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BPM Done Right:

15 Ways To Succeed Where Others Have Failed

Mike Lees
Business White Paper

Senior Director, BPM Product Marketing, Software AG

March, 2008
Introduction 3
1. Plan for Change 4
2. Foster a Culture of Thinking Differently 4
3. Dont Make BPM an Excuse for a Headcount Reduction 4
4. Focus on Your Customer 5
5. Focus on Your Process Workers 5
6. Align Roles, Responsibilities and Remuneration 5
7. Recognize and Address BPMs Politics 6
8. Secure Executive Sponsorship 6
9. Choose the Right Project 6
10. Manage Expectations 7
11. Select a Process Methodology 7
12. Implement a Balanced Approach to Technology 7
13. Take a Broad View of Training 8
14. Dont Feel the Need To Do It All Yourself 8
15. Profit from Experience 8

2 W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T
Dont Automate for the Sake of It! However, measuring during the project is
Rates of adoption of Business Process only part of the story. If you are exploring
Management (BPM) technology are A man who continually shoots where to start with BPM, Business Activity
increasing dramatically, and with them, himself in the foot should not buy Monitoring (BAM) can provide the answer.
the stories of missed expectations, wasted an automatic weapon! Would you go to a doctor and receive a
investment and outright failure are also - Chinese proverb diagnosis if he hadnt done a thorough
on the rise. root cause analysis based on your current
symptoms? If there is only one thing you
Have you ever been so excited by a new Often your processes are working well should remember here, it is this: Start your
piece of technology - a computer, phone and the benefit from BPM comes from BPM project by measuring your current
or iPod - that you ripped open the increased levels of automation and agility. performance. Without an accurate current
packaging and started playing without But dont embark on BPM assuming this diagnosis your project will be unfocused;
reading the instructions? You probably had will always be the case. If a process is your ROI will be lower, and your efforts
fun playing, but it took longer than it broken, then automating it will only may end up being targeted at the wrong
should have to find the right ways of mak- generate errors faster. Ensure that you problem. If a vendor tells you to model
ing things work. have relevant data on the effectiveness of your critical processes before you can
processes before you automate their analyze and improve them be wary! It
In fact, you probably still arent using execution. Measure first! probably means they simply have a really
some technologies the way you should nice modeling tool.
and you may have given up altogether Measure First, Measure Often and
and written off the investment. Measure Last Measuring first always uncovers things
you didnt know about your business,
BPM includes some cool features with The real troubles in your life are purely because until you are able to look
tempting promises of ease-of-use, happier, apt to be things that never crossed inside the key metrics of a process most
more productive workers and fast returns. your worried mind; the kind that of your decisions will be made on the
As a result, it is tempting to just plow blindside you at 4 PM on some idle process outputs - and that is only half the
ahead and get the technology installed Tuesday. story. If you are fulfilling 100 percent of
without thinking about the less interesting - Baz Luhrman your orders on time, but to do that you
elements such as methodology, new roles have to expedite those orders by
and responsibilities, training and the like. throwing more and more people at the
process, then youre probably not
BPMs promises are real, but the path to Most people wont admit it, but the vast achieving your core business goals. Your
success is littered with pitfalls and majority of business decisions are based margins will be lower, but you wont
shortcuts to failure. Best practices can help on gut feel, intuition and experience. We know why.
you avoid them. The good news is that think the process works like this, so we
BPM has now reached a stage of maturity should do X? Or Customer orders were Finally, for all the talk of continuous
which ensures that customers who are delayed in the past primarily because of Y, improvement, BPM still involves projects,
just embarking on using its methods and so go fix that! This may have worked in and projects have fixed durations. Your
tools have a wealth of experience to learn the past, but in a fast-changing and BPM project must have an end point. Sure,
from and build on. To succeed with BPM, unpredictable business environment, gut the project itself may be very short and
you will need to develop your own best feel and experience wont cut it. The the improvement incremental, but unless
practices and constantly evolve them to emphasis has to be on real-time, end-to- you can complete a cycle and measure
stay ahead of the competition. The end monitoring against the things that and celebrate your success (or evaluate
following lessons-learned provide a matter to your business Key Perfor- your failure) at the end, then youll be in a
good place to start. mance Indicators (KPIs). Youll be constant state of change with no real
surprised how productive project meetings sense of progress.
become when you start to have conversa-
tions based on relevant, actionable data!

