Use Business Process Management for Innovation

Make big changes rather than just incremental improvements

Are you spending time thinking about how you could improve your current business processes? Perhaps you are not thinking big enough!  Rather than simply making incremental improvements to your current processes as you react to issues, start thinking big and visualise some real innovations that could propel your organization to bigger and better things.

Often we look to change our processes in response to perceived problems within the business. Perhaps a competitor has been able to reduce their costs and therefore offer services at a lower rate than you can justify, or maybe your customers are complaining about slow delivery times. Rather than just tinker with business processes that impact these specific areas, maybe it is time to think out of the box and look for process changes that could leapfrog you ahead of the competition rather than simply catching up to them.

BPM – a driver of innovation

Business Process Management (BPM) can be the driver of innovation, but to do this it needs to be elevated from its standard position as the ‘process police’. BPM can be responsible for business transformation, but more often than not its role is restricted to managing current processes and tinkering with these in order to ‘keep the lights on’. BPM needs to go beyond simply fixing what is broken and start pushing the boundaries of accepted best practice and create new ways of thinking and working.

Concentrating on current best practice is not going to give you any sort of competitive advantage, your competitors are almost certainly following these practices. Thinking outside of the box with your processes, and creating new best practice first, will give you a critical head-start.

Move responsibility for CSI to the business

For a business process manager to be able to concentrate on innovation, it is essential that responsibility for the gradual improvement of current processes, which is still a critical facet of business improvement, be moved out into the enterprise,  This will free up time that can be used to concentrate on big strategic changes that could be game changers for the business.

A 2013 research paper from Gartner urges business process managers to stop tinkering and start innovating in order to elevate the value of BPM within the enterprise by changing it from a project-based process to one that spawns creativity and innovation.

Think outside the box

One way to do this is, when faced with a problem that needs to be solved, look outside of the box and seek the bigger business opportunity. When you are directed to work on solutions that are merely maintaining current capability, push back and try to redefine these initiatives so that they can deliver enhanced business value rather than simply solving an existing problem.

By continually identifying business process opportunities that can enhance productivity and profitability you will be able to put BPM much higher on the radar at the management level of the enterprise.

Envisage the future and work backwards

Another way to identify opportunities for BPM to prove its worth in the organization is to envisage your target state and work backwards. What do you need to put in place in order for your desired state to be reached? What are the barriers that you will need to remove in order to reach that state? Often, upon examination, you will find that these barriers are the result of habits that evolved into processes. With new technology and automation opportunities, it is very likely that some of these processes are no longer needed, but are still being used out of habit. These redundant processes are prime opportunities for improvement.

• Posted by Cecile Hurley on Oct 25, 2016
• Filed under Articles
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