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How important it is to document processes before starting with BPM

Submitted by swetaanand on Fri, 2011-09-02 11:52

While working with several BPM projects as a business Analyst I have realized that often organizations tend to jump in and start automating business processes as soon as they have identified processes. However, it makes sense to actually document and standardize business processes before getting it IT in.

Here are some scenarios


No Process exists

This is the scenario where no process exists and BPM is being used as a mechanism to set up one. This could be a huge problem to the IT down the lane as people would start brainstorming once you start developing the process. Make it clear to the client that first they should talk among themselves and agree to the process and then get on to BPM.


No Standard Policy

This is the scenario where there is no standard policy and people use their own preferred processes. Unless you bring them on to the same page and have an agreement between them starting the BPM could be a disaster. Changes will keep coming in and your IT spending is going to increase more and more.


Multiple Variants

Imagine you are working with a large organization which has grown by doing Mergers & Acquisition. The heterogeneous mixture of companies would result in multiple variants of the processes. It depends on the Senior Management to figure out if they want to standardize the project or continue with multiple variants. Your IT spending will depend on this decision. Word of caution here – if the Client asks you to build a single processes which changes based on region – you are in trouble.


Non Involvement of Correct Stakeholders

Some companies have a structure which has a IT firewall in front of the business. As long as IT is interacting with Business at every stage you are good but if IT says they want to build a standard process and then give it to business (as on option or forcefully) you can be in trouble. Business people know they business and the process should always be initiated and planned by them. IT should only be there to coordinate.


Improvement as part of identification

If you are trying to improve your process while you are identifying it again there is a problem. The first step should be to indentify the end to end process first, find the bottlenecks and issues then try to improve it. You cannot do two things together.

Hope these tips should help. Comments suggestions and additions to the list are welcome.

Sweta Anand
Business Process Analyst with experience in Investment Banking, Customer Support and operations. Has done Process documentation and standardization for several organizations
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