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Interesting Forbes' article from Dan Woods where he writes:
Why isn’t this teaching more prominent in the practice of business process management, the idea that formally defined business processes should be the starting point for running a company?
What do you think?
Thursday, July 24 2014, 09:51 AM
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 10:00 AM - #Permalink
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    No, it should start with communicating desired result and goals and enable employees to contribute to this.
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 10:17 AM - #Permalink
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    When there are just the founders operating the company, the process is no one asks the other. :-) ! The idea being, each one trusts that the other founder knows what he/she is doing and will ask otherwise. When there are first few employees, often less than 10, people shout across the desk if they are need to check with someone (often the founders) before doing something, i.e. changing the price of their product in the website or taking a break for 2 days. When it is 10 - 100 employees process happens over email. when there are 100+, then you need a formally defined process to kill chaos! This being the case, expecting to start a company with a formally defined process - will be like buying a car for just born baby!
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 10:42 AM - #Permalink
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    The article is five years old ("smaller vendors such as Lombardi") and the author treats business process management as software development. From this perspective business process discovery is a valid concern indeed.
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 10:56 AM - #Permalink
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    The starting point for running a business needs to be acquisition of customers. Otherwise there is no business and all other questions are moot! ;)
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 12:01 PM - #Permalink
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    It depends. For many companies, the starting point is an idea that produces value for customers and they will buy -- see Eric Ries, The Lean Start Up. And you still need to prove that with tests with alpha and beta customers in the market place. I did work with one start up that was in wealth management and wanted business processes for on boarding new customers very early on, but it wasn't really the first thing they did.
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 12:02 PM - #Permalink
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    Absolutely! If you have a full-pledged enterprise-as-a-system-of-processes then you can derive from it: - the organisational structure - governance - roles (as sets of responsibility) - number of staff required (estination, of course) - KPIs - capabilities - application architecture - some data architecture - security considerations - and many other good things! Recently, I had a client with the process-to-orgstructure function. Thanks, AS
    • Patrick Lujan
      more than a month ago
      Ooooh... that's well, well down the tracks Dr. S. Gotta have some... "girth" for all of those bullets. ;)
    • Dr Alexander Samarin
      more than a month ago
      My logic is the following - before RUNNING the company I have to define a lot of things (see my list for them) and, ideally, these things should be defined on the solid basis and derived from this solid basis in an explicit way. What could be this solid basis? As it is possible to derive everything from the mentioned list from executable processes, then I need to have enetrrpise-as-a-system-of-processes.

      Thanks,
      AS

      Patrick, can you translate your comment to a non-USA person, please? (A native-English-speaking person already failed to understand your comment).
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, July 24 2014, 12:17 PM - #Permalink
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    What Emiel, Anatoly and Faun said. Pretty much covers it. Next.
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 01:50 PM - #Permalink
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    I hope the original quote was set within some kind of meaningful context, because as it stands, it is prima facie absurd. That said, there are organizations in which his observation has some validity: franchisers and explosives manufacturers perhaps.
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    Tim Bryce
    Tim Bryce
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    Thursday, July 24 2014, 02:17 PM - #Permalink
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    Like it or not, your systems are born the day you go into business.
    • Tim Bryce
      more than a month ago
      For example, records management, time management, finances, etc.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, July 24 2014, 10:02 PM - #Permalink
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    While the business process modelling and discovery is important, doing it in isolation yields poor results, since process descriptions alone, if not linked to systems and people, cannot be improved, changed, implemented in a new company or be acted upon to realise the strategy. Only in the context of a proper enterprise wide architecture business processes can be mapped to technology and people roles to enable BP reengineering and business transformation take place.
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    Friday, July 25 2014, 04:10 AM - #Permalink
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    "…. the starting point to running a company" I shall focus on a "start up" where I have considerable experience! First recognise there are salient and non salient processes. The latter include such as accounts and payroll are readily available off the shelf; so not a priority. The former is what makes the business and does require structure to get started but one thing is for sure things will change very quickly. So be prepared and flexible do not be too "formal"! I would suggest a "system thinking" management approach is adopted to empower people but this does require real time feed back on activity so a modest investment is some supporting "BPM" software will pay off. But make sure you can quickly change and expand as the business grows and would then involve the topics raised by AS This would likely start with a custom CRM/Case Management and may allow customer involvement. Simple but important advice in a" teaching" environment.
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    Friday, July 25 2014, 03:32 PM - #Permalink
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    Good discussion, but I'm not sure that the question is anything else than another version of "what good is BPM?" (I read the original article referenced from Forbes; it was more general than I hoped.) If BPM is just another technology among many, however powerful BPM technology may be, then all our argumentation about the meaning of BPM takes place in a closed BPM talk shop, without any sense that the wider world should pay attention. On the other hand, if BPM is acknowledged as "the technology that explicitly addresses the question of the organization of work", where work and its products, including profits, are the purpose of business or any organization, then BPM is interesting and the wider world should take notice. And eventually will. And with the acknowledgement of the importance of BPM, BPM will be taught in schools along with debits and credits. At such point one could say that BPM should be one of the first things you do when you set up a company, along with defining your chart of accounts. As it is, BPM as a technology or as a discipline is not yet sufficiently powerful to bear that burden. If I had to place bets I'd say that we'll get closer to that goal when BPM and systems theory meet up.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 30 2014, 12:12 PM - #Permalink
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    I recognize many businesses are running in start-up mode still trying to figure out where the opportunities may take them. But if you are in an industry with some level of maturity and process definition, why not? I think one should start with the pre-defined business processes and the evolve them in an agile, disciplined manner. One will jump start their own efforts and quickly discover what works and what doesn't versus 1) re-inventing (again) the business processes or 2) just winging it. Cheers
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