Though titled “BPM implementation success” the points we highlight in this post really apply to the success of any form of IT in your business…The reason BPM has been singled out is becuase Gartner has identified seven major guidelines for business process management projects, and more importantly, their acceptance amongst staff and implementation…(The inspiration behind this post).
Sometimes I find these things hard to swallow, a checklist for success is, well never just that. However, a checklist does help improve your chances of success – and anything that helps the chance of success is always a good thing…So a checklist we have here. In this post, I am going to look at these 7 points and put our own, well, more real world and friendlier spin on the points.
Limit your scope
For some time now we have said, start small – but keep the big picture in mind. By starting small you really do ensure the project is manageable, and therefore easier to deliver. If you jump straight into the deep end, and go for a complete enterprise wide adoption – you are almost always going to find that things have been missed – the system is too complex etc etc. So, limit your scope and start small.
When starting out, pick something that is challenging and rewarding (once delivered), but something that doesn’t have too many complexities and for sure, something that doesn’t rely on too many external sources (be that other departments, LOBs).
Gartner suggest a timeframe of 60-90 days, but this is where we are too rigid. It is more important to pick the right process to start off with than look at the potential timeline. You may find a complex process with the right software could be implemented in 30-60 days, so why be limited by 60-90. In addition, you may well find the best process to start off with may take in excess of 90 days – so again don’t feel limited to that date range. I guess the point here is, don’t get swamped at the start (go for the quick wins).
Whatever you choose as your first BPM implementation – make sure it is highly visible when looking at the benefits of BPM. So go for a process that isn’t too complex, but allows BPM to really add great value and process efficiency gains. This is key to getting the system adopted across the organisation.
Align your goals
Ok the Gartner report makes this a little hard to read. Basically, ensure that BPM is actually in line with a particular business goal. So for example, it is a goal of the business to reduce SLAs for a particular process. BPM can be implemented to fulfil this business goal. Make sure though, that everyone has the same goals in mind (different people have different agendas, and for your first adventure into BPM, try to ensure everyone has the same goals in sight)
Measuring BPM success
It is important that when you review the success of your BPM solution that you look at it from the right perspective, and measure this success in a credible way. There is no point in making wild claims that your BPM solution is increased efficiency by 50% when you have no real data to back it up. BPM is very good at providing you with information about throughput, handled items etc. But make sure you have data to compare this too (from the previous way you would work). If you have tangible measurements that can be played off against each other, then its quick and easy to illustrate the gains your BPM system has provided. It is critical that your measurements (well measuring stick) is agreed upon within the business amongst everyone involved – if not, then you are open to potential issues later down the line.
All the stakeholders must agree on what is a success, and what is the common performance goal for all the different stakeholders. Far too often, one stakeholder will see a process improvement as a success, and others only as a partial success as their goals were far higher. So before you start anything, ensure everyone can agree an end goal that you are driving towards. Again without this, you will run into problems further down the line or with BPM adoption in a bigger scale.
Get a champion
Gartner says “business sponsor” however this sounds like someone who is just putting their name to an idea. What you really need is a “champion” of the system. By this I mean someone who is highly enthusiastic and highly motivated to see the system succeed. Such a person becomes the driving force for success and they help ensure all the people working on the solution pull together and get things done….Without a champion you are almost always fighting a tough battle (more so with end users).
Get the users who actually use the system involved early on. Make them feel it is their system, theirs to own, their idea and it is they who will then ensure success of a project. Far too often users are last to see the system - by which time they may be highly apprehensive of change, losing their jobs or just not confident with new technology. So, get users involved early on, so that when you get to a user testing environment and implementation – your users are behind the system and actively looking to use it rather than dreading the day…
If you want more information on the Gartner report you are going to have to purchase it direct from Gartner. You can purchase the full report here http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=clientFriendlyUrl&id=1254813 for US$95.00 (or re-read this post a couple of times and get in touch with us? J)