W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T 3
1. Plan for Change 2. Foster a Culture of Thinking 3. Dont Make BPM an Excuse for a
Differently Headcount Reduction
Planning is critical in any project, but in
BPM, planning and project management BPM is different. Its going to require you Making headcount savings the key
require a much more flexible approach. to think differently both in how you objective of your BPM initiative is a sure-
You should clearly understand your approach its implementation, how you fire way to guarantee failure at the outset.
requirements at the start of each foster and reward opportunities for The goal is making the staff work smarter,
incremental project, but overall its improvement and how you sustain the faster, more consistently and with more
important that you plan for requirements advantage through continuous improve- focus on value creation.
to change with each cycle and evolve as ment and innovation.
you implement and improve. No matter how ambitious your process
BPM should empower everyone to think automation goals, your people are the key
To mirror this, it is critical to ensure that and act differently. New ideas should start to making processes work. Your people
the technologies you adopt allow for to surface from across the organization - are the ones that ultimately deliver
change as opposed to a current state specifically from people involved in the customer satisfaction and create value in
being hard-wired into the solution. process who see their place in the end-to- your business. If process improvement
Consider the role of business rules in the end operation and are able to visualize initiatives lead your people to engineering
process infrastructure; consider who, how how value is created and what is on the themselves or others out of jobs, retrain
and when changes to the process model critical path. and relocate them. More importantly,
can be made and evaluate the capabilities make it clear that is the goal.
around rapid UI/application development. But getting employees to come forward
All of these capabilities are central to an with ideas, change their behaviors and One of Toyotas early Kaizen initiatives
agile infrastructure but the plan should think about the world differently is not supposedly involved the creation of a
guide how they are utilized. You want the easy. Only when people feel incentivized place on the shop floor where workers
picks and shovels in the hands of the and comfortable initiating change will would stand once they had completed
people with the right knowledge, who are they stand up and be counted. So, their tasks. These workers were basically
able to initiate change in a timeframe that incentivize your people to think differently advertising that they were available
makes sense. And, as already noted, the and ensure that management leads by resources for other tasks. Anyone hazard a
decentralization of change management example. guess as to what would happen if a
requires strong governance and adequate worker at General Motors stood up and
controls. Ensure that policies are in place said he had no work to do? Fear of job
to determine who can change what, loss is one of the key forces that thwarts
which changes go live and which changes change in organizations, so remove all
require approval and testing. fear before you start.

4 W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T
4. Focus on Your Customer 5. Focus on Your Process Workers Be creative when you look to acquire new
skills. Your current staff probably already
Its easy to get bogged down in the detail Investing in the plumbing of BPM is has the skills necessary to be successful.
of the process and forget the goal critical, but dont over-fund the infrastruc- They wont have the right job titles, but
customer value. At the end of the day, ture at the expense of users. BPM theyll have the right understanding of
one of the major goals of BPM is to see technology incorporates new capabilities your business, the people, processes and
your business the way your customers do to build intuitive user interfaces that tailor technology. Dont be afraid to look to
as a series of inter-related processes that application interactions to particular tasks vendors and service providers for help,
translate an order into a delivered good or and shield users from the complexity of especially in the short term as you gear
service. Your customers dont care how the underlying systems. Treat users like up. But for some roles, where important
things get done; they just care that they customers - always consider how you can business knowledge will be required,
get exceptional service and receive what make them more productive and the consider longer-term staff.
they ordered at the lowest price you can technology more invisible so that their
offer and in the expected timeframe. day-to-day tasks are focused on adding One way to make these new teams work
When you are working out the detail of value. well together and share knowledge is to
how web orders over $20,000 from set up a Process Center of Excellence
6. Align Roles, Responsibilities and
people with low credit ratings get where stakeholders plan together, meet
approved, always keep in mind the big regularly and perform tasks collaboratively.
picture! Its simple - if what youre doing There is going to be change and one of
doesnt ultimately create value for your the keys to success with BPM is making
customers you should seriously question sure people are incentivized to make that
your motives. change and have the right skill sets and
tools to contribute to the new world order
Some things to consider: and be successful. Put new remuneration
Does my BPM solution allow me to plans in place and train people to be
prevent a significant number of errors successful.
in the processing of customer orders?

