I heard that to promote Adobe’s Acrobat technology, the CEO of Adobe company told staff members that he would consider for his approval only documents in PDF. A lot of people immediately found many advantages in daily use of this digital technology.
In one of my working places, the CEO was the most experienced user of a DMS thus we moved to the paperless production and governance.
Maybe BPM should follow the same route?
I would articulate in different manner given that giving any employee an "advantage" is not really a sound management approach? What BPM thinking implemented with supporting software does is open the door to "empowerment" as real time feed back of activity allows transparency and thus comfort all is working to plan. Empowerment is further supported by users fear of change being removed even being encouraged to input new ideas. It is the start of the journey encouraging people to take ownership of their processes and knowledge is transferred to the business.
All this recognises the work place is more driven by team spirit and with such empowerment so there is less need for a complex management hierarchy. That is the real challenge as such transformation starts with transforming management!
While is it very difficult to materialize a tangible advantage for every person in all processes. But it is easier to measure advantage as a collective effort. In the end, if every person in the process chain can do its work as effectively as it can, it will ultimately support the efficiency of the process as an all. For processes to be efficient, it is necessary that they have the ability to be updated and modified over time. So the dimension of empowerment to individuals (within reasonable boundaries) and enact change themselves in the context of their responsibilities is critical to sustain value and advantage over time.
Outstanding question concerning the "daily advantages" of BPM -- and the need for executive suite leadership if we are to realize that promise of BPM every day for every employee..
The question is tricky though, because very quickly "BPM" becomes synonymous with "good management practices", and "management-flavour-of-the-month" and "employee or contractor empowerment". And before long we have BPM as proxy for most of the MBA curriculum. Not a bad thing, but not very specific or helpful.
What is the specific meaning of BPM that gives power to this question?
1) BPM-AS-BUSINESS-METHODOLOGY -- Process thinking, closely related to systems thinking, has specific technical content that is more than "processes-are-good-for-you". Processes exist, i.e. they are emergent or reified "things" that can be addressed, worked with, managed, and which are subject to best practices.
2) BPM-AS-AUTOMATION-TECHNOLOGY -- BPM-As-Methodology is realized in automation technology of BPMS and business rules engines etc. BPM technology is not just "another technology", but by definition, the technology of the work of business. Because (as I keep emphasizing), BPM technology and only BPM technology has the concepts of work as first class citizens of that technology. As a result, business process artefacts are realized and can be managed as per management requirements under BPM-as-Methodology.
If we accept the above two propositions, then organizational leadership has a new opportunity, to manage their work better than has ever been possible. Because there is a specific technology which is new and which for the first time directly and efficiently enables management control of processes.
Until now, management control of processes has been either indirect (mediated by paper and meetings) or if using workflow or early BPM software, not as efficient as new generation BPM technology allows.
So, how will this opportunity be realized?
As Mr. Bril suggests, only via executive leadership, and leadership which understands the real practical advantages of BPM.
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But technologists now have a challenge.
Because we are now out of the realm of technology and into organizational behaviour and organizational change. Technologists aren't necessarily very good at organizational change, even ones who are champions of BPM. I have frequently compared the adoption of BPM to the adoption of accounting technology. Accounting is ubiquitous and foundational. BPM can be and likely will become also ubiquitous and foundational. How long it takes to get there is contingent.
From the original question, that organizational leadership should be a champion of BPM.
The secret is starting with the realization that BPM itself is real, important and unique, not just another management trend, trick or tool. Specific BPM technology cases, BPM use cases, BPM business cases and BPM investment cases are all there, ready to be made.
BPM adoption will only succeed with a buy-in by organizational leadership on the centrality of BPM-as-specific-technology.
As it turns out, BPM can actually be a significant factor in employee engagement.
That said, as I noted above, it can also be a significant factor in workforce disruption.
Either way, organizations will continue to build digital applications using BPM platforms, because doing so (a) makes them money, (b) saves them money, or (c) all of the above. Responsible companies, and society at large, will be challenged to step up and address the consequences of (near-)universal digital transformation, for better or worse.
Should BPM Offer Every Person in the Business a Daily Advantage in Executing their Jobs?
No, because not every person in your typical business needs or can benefit from orchestration.
Internal Audit does not need to be poked to go out and do a surprise audit. Presumably, when they have nothing to do, they look at who recently pissed them off and initiate a surprise audit. These are connect-the-dots people. If they were to follow some established protocol they would probably miss a few things.
Strategic Business Analysts spend a lot of time connecting the dots or should spend a lot of time connecting the dots - the CEO may ask them to see how resources might be re-deployed to improve long-term projections - not much procedure in an exercise like this.
I like John's ". . . .before long we have BPM as proxy for most of the MBA curriculum"
People need two things : Orchestration (guidance) and Governance (guardrails).
In any industry/area where it is important to have in place a policy of "no verbal orders", you want all people following "best practices".
The "best practices" can be templates comprising structured steps OR an ad hoc intervention performed by a supposedly knowledeable and competent person.
No need at all to mention BPM or differentiate between structured sequences of steps versus ad hoc steps.
In the extreme, it may appear to a casual observer that an ad hoc step has no connection whatsoever to any previously completed steps, current steps or anticipated steps, other than being on a Case/run-time timeline.
All we need to do is to declare that an ad hoc intervention is a process of one step, so, it too, is a "best practice" and qualifies as "BPM".
It does not matter if a step/intervention is performed by a person, a machine or software.