| Subcribe via RSS

¿Gestión del Cambio, o de la Resistencia al Cambio?

November 27th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Change Management, Real Life Stories

¿Cambiamos  o nos cambian?

¿Cuántas veces hemos oído aquello de “mis usuarios se van a sentir vigilados, nos va a costar que usen este enfoque”? Yo lo he escuchado en múltiples ocasiones – 3 desde el último blog-enunciado de diferentes formas o con más pesimismo si cabe.

Es un tema recurrente y común que no es exclusivo del área de la gestión por procesos,  aunque si es dónde puede escucharse en más ocasiones. Creo que la causa radica en el hecho de que la ‘Gestión por Procesos’ implica el gobierno de la actividad, saber cuál es la forma de trabajar y  el rendimiento de la organización.

La gestión al cambio es un eufemismo en realidad lo que se intenta es vencer la resistencia a cambiar. Y, la resistencia  proviene de la inercia acumulada en el tiempo
haciendo la misma actividad, y de la duda; ¿seremos capaces de aprender?

En los proyectos BPM, cuando nuestro interlocutor  habla de riesgo de adopción lo hace pensando en personas. Personas con nombres y apellidos que; a) bien acumulan más inercia, porque llevan mucho tiempo trabajando de la misma manera; b) bien se sienten más inseguros, porque dudan de su capacidad para adquirir nuevos conocimientos.

Los primeros  muestran un patrón de ingente actividad –real o no- (que roba el tiempo). Mientras que, los segundos muestran una reserva notable a la comunicación y al trabajo en grupo (que dilata el tiempo). Estamos tratando con personas y con su trabajo,  que es lo que les hace sentirse útiles y siempre defenderán esta posición. La misión de la gestión del cambio es convertir esa posición en el punto de apoyo para las transformaciones que requieren las empresas.

En ambos situaciones la forma de proceder para superar las barreras es similar: identificar, comprender el patrón, y acompañar en la transformación.

La Gestión del Cambio es una acción individualizada si bien en ocasiones hay que recurrir al grupo; como los encierros de San Fermines. Esta acción individual debe emplear al máximo herramientas que permitan la cooperación y la comunicación en el trabajo. Y, evitar estrategias de enfrentamiento o de comparación.  Esto es muy, muy, relevante porque la planificación y la estrategia son diametralmente distintas.

La plataforma de Ultimus proporciona los servicios que facilitan la cooperación y la comunicación. Así como aquellos servicios que
dotan de más competencias (‘job empowement”) al puesto de trabajo, ya sean de decisión, ya de definición.  El resultado es siempre positivo, se liberan recursos que incrementan la productividad.

Para finalizar, me gustaría indicar que la Gestión del Cambio no es un plan de acción sino una forma de gestionar todos los días.
Vencer la resistencia al cambio compete a todos los que participamos en la organización de una empresa. Las personas tenemos que saber gestionar nuestro cambio.

Tags: , , , , ,

Should power users automate business processes?

Today I had a discussion with a consultant on who can or should automate processes. Would you give power users access to the tools to automate processes themselves?

Let me start with the example the consultant brought up: A large company took a look at a BPM solution and found it very easy and intuitive to use. A senior manager then stated that this would be ideal for power users, since they would be able to implement their processes themselves, without having IT to get involved. Triggered by the experiences of large scale BPM implementations that require architectural discussions before implementing processes, the consultant pushed back on this idea.

I have heard this many times and I believe there are many projects in the IT space that failed due to a lack of experience and knowledge. But isn’t this a great place to start? Why don’t we make sure experience and knowledge becomes part of every implementation and empower people to develop processes themselves?   Children lose confidence in themselves when parents do or arrange everything for them. They miss out on experience and confidence that they can accomplish tasks themselves. Just like overprotective parents harm their child’s development, we limit business people’s capability to solve their problems and limit the competitiveness of the company.

Therefore the question is not whether power users should be able to implement processes themselves, but what we need to provide them with so every project they start becomes a success. This starts with training but continues with knowledge transfer, project support and recommendations for best practices implementation. BPM is the first technology that allows business to build their applications themselves. Empower them to be successful and force vendors to make BPM as easy as possible!

Other thoughts?

Tags: , , ,

Benefits of Pragmatic Business Process Management

April 14th, 2010 | 5 Comments | Posted in Pragmatic BPM

After discussing the benefits of process automation, this post is now focusing on the benefits of Pragmatic Business Process Management. A pragmatic view typically focuses on solving business pains, providing benefits and satisfying customers without making a science project out of the BPM project. As such, the benefits of process automation remain and are complemented by a number of benefits that deal with implementation and change.

