jump to navigation

Size DOES Matter! May 7, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

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:

  1. Each process must be manageable under a Single CxO Process Owner
  2. 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, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management, Enterprise Content Management.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

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.

Technology

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?

People

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.

Process

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.

Management

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.

Content

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.

As-Is, TAT and the Delphi Exercise February 19, 2012

Posted by Sanooj Kutty in Business Process Management.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Every first entrant to the world of BPM encounters 2 key terminologies without fail; As-Is Process and the Turn Around Time (TAT). By defining the As-Is process and identifying the current TAT, we can go ahead and model the To-Be processes and look at improving the TAT for a better customer experience.

So far so good, and we enter into the world of Process Modeling. The current TAT is mostly defined via an SLA thought to be a safe bet to deliver the services to a customer in a consistent manner. However, is the current TAT a true reflection of the actual performance on the ground? How are these measured and if so, are the measurements captured in a mature and accurate manner?

In most organizations stepping into the world of BPM, this is most likely to be driven by gut feeling or by trying to follow the de jure TAT doing the rounds in the market for those services. If this is to be the case, how do we capture  the current TAT and get a healthy reflection of its performance on the ground?

In the absence of scientific measurements, the Delphi Exercise is a good way to capture the current TAT and even use it to gauge the expected improved TAT, especially, when you have a mixed group of stakeholders keen on the process’ improvement.

Below is a simple Delphi Exercise template that can be easily built on Excel:

The Delphi table has 3 key elements; the Most Likely TAT, the Maximum TAT and the Minimum TAT experienced as per the input received from the various stakeholders engaged in the process.

This allows one to eliminate any bias or miscalculations through a democratic input and thus, portraying near-reality. In the above example, it is visible that this process witnesses a minimum of 3.5 days in average from all the inputs. Perhaps, this could be the To-Be TAT that could be targeted as part of the process improvement exercise.

When clear, transparent and scientific measures are lacking, the Delphi Exercise is a very effective mechanism to capture current and identify improved TAT.

%d bloggers like this: