In previous posts, we spoke of Workflows and discussed some simple examples of how real-world workflows (even small ones) can have a huge impact on productivity, time, and your bottom line. In this post, we’re going to discuss Business Process Management (BPM) and how to leverage solid BPM practices, in addition to your workflows, to obtain the following business benefits:
- Reduce time spent on repetitive tasks.
- Reduce costs associated with repetitive tasks.
- Improve accuracy of repetitive work.
- Improve individual productivity.
- Facilitate improvement, frequently and consistently, with predictable results.
In my opinion, Business Process Management is a “culture”. It’s about the way you design, implement, use, and improve business processes within the organization. Your entire organization has to see the value with, and get on board with a new way of working. You need to set policies and standard operating procedures that determine how your business will develop work, as well as the way work actually gets done. Most importantly, you need to manage those processes and strive to systematically, and consistently improve upon those processes. You’ve heard companies, like Microsoft, speak of “Agile Businesses”? Well, these are the traits of an Agile business.
|Michael Gerber discusses the importants of creating standardized procedures that are so easy, anyone can follow them. Thus, you get consistent, predictable results – no matter who is working in your business.|
How do we become “Agile”?
In business, “Agility” is the ability to make positive changes efficiently, with calculated, isolated movements that take advantage of your company’s coordination, skills, strength, and culture. If your business is “light on its feet”, you can move quickly when market demands change. You can be the first to meet such demands (like in increase in volumes, decrease in headcount, or keeping production up when supplies are down).
Make your business dance the “Jig”
Wikipedia defines Jig in the following way:
In woodworking, metalworking, and mechanical engineering, a jig is a type of tool used to control the location and/or motion of another tool. A jig’s primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products.
Jigs or templates have been known long before the industrial age. There are many types of jigs, and each one is custom-tailored to do a specific job. Many jigs are created because there is a necessity to do so by the tradesmen. Some are to increase productivity, to do repetitious activities and to do a job more precisely. Because jig design is fundamentally based on logic, similar jigs used in different times and places may have been created independently.
Think of Business Process Management (and your approach to it) as a “Jig”, in that it controls the motion of another tool (a workflow or multiple workflows). At times, BPM solutions use multiple workflows in succession to carry out a set of repetitive tasks that, together, produce a common end result.
Each workflow is created to do a specific, repetitive task. Each workflow is also designed to perform that repetitive task more quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Because the business processes are based on logic (as described in a previous post), similar workflows used in different times and places may have been created independently.
Business Process Management is the “Art” of bringing them all together, in the right order, such that the outcome is dramatically improved over the previous method of production. This dramatic improvement, and the process of re-arranging the solution components to attain the right combination, is a great example of “agility”.
That said, our next post will discuss how to accomplish Agility by leveraging SharePoint, Workflows, and BPM.