Am I using a Business Activity Youll need to set up a new, cross-

Monitoring (BAM) solution in a way functional organizational structure to drive
that enables me to see problems and sustain your BPM initiative. Roles you
before my customers do and take
might want to consider include:
corrective action? This requires
instance level monitoring and root
cause analysis as well as ensuring you Chief Process Officer
have the right KPIs specified. (an evolution of the CIO)
Should I expose my metrics and Process Champion
monitoring capabilities to my partners Process Owner
and customers? Processes are a key Process Technician
part of your competitive differentiation
and youre proud of the way they run,
Process Analyst
so use them to win new business and
develop great partnerships. Remem-
ber, todays leading companies are
transparent and easy to do business

W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T 5
7. Recognize and Address BPMs 8. Secure Executive Sponsorship 9. Choose the Right Project
Its an unavoidable fact of life that people Choosing the project that will set you on
As with most organizational and manage- with powerful friends get further, faster. the right path with BPM is as much about
ment initiatives, politics are going to be a But to win friends you have to impress. people management as it is about risk
fact of BPM life. Friction may be created as management. There are going to be trade-
you move from an organizational structure The good news is that BPM naturally offs between risk, return, learning-by-
where power is based on functional aligns to strategic business initiatives. So doing and appetite for change. You should
ownership to one where new people the first thing to do is find a real strategic focus on the project that satisfies the right
have power across functions. Companies business pain that your project will help trade-off for your business. Be sure your
that succeed with BPM are usually alleviate. Then find the individual(s) first project isnt so high profile that you
companies that have addressed these closest to the boardroom whose responsi- risk doing too much, too soon, before you
issues head-on and found effective ways bility it is to make that pain go away. have learned how best to implement BPM
of managing the cultural and organiza- Finally, get them excited about what BPM in your environment. But if the need is
tional impacts. Early in the process make can do for them. Dont build PowerPoints great enough and the skills and support
sure you identify: and write long reports - show them! A are there, then a significant initial project
good BPM solution and a strong vendor may be the right place to start. Too small
the change agents (whos going to (remember that your vendor shares a a project and you risk not having a real
get this done) mutual interest in getting this sponsor business case, proving real ROI or
the influencers (who has a respected excited) should be able to help you build uncovering the real issues that are going
voice) a demo that highlights your use case and to determine your long-term success with
the barriers (those who are your data, delivers real insight into how BPM
threatened by change) problems can be solved and clearly shows
the end users (who is going to have how end solutions will impact the process That said, an internally facing, non-
to live with the end result) owner and executive. mission-critical project such as for HR or
partner onboarding can be a good project
Change agents need to be incentivized to Many vendors will even go one step to learn how to really pull off a successful
operate under the new discipline. Pick further and use their industry and solution BPM project.
influencers who have respect and a expertise to help you build a business
vested interest in change. These people case with a well-formed ROI. This is And remember, you dont have to improve
need to be given the tools to allow them critical to winning the support of another whole processes; you can focus on smaller
to act as champions or heroes within key BPM stakeholder the CFO. Although areas where you have day-to-day pain.
the organization and to ride the coat-tails a lot of the benefits from BPM are softer See Measure First, Measure Often and
of success of the BPM initiative. Ultimately, and span multiple projects, its critical that Measure Last.
barriers need to be removed, preferably you get the finance department on your
in terms of education rather than literally. side with the initial project and let hard
Theres usually always something in it for numbers sell them on the approach.
them. Try to find out what it is or what
value they can bring (and be rewarded
for). If there isnt, reconsider their role.
Finally, recognize that end users have a lot
of power; these are the people that will
give the applications that you deliver the
thumbs up or the thumbs down. Getting
them on board early is extremely
important to successful adoption.

6 W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T
10. Manage Expectations 11. Select a Process Methodology 12. Implement a Balanced Approach
to Technology
How many times have you completed a BPM is primarily a management discipline
project confident that you have succeeded, and like all good disciplines it requires a BPM has been more successful than
only to realize that a key stakeholder had guiding methodology or set of methodolo- previous process-oriented approaches
completely different expectations and gies. While the right mix of technology because it blends technology with
objectives? and methodology is key, its safe to say management best practices. Without a
that a BPM project with a good methodol- good technology foundation, ROI would be
There are many stakeholders involved in a ogy and no technology has a better lower, the business would be less
BPM project and each of them will have a chance of success than a project with engaged and results would take longer to
different perspective on what constitutes leading technology and no methodology. generate. The flip side is that too much
success and a different motivation for technology can make things just as hard -
embarking on the BPM path. The key is The first thing to ask yourself and the rest implementation, maintenance and training
documenting up front who these stake- of your organization is what methodolo- will take up increasing cycles. End users
holders are and what constitutes success gies do we have in place? Given that risk being overwhelmed, and the
or failure in their eyes. Some will have BPM is a new implementation style that organization will lose focus on the people
hard metrics for success based on solid IT- puts the business in the drivers seat and and process side of the equation.
based ROI while others may have softer promotes multiple fast iterations rather
goals around improved customer retention than a few, long projects, theres a chance The key to choosing the right balance is to
or reduced regulatory risk. Regardless, a that the methodologies you need will be focus on your own needs and drivers, but
thorough understanding of why people are new to your organization or at the very bear in mind the core goals of BPM are
involved and their personal wins is least will need significant modification. But process effectiveness, process transpar-
critical to success and critical to winning many companies already have the right ency and process agility. Invest in those
supporters as you embark on your next foundation or starting point for a BPM technologies that will make the lives of
improvement project. methodology, whether it is Six Sigma, your users easier, make change easier to
Lean, Balanced Scorecard, Agile develop- initiate and digest, and deliver the right
ment, etc. information at the right time to the right
people. And, if people wont use it, then
Most importantly, the methodology you dont buy it. If its not aligned to the skill
develop must cover the whole process sets of your staff, then hire, train or walk
improvement lifecycle from selection of away!
tools and training, to implementation and
sustaining advantage through continuous Finally, dont ignore the role of gover-
improvement. nance. As you liberate your platform and
open up the tools of change to a wider
In a nutshell, pick a methodology that is audience, governance becomes critical.
right for you, make sure it covers all the Governance, like BPM itself, is much more
bases, keep it as simple as possible and than a technology problem, but the BPM
invest in training to support all of your platform you use should be capable of
stakeholders. supporting a sound approach to gover-
nance by building in rules, policies and
communication mechanisms that control
how people make decisions and initiate

W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T 7
13. Take a Broad View of Training companies that have done BPM before (if 15. Profit from Experience
your vendors and service providers are
Training is critical to success with BPM and successful, they can make introductions). Software AG has developed a strong
will take many forms. Youll need to look The companies should have a similar approach to ensuring that our customers
at methodology training both for business profile to your own and should have succeed with BPM. The best practices
and IT stakeholders, tools training for tackled the organizational, cultural, and discussed here are highlights from the
development teams, and worker training methodological as well as technological lessons that we have learned in partner-
to ensure they can take advantage of the issues associated with BPM. ship with our customers over the many
new processes and applications that are years we have been delivering BPM
being developed. As you research training, Finally, dont be afraid to learn by doing. solutions. Our Professional Services and
you must ensure you arent just focused BPM offers opportunities for quick wins, Strategic Business Solutions (SBS) teams
on getting trained on how to implement but also fast failures. Dont be afraid to continuously build these lessons learned
and utilize a one-time solution. BPM is fail; just make sure you know when and into our customer engagement method-
about regaining control of your business why you have! ologies to ensure your success.
and the means to make iterative and
frequent improvements. Find resources 14. Dont Feel the Need To Do It All
that can ensure sustained success beyond Yourself
the initial application. This kind of training Sometimes thinking differently requires
will involve all of your stakeholders from new minds and BPM certainly requires
your IT group to your users and from your new roles and skills. But getting new
business analysts to your business people and skills into the team does not
executives. have to mean hiring them immediately or
embarking on a significant training
Under-investment in training can destroy exercise on day one. Many companies fail
the returns from the other BPM invest- at BPM because they dont ask for help
ments your organization makes. and try to do too much themselves in the
early stages. Use professional services
Formal training is only one part of the staff from your vendors or independent
BPM education process. You need to invest consultants to supplement your team and
in getting your team a real education. help bring new skills in-house. But make
Why do we say real? Because while they sure you learn from them so that you
are extremely valuable, there is only so become self-sufficient.
much you can learn from a book, a
conference, a website, a vendor or even a
training consultant. Take the time to find

8 W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T
About the Author

Michael Lees is Senior Director, BPM Product Marketing at Software AG and is

responsible for global product marketing initiatives for the companys BPM
product line. Prior to joining Software AG, Mike was founder and CEO of
Cerebra, Inc., a leader in metadata management solutions. Cerebra, originally
located in the U.K., moved to the U.S. in 2004 and was acquired by web-
Methods in 2006. Mike has worked with many large corporate and federal
organizations on their use of metadata and semantic technologies as
enablers (along with BPM and SOA) of agile business, information and IT
strategies. He is a graduate of Durham University (Business Economics) and is
a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. Prior to founding Cerebra, he was a
technology analyst and technology fund manager for one of the U.K.s
largest investment houses.

W H I T E PA P E R | B PM D O N E R I G H T 9
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