"Deliberately unstable?" Reads like a lot of gobbledygook to me with tangential, oblique references to unstructured process, adaptive and intelligent agents. Are things getting more complicated? Yes. Will solving problems take more business AND technical orchestration? Yes. Does this article add any quantifiable insight into how to do that? I dunno.
I'm sure others' response on this will edify me, but right now I'm mostly in Scooby-Doo mode after reading and re-reading that and still going "huh?"
Then again, I could just be tired and not paying attention enough. ;)
Our design for digital proposition identifies process on the fly as a central plank to digital. I am working with clients at the moment and their whole focus is how to move processes to the cloud, or self service or digitize them for mobile technologies. The essence is that business processes once hidden behind the corporate firewalls are being exposed to public glare of the internet.
Processes that are digitized and exposed in this way, must be robust, shouldn't fall over must be simple and easy use. You must be able to complete without too many unnecessary key strokes, or flicking through too many screens. Reuse also becomes important as you want consistency across omni channels. Your processes internally should match, as far as possible, your online experience. Why? Because it's simple quick and efficient, hence it's cheaper. Self service over time, dramatically lowers your cost to serve at your call centers.
As any discipline/technology, maturity is a prerequisite for massive adoption. BPM is not the exception. There has been several years, since the WfMC proposed the Worfklow Reference Model, near 1995, when the industry started to walk over a common line and with common objectives. And now BPM is mature, and it’s being massively adopted by companies from every single activity niche.
But, It doesn’t mean BPM doesn’t have to continue evolving and satisfying more sophisticated customer needs. Examples of this evolution are the “case management” area, and what (I guess) the article calls “deliberately unstable processes design”.
In sum: maturity is fundamental; BPM is mature enough for successfully sustaining digital businesses; as any technology evolution is mandatory.
Part of the new "digital disruption" proposition is flawless execution at scale to reduce the cost of delivery or improve the quality of service. Let's think about some examples:
- Uber is a better experience (booking, waiting for taxi, billing) than old school taxi booking
- AirBNB enables "property owners" (ie spare room, trunk of a Tesla) the opportunity to become renters.
- Netflix allows instant access to massive range of content on any device.
- ZipCar enables self-serve hour by hour car rental.
If the critical processes that cause friction are not streamlined before they are automated then they are a massive barrier to customer advocacy (increase cost of customer acquisition) or require handholding to help customers (increased support cost). These core process include:
Those companies who have got it right can grow massively. We know who they are, but probably don't notice how friction-free their experience is. We can all point at those companies who get it wrong as we all complain about them every day. And many of these are still in the "pre-digital" world. If they can't make the experience good-to-great now, then they will be disrupted by a digital start-up that has process nailed. But the process also needs to be flexible, because as every startup knows, they will need to morph in the early years as they start to really understand the customer demand and use cases. AirBnB started off as "an airbed in my apartment" and now has "major hotel chains offering their stock". Wow! Who saw that coming?
Streamlined, agile process is the foundation of the new digital business.
Sure, process is not the fun, exciting, massive-growth, takeover the world, PR-worthy, sexy part. But behind all the glitz is scalable, dependable, reliable, secure, profitable. And that is process doing its job quietly in the background. That is why you need process to be sexy.
I am impressed by the number of words some of you can generate at an hour at which the best I can normally summon is a non-committal grunt.
Truth is, "maturity" is a euphemism for "skill". You use "maturity" when you're trying to avoid saying, "seems like you guys aren't very good at this".
The level of skill applied to BPM efforts is vitally important. But the key to BPM "maturity" is no different from that of any other technology: Hire smart people. Train those smart people you hired and get them to train others in your company in turn. And finally, partner with your vendor to get the most out of your people and platform.
Here is your gobbledygook:
BPMM is divided into five maturity levels that represent different states through which an organization is transformed as its processes and capability are improved. These successive stages of maturity include:
• Level 1: Initial — wherein business processes are performed in inconsistent sometimes ad hoc ways with results that are difficult to predict.
• Level 2: Managed — wherein management stabilizes the work within local work units to ensure that it can be performed in a repeatable way that satisfies the workgroup’s primary commitments. However, work units performing similar tasks may use different procedures.
• Level 3: Standardized — wherein common, standard processes are synthesized from best practices identified in the work groups and tailoring guidelines are provided for supporting different business needs. Standard processes provide an economy of scale and a foundation for learning from common measures and experience.
• Level 4: Predictable — wherein the capabilities enabled by standard processes are exploited and provided back into the work units. Process performance is managed statistically throughout the workflow to understand and control variation so that process outcomes can be predicted from intermediate states.
• Level 5: Innovating — wherein both proactive and opportunistic improvement actions seek innovations that can close gaps between the organization’s current capability and the capability required to achieve its business objectives
This still portrays business processes as something that makes a business totally predictable and proclaims that unpredictability is wrong, when in fact it is normal when we talk about human interaction and not manufacturing. The idea is that this can be solved by a massive bureaucratic process management effort. But most certainly there is nothing in BPMM that in any way consider the digital world and its direct people to people interactions
Fact: half the points mentioned in the replies have nothing to do with BPM but at best with hardcoded mobile applications. Do they represent a business process? Yes. Can that process be modified as promised through the process bureaucracy up to level 5? Absollutely NOT! It is called programming ...
