BPM.com
  1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. BPM Discussions
  4. Thursday, 08 March 2018
  5.  Subscribe via email
Suggested by Dr. Alexander Samarin after the recent 'Think BPM' discussion: Is there a difference between managing a business by processes vs. just managing business processes? If so, what's the difference?
Max Young
Blog Writer
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
[gets popcorn] There's gonna be a fight :-)
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I love this! I had a Chief Exec tell me recently that when he'd taken over he wanted the business to become process focused. He had this vision of managing the business through a series of end-to-end processes that were clearly articulated and measured. Exec team meetings would be about the performance of these key processes.

He instigated an initiative to train the whole organisation on business process mapping and set up a BPM team. 2 years later we are discussing the success, or lack thereof, of this initiative. Today he has the same functional view of the organisation, the same problems and challenges except every team has now mapped everything they see in a process diagram. There's no joined up thinking, there's no cross functional processes, there's no clear end-to-end view of the creation of value.

Everyone thinks they are managing their processes but the organisation isn't being managed by processes, it's managed by business unit and department.
Co-founder of Skore
Comment
RE "organisation isn't being managed by processes, it's managed by business unit and department." Maybe the question should say "Difference Between Managing a Business ViA Processes Versus Simply Managing Business Processes?"
@Craig . ..Nice account of a very frequently encountered scenario . . . "every team has now mapped everything they see in a process diagram". This is where the train derailed.

Organizations cannot manage any process by staring at a process diagram.

The usual is to have hundreds of instances of that process running with, in theory, each instance at a different step along its pathway.

The challenge is to manage the workload at different Cases across all of these instances. (i.e. Customer A calls to say they need early delivery, customer B calls to say they need to make a change, customer C calls to cancel their order).

Unless/until the organization puts their mapped processes in-line, sets up Cases, sets objectives at Cases, embraces 3-tier scheduling, adds non-subjective ways and means of measuring progress toward meeting Case objectives, fails like this one continue.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A corporation can manage a business overall using methods such as RBV. (i.e. we have this competitive advantage, we have these resources, we want to undertake these initiaitves using our scarce resources).

They can manage a business using processes (encouraging consistent use of best practices) i.e. who would want to encourage consistent use of worst practices?.

My view is corporations manage businesses using processes but corporations don't manage businesses by processes unless they are making cement, or steel (continuous processes that are the main focus of the business activity of the corporation).

I realize that managing a business by "using processes" versus managing a business "by processes" is splitting hairs, but, to me, this distinction is important.

In a world of mostly process fragments, there is no direct link between any one process and sustaining / improving competitive advantage. The route to sustaining and improving competitive advantage involves Case Managers opening/managing/closing cases, staff making good use of best practices but each Case can have a different mix of structured/unstructured work and it is the humans, software, machines and robots that thread process fragments together at Cases to meet pre-defined Case objectives.

Analogy
At a fire station, management sees to it that alarms are responded to promptly, that fires are put out, that loss of property, loss of life (citizens and firefighters) is minimized.

Operational staff play the most active role in responding to fires but they spend a lot of time between fires making sure the vehicles and equipment are in good shape, thinking of ways of making better use of equipment, getting rid of obsolete equipment, adding new technology/equipment. This activity is the equivalent of "managing business processes" in fire stations
References
  1. http://www.kwkeirstead.wordpress.com
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes. It's like driving your own car on a busy road to get home safe and on time vs being responsible for safety and timely for all cars on the road.

In the first situation you try to optimize your individual trip (one process) In the second one you try to optimize the road so more trips run optimal.

Reading again.. maybe the individual trips should be seen as cases and the road as the process design. All the roads in the country can be seen as the process landscape to reach the goal that people and stuff can be moved safely and on time.

But... What about trips where the destination is half way the road...?

As you can see I am applying some agile analogy development, but in the end my answer will be yes!
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Two distinct Lens- I can see how organizations can get confused but having a business run (manage) by process is every day. Whether by technology- automation of processes, or manual work, B2C or B2b interactions are all centered on process so the business is managed by process. No declaration here whether the respective processes are good or not. On the other hand, managing business process is the act of affecting the process by adjusting how the process works or manages the business. Splitting hairs can be a challenge but this is one is clear to me.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Interesting question, Alexander. In a theoretical sense, I would say that differentiating between business process management and managing a business by processes is a matter of scale and maturity. While BPM usually starts off at an individual process level, something like enterprise process management (EPM) can be an evolution of process management, over BPM to EPM. So, while BPM doesn't warrant EPM, it sure seems to be a prerequisite to reach a level of defining and managing an organization by its processes. Andrew Spanyi in chapter 8 the ABPMP's CBOK (p. 335), for example, lays a out a set of comprehensible steps to create a (BPM) center of excellency within a company, making sure a scenario as the one laid out by Craig, can be avoided.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Many excellent comments. Just a few points.

1) You need both: Managing business by/via/using processes generates a lot of processes which must be managed as well.

2) This question is provoked by the English language ambiguity of the abbreviation “BPM”. In some other languages, the difference is obvious, e.g. “gestion par processus” and “gestion de processes”.

3) (With thanks to John and Karl) HOW manage business by processes? In any business, “bigger” (with emergent characteristics) capabilities are formed from “smaller” (available) capabilities. (Note: A capability is an ability to do something with a particular level of performance.) Because emergent characteristics are exhibited as the result of interactions between “smaller” capabilities and with other capabilities, some coordination of such interactions is mandatory.
So far, ONLY business processes (process is an explicit, formal, machine-readable and machine-executable coordination) allow the organisation to build, run and improve “bigger” capabilities in PREDICTIVE, TRANSPARENT and PROVABLE manner.
Obviously, one can evaluate performance of a “big” capability by knowing the process, its expected usage and performance of “small” capabilities.

Thus if an organisation wants to change its capabilities then the organisation must adjust some of its capabilities and some processes. The logic of such a change is rather straightforward.

Thanks,
AS
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Managing a Business is about vision, strategy and leadership all supported by tactical implementation which of course takes you to the required Business Processes. As a business matures the greater reliance on managing the Business Processes but there are many other critical processes the leadership needs to coordinate to ensure success.
Comment
Hmm. I always thought that vision and strategy are the integral parts of governance, not management.
@Alexander. I agree most people view "managing a business' as more operational than strategic.

Governance seems to have two meanings as well.

One, being 'duties of the board of directors' i.e steering the ship, but then, at the operational level where where have this "highway" model consisting of the centerline plus on both sides, guardrails.

Here, we say orchestration/centerline is what background BPM does, with governance/guardrails "reining-in extreme, unwanted excursions away from orchestration/centerline.

So, if the term 'governance' is allowed to have some meaning at the operational level, we have an identical problem to explaining the meaning of "managing a business" .
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
This is good question to test the maturity of understanding BPM as an approach to business management. As many have noted managing a business process is kind of standalone process management. This leads in most cases similar difficulties (information shortcomings, sub optimization, bad customer experience) as functional management. Anyway BPM also in this maturity level may lead improvements. As a matter fact this approach is most commonly used when we develop IT-systems.

Managing business by processes add value and maturity by integrating the business processes. This helps managers and business leaders understand issues such as how marketing and product development are connected to sales and delivery.... and how should we organize work, that the whole value creation is flowing smoothly. The business is about creating value to the customer and earning by that. Through process work we can understand and communicate the earning logic.

When managing business by processes we need to think about process architecture, which can be bad or good. One of the sources of the failure of "bad" process architecture is, that many organization try to design end to end processes, which in many cases leads to standalone processes process management. We get better process architecture by designing customer to customer processes, which highlights the issue of customer value creation and builds a system or infrastructure to improve it.

Br. Kai
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Business process management is a common term. But it is rarely questioned what sense bears each word in this combination. Does it imply to manage business with processes? Or to manage business processes? Or to enable processes managing business? Perhaps, nothing from above.

In fact, it might be silly to manage business processes, as far as they do not strictly correspond to real process execution. Therefore, the key for interpretation here is proper governance. Control of execution is the required condition to make sense in process management.

On another hand, rigid control may also turn process management into a nonsense. It is well known that real process execution never coincides exactly with an ideal schema. To account for this natural variability, flexible case management must be also in place.

Perhaps, the most relevant word here might be not management but alignment. Processes in a company must be well documented and aligned along designed schemes and guidelines. Deviations from the schema must not be considered negatively, as far as it does not harm established performance metrics for a process.

The goal of efficient process management is to achieve a natural balance, alignment and harmony between business and its processes.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Terrific comments and insights above.

Let's do this thought experiment and ask the question about accounting:

Is there a difference between managing a business with accounting versus simply doing the books?

And there is! It's the difference between "accounting technology" and "the work of bookkeeping". (Note that "accounting technology" defined most broadly includes policies, procedures, methodologies, skills, as well as software, and in previous eras, marvellous accounting machines, ledger books and filing systems.)

Similarly concerning business process, one can just do the work of business. Or one can decide to rationalize the work of business and build the artefacts process technology that enables higher productivity. Managing by business process concerns manufacturing and using the artefacts of business process technology in support of the work of business.

As I have written elsewhere, the economics of business means that most business is at some level about repetitive process. The best businesses recognize this and organize better ways of performing that work, using business process technology. And explicitly managing by process is an option only if you consider business survival an option.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
  • Page :
  • 1


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.