What always strikes me when speaking to people in the BPM space is the dedication to discover and model business processes in detail and thereby spending thousands of dollars and up to years identifying possible business flows, rules, exceptions, redesigning them, getting employee buy-in etc. without even touching a single BPM benefit and saving a single dollar.

Discovering the process flow is important to automate processes. But where do you start and especially where do you STOP? Let’s focus on the goals first and answer this question with the benefits in mind.

The reason for automation business processes is to solve business pains, increase the efficiency of your operations and improve customer experience.

With Pragmatic BPM you

1)      Lower cost of business process management and therefore spend your budget wisely

2)      Cut time to improvement and reap benefits earlier

3)      Remain flexible and change faster making you more competitive, and

4)      Develop a process and change management culture for further improvements

Looking at the benefits in more detail:

Cost of implementation – Lower cost of BPM and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
The more complex your implementation, the greater the cost of business process management and the higher your Total Cost of Ownership. Implementing a complex solution and maintaining it only makes sense when the profits exceed the costs. This is a simple business calculation: what is the marginal benefit of an additional specification within a business process management investment. If it is zero or negative, it doesn’t make sense. Therefore start simple and let it grow rather than boiling the ocean.

Time to production – Reap benefits earlier and reduce risk
The faster you discover your process, the sooner you can reap the benefits of process automation. Efficiency gains easily compensate adjustments to the solution required by the incomplete process map and changes that happen to business processes on a daily basis. Make sure you are on the right path before going into too much detail and thereby risk the success of your project. In addition, it is more likely to achieve a high return on investment.

Flexibility and Agility – Stay ahead of your competition
A detailed and complex solution might enable you to react to foreseen circumstances faster and more dynamic but makes it more difficult to react to all other situations. Google is changing the game plan for advertising daily. New applications, new hard- and software, new auction models and ad quality indicators – no wonder competitors have a hard time keeping up. Change is an imperative and becomes a nightmare when having to change complex systems with all the exceptions and dependencies. Stay flexible and agile by implementing only the most important exceptions.

Change Management – Creating a culture of improvement
While process modeling brings teams together to develop a process, the task isn’t completed when the process is discovered. The process needs to adapt to changes, improvements need to be implemented, rules adjusted, extensions developed. If you really want to do business process management right, create a culture of improvement and allow for everyone to participate in improving business processes whenever and wherever they can.

Therefore discover everything necessary to automate a process and include exceptions and automate steps as they come up over time. This requires adaptive / flexible / dynamic (whatever you call it) process automation solutions and we will have to look at these requirements next.

Tags: , ,

Advantages of Business Process Automation

April 8th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted in business process automation

Before looking at the benefit of pragmatic BPM, let’s make sure we are all on the same page for process automation.

Most everyone has done process discovery and definition at some stage in their professional career; when handling an unexpected situation or defining a procedure. Business Process Modeling organizes these activities in a structured approach to systematically discover, document, analyze and optimize business processes to improve operational efficiency.

When restructuring processes, companies transform the way of doing business, save money and time by streamlining business processes and increase quality of operations and products.

In some areas modeling and analysis is sufficient, but companies increasingly go beyond this stage and implement process automation software to reach a new level of performance or solve process immanent problems that can not be controlled in manual processes.

Let’s look at the challenges of manual process flow and examples of customers who have used process automation software to increase competitive advantage.

Shorter cycle times

Modeling allows companies to define and streamline business processes, by eliminating unnecessary tasks, realigning steps and optimizing information flow. While this typically shortens cycle times tremendously, the improvements often aren’t sufficient to reach a defendable competitive advantage.

A midsize manufacturer for electronic components and security solutions who specialized in mass customization had a custom quote process in place that would take three weeks from the initial inquiry to providing the client with a formal quote. At the same time competitors were able to deliver the quote within one week. The company not only wanted to improve their process to at least that level, but also wanted to beat the other players in respect to response time to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. While manual process execution would have limited them to an average response time of one week, they cut it down to only three days in average and thereby manage to permanently outpace their competition.

Manual processes have a natural limitation to how fast they can flow. With process automation, tasks can be executed in parallel, are instantly transferred to the next step on completion and allow for notifications and escalations when deadlines are reached. If your company needs to break through manual process limitations or your employees have difficulties keeping up with the workload, you should consider supporting them with process automation software.

