Seven deadly sins of BPM — 2) Working in process silos

The following is a continuation of Seven deadly sins of BPM — 1) Taking the word management in vain

Verily I say unto you that work shall be end-to-end lest ye be functionally silo’d.

In reality, processes start and end in very different places in the enterprise, often spanning multiple functional areas. There is a risk therefore that process improvement efforts are too narrowly silo’d.  The effect: Different departments fixing just their part of a larger process and end users unaware of what lies ‘just over the fence’.

It’s difficult to influence what happens either upstream or downstream from one functional area’s part.  And yet improvement of the full end-to-end flow requires collaboration along the full path.  The failure to achieve such consensus could result in worsened performance, as a fix in one silo could be a retrograde step for another.

Duplication danger

A similar challenge is that different specialist projects spring up all the time that duplicate each other’s process discovery efforts because the organization lacks a central repository for process knowledge.  Take a typical ERP or CRM project as a good example.  A team of consultants from a system integrator create a bunch of Visio diagrams.  Their use is temporary.  Once the system has gone live or the upgrade is complete – typically the content sits in a forgotten network folder and is never referred to again.  Five years on – time for an upgrade.  The content – if found – is regarded with suspicion.  It’s out of date.  The next SI (often a different company, but certainly different resources) does exactly the same – recreating a bunch of content that has little or no residual value.

Meanwhile, there are all sorts of other projects going on, all of whom need to understand and improve process. For example: Compliance, Quality, Risk Management, Shared Services, Outsourcing, Lean, Six Sigma, Merger / Acquisition…perhaps others as well.

Centralized process

It is an unfortunate fact that in a typical business, few of these critical projects share a common source of process truth. Just enough data is collected and used to make each effort successful.  Just imagine how much duplicated effort and waste could be eliminated when all of these projects started off with a single source of process truth…a repository of process knowledge that was commonly understood and trusted as up-to-date.  It not only speeds up progress for each project, it enables new ways to demonstrate or enable:

  • Regulatory compliance (such as FDA, EPA, SOx)
  • Compliance to quality standards (such as ISO, TCF)
  • Contractual conformity
  • Employee training and task performance support
  • Performance Management where scorecards and metrics are tied to relevant processes activities
  • Customer journeys
  • Alignment to frameworks (SCOR, APQC’s PCF), and more.

Moving process management efforts from multiple silos to a shared enterprise asset creates the opportunity for huge efficiency gains, and the capability to start leveraging that asset far more powerfully for all manner of business initiatives.

Up next: Seven deadly sins of BPM — 3) Reinventing the wheel

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Categories: The 7 Deadly Sins, Workplace Reality

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Seven deadly sins of BPM – 1) Taking the word ‘management’ in vain | BPM For Real - November 8, 2011

    […] BPM For Real A site about the realities of business process management Skip to content HomeAbout BPM for RealLatest posts ← Does adaptive BPM trump traditional BPM? Seven deadly sins of BPM — 2) Working in process silos → […]

  2. Seven deadly sins of BPM — 3) Reinventing the wheel | BPM For Real - November 10, 2011

    […] BPM For Real A site about the realities of business process management Skip to content HomeAbout BPM for RealLatest posts ← Seven deadly sins of BPM — 2) Working in process silos […]

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