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  • 1. Ignite the Spark! How to Stop Talking and Start quot;Doingquot; BPM Today Overview Getting started on any project isn’t easy, especially if it’s new to you: how many times have you procrastinated on a home renovation project because you didn’t have the right tools, or weren’t quite sure how to get started? Business Process Management (BPM) projects are no different, but like that home renovation, it’s not that hard to get started with something simple that still has a major impact. In this paper, we’ll look at the barriers to getting started with BPM, and how to break through those barriers to start your BPM project sooner. The intended audience includes: • Business owners or analysts who are interested in deploying a process application, but are waiting for IT to approve the tools to get started, gather requirements © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. or clear their project backlog. www.kemsleydesign.com www.column2.com • IT professionals or strategists who already know that Page 1 of 8 BPM technologies can do so much more than workflow and are itching to provide organizational value but can’t convince the business of success, gather usable requirements, or find an owner and budget.
  • 2. Don’t Wait for IT A main barrier to getting started with BPM is that the business area is waiting for the IT department to kick things off and provide them with both the tools and the expertise. Since BPM is such a business-focused endeavour, that’s unlikely to happen without a strong push from the business side. The business knows the business processes, but more importantly, the business lives with the pain points within those processes every day. Who better, then, to start looking at how BPM can address those pain points? It’s time to put the “business” back in “BPM”, and drive the process modeling efforts from the business side of the organization. The key contribution that the business area can make to get started on a BPM project is to start modeling those processes, but it’s important to use a process modeling tool that provides structure, helps create best practices in modeling, enforces the use of standards such as the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), and provides process simulation and other analysis functionality. Don’t wait for IT to provide you with the right tool, just find a good one and start © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. modeling – the benefits of early modeling will far outweigh www.kemsleydesign.com www.column2.com any costs to convert to a new modeling tool later on. Page 2 of 8 It’s important to recognize that process modeling, even when done in the business area, still requires analysis skills and some lightweight technology knowledge. Identifying the right
  • 3. business people to do the job is critical to creating an accurate model of your business. No Budget? No Problem! A second common barrier to getting started is the lack of high-level commitment – and therefore lack of a budget – to take on a BPM initiative. This often occurs when upper management isn’t convinced of the value of BPM, or hasn’t even heard of BPM. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to get started, however: if you can spare the time of the business people to do the modeling, there are a number of inexpensive downloadable and software-as-a-service process modeling tools that don’t require IT’s involvement to get started. For example, Savvion’s Process Modeler can be downloaded and installed on your desktop at no cost (visit www.savvion.com/startnow), yet provides an easy-to-use process modeling environment that includes process simulation and other analysis tools. This new generation of inexpensive process modeling tools has a low learning curve to allow you to get started quickly without external training or consulting, yet provide the © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. www.kemsleydesign.com structure and support that you need to create best practices www.column2.com in modeling. Furthermore, if used in conjunction with that Page 3 of 8 vendor’s BPM suite, you will have already created the specification for the working application that will be deployed into production. This helps avoid any “lost in translation” issues – like those that occur when using a standalone
  • 4. diagramming tool like Visio – where the requirements have to be interpreted before design time. Keep It Simple The third main barrier to getting started with BPM projects is getting stuck in “analysis paralysis”, trying to figure out which business processes to examine, and to what depth. It’s natural to want to tackle all of your problem processes simultaneously, but that’s not realistic, especially if you’re trying to do this on a shoestring budget and in a short timeframe. The key here is to select a high-value process where you can expect to see a positive return on investment (ROI) from BPM