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Top 10 most important Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities

Contributor: Janne Ohtonen
Posted: 04/02/2013
Top 10 most important Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities
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Whether you’re just getting started in Business Process Management (BPM) or have been doing it for a while, making sure that staff have the right combination of skills and tools is critical to success. So what are the common characteristics of companies that do BPM well? Contributor Janne Ohtonen looks at the top 10 capabilities.

I have been doing scientific research on business process management capabilities. Improving BPM Capabilities (BPMC) ensures more likely success in business process management initiatives built through people, process and technology aspects. The research has lead me to conduct expert interviews, surveys and case studies with three international companies over last two years. Through that research, I’ve identified ten of what I consider to be the most important BPM Capabilities organizations should have.

Here is BPM’s top 10 list in order of importance:

What are the key capabilities you need to be successful in BPM?

#1: Co-workers have confidence and trust in each other

The employees of an organization implement processes. Those employees need to be able to work well together and have trust in each other. Otherwise, employees will have to check what others have done and they are not willing to share their load with others so easily.

#2: There is open communication between employees and managers

Open communication between management and employees is crucial. Employees need strong but fair leadership, which removes obstacles from their way while executing the processes. If there is no open communication, then problems tend to be hidden and they hinder smooth operation of processes. Managers’ job is to serve the employees.

#3: Managers share vision and information with employees

Employees need to know which direction the organization is heading. Vision, mission and strategy cannot be just fluffy words with a lots of management talk behind it. People need to feel connected to the vision and managers need to be able to make the vision to come alive for the employees. Also, sharing information is very important, so that employees do not have to second-guess what is going on.

#4: The organization is able to respond to changes in markets quickly

The business world today is very turbulent. Customer requirements and expectations have evolved significantly over the last decade. But for some reason, many organizations still treat customers as they have always done. It is important to be able to respond to changes in markets quickly and that comes from aligning your processes to successful customer outcomes (SCO) as well as implementing adaptive process management.

#5: Senior management has confidence and trust in you and your managers

Senior management’s support is very important. Many companies have problems both between employees and middle management as well as between the middle and top management. Senior (or top) managers need to be able to trust their middle management and employees, so that the atmosphere stays open and creative. Also, the board of directors should have an open mind towards ideas coming from lower levels.

#6: There are efficient communication channels for transferring information

Nowadays, there is so much information that it is overflowing in people’s head. People use mobile phones, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and many other mediums to acquire information. The communication inside the organization (and with the customer) can get lost in that jungle. People need to have the right and effective ways to communicate with each other (for example only one intranet website and instant messaging system).

#7: The organization has appointed people responsible for processes

Processes need to be identified and they need to have responsible people appointed. It is job of those people to make sure that the processes are running smoothly and if there are ways to improve them. It is easier for others send ideas and ask directions from a responsible process owner.

#8: The organization extensively uses information systems

Information systems are everywhere. Too often those information systems are not used extensively or cleverly. Legacy information systems may also hinder BPM initiatives. The IT strategy should be aligned with the BPM strategy so that the technology is used to optimize and automate anything that is worth automating.

#9: No one has to worry about losing his or her job because of process changes

Security is important for people. No one wants to improve and change processes if the first discussion is that who is going to get fired. There is no need for that. After using BPM you can transfer those people who are not doing productive work to other phases or process where their contribution is more meaningful. Nobody wants to do the dumb stuff, so giving your employees a good reason to do something cleverer they will gladly take it.

#10: Managers support changes in processes

Managers need to be on top of changing processes. Employees may have good ideas on how to improve processes, but have you actually asked them? And how do you handle those situations when they give suggestions? Do you listen to them and evaluate if there’s something to do, or do you just disregard them? Try to create an organizational culture, which fosters change in a positive way.

You can evaluate how these capabilities are in your organization and then make a roadmap for improving them. Each of these capabilities contributes to success in business process management initiatives and if they are not on an adequate level, you may face problems. If you are not sure on what level your capabilities are on, then you can do a BPMC (BPM Capabilities) research, which will use survey and interview methods to find out the current situation. That information can then be translated into a change roadmap, which will lead to increased BPM capabilities over time.

But what do you think? Did we get the list right? Let us know by leaving a comment!


Thank you, for your interest in Top 10 most important Business Process Management (BPM) capabilities.
Janne Ohtonen
Contributor: Janne Ohtonen