Software implementation is not the primary yardstick with which to measure BPM success. While technology is no doubt an integral component of BPM, BPM isn’t just about software. At the core, it is an end-to-end management approach that seeks to eliminate operational silos and process bottlenecks, thereby improving service and/or product quality and boosting the company’s competitive advantage.
Some BPM proponents are even keen to say that when implementing a BPM initiative, the truth is that software doesn’t always have to be involved, particularly if sending an email or walking a few steps to a colleague’s workstation would suffice.
If not software, what then constitutes a successful BPM implementation?
A 2012 ebizQ discussion presents varied answers to the question, “What is the single most important factor in assuring BPM success?” Some of the answers included the following:
- People involvement at every level
- Upper management support/sponsorship
- Alignment with business goals
- Ahead-of-time success definition, measurement and promotion
All these together, in my opinion, are the elements that make up a successful BPM implementation.
The people side of the process improvement equation
While it’s been said again and again that the workforce is the backbone of an organization, sadly, the people down the chain aren’t normally heard when a decision has to be made, even if that decision concerns the tasks they should be carrying out.
If you think about it, this is a counterproductive exercise. Who can better gauge how your customer satisfaction initiatives are faring other than your customer-facing associates? Who is more qualified to tell you which parts of an existing software system is problematic than the guy who uses it every single day?
And then, there are other factors to consider when introducing a process improvement plan:
- Assuaging fear of change through change management
People are creatures of habit. And oftentimes, when they’re introduced to process initiatives that may force them out of their comfort zones – worse, threaten their jobs or their core competencies – they do whatever they can to turn the process improvement plan into a failure. Change management, therefore, is an imperative for the process improvement adoption to be a success.
- Motivation, empowerment and engagement
You may have the most talented workforce in the entire planet, but if they’re not motivated, engaged or feel like they’re contributing to a bigger cause, you can’t expect them to be at their level best. Companies spend a lot of resources recruiting top talent in their industries, and then what? While keeping employees motivated is not the company’s sole responsibility, crossing out employee empowerment and engagement in the overall business agenda can hamper a company’s ability to continuously innovate.
It’s people, not software, that bring success to an organization. For process change – and BPM, too, for that matter – to have a fighting chance, whether it’s from the folks up the management chain, a top-level executive, or the guy from the payroll department, people support is a requisite.
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