You may be thinking that Business Process Management (BPM) is something that is for large enterprises and not for small to mid-sized organizations. This could not be further from the truth. Organizations of all sizes can reap huge benefits from actively managing and improving their business processes.
Smaller business environments are prime targets for BPM, with a great potential for achieving big changes and improvements. With less red-tape to fight through and a less complex organizational structure, it is often easier to make successful changes quickly, and for less investment, in this environment. Smaller companies are generally more flexible – it is much easier to turn around a small boat, mid-course, than it is to change the direction of a cruise liner!
Six steps to BPM capability
There are some simple steps you can take to establish a BPM capability in this environment:
- Identify a business or IT team that already works well together. Starting with a cohesive team will greatly improve your chance of success on the first run.
- Select a cross-functional process to improve. This first go-round should be a small one – aim to improve one or two processes, no more.
- Train this team in BPM basics, getting them familiar with process improvement techniques. A small initial process improvement initiative will allow them to become familiar with the basics before they tackle a larger BPM project.
- Quantify the financial benefits that can be achieved with the process improvement. This will allow you to gain support for the required training and possibly a BPM tool investment.
- Select a highly competent project manager to lead this first initiative. The success of this project will pave the way for the establishment of a true BPM capability within the organization.
- Document all lessons learned in this first BPM effort and use this to guide future projects. Building a body of knowledge from this and future BPM initiatives will quickly build the value of your BPM capability, rapidly increasing the maturity of the organization.
One of the key factors in the success of your first BPM efforts will be to have the right people. This team needs to really understand the organization and be good communicators and listeners. Selecting this team well is possibly the most important step to achieving BPM success in the long term.