Size DOES Matter! May 7, 2012Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management.
Tags: acm, adaptive case management, bpm, Business Process Management, change management
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Back in February 2011, Peter Schooff of eBizQ.net asked a very important question, “How big is a process?” The very insightful comments that answer the question bring forth many interesting perspectives on the size of a process. Ranging from the length of a string to single “value chain” process, the debate is very enlightening.
However, outside these very pertinent arguments, I strongly believe the size of a process is all about management capacity. A “process” must be measureable and manageable. And it is best managed under a single process owner, ideally a CxO, allowing clear decision making to govern the process.
Many a time, in a desire to have an end-to-end view, organizations tend to meander towards large, complicated and sometimes complex processes. Cutting across the authority lines among different CxO’s, the process tends to become a broth with many cooks. I guess we all know what happens when many cooks come together for a single broth.
This also means that apart from the process diagram, no human element is able to comprehend or re-collect the process. It also results in loss of memory of the reasons the process has taken to become the maze it has turned out to be. At a time of change, intensive efforts are required to evaluate the process and more often than not this leads to process-fatigue.
So what is Management Capacity?
Management Capacity is the capacity, within which a CxO sets strategies, ensures execution, monitors performance and achieves objectives under the boundaries set by the demands of their function and corporate governance.
Obviously, to attain this we need to achieve the below:
- Each process must be manageable under a Single CxO Process Owner
- Each Process and its sub-processes must link to Enterprise KPIs under the respective CxO
In cases, where it is identified that a process spreads across more than one CxO, it is best to break it down and the process architecture changed to meet the above. The same principle applies when you go down to department level under a CxO.
An intangible element that also plays a key role is the CxO’s capability and ability to manage well. But, as we all know, good management is a pre-requisite to any good process to perform well.
So, if you want to get your processes performing, ensure they are defined and assigned under the right authority with the capacity to manage them.
The Chaos of ECM-BPM Strategies March 9, 2012Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Enterprise Content Management.
Tags: acm, adaptive case management, bpm, Business Process Management, change management, ecm, Enterprise Content Management, erm, information management
Setting your ECM or BPM implementation strategy can appear to be pretty straightforward. After all, you either want to manage your content or manage your process. To achieve that, get some experts, get a good tool(s), and launch a project and presto!
If only life in this world were that easy. Not experienced enough to be authentic in my judgment of how it happens around the world (although it may be the same story everywhere), I’ll keep myself to my corner of the world in context.
Five cornerstones determine the success or failure of ECM/BPM projects.
Yet are strategies revolving around these cornerstones in the right manner? Many a time, I feel we usually end up barking up the wrong tree and put the wrong cornerstone at the center of our strategies.
Let’s start from the obvious cornerstones.
It is quite normal to introduce technology to settle the chaos only to find itself contributing to the ensuing chaos. Expect perhaps with cases of revolution like the one Apple did with “touch”, in most cases technology follows business but can find itself at the wrong end of the stick. Bear in mind Technology can help you do many things, but not all the things. Again, you need to ask yourself, do you need your technology to do some things, specific things, many things or everything?
Ah! Here comes the quintessential trouble maker, people or in other words your business users and technical staff. Either they are too many or do too little. It’s time we set this right. Through ECM/BPM implementations we can resolve this issue. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s not uncommon for people to be the target. It’s not fully unjustified either; the right implementation of ECM/BPM solutions can help you manage your people factor… to a limit.
This time, it’s the process that’s wrong and we need to change our processes so that people can do their jobs better and management can make the right decisions. It’s imperative to be very careful here because it’s not always that you need to change your as-is process. Many a time, organizations naturally go back to old processes after changing it. Look around and you’ll find your process is fine, your troubles may lie elsewhere. Implementing a process on your BPMS could also be your as-is and does not necessarily have to be your to-be.
When all the above fails, it’s obvious that your management style is questioned and you look at changing them. Are you sure change is always good? Change may be permanent but not all change is good. Be it democratic, autocratic or situational, your management style as it is could also be the right one for your business.