Nothing that BPM (methodology, software, practice) does helps the digitial interaction with the customer. Yes, if all we want is lower costs by enforcing self-service it can be done and achieved by treating all customers the same and disallowing individual needs and requirements. You CANNOT expose your internal processes through some means to the customer and ask them to do it themselves. That is simply ridiculous and against all business sense.
What the process management environment can and should do is STOP trying to rigidize and PREDICT processes, but enable goal-oriented collaboration between employees, partners and the customer. That's the only way the process can be done right the first time.
Interesting linkage with the previous Peter’s question about learning BPM!
From my course “BPM fundamental”, the first module “Enterprise as a system”, slides “Digital age”:
The relationships between BPM and CMMI - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2009/12/bpm-for-cmmi.html
And, specially for Max, RE “Nothing that BPM (methodology, software, practice) does helps the digitial interaction with the customer.” – please have a look at “#BPM for CX (customer experience) - example” see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/01/bpm-for-cx-customer-experience-example.html
Max - re:
"Nothing that BPM (methodology, software, practice) does helps the digitial (personal/direct?) interaction with the customer. Yes, if all we want is lower costs by enforcing self-service it can be done and achieved by treating all customers the same and disallowing individual needs and requirements. You CANNOT expose your internal processes through some means to the customer and ask them to do it themselves. That is simply ridiculous and against all business sense. "
Thanks for challenging core assumptions. From my observations, these scenarios initially came to my mind:
a) re: "exposing internal process [...]" against business sense - My immediate thoughts exemplified by those damn self-help, automated phone and/or "solution databases" now provided as a replacement to real-live human knowledge and expertise. Essentially, the process of solving a customer's problem offloaded to a knowledge-base and self-help system. In this case, reduced cost trumps customer experience. The effects (as in lost customer base) is a latent down-stream effect... meaning that savings/ROI realized prior to follow-up reduction in revenue (voting dollar - customers engage feet and walk away).
In detail, BPM-method/technology used to automate and expose the process of providing customer support... The process (support) can be replaced by any number of previously by-case customer services (examples: health, product selection, etc. etc.)
Same example, but different narrative, is the by-product of "down-classing" (genericizing) services. Example: what I initially received as a service falls out of new (bpm provided) generic model of client-exposed services. My unique requirement didn't receive necessary attention to be included in final-build of exposed/automated customer service. I see this everywhere in pharma, health maintenance, and big-box grocery.
- So, I agree here.
b) [another example] re: "exposing internal process [...]" against business sense - Another experience comes to mind in this area. But, it's slightly different in that it doesn't directly expose an internal process to customer but rather encapsulates it for the purpose of off-loading to 3rd parties. A few additional "chain-links" inserted between client and service-value in the form of business process outsourcing (BPO). Though BPO doesn't necessarily directly expose previously internal process (thinking of core business values) to clients - it really does in the end in the form of eroded customer experience (latency, quality, to-name-a-few). The process output/value returned from outside the organization, via 3rd party BPO, does make a direct impact to customer experience thereby "exposing" internal process. Doesn't really matter that we're looking at automation versus BPO provider. The process is exposed and now directly facing customer from outside the business. Same thing... different angle.
- Again, I agree with your statement.
C) [last example] re: "exposing internal process" - Obviously we all now use and enjoy the benefits of online retail and banking. In this example, previously internal retail process is automated and directly exposed to customer in the form of web-based services. This model works. Anything that can be automated... should be directly exposed to customer. Value is the immediacy/proximity of services. This especially important with mobile devices where the interface is becoming personal. Reflecting on the fact that "personal space" now extends (should be) into business services.
Core business services are somewhat "boxed" and served up (yes - generically) to customers willing to accept the loss in personal attention to details. I'm/we're now responsible for understanding the parts of business previously handled as value-add human services. For example, I need to understand how to use my bank's web-UI. But, I can now do banking from my desk. Same goes for Amazon.
- In this example I disagree with your statement. But, the value in the challenge still realized in end-goal assessments, "where's the value in exposing core business?" And, how is this measured prior to sacrificing customer traffic/business?
Excellent post and thanks for sharing.
Agree with Peter's sentiments but Gartner does have a point about the need for maturity in the BPM supporting software? Gartner are part of the problem with their marketing driven research when they need to investigate "how" the software delivers on all digital requirements that seamlessly join front and back office.
The shift to digital is v important to bring not just joined up actions crossing the old silos but real-time intelligence to allow better decision making.
I've not the figures of Gartner to agree or not with the 80 percent of fails in digital business strategies without BPM maturity. Anyway, I can support in abstract this idea because we all know that the technology itself cannot resolve any problem. For sure, first understand the concept, then implement and increase maturity, and based on this decide when and where digitalize the business, allways based in a cost/benefit analysis. We cannot forget that BPM is not a technology, but a management discipline which should help us to increase our efficiency and effectiveness, recurring to the technology when and where it being strictly advantageous to the business.