Don’t punish me for using your process

ExpensesI just had a 2 and a half hour hole blown in what had started out as a massively productive day. Indeed, I’m so frustrated as I write that I’m going to grab a quick bite and try to squeeze in a run during lunch hour.  Here’s the story and here’s why it matters for BPM.

The story

I was humming along this morning, talking to clients, preparing for meetings, putting together world-class deals.  All was well with the world. Since I’ve done some travel recently, I thought I’d take a twenty minutes to submit my expenses and get my travel account up to date. No biggie – I’ve got a well oiled system for this with a single place where I save receipts, a little quick scanning production line using my iPhone and TurboScan and then entering the expenses into the the 3rd party financial system used by my company.

That’s when the trouble started. I have to submit this through a web browser.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but I literally could not submit the required form using my browser, IE 9 and the latest Java on my PC.  Nor could I make the form work with FireFox, Chrome or on my Macbook Air.

I felt like I was being punished for using this process.

Why this matters with BPM

Employees have to fill out expense reports within a few weeks of incurring expenses. Don’t fill it out, the system catches you, bills don’t get paid, things get escalated. Big problems.

So employees will endure confusing, non-functional interfaces that look like they were designed in the ’90’s and still muddle through (with perhaps a curse or two under the breath) to pay expenses.

With BPM it’s different. A couple of poor experiences like I had today and employees will give up on the BPM system. They’ll take the path of least resistance and just call a co-worker and ask how to do it.

Then the system totally breaks down and it’s back to running things on tribal knowledge   The BPM system gathers dust and the benefits of standardization and continuous improvement are lost. Hours spent by your company’s Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) in workshops capturing, agreeing upon and improving process is extravagantly ignored and allowed to depreciate without use.


This is why I’ve been so thrilled with the launch of TIBCO’s Nimbus Version 9 – it brings BPM into the 21st century with a functional, interactive and even beautiful new user interface that rivals the ease of use we’ve all grown to expect from our consumer applications like Google and Facebook.


Tags: , , ,

Categories: BPM, Continuous Improvement, Process Management

Author:Tom Molyneux

A business process strategist with a focus on real-time event management.

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