During a recent conversation with a potential client regarding the benefits of BPM and our approach to BPM, we got into a great discussion about when a top down, define the high-level activities and supporting activities, then align the company strategy to ensure the new or updated processes as designed fit with the goals and objectives of the organization.
This particular client pushed back against that premise, stating they had an ERP system, but there were a lot of processes outside of the ERP system that were informal and used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Word documents as their data source. They further stated that these informal processes are all over the place and what solution could we recommend?
Our solution recommendation is a hybrid approach. First start by creating the future state low level processes, obtaining the necessary SME buy-in and automating these processes within the existing technical environment. Continue to do identify, create and automate these informal processes and begin to analyze them for commonality that could be applied with slight modifications or adapted as is by other business units. This is a great feed for SOA (service oriented architecture). Also begin to identify how they processes support the organization and fit into the overall process structure, and then begin to build that process picture.
In addition to the benefits above, you will begin to gain organizational buy-in from the personnel using the newly automated processes and word of mouth buy-in is critical to success, just think about what movies you have seen or restaurants you have visited based on someone’s recommendation.
So although a top down approach will be my go to game plan, a bottoms or even a hybrid approach can work effectively. There is no cookie cutter approach to BPM, you need to listen to your customers and then develop a BPM approach that will effectively meet their needs.