Business process management: It’s the people, stupid!

PEX Admin


It can be easy to get distracted by minutiae when it comes to improving processes, especially (but not exclusively) when there is an IT component. Suddenly, the conversation can get bogged down by details of what will integrated with what or a long list of conflicting user requirements and metrics that suddenly make everyone’s life more complicated.

But what really matters is making sure that you have the right people involved in process design and give them the right information to do their jobs successfully.

This point was made clear at yesterday’s BPM Open House during presentations by T-Systems Multimedia and defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin, albeit from slightly different angles.

T-Systems presented on how they engaged their entire staff in business process analysis and improvement. The assumption underlying their presentation was that involving staff in process design and improvement leads to a better outcome. T-Systems used Signavio’s Process Editor to capture processes and feedback enabling all staff to view processes and submit ideas for improvement.


Have you lost sight of the most important part of your process?

It makes sense that those closest to the process – the frontline staff, the department heads, the team lead, etc. – are best placed to identify things that don’t work and propose opportunities for improvement. That’s the premise behind the Lean concept of "going to the Gemba," afterall.

But in many knowledge-based businesses today (and T-Systems is a good example of that – they’re a European IT consultancy) many of the processes are digital. These processes are contained in the bits and bytes of data flying around companies in the form of e-mails, excel sheets, databases, etc.

Having disparate pieces of information flying around can lead to all sorts of process inefficiencies – people waste time looking for information, work off old or incorrect documents (leading to rework and errors) or don’t have the right information that they need in order to make appropriate decisions.

Lockheed Martin presented on how they addressed some of these challenges of getting the right information to the right people in good time.

Richard Daniels, Project Management and Planning Operations Supervisor at Lockheed Martin, explained how the company tackled these information challenges to improve process efficiency in their procurement function.

Using iDatix’ iSynergy platform, Lockheed Martin was able to pull in relevant information from disconnected sources and help to manage the requisition process by automating key parts of the process. The result was a 46% reduction in processing time and a 49% decrease in Takt time.

A significant part of that success comes from eliminating the communication breakdowns across departments that can lead to production delays.

Just another example of how good process design isn’t just about metrics, architectures and models. Fundamentally it’s about the people. And it’s about making it easier for them just to get on with it and do their jobs.

Interested in finding out more about what BPM technology can do for your organization? Case studies and demonstrations continue today at PEX Network’s BPM Open House. Log in online from 11 am Eastern to watch these free presentations designed to give you new ideas on what some of the latest BPM technologies can do for you.