In this last installment in our BPM series, we’ll talk about moving a BPM initiative to wider adoption across your organization, including:
· Finding the right people to promote it internally
· Generalizing the return on investment (ROI) and other benefits from the initial project to a broader scope
· Making use of reusable assets and infrastructure that were developed for the initial project
Find your evangelist.
Every BPM project has its ups and downs, especially if it’s the first implementation in your organization, but there will always be someone for whom the BPM implementation improved their working life significantly. In some cases, this is a business executive; but more often, it’s a line-of-business supervisor or manager who has hands-on experience with the business processes. These are the people who see their direct reports benefit from BPM – less data rekeying between screens, improved context within processes, case management flexibility with appropriate governance – and also benefit as process supervisors through improved visibility and monitoring. It’s these people who can become internal evangelists for BPM adoption across the organization.
Although it’s possible for a more technical resource from a BPM center of excellence (CoE) to be an internal evangelist, the impact is much greater when this role is taken on by someone from the business area that has been directly affected by BPM. This doesn’t mean that the person needs to leave their regular role, but that they agree to spend a portion of their time on BPM advocacy by helping to document ROI and case studies for their area, and speaking to people in other areas about their experiences. Don’t underestimate the power of an internal case study presented by an enthusiastic participant in helping to educate other parts of your organization on the benefits of BPM, especially if the processes being targeted interact with the processes that have already been implemented on BPM so that they can envision an end-to-end process.
Use ROI to broaden your scope.
As important as that initial case study is, it will be necessary to show a more general picture of the benefits and ROI of these earlier projects in order to expand to other areas. Returning to our previous post on measuring success, make sure that you’ve identified all of the benefits that were achieved on the earlier projects, especially those that were not anticipated before implementation, and calculate the project ROI. Then, return to that list of all of the possible ROI factors in the previous post and see which of these might be applicable in other areas of the organization, even if they didn’t apply to the initial projects. It will be helpful to create a model that allows you to plug in some expected values for the benefits and roughly calculate the ROI; this can be used to help identify processes in the organization that could most benefit from BPM.
In addition to the costs and benefits, you can create different scenarios based on cost reduction (a focus on hard ROI) or increased revenue (a focus on soft ROI), since different areas will have different motivations for considering BPM. Also, don’t forget to consider reusable infrastructure: if you have already have the hardware, software and support staff in place for a BPM system, then the costs can be far less than for the initial implementation.
Create a center of excellence.
A big part of expanding from a BPM project to a program is building on what you created as part of that initial project, usually through the creation of a center of excellence (CoE). A BPM CoE is practically a necessity when it comes to supporting wider adoption, although it doesn’t have to be a huge and expensive effort to get it kicked off; the most important thing is to collect together the reusable assets developed on earlier projects and the resources that can leverage new BPM projects. These assets may be software components, methodologies, standards, best practices or any of a variety of artifacts that you developed as part of your initial BPM project. Making them available in a CoE environment may require some amount of refactoring in order to standardize and generalize them for use in other situations.
The other part of a CoE is the people: resources most likely drawn from your first BPM project that will form the core of future project teams. Think of them as a “tiger team” for BPM: a group of highly skilled problem solvers who can do all of the tasks required on those initial BPM projects, but ultimately will evolve to become more focused on mentoring project teams, developing standards, BPM governance and maintaining the repository of reusable artifacts.
Transform your Project to a Program.
At the start of every organization’s first BPM implementation, everyone agrees that there is potential for BPM across the organization, but the first implementation is almost always a smaller departmental project. That small start isn’t necessarily a problem; however, there are a lot of barriers that keep that one project from expanding into a broader initiative. Finding those internal evangelists, having a good idea of how to calculate ROI for a variety of scenarios, and creating a CoE will go a long way towards removing those barriers, and turning a BPM project into a program.
About the Authors
Sandy is an independent analyst and systems architect, specializing in business process management, Enterprise 2.0, enterprise architecture and business intelligence. In addition to her technical background, she has worked on the business operations end of projects, often involved from business requirements and analysis through technology design and deployment.
During her career of more than 20 years, she has started and run successful product and service companies, including a desktop workflow and document management product company from 1988-90, and a 40-person services firm specializing in BPM and e-commerce from 1990-2000. During 2000-2001, Sandy worked for FileNet (now IBM) as Director of eBusiness Evangelism during the launch of their eProcess BPM product, and was a featured speaker on BPM and its impact on business at conferences and customer sites in 14 countries during that time.
Since 2001, Sandy has returned to private consulting practice as a BPM architect, performing engagements for financial services and insurance organizations across North America, and as an analyst working with BPM vendors. Sandy also creates and delivers BPM and related training courses.
Steve Russell is the SVP of Research and Development and CTO for Global 360 Inc., based in Dallas Texas. He has over 25 years of experience as a technologist developing enterprise process and document management software platforms. Steve has extensive experience with large, mission critical systems development and deployment within Fortune 2000 companies.