Monday, July 30, 2007

What's BPM and what's in your process portfolio?

I had a funny discussion with a collegue on BPM and the contents of your process portfolio.
He, being a bit new to the area of BPM, first asked me to define it. Well, I used an old definition and talked him through the following story line...

"Hm, BPM. Business process management. Can you define it?"
"Well, sure. You know financial management?".
"?? Uh, yeah, of course, that's been around for ages"
"Ok, well, what is it, financial management?"
"Duh. It's taking care of your money".
"Hm. How?"
"Well, all sorts of concepts, techniques, organization, people, sometimes IT, so in total a lot".
"Well, cash flow, boring accountants, activity based costing, accounting, budget, budget review, balance sheet, general ledger, accounts, and of course people, some activities, and they usually have some of this stuff automated in a financial system. Oh, and they have al kinds of techniques for investments, business cases, ROI, EVA, etc".
"Wow, you really grasp that. So, it's a lot of things, aimed at taking care of your money, right?"
"Well, otherwise the company would go broke. That's why!"
"Ah! Excellent. So... money seems an important resource. What other stuff do you see as important to manage?"
"Uhm, let me think. Well, people (ah! human resource management"), risk (ah! Enterprise risk management), uhm, products! (ah, product life cycle management), oh and of course customers (crm).
"What about process?"
"Hm. yes, those too - if your processes are bad, no money will flow, people will leave, products will not develop, risk will run around, and customers.... well, you won't have them"
"So, there's your BPM, BPM is a whole lot of stuff to take care of your processes".

So, the discussion continued...

"So, can you tell me about this BPM. I understand Financial management, but I guess BPM has other concepts"
"Indeed. In BPM we have....
- A process portfolio
- Proces models (of all important processes in your portfolio)
- Proces owners
- KPI's for some or all processes
- A process life cycle approach (from define/discover, analyse, model, implement, measure to improve, innovate,and phase out)
- All types of practices around these life cycle steps
- People with specific skills that takes care of process modeling, consulting, and helps to improve them
- Automation for process modelling, measuring and sometimes executions"

"What's in this process portfolio?"
"All the processes you have identified, and you feel strong about"
"Can you name some?"
- Operational processes (procure, pay, build, market, sell, deliver, invoice)
- Product lifecycle processes (invent, develop, test, maintain, phase out)
- Management processes (operational, tactical, strategic)
- Supporting processes (IT service management, HR, Finance, Risk & Compliance, etc).
"That's it?"
"No, there is one more. It's called your Change process"
"Change process? That's not a process. That's a project!"
"Oh, is it? I bed that everytime you adapt your company to new markets, new regulations, new risks and new chances, you take simular steps".
"Well, yes, but..."
"And that around these so-called projects, you have processes to select yearly what changes to do, what projects to run, to measure, re-evaluate, etc?"
"Hm, yes, but..."
"And that, if you would really succeed at being great in change, all your people should be able to understand and take change steps really good, by repeating this proces?"
"So, it's a process. A process that delivers change to your company. And you should know it, measure it, improve it, manage it. Like crazy. Because if you don't, all the other stuff doesn't matter".
"He. It's the same as an important concept in Financial management! The only way to really take care of money!"
"Which one?"
"To Invest!"

"you got it :-)!"


No comments: