Whether the vision of a tree, on which apples, pears and cherries grow simultaneously would not be a dream come true for farmers? I guess so, but as for now, genetics does not extend that far. Meanwhile, in IT, systems offering diverse functionalities from many areas of life of organizations are available at your fingertips. You just have to recognize the potential lying in them.
To sow BPMS in a company
A Business Process Management System is not just about modeling business processes and keeping track on what’s going on with them. Current technology is flexible enough to support much more than typical cases, such as claims management or purchase orders. Having the right tool allows to optimize a wide variety of processes, including those which are specific for your particular company.
The choice of an IT platform that will allow to optimize business processes in the company, is very often reduced to the technical and functional aspects of process and document handling. However in most cases success of the implementation depends not on the protocol of final acceptance, but on satisfaction of end-users. Thus ergonomics of a tool, simplicity of interface and everyday usability tend to be the most important factors.
A lot depends on whether the users of BPMS will like the tool, whether they will want to use it and find it as the facilitator of their daily work, instead of ‘beforehand imposed obligation’. If users are convinced to transfer work to BPMS, the company will find new opportunities to optimize business processes. Therefore, companies with a high level of process maturity treat initial implementation of the system as just an introduction to optimize many more processes, usually with higher level of complexity.
BPMS results in benefits!
The implementation of BPM system in the company not only simplifies a workflow and document management. Such a solution also allows to answer a few basic questions, which provide a solid foundation to better manage the processes and tasks: what happens to a case or a document? Who is responsible? What else needs to happen? Who else needs to be involved to finish a task? And of course: how long it all takes, and why? Having the answers, organization can effectively optimize and shorten the duration of each activity in the process.
It turns out, that liked by the users, a well-functioning BPMS very quickly generates a natural and bottom-up need to support much more specific and crucial business processes.
The same tree, another new branch
The natural outcome of implementing BPMS is that processes overlap and complement each other. For instance if the optimization of cost invoice processing was a priority during initial phase of implementation, later on also the correspondence process may be optimized. Thus not only invoices are being directed to right people, approved and accounted, but also can be properly registered in the system (and scanned if needed) and at the end of a process such invoice could be entered into ERP system to avoid double data entry.
– Experience we’ve derived from cooperation with our clients shows that consecutive processes are implemented very quickly and consistently – says Lukasz Wrobel, Director of Consulting at WEBCON. – With such a wide range of benefits, and at the same time the possibility of a quick optimization in almost every area of the company, stopping at the stage of initial implementation would be a big mistake. The question is not: “Should we implement another processes?”, but: “Where should we deploy them in the first place, to generate the greatest benefits?” – he explains.
Consecutive processes handled by BPMS facilitate the circulation of paper documents but can also completely replace it in cases like: business trip settlement, HR, holiday applications, contracts management, investment, quality management procedure, etc. Areas where BPMS may be applied can be multiplied and along with them, also benefits generated by a company. Step by step, a tool for comprehensive Business Process Management is created.
Processes ready for change
Multiplication of implemented systems, particularly those that support specific business processes, is possible only if a company ensured its readiness for change. What exactly does this readiness mean, and why in the case of this category of solutions, it plays first fiddle?
The implementation of consecutive business processes, leads to automation in more specific areas of work in the company. Sooner or later, the processes directly affecting the competitiveness of the company are subjected to optimization. These can include, e.g. the seasonal process of switching on and off heat in the energy company or the process of opening new chain stores in the retail sector. For this category of solutions, it is more than likely that as a result of organizational changes and analysis of the efficiency of the process (which is finally reliable, because it’s based on values measured by the system!), frequent changes and improvements will be necessary.
A need generated by the business should be reflected in the solution that supports it, as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will become useless. The speed of internalizing changes and modifications plays a huge role in the process of implementing business processes, allowing to significantly reduce the cost and time of implementation. -Currently, we are able to introduce respective modifications during the implementation meeting, see their effects and decide if this is the right direction. – says Marcin Falkiewicz (IT Support Director of Rovese Group) with reference to already implemented BPM platform.
Sow the first process – it’s easy!
The implementation of Business Process Management System can be very successful investment that does not require planning all processes at once. Practice shows that the implementation of the first process gives the opportunity to explore the possibilities of the system, convince users to it, and as a result, efficiently and successfully initiates implementation of another business processes.
Furthermore, using one IT platform to optimize all business processes not only allows to lower cost of licenses. It is primarily the opportunity to build competence within the company that will allow model and modify processes single-handedly. Notwithstanding, whether the development of the business process will be run by company’s own resources or will be associated with an external provider, using a single platform significantly increases the rate of delivery of solutions.
What is equally important, mark-up (which is essential to start the next deployments), resulting from necessity to conduct tender proceedings, each time analysis of solutions and their selection, long term contract negotiations, etc. can be, in fact, completely eliminated!
Maintenance of the solution, can also be reduced to minimum. As a result, company administer just one system that supports different areas of the company. Because it’s easier and less expensive to maintain a single tree than the whole garden.
N.B.: The article originally appeared in “Nowoczesne Technologie w przemyśle” (Modern Technologies in Industry) 49/50.