BPM 2.0 On A Napkin

The automation side of BPM is easy to understand. It’s been an IT focus from the start.¬†Whereas the true scope of BPM – the ideas of BPM 2.0 – can seem ethereal or just plain fluffy.

And that matters: executive engagement depends upon keeping it simple. Otherwise it gets crowded out by the day-to-day, filed away as ‘interesting – must look into that one day’.

It needs to be simple enough to explain on a napkin.

So how to simplify the idea of a process-based platform for collaboration on transformation, compliance and continuous improvement across the enterprise? A platform which provides a personalised and intelligent operations manual for every employee as well?

The human body may provide a useful metaphor. We have three complementary systems that effectively reach every cell in our bodies:

  • The nervous system connects the brain with rest of the body. It enables the translation of thought into action. Within the enterprise, its equivalent is the process management framework, which enables the translation of enterprise strategy into operational reality.
  • The circulatory system provides essential support – oxygen and nutrients – to every cell. Its equivalent is the enterprise IT systems which deliver essential support – email, desktop and transactional systems – across the enterprise.
  • The lymphatic system provides immune functions, defending the body against infections, tumors and foreign materials. Its enterprise equivalent is the risk and controls framework and compliance management.

A healthy body has fully developed nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems, which work together – in real time and across every cell in the body – to support every cell in making things happen and avoiding potential harm. All three are essential to survival – and if they don’t work properly together then it’s game over, or at least a degree of serious incapacity.

Similarly, the healthy enterprise has a collaborative framework, which brings together processes, systems and controls – in real time and across the entire enterprise – to support every employee in making things happen and avoiding potential harm. All three are essential to survival – and if they don’t work properly together then it’s game over, or at least a degree of serious incapacity.

And in the same way that the body’s temperature, pulse and blood pressure are indicators of wellbeing, so KPIs and other metrics are indicators of enterprise wellbeing.

Olympic athletes develop these three body systems (and others!) to deliver peak performance. High-performance businesses use a collaborative framework bringing together processes, systems and controls to deliver operational excellence and sustainable continuous improvement.

Mmm. Does that work? Might require a biggish napkin…

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Mike Gammage is VP and Principal Consultant at Nimbus Partners. Mike has worked in performance improvement consulting, and more recently the BPM space, for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in the overlap between two very dynamic worlds: BPM and perfomance improvement (the drive across all industries to standardise, improve and automate) and sourcing and the virtualisation of the enterprise (the drive to create more flexible and lower-cost service solutions through outsourcing, offshoring and shared services). In either case, Mike believes the enterprise needs a single source of truth about its end-to-end business processes, as well as a framework for the design and implementation of change. It also needs to connect the end-user and all other stakeholders to ensure the adoption of change. These are the keys to sustainable transformation and continuous improvement.