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Design an appropriate BPM adoption plan to align with client's process maturity

Submitted by sanjiv on Mon, 2011-06-13 20:47

When a company starts  BPM development without doing the adequate leg work required to automate business processes, it leads to missed deadlines, frustration of unmet management expectations, dissatisfied users, and lower ROI. To decide how much leg work is required, one must understand the process maturity of the company.
A company's process maturity can be categorised in one of the five stages::

  • Stage I : Forest Land ( Processes - be it procedural, policy or rules - are not documented, but are in the minds of business users who are using those processes. In some of the critical areas, policies and rules are formulated explicitly, although procedures are rarely drafted.)These are typically single product organisations which can sustain without process forumulation because the business complexity is low.
  • Stage II: Prepared Land (  Some of the key transactional procedures, even if not documented, are automated in an IT system compelling business users to follow certain guidelines. Processes are however still undocumented and therefore not yet shared fully in the organisation.
  •  Stage III: Tilled land ( Processes are documented. This enables concerned  business users to redesign the processes, if and when necessary. Although process benefits accrue, they are limited due to lack of process metrics measurement)
  • Stage IV: Nurtured Land ( Procedures are not only documented, but automated and therefore can be monitored regularly. )This enables organisation to measure the performance of a process and therefore continuously improve the processes.
  • Stage V: Revitalised Land – Highest stage of process maturity. Due to automation of processes, organisational linkages can be exploited fully by this organisation, while on the other hand, procedures can also be altered with little effort whenever required. This enables organisation to be flexible and efficient, both at the same time.

BPM Adoption plan
BPM development before Stage III is premature BPM development. Without reaching stage III, benefits from BPM for the organisation are sporadic, piecemeal and suboptimal. It may produce some results, but like a premature baby, it consumes inordinate time and energy in sustaining them.
A simple questionaaire tool can help one assess the process maturity of the target organisation and therefore enable one to design an appropriate Plan to negotiate the hurdles and capitalise on the company's advantages.
Cluster driven strategy can be used to ensure that the necessary process maturity in a specific cluster is achieved, before BPM can be deployed in that cluster.  This not only enables organisation to pluck the low hanging fruits, but also benefit from the 'cross organisational linkages' that are possible only after sufficient level of process maturity is achieved.
IT tools, such as KM intranet portal, can also be used to hasten the process maturity, especially when a company is at Stage II. KM intranet portal can be designed to document and share current process flow in the company. This will enable anyone, who is using the process, to share his suggestions, point mistakes and recommend improvements. This will allow company to document 90% of the process flows quickly. Balance 10% gap can be filled easily with lesser effort.  On the one hand, this will hasten the speed of process deployment in a automation tool like Savvion, while on the other it will allow business users to participate in Process 'redesign' before deploying it.
A well design BPM adoption plan, that is aligned with process maturity of the organisation, can go a long way in ensuring that BPM projects generate the promised benefits to users and management.

Sanjiv Bhamre
Careerologist & BPM Consultant Working closely with businesses for strategic process consulting.
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