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A BPM Way to Unlock the Cheese

Contributor: Vivek Kumar
Posted: 07/13/2015
Vivek Kumar
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Who moved my cheese?

Your business was having a miraculous run so far and one day you feel threatened that there may be no more success (cheese) left for you if you don’t acknowledge the changing business landscape.
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Businesses today are facing sustainability issues. Conventional means incorporated over the years are no longer leaving them with enough success (cheese) in the market. Customers are now more connected than ever. Product Lifecycles have shortened. Collaboration is defining new supply chain networks and everyone has access to information. No wonder your business, which had the luxury of cheese so far, is eventually starving for cheese. Cheese may have different interpretations for you: it could be a handsome market share, huge customer base, high returns, maximized productivity or reduced lead times to reach your customer.
With this backdrop, Digital today is seen as the key driver which is triggering changes across the industries. It is no more a luxury but an elixir to fuel your business operations. Digital platforms (Viz Analytics, Cloud, Social and Mobile) are enabling businesses to reach their customers efficiently, to collaborate and coordinate with stakeholders across the value chain. It is at this juncture you need to decide which character you want to be!! If you want to sulk (Hew) and cry over the lost cheese (Market) then you need not read ahead. But if you are ready to accept the change (HAM) let me try to help you.

Change Happens... so anticipate it.

Yes… They will keep moving the cheese. So it is imperative not to be content with the immediate success (if achieved) in the market. In order to understand the change better, what really helps is to know your processes well. For the sake of scalability it is always advisable to have a process repository. Without well-documented processes it would be a Herculean task to pin-point any key value chain where your business is getting impacted. Digital is also causing a boom in the e-commerce industry. These organizations, currently at their nascent stages, are expected to grow with the growing demand from customers. If they need to scale, it is better they have their organization processes documented. Processes which are now executed by a few people would be expected to be carried out by many. So you don’t want to be in a situation where you have dummies executing as per the SOPs with no real knowledge of ‘why’ they are executing their jobs.

Analyze the Change…

Once you are in the maze looking for cheese, it is imperative not to be lost. Having well-documented processes will guide you through the maze. You need to be very careful that you are taking the right path (and definitely not the path where you didn’t find any cheese before). Hence it is time you identify the paths which can add value in fulfilling your core needs. This in the BPM world is termed as Value Stream Mapping.
Once you have your value adding paths identified, you should identify which elements link to Enhanced Customer Experience (yes, we need to worship them!). Thereby shift your focus in setting the right KPIs/metrics for the process blocks driving customer needs. Re-design your processes, align your technologies and fill the process/technology gaps and cheese will be unlocked!

Adapt to Change… Re-align

With you having read this far, I am assuming you are pretty desperate to find your cheese. So let me help you with a BPM-driven approach that can help you in adapting to the change.
By now, I have made it clear that the essence of any transformation lies in the organizational processes. Accordingly, processes need to be aligned, standardized, scaled and sustained in due course to meet the market requirements. The approach which follows can help in re-designing your business processes:
#1: Analysis of the As-Is Process Framework
As-Is analysis would help you in understanding where you stand with respect to the defined performance parameter and how you perform against the industry benchmarks. As-Is Analysis stage should be supported by BPM Operations solutions especially such as "Process Value Analysis" to derive a complete picture of organization’s existing framework’s compatibility with their change Initiative. A thorough analysis would result in the list of prioritized process areas which have direct co-relation with the customer benefits. The analysis would also result in identifying the right set of BPM toolkit which can help in catering to change.
#2: Assess the Digital Capabilities
In this stage, you are expected to assess your digital capabilities and ease of adoption of the customized business process models. A robust "Digital Capability Maturity Analysis" should be done with respect to earlier identified "prioritized processes". It is not a bad idea to have a Digital Repository: A Repository indicating all the Digital based solutions for the industry specific value chains. 3D printing can be an example of a Digital Capability for the manufacturing step in a make to deliver value chain .The step would result in highlighting a Digital Roadmap for the futuristic process value chain of the organization.
#3: Collaborative To-Be Process Design
Once a Digital Roadmap has been arrived at, you need to derive the futuristic process models. The to-be processes, once designed, should take advantage of all the digital capabilities that can facilitate their goal of significant market share. Adequate process modeling guidelines need to be laid out which will facilitate consistent approach to be followed across the process design workshops.
#4: Centralized Process Repository
Process being the guide to the maze, should be managed centrally. "Single Source of Truth" needs to be established for the organization-wide processes (indicating how the Digital and Traditional based processes are complimenting one another).
#5: Execute Change Management Solutions
Change Management activities have to be redesigned and recommended based on a customized "Digital-Based Change Management solution", which must emphasize and include "end-user" and stakeholders, such as: "IT" and "Analytics" apart from regular business stakeholders. To leverage digital capabilities "Digital BPM Community"-based solutions should be explored in combination with regular program management solutions.

Enjoy the Change

Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
With the right approach and intent, you will learn to acknowledge that the business environment will keep changing and with the right tools (BPM) you would be well-off to accept, adapt and eventually enjoy the change. Digital is not the only facilitator or barrier for your business. So go ahead and analyze, explore and equip your processes so that you are never in a cheese-less situation.
Vivek Kumar was assisted by Sunil Kumar of Accenture with this piece.

Thank you, for your interest in A BPM Way to Unlock the Cheese.
Vivek Kumar
Contributor: Vivek Kumar