Reduce workload

Application software today provides tremendous value that we wouldn’t want to miss any more – from simple spell checking to data analysis or extensive calculations. In manual processes, people conduct steps and tasks that could just as well be handled by process automation software, just like application software helps us get work done faster.

A Swiss investment bank creates monthly reports for their institutional clients on the performance of their portfolio. While application software allowed them to copy and paste information into the reports and thereby save a lot of time, they were looking into ways to automate the creation of the reports without risking the validity of their content. With process automation, they were able to automate the whole process cutting report creation time down from six and a half hours per report to only 30 minutes in which they did quality assurance. The information is gathered from other systems and reports are automatically generated. These are then routed to the appropriate people for quality assurance. The software then takes over again, creates PDFs and automatically sends them on to the clients.

Manual processes are limited to the ability of application software to help employees get the work done. Process automation frees up employees from work that can be handled more efficiently by systems so they can focus on growing the business.

Measure work

Companies are investing heavily in the area of Business Intelligence to generate data that is required to make smart decisions based on business data. While data can be extracted from applications, manual process flow can’t be measured automatically and therefore companies are still driving their businesses purely based on common sense, experience and guts feeling in this area.

A travel and service company knew it had to guarantee a high level of customer satisfaction to maintain their competitive edge. They set up service level agreements so that customer complaints would be resolved within a week for 60% of the cases and within 2 weeks for close to 100%. While standard business intelligence would only have been capable of checking their performance against the goals, business process automation allows the company to monitor and control the complaint process, adjust parameters and analyze the data to identify bottlenecks and opportunity gaps. This empowers the company to further tighten service level agreements and therefore remain competitive.

By implementing process automation, process data is collected automatically and is available for monitoring and analysis. This data helps you make profound decisions and provides you with early indications about process deviations within your operation.

Eliminate Human Errors

Even the best manual process does not prevent people from making mistakes. There are infinite possibilities of what can go wrong. Increasing workload certainly is a key driver of human error causing a lot of rework and frustration and imposing risk on the company. Systems can help prevent human errors on data entry through plausibility checks and are designed to perform the same tasks over and over again with the same high quality result, which is a key advantage of process automation.

A large manufacturer for printing machines automated a process that originally required people to send faxes to various locations, type the information into various systems and at the end to manually compile the information to create a quote for the customer. At every step the company risked to lose information or transfer information incorrectly. Process automation provides process participants with computer aided data entry. The software checks for logical errors and passes the information on automatically to the other systems so human error could be dramatically reduced. As a result the company improved customer satisfaction leading to a 40% increase in order entry.

Quality is a key differentiator in many markets since customer satisfaction is closely interrelated with it. Since there are ways to provide high quality, error free results it has become an imperative for companies to automate business processes with business process management software.

Compliance

While many discussions around compliance today focus on rules and regulations imposed on companies, implementation actually is the more challenging part – similarly to business processes: How do you make sure people follow the rules instead of simply defining responsibility in case something goes wrong?

A large automotive supplier had a paper based process in place that required every employee to gain approval for their purchase and expense requests from their manager. While every employee knew the process, they were very creative in finding weaknesses of the process, by bypassing the manager’s signature or get it when he was passing on a way to a meeting etc. Their finance director searched of a solution that would require the employee to use the available forms and the manager to sign the requests when he was at his desk. Within weeks of implementation, purchase expenses for office goods dropped by 20% while staff productivity remained at a high level.

Efficient processes can only deliver the anticipated results, if employees comply with the defined process flow and task handling. Business process management software ensures that rules are followed, defined steps are taken and processes become transparent.

This was a long post, but I didn’t want to split it up. We will turn to the pragmatic BPM benefits the next time.

Tags: , ,

Is SOA preventing BPM business success?

March 19th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in SOA

Yesterday I attended a presentation on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and found one statement very striking: Only 20% of SOA components are being reused.

From a business perspective, SOA is supposed to help companies save money and resources, as components are created once and can be then reused. As such it makes sense to implement SOA first before orchestrating processes.

Above statement however implies that many companies are missing out on efficiency and performance improvements, since BPM is postponed for the sake of SOA, which fails to materialize its benefits!

From a technical perspective it is nicer to get things neatly in place, but for the business this means missing out on the BPM and SOA benefits for years instead of getting real tangible BPM benefits within months.

Tags: , , ,