process management and change conversations. This comes in the form of customer value, and directly related, top-line growth.

A major step for improving the customer journey and value is digital transformation. With the introduction of IoT–mobile and social media has been turned into a data engine, driving a pattern of behavior by consumers and business professionals alike for a need of 'instant gratification'. Intelligent Business Process Management Systems (iBPMS) are paving the future to connecting customers with the business using real-time data and analytics.

  ​Shift the focus from over-documenting and analyzing routine processes as part of traditional business process architecture approaches 

This digital transformation has also given birth to a completely new generation, Gen Connected, or 'Gen C.' Agnostic of age, Gen C represents the transition to a highly connected, technology dependent and always-on society. Customers including the workforce are being provided with access to more choices and data, and voicing their experiences across multiple social media platforms, reaching millions a day. The lines between business and personal customer experience have been blurred, to the point that today’s workforce sees no difference between what they use for social purposes and at work. Today’s app driven workforce is using mobile devices daily for managing and executing business processes. The business challenge is breaking the mindset of the past and learning to apply data and adopt technology that enables: collaboration, optimizes productivity inside and outside of the office, and results in better decisions that drive customer value and a positive business impact. With these challenges in mind, it is important to evaluate what your business is doing to adopt new models while at the same time leveraging and securing the business’s information.

Going from Great to Excellent-Becoming an Early Inventor

Wherever you are in your journey, businesses require a shift from the traditional focus of continuous process improvement, to a greater focus on business transformation. This change is the result of a need to be able to reinvent at a rapid pace to keep up and stay ahead of customer needs. Along the way, some thoughts to guide your businesses journey:

• Drive Simplicity inherently through structured and standardized processes .Promote intentional simplicity by adopting a customer-focused BPM strategy that defines consistent and repeatable methods and processes. In reality, simple can be harder than complex and relentless customer focus is the key to achieving this.

• Develop Human-Centered skills. Build skills that will help with understanding customer needs and accelerate impactful and innovative ideas. Skills including customer journey mapping, persona mapping, digital experimentation, and rapid prototyping can accelerate driving value without slowing the business down.

• Adopt an agile approach for creating a culture of Operational Excellence. Start small and with a more adaptive approach to applying leading practices e.g., Lean Six Sigma and Design Thinking. Focus on the end-to-end customer journey, and producing results with minimal effort to drive longer-term value, from which top-line growth will naturally follow.

• Build your Enterprise (Business and IT) Architecture on a solid value chain foundation. Shift the focus from over-documenting and analyzing routine processes as part of traditional business process architecture approaches, to defining outcomes delivered to customers/stakeholders. The value chain defined by the business and centered on the customer will guide Business and IT enterprise architects with developing and implementing models that optimize your business’s ability to meet customer requirements.

• Create a standard model and definition for Performance Measurement. Create linkages among strategic and tactical measures. This will help drive line of sight for how process activities connect with the priorities of the customer and organization, and what’s needed to deliver on the priorities including current performance and the impact of making a change.

• Apply an objective measurement and metric-driven decision approach. Track and analyze the right data over time and use the data that is available to create predictive models that guide business decisions. This will help address root causes and delivering better in terms of customer value, revenue growth, cost reduction, and risk avoidance.

Over the Horizon–One Sunset leads to another Sunrise

I am excited about what the future of BPM has to offer to business enterprises. Mobile, social, cloud, big data, machine learning/artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality features are becoming more capable including how they integrate the customer with the business. The linkage between business process and IT architectures are becoming clearer. The integration of intelligent processes with analytics is making processes more capable of adjusting to changing conditions, as necessary. This coupled with IoT is allowing for more rapid process innovation by bridging current communication gaps across enterprise stakeholders.

These are signs of the next major shift across the business operating environment, making it imperative for companies to adopt a more customer-centered approach to doing business. There are multiple challenges ahead, however we are at an inflection point of the next wave of advancements where in order to make the jump to the next performance “S-curve”, the time to start is yesterday.

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