Business Process Management – Where the transformation begins
Digital transformation is critical to satisfying today’s customer who wants everything faster, better and cheaper. As such, the consumer experience is becoming the focal point for most organizations. However, companies struggle to meet those demands while so many of their products and services aren’t completely automated or utilizing their information platform in the most effective way. Business Process Management (BPM) is the answer to help an organization begin their digital transformation journey and exceed customer expectations. Business Process Management segments the digital transformation process into three easy steps: define the current state, achieve a target state and continuous improvement.
Step 1: Define the Current State
The digital transformation journey begins with a strong foundation and understanding of where the organization is today in delivering products or services to their customers.
The product/service owner needs to understand from the consumer’s view what value is received from the product or service, and elicit feedback on what may be improved or enhanced to provide even more value to them. It is important to understand how to measure the business value, and drive consensus with the business on the approach utilized to calculate the business value or quality of the product or service. Knowing this information prior to making any significant changes to tools, process, or people will eliminate the need for rework which otherwise might be discovered much later in the transformation process.
Once it is clear how the business perceives the value, the product/service team needs to identify all tasks and activities which are performed, either manually or automatically, throughout the delivery lifecycle. The best means for capturing this information is typically to create a workflow depicting the tasks and activities and the dependencies between them. It is important to capture all data elements impacting the various tasks and activities, and how that data changes as it progresses through the delivery lifecycle. All participants in the process must be represented during this activity, or key information will be excluded. In many cases, the processes previously documented or approved may in fact not be what is actually being followed by all participants. Walking through the delivery process in a very deliberate, step-by-step fashion will typically lead to increased awareness and understanding for all team members.
As the current state workflow and process is being documented, it is important to capture two additional measurements: lead time and process time. Lead time is on average the time it takes from the completion of the last task to the completion of the current task. Process time is on average the time it takes to do the actual work. These metrics along with the business-value metric specific to the product or service being delivered allows an organization to measure the effectiveness of their digital transformation program by having before and after measurements for comparison.
Once the product or service lifecycle is documented and there is agreement from all participants, the team can identify areas of the process, which could be improved, eliminated or digitally-enabled. The first review should be to determine if there are unnecessary steps, tasks or activities in the process, which could be completely eliminated. Any item not directly related to providing the business value to the consumer should seriously be considered. The next step would be to streamline or simplify any of the remaining tasks, and automation should be considered as a solution at this point, wherever it would be sensible to automate part or all of a task, activity or process. All data and states of the data supporting the delivery process should be reviewed to identify any further opportunities for elimination, automation, or simplification. All items discovered in this phase should be documented and recorded as backlog items, and should represent some element of waste, which is being minimized or eliminated. These backlog items will be utilized in the next phase: achieve a target state.
The Digital Workplace is not tomorrow’s news, it is here now! You cannot automate what you do not understand, and that is where Enterprise Business Process Analysis comes into play. To improve business performance, organizations are automating business processes through a variety of custom-developed, commercial on-premise or SaaS applications.
Read part two of this article: Business Process Management Drives Digital Transformation; Part 2