As a BPM professional, you are aware of the benefits that BPM can bring to businesses of all sizes and types. However, many business owners are unaware of what BPM represents, or even that it exists at all. The toughest part of your job may therefore be not the development of a BPM program, but of educating your potential clients as to what a well-designed BPM plan can do for them.
As long as there have been businesses, there have been people whose function was to improve the way those businesses operate. In simpler times, most companies had one or two people whom they considered to be troubleshooters, who would root out the causes of problems the business faced and came up with solutions. As the business world grew more and more complex, a cottage industry of consultants came into play, populated primarily by self-professed experts who would observe a company’s practices and offer ways that other companies had solved similar problems. All too often, the “remedies” were formulated without the consultant having anywhere near a comprehensive understanding how the current client’s company might be dramatically different from the previously developed models.
Forest and trees
In the new millennium, savvy business owners and managers have learned that solving a problem or improving a process is rarely if ever a simple, straight line effort from point A to point B. Neither is it about merely tweaking a few lines of software coding or changing how one employee or department performs a given task. Such approaches were perfect examples of not being able to see the forest for the trees, and despite their efforts to ensure that the “trees” were healthy, too many companies saw their own operational efforts – their “forests” – die, even as they nurtured those single trees.
BPM is, in its essence, learning to not only see the forest as well as the trees, but learning how each element in the enterprise affects and is affected by the larger operation. The object must be to make the individual trees work in such a way as to feed the greater forest as well as be fed by it. BPM goes beyond the Point A to Point B, to better address the individual capabilities, talents, and limitations of every element, from hardware to software to personnel, and to take all those variables into account in coming up with a process improvement recommendations.
While such a broad-based, organic approach is by its nature more complex to develop and – at least initially – challenging to implement, the payoff in the longer term is significant, both in increased productivity and improved employee morale. Ignoring the unique talents (or limitations) of critical participants in any process is no less a mistake than overlooking the functional capabilities and limitations of a software program or a piece of machinery. Similarly, one flawlessly-performing operation that fails to fully integrate with other departments can, in fact, become a liability to the overall business rather than an asset.
For these reasons, the more comprehensive, organic approach that is the core of Business Process Management can effectively improve a company’s operations far more than can the old and time-honored practice of putting out fires as they become obvious. So you have a simple choice in running your business: to keep scrambling from one crisis to another, or to approach your business as a cohesive unit to be nurtured holistically, and by doing so, avoiding most of those crises before they occur.
This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from best people search. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.