We’re not talking here of the management of content, but, instead the focus is on the content itself. Very few implementation strategies here focus on the content itself. Having the right content is as important as having the content right. Too much information floating around the organization ecosystem can be as damaging as too little information and can add to the chaos.
ECM/BPM systems are here to stay. Although, time has yet to make a judgment in what manner and form will they stabilize, in an increasingly digital world, their importance is beyond doubt. Using them to benefit your business depends on identifying what needs to be put at the center to resolve.
Is it your technology, process, people, management or content? Magic mirrors don’t provide you these answers but honest introspection can help.
Note: Although ECM and BPM are used due to their popularity, the same applies for any of the others such as ERM, ACM, etc in this blog.
ECM = Enterprise Culture Management: The GCC Analogy July 28, 2011Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Enterprise Content Management.
Tags: Business Process Management, change, change management, culture, ecm, Enterprise Content Management
There is no dearth for reading material on the impact of Culture on an ECM program. However, most of these originate from developed Western nations where the social culture is generally homogeneous while possibly being punctured by organizational culture set by different management styles.
When I first ventured into ECM projects in the GCC, I was driven by the theory of project management from the “West”, borrowing plenty from the PMP and Prince2 schools of thought. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that it was the kaleidoscopic working culture of this region that forced me to deviate from those schools of thought. And this was to occur as a natural phenomenon than as planned exercise.
Hence, ECM was to me more of an Enterprise Culture Management than Enterprise Content Management. When your audit trails and version controls are standard functionalities, why is it that every project became almost different from the other in spite of having similar objectives? But, obviously, as more ECM solutions basically provided the same features in different forms, it had to be the organization’s culture.
It took me a little longer and some hard hits to realize that in the GCC, even organizational culture does not exist in conventional form. This is best understood from the fact that you are very likely to see an organization with an Emarati (UAE) CEO, a Lebanese Head of Department, an Indian Manager and a Philipino User frustratingly advised by an English Consultant in an ECM project. I guess this does not deserve any further explanation!
As such, an ECM project faces the challenge of cultural variety more than that of a Financial application. This is because while a Financial Application is primarily driven by the principles of accounting, an ECM implementation holds no such principles. It is a shape-shifter and can be seen looking completely different from one company to another irrespective of both having the same technology stack.
The same can be said of the cultural layers that gets formed within an organization here in the GCC and so to be able to manage and deliver a competent ECM project, one must manage 3 levels of culture:
A culture may claim to be set from the top. But, your chances are slim to have this culture percolate down the food chain. Imagine an Egyptian CEO managing a German Head of Department. The chances are that both will adopt diplomacy to communicate with each other, but, both are likely to establish their own cultural cliques within the organization. Hence, content that primarily revolves under the direct control of the CEO is more likely to be influenced by the CEO’s culture and work habits.
At the departmental level, the higher up culture of the CEO erodes to be taken over by the English Head of Department’s culture and work habits. The governing of your content is likely to be different from that of the CEO’s. The Head of Department is highly likely to try to reproduce the structured manner of Germany against the pragmatic survival nature of Egypt.
At the lowest level, lies possibly an Indian staff member who in his eager-to-please-management nature and earn more for his family shall manipulate the management of content to simply get the job done. To him, the ends justify the means. The benefits and risk of this enterprising and eager nature is quite transparent. Such resources need not be restricted but the content management solutions must set walls beyond which they may not go.
When faced with such differences in approach, content management is sure to face the brunt of it. Caught between keeping the power and getting the job done, your workflow are sure to inherit many approval loops or detours. Be advised not to fall for the “we have management support” comfort zone when dealing with ECM projects and instead manage your journey to understand and absorb the cultural deviations at all levels described above.
Finally, it is important to have your program led by someone with exposure and experience to this cultural diversity, with an ability to work through the cultural clashes and finally, with a good understanding of the unwritten but necessary rules of an ECM solution.