In the game of BPM, if you’re not outside-in, you’re out

baseball_outUnlike baseball, where the rules say “three strikes and you’re out”, if you are practicing BPM, you could be called out before the game starts if you’re not simultaneously practicing outside-in.

The thing is the playing field for BPM has changed and this means the players have to change or they find themselves sitting on the bench.

Customers today expect to play a role in the processing of orders they place with manufacturers.  We saw in the Job Shop Blog series how important it is to accommodate customer input during manufacturing. Failure to work closely with a customer leads to rework with extra costs and, in some cases, cancellation of orders or rejection of deliverables.

If the BPM run-time environment you are using is not able to accommodate the following inputs/outputs, you are not practicing “outside-in”.

Scenario #1

A customer calls to ask about the status of an order. The manufacturing rep says delivery will take place in 8 weeks. “Not good enough” replies the customer – “what is the holdup?”.  Answer, “these parts”. “But”, says the customer “I phoned your Camden office last week and was told they had the parts in their warehouse. So, how about you cancel the backorder and have the parts shipped in”. Response: “Who did you speak to at the Camden office”. “I don’t remember the name” responds the customer.

This type of exchange is what CRM ( Customer Relations Management) was made for, except that people no longer want to do CRM in one system and have to manage internal activity guided by BPM in another system.  You can put BPM inside of CRM but that would be like trying to convert a submarine into an airplane.

Remedy:  You need CRM in your BPM.

No CRM in your BPM? You’re out!

Scenario #2

A customer calls to say he/she logged into the company portal and it seems that work is not proceeding according to the latest set of specifications.

Since workers take their lead from Customer Cases, if the specifications came in and were parked in a cloud-based ECM (enterprise content management) system, no wonder the specs did not synch with the Case record.

No ECM in your BPM?. You’re out!

Scenario #3

Customer wants a small variation to an otherwise standard assembly.

You can let the assembly go through the standard line to completion, then send it to custom fab for partial disassembly, and then put in modified parts.

Or, tag the assembly on the standard line and post documentation that workers will see at the process step for easy incorporation of the needed modifications.

You need ACM (Adaptive Case Management) to get to this level of maturity.

No CRM, no ECM, no ACM in your BPM? You’re out!

How you can increase your batting average.

Get your team/customers to transition to a run-time environment that has its foundation in Case.

Make sure the environment supports ACM (unstructured work),  BPM (structured work), CRM (outside-in) and ECM (enterprise content management).

Make sure the environment includes R.A.L.B. (resource allocation, leveling and balancing) plus at-arms-length data exchange facilities so that your environment can communicate multi-directionally with local and remote 3rd party systems.

Do this and you will be able to go nine innings and win your game.  Don’t allow any inning to end with runners still on base, be it first base, second base or third base.

In the new BPM if you’re not focused on outside-in, you are out, and are likely to stay out until you go outside-in.

For more info on “outside-in” and how you can increase your batting average to .999,  call me at 1 450 458 5601.

Courtesy to Walter Keirstead. This blog is also available on

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By Karl Walter Keirstead @ Civerex | April 24, 2014

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