"It is more important to build a culture of change than a culture of process for a business today," is a quote from this year's Gartner BPM Summit. What do you think, and can they be one and the same?
I would argue we have always lived in a culture of change. It is constant. The question is, how to build systems that can accommodate it. We should design them logically so we can take advantage of the best physical implementation. Think about it: Payroll is Payroll; A/R is A/R, A/P is A/P, Banking is banking - to remain competitive though we must be able to implement the most practical and cost-effective solution.
All the Best,
Generally speaking, there are different kinds of change cultures - business transformation via process change isn't the only one.
For example there are companies that have one solution to any problem: changing the organization structure. Process culture is unfavorable to such approach to changes indeed.
The same applies to companies with heroic culture and heroic approach to changes.
The message in the title may be addressed to the organizations that already embraced the process culture but didn't fully realized yet that process management is process change management, really.
As a side note, today some BPM practitioners position themselves as business transformation professionals rather than BPM professionals. For me personally it's too much.
I lean towards the change side, but would ask for a culture of improvement. We could define process to mean a focus on understanding the work we do, but I fear in this context, it gets interpreted as the flow of steps... i.e. BPM again. There are a finite set of dimensions to the work we do, but there is an ever increasing set of perspectives on that work that include process, decisions, metrics, analytics, dimensions of location, and today methodologies and technologies that were science fiction years ago. (Dick Tracy TV watch anyone?) Yes, change is constant, but if I had my druthers, I'd ask for a culture of improvement where everyone brainstormed on ways to improve while doing their daily work, then automatically, intuitively ran it through a business case before presenting it. Thus challenging both the status quo and themselves to come up with the best of the best innovations. That would be very interesting indeed!
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Daryl said several of the best things I heard at the Gartner Summit, including this. He is deliberately provocative (part of what makes him such a good presenter), but the truth is that these are not mutually-exclusive cultures. A culture of change must necessarily be supported by a process orientation based on rapid adaptability. I look at Daryl's statement as an exciting opportunity for process professionals - a doorway through which they can walk to change how they are perceived - and valued - within their organization: from "process person" (which, let's be honest, does not capture hearts and minds in any thrilling fashion) to "Agent of Change." We all know process matters...but we've got to get better about how we market our process skills in the context of what our businesses care about.
Let's just think for a moment "process" is a description of people (and "machines") at work creating an outcome. It's how commerce has worked from day one! It has be come more formalised with IT driving systems of record requirements not allowing much flexibility and sadly it has taken decades for software to recognise that change is inevitable. Indeed good "processes" are ones that remain flexible to readily support change.
So I agree they are not mutually exclusive BUT business now needs to recognise the old fear of asking "old IT" for change in supporting software is now confined to history! So there is now that priority to “promote” changes to the process as normal hence some validity to the comment.
Just try to push “culture of change” without good “culture of process” and you will get a serious resistance. The latter is the most powerful tool to achieve the former because via processes one can explain to everyone in a company how their working habits will change for the better.
Also, all other enterprise-wide components must be aligned to process culture, e.g. organisational structures should be generated from processes, there should be a platform for quick delivery of process-centric solutions, etc.
Thus BPM (if applied correctly by BPM professionals) is the most powerful, so far, engine for changes. (Please share with us if you practice something better.)
Naturally some BPM professionals are business transformation professionals.
I gave a thought about the declaration that the culture of change is complementary to a culture of process and one without the other is either death or chaos.
There's a lot of value in that statement, but I'd like to give it a deeper stab. A culture of change coupled with a culture of process will in most cases drive incremental evolution. Because change will be orderly: imagined, measured, gaps closed, improvement checked.
But this can lead to change myopia: focusing on local optima and missing the big picture, in case there is one.
I think change is a broader undertaking that needs to always scrutinize the uncomfortable unknown. Seeding virulent (and violent) change scenarios in the organization gives the opportunity of escaping potential local optima traps.
I will give one example from the real world: big cloud companies test the resilience of their architecture by throwing wrenches in the machinery - either via special "malevolent" code that randomly kills VM instances or other typical cloud software constructs (see Netflix's "Chaos Monkey"), or via having a guy wander around in the data rooms shutting down machines or creating router loops by wrongly patching Ethernet ports. I'm sure that an architecture that is fed with such test cases is much more resilient than the typical thing that gets out of the develop/unit test/integration test/redo waterfall cycle.
And then if we imagine change as a more generous undertaking, then really a culture of process is simply a small subset of the broader change culture.