5 tips to BPM success: the Adidas Story

adidas_originals_whiteImplementing a BPM solution often seems a mountain to climb, especially if we believe the analysts who claim that 50% to 60% of BPM projects fail. Yet, we know the company can’t rely on emails and spreadsheets any longer; we also recognize the importance of bridging the organizational silos and getting business and IT collaborating together. So where best to start?

In this blog, I’ll focus on how building BPM projects from the bottom-up reduces the perceived implementation risks AND helps users to reap the benefits fast.

For my 5 tips, I’ll be using a success story with adidas – whose clever BPM blueprint ‘Think Big, Start Small and Advance Quickly’ underpinned their Gold winning success at WfMC BPM Awards.

Tip 1: Pick projects with a powerful punch

Sounds obvious, but cherry-picking those areas that adversely affect the most people especially across different business units is the quickest pathway to impact. For adidas, it was managing supplier on-boarding (4 months reduced to 40 days) and Supply Chain Management (5,000 purchase order changes per month).

Tip 2: Put BPM on the fast track

Projects selected, you need to act fast. 12 months? Two years? Forget it. Long implementation cycles and design by committee will lose you kudos quickly; each project at adidas was cleverly scoped to deliver results in a matter of 2 to 4 months – now that’s turbocharged BPM!

Tip 3: Get business and IT engaged from the start

Instead of using Word or Visio, adidas encouraged business and IT to use the Bizagi modelling environment from Day 1. The effect was pretty impressive: project phases were executed in parallel (not sequenced), collaboration came naturally as business and IT found one communication language, the language of process; all injecting agility into every stage of the project.

Tip 4: don’t undermine the ‘change’ factor – educate, communicate and listen

Understandably, users may see BPM as a threat to their existing systems so it’s important to be upfront from the start. By explaining that BPM is your ‘superglue’ that purely connects and ‘fills the gaps’, adidas was able to more easily handle objections and create a ‘pull together’ mindshare.

Tip 5. Establish a central team

Last but certainly not least, employ cross-functional advocates to champion the above. This team can help create a culture of sharing, re-use and ensure that the ‘bigger picture’ is in place which will be key to your long-term BPM success and fast returns.

Owing the success to the vision and determination of the workflow team, adidas completed 7 projects in less than 2 years while further 16 are under development; these processes deliver automation across various departments including supply chain, marketing, finance, retail and eCommerce, bringing multi-functional teams together. Just the Supply Chain Management and HelpDesk projects connect and improve the collaboration between 500 sales operations and 400 factories globally and yet both projects were delivered in less than 3 months.

I’d love to hear your comments or even better, your personal experience.

In the next post, I’ll showcase the story behind Colpensiones. Implementing a BPMS helped the Colombian government state pension unit manage its 28 million activities and 900,000 cases each month.

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By Jolanta Pilecka @ Bizagi | December 20, 2013

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