Anand Sekhar, KPMG Director, Advisory Services
Unlike much process management or process optimization, Business Process Management (BPM) is about large, overriding processes that support the business strategy in fundamental yet agile ways. As such, a larger view, better management and measurement, and a key understanding of the business will generate success. Here, we’ve listed our top ten for effective BPM.
1. Prioritize your initiatives. Process improvements should be prioritized according to their importance to the business. Start with the most mission-critical processes, assign process owners, establish key performance indicators (KPIs), and give the process owner the authority for maintaining consistency across the organization.
2. Define governance and communication. Strive to create a balance in your process team while maintaining clear, frequent communication. Consider appointing a single process owner along with sub process stewards who work with local representatives while continuing to drive global consistency.
3. Apply BPM beyond operational efficiencies. Instead of focusing on cost reduction, consider opportunities to increase revenue. Process mentality can illuminate easier ways to purchase, better ways to analyze consumers and markets, and opportunities to engender more loyalty among those who have already purchased.
4. Define your objectives and metrics. Do you know what success looks like? Many companies have stated goals but have trouble translating them into meaningful KPIs. Beyond cost KPIs, consider cycle time, percentage increase in sales, and other meaningful cost and productivity measures.
5. Assess project success. You have to measure what matters. Too often, the mechanics of BPM are measured but not the desired outcomes. While some of the detail is mission critical, some of the minutiae has little bearing on success.
6. Build to change, not to last. BPM is a configurable solution for processes that will constantly change based on alterations to the business direction, market operating models, regulations, and user requirements. Simply put, change the recipe when tastes change.
7. Institutionalize a system for change control. Plan for change up front. This means remaining agile, gathering feedback, making adjustments, and communicating regularly and repeatedly. BPM never changes in isolation—as other organizations change, BPM must respond accordingly.
8. Consider the user experience in defining the solution. Is your BPM easy? User-friendly? Responsive? Or does it ask users for the same information over and over again? Strong BPM should help others get their jobs done better, faster, and with more satisfaction.
9. Do not underestimate the power of high-quality data. The success of BPM depends in large part on the right enterprise content. If you have data quality issues in the source systems, you could face serious problems. It’s time to find the right data, cleanse the source data, and manage the master data.
10. Focus more on target state versus current state. Finally, do not dwell too long on your current state—it will change sooner than you think. So focus your energy on defining where you want to be (“Target state”) and how to get there (“Roadmap”) leveraging BPM. Participate in BPM communities, apply leading practices, and industry and domain reference models such as APQC, eTom, etc.
BPM is both an art and science. It’s not just about what you’ve done, but what you will do and how that will satisfy and delight internal and external customers alike.
If your company struggles to sustain cost savings and identify new opportunities for process improvement, read Anand’s whitepaper Ten Steps to Continually Derive Benefits From Business Process Management on the KPMG Advisory Institute, or listen to his recent BPM podcast.