Peter Schooff: I think we both agree that, the rate of accelerated change these days is pretty astounding. So, when we're looking at companies, and just a competitive environment, what would you say are the key aspects of BPM that are most important for companies to remain competitive in the future?
Mathias Kirchmer: The overall objective of a BPM-Discipline, to move strategy into people and technology based execution – fast and at minimal risk, already explains on a high level which process management is so important.
If you go a level deeper, there are three core benefits process management delivers to an organization.
First, BPM helps to focus on what really matters. Studies and research show, that a company only competes with 15 to 20 percent of their processes. 80+ percent are commodity processes that you need to have, that you need to perform, but they can performed on an industry average level. You cannot gain competitive advantage by being the best, e.g. in ordering your toilet paper. You need to focus your innovation and optimization activities on what really matters, the 15+% of high impact processes.
BPM helps setting the right focus by providing the necessary transparency over the operations of an organization and related specific tools and approaches.
The second big impact of BPM is to “Improve in the appropriate context”. Process management is not about just applying one improvement method. Many organizations still think they can apply Six-Sigma everywhere and that's the solution. No, not at all. In our digital world, there are areas where you lead with technology, where you automate and other areas where you can try first your people centric more traditional methods. And there are lots of areas where you combine both. There are processes where you need to innovate, where you apply techniques like design thinking. BPM helps you to select the right approaches, for specific process in a specific company context. That's improvement the right way. That is the second very important ingredient that BPM brings to an organization.
The third aspect is that BPM helps to sustain those improvements. Again many organizations struggle with the fact that they improve for example their customer relationship process and half a year later they have the same or similar problems again.
A value-driven BPM-Discipline puts the right governance around those processes in place to keep them on track, figure out when to launch corrective action and decide when you need to make the next jump forward. You sustain what you have achieved. Process management provides various tools and approaches to provide this essential process governance.
So in summary, what process management brings to the organization is, focus on what really matters, improvement in the right context and the ability to sustain those improvements.
Doctor Kirchmer was the Managing Director in Global Lead of BPM for Accenture, for eight years and before that he was the CEO of IDS Scheer, for the Americas in Japan. Also Dr Kirchmer's book, High Performance Through Business Process Management, is now available through Springer Books.