Thursday, 8 August 2013

new signs

just bought a sign from above - awesome. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Lean and BPM – two peas in a pod?

I have seen a resurgence of customers adopting Lean techniques in their projects. In general, these have been very successful due to speed of delivery, quality of deliverables and output, and the ability to drive fundamental change to the business process being implemented.  The result is significant and quantitative cost reduction.

Lean practitioners tend to do their up-most to avoid any involvement of IT in their delivery schedules, mainly due to the fear that changes cannot be achieved in the timelines. My believe is that the disciplines of BPM and Lean should be complementary. Lean allows customers to define and deliver process change by uncovering waste. BPM also delivers these results by validating that the implementation of the process is actually working in the best way. It does this by the actual implementation details. Critically this comes from using the business activity monitoring (BAM) part of any BPM solution. This can highlight bottlenecks as well as sub optimal patterns.

So the question is, which one should be done first?
BPM should be seen as a set of tools to help a Lean engagement. The Lean method is sound and provides a solid mechanism to drive efficiency. However, I think there are two major downsides to relying on lean alone. Firstly, the lean process provides no real understanding of which process to start off with amongst the myriad of business units of an organisation and the prioritisation of these. Decisions are typically made based on the “who shouts loudest” method.   Secondly, by not looking at the systems layer in detail major efficiency drivers can be missed. BPM helps with both of these. BPM allows Lean to both prioritise the order and give the practitioner real operational metrics of detailed process information – some of which is hidden as “black box IT stuff”.
So, the answer is simply do both .  Firstly, implement BAM in order to gain an insight into the environment and help to prioritise efficiencies. Use Lean techniques to change the processes and gain value, and then use BPM to implement some of Level 2 IT changes.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

To BPM or not to BPM… When “2 out of 3 Ain’t Bad”

Just as Lady Gaga’s fame is seeing a meteoric rise, so too is that of BPM.  Whilst implementing BPM can transform an organization, there are also examples of failed BPM projects or even disasters.  How do you gain clarity around when to use BPM?  Your project should incorporate 2 out of 3 of these criteria:  control, management and visibility. 

Control:  Allowing the BPM solution to control your processes is fundamental to the success of BPM.  This can be a large cultural shift and means empowering a system to manage and run work processes previously controlled by staff.  If your organization doesn’t allow and embrace this change, BPM simply becomes a passive system and most of its value is destroyed.  A BPM solution could add value by simply providing overall visibility but you could use a Business Activity Monitoring Solution (BAM) or another reporting solution for this.

Management:  Controlling Business Process flows is key but the management of the flow is imperative.  There are often numerous debates within enterprises over who is the process owner.  The real question is, “Who in the organisation is ultimately responsible for the process and needs to manage that process?”.  BPM provides real time access to process flows, not just daily and weekly RAG charts.  Management needs to become proactive, agile, just in time management - changing people’s priorities on an ad-hoc basis and aligning those priorities to organizational needs. 

Operational Visibility:  By combining the disciplines of real time management and control, you gain true insight into business operations.  Managers can proactively change work patterns, review market and customer trends, aid capacity planning and ensure efficient use of resources.  Only by providing this visibility can you achieve the ultimate goal of BPM: business agility and efficiency. 

When I advise organizations about BPM solutions, I use the 2 out of 3 rule - control, management, visibility - to drive maximum value.  I’m not saying your BPM initiative will fail if you do not follow this concept.  It just may not prove to be as valuable as it could be.

This blog is based on my experience over the last 11 years in the BPM space. It's based on my experience directly working at client sites. The posts on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."