Is Your BPM Stalled? There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

Written By: Alexandra Levit
March 17, 2016
4 min read

If your business process management isn’t up to par, you’re not alone.

At the Six Sigma IQ website, BPM expert Dan Morris assured readers that many companies suffer from stalled BPM. But whether you are stuck on simple improvements rather than true transformations or whether you are being overly tactical instead of strategic, there is a way out of the tunnel.

What’s your first step? Morris offered a self-test that can help you identify whether your BPM is in need of some adjustment.

  • Does it seem like few really significant changes (transformational) get done?
  • Are most of your BPM projects really just improvements on what is already being done?
  • Do your projects challenge fundamental concepts in the way the business functions?
  • Do your business managers think the projects make a real difference?
  • Are your change projects normally considered to be successful by senior management?
  • Do your BPM project benefits really make a difference to the bottom line (e.g. cost reduction or sales expansion)?
  • Is the head of your BPM group considered a trusted business partner by business key managers – is he or she invited to their business operation meetings?
  • Is your BPM program expanding in the company?
  • Is your BPM budget adequate to support a growing service group?

Morris advised that in a nutshell, your answers to these questions will determine whether your business is improving significantly as a result of your BPM, and/or whether senior managers are getting the return they want from your efforts. If you thought you were doing a great job but the current answers to these questions involve a lot of “Nos”, you might be experiencing a setback that looks like this:

  • Your group’s budget stagnates or increases very slowly
  • The ability of your group to hire good people decreases and turnover is a problem
  • The role that your group can play is limited
  • BPM becomes a secondary concern with focus shifting to BPMS and IT application generation
  • Your group is focused on chipping away at small improvements instead of projects that are big enough to make a difference in the company’s ability to compete
  • Management’s expectations of your group are lower

Although you may be stuck now, that doesn’t mean your BPM efforts are doomed. After all, evolution and growth can sometimes be painful. However, it’s important to address the situation now, before you receive any push back from your senior leaders.

BPM cannot deliver ROI without first being backed by a defined vision, structure, and justification. Taking the time to rethink your initiatives at a higher level will also ensure that you can secure sponsors and gain access to meatier projects. Morris mentioned these four levels of projects that BPM can potentially support:

  • Strategy Execution Level: Project impact of strategy changes on the business operation
  • Process Level: Transformation across the organization and business functions
  • Workflow Level: Specific improvements that affect a business unit
  • Activity Level: Continuous improvements or small improvements that are narrowly focused

Moving to higher level projects, said Morris, seldom happens on its own. It requires vision, strategy, planning, and flexible execution. It also mandates an open and honest assessment of the BPM team capabilities and competencies and its ability to support an expanded role in the company. “This requires a commitment to delivering greater value through BPM and BPMS enabled BPM,” he said. “It also requires a sponsor and the budget needed to put the group on the right evolution path.”

Perhaps most importantly, BPM initiatives can benefit from the use of low code rapid application development platforms. These technologies enable both IT and line of business users to work in collaboration, facilitating ease of use (speed), agility, and controls (governance) that keep process improvements humming along.

And, if your BPM involves bigger and more critical process issues that can’t be solved by a citizen developer, perhaps these platforms can fill in the gaps while your BPM group regroups and overcomes the necessary hurdles.

Get Complete Business Process Visibility in 30 Days, free Webinar with Steven Bonacorsi, President, International Standard for Lean Six Sigma (ISLSS).

BONUS: Register now and receive a complimentary workbook after the webinar on the most often overlooked part of process change – managing the people in your business.

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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