Non-standardized, no consistent repeatable process(es). No insight - no one knows what's going on short of picking up a phone or keyboard. High variability in task completion, response times. This actually exists to one degree or another in all organizations, moreso in those not doing BPM, less and less up the scale for those who do and do it well.
This is a tricky issue. The consequences of not using BPM are varied, e.g. competitive loss, operative inefficiencies, bad customer experience, etc. None of those can be easily identified at first glance.
One of those effects was previously discussed in this forum: staff dissatisfaction. When processes are not properly defined and measured, employees cannot be correctly evaluated. This leads to staff turnover. A high turnover of staff could be explained by staff demotivation due to a lack of processes organization. BPM could solve some of these problems.
A quote from the back cover page of my book “Each process-centric enterprise has some BPM, but how can we industrialise this BPM?” (Note: As any modern enterprise uses some “division of labour” and “division of work” then processes are mandatory for coordination of people.)
So, Emiel and Anatoly are correct in their observation that enterprises are using/doing BPM even they don’t know about it.
My test about not using potentials of BPM is that to know the situation with a particular process instance you have to know who is doing the current activity in this process instance and be a friend to this person.
I agree with most of the previous comments, especially Max Habibi, everyone has seen Excels flying from desk to desk :-)
In public administration, especially in Latam, it happens to lost papers (I mean, process instances supported on paper). And the whole process instance is lost, no recovery.
So, what’s the symptom? Mainly two:
- People asking/screaming “Where is that file???”
- and worst, citizen complaints (maybe lawsuits)
In fact, there is a whole BPM industry in Latam to provide BPM solutions to Governments engaged in eGovernment initiatives to mitigate these problems (for example, INTEGRADOC)
I love this topic and the comments! Any sales person for BPM technology or services can use this as a quick ref on customer pain! Want to sell BPM technology into finance? Ask if it's all about "sharing spreadsheets" etc. And do they every get out of sync etc.? Yikes!
I note the reference by @Maria to "staff turnover", which I suppose is an indirect symptom of bad business process. But this problem highlights an important aspect of work, which is "cognitive load" and "work friction".
It's both intuitive and well-documented that badly structured work is demoralizing. We like to consider that we're contributing to the success of the team and the organization. And struggling to reconcile spreadsheets or to find missing underwriting documents is just friction, cognitive load for nothing, a waste. At the water cooler we'll hear frank comments about stupidity. And we all intuitively understand that there's a better way, whether we give it the name BPM or not.
So, poor morale might be a symptom of bad work organization. Fifty years ago we had had business forms and all sorts of interesting paper filing systems to make work flow as good as it could be. Now we have software technology, of which BPM is the backbone of work organization.
Yet another clear sign that a company isn’t doing BPM, is important work with a Bus Factor of 1. If you’re a lucky customer, then your case only goes on hold until the right person gets back from holiday.
The same thing from an internal perspective is when you get back from holiday to discover that all of the work that you would have done if you hadn’t been away is piled up on your desk. Literally piled up - because everything’s based on paper, of course. The only thing that’s worse is the second time you go on holiday, once your colleagues realise the impact of you going away, and before you’ve learned to keep holiday plans secret: you get so overloaded in the weeks leading up to your holiday that by the time you go on holiday, you need a holiday to recover.
And then there’s the passive-aggressive use of out-of-office notifications, but I’d better stop here.
Why no mention of a business process maturity model (BPMM)?
- There are many to choose from (count is running at roughly 70+) per Amy Looy's research (see below reference).
"A sample of 69 BPMMs was collected: (1) 37 BPMMs for generic business processes (13 academic and 24 non-academic), (2) 24 BPMMs for supply chains (9 academic and 15 non-academic), and (3) 8 BPMMs for process collaboration (6 academic and 2 non-academic)" [Van Looy 2014].
Van Looy, Amy. Business process maturity: a comparative study on a sample of business process maturity models. Springer Science & Business Media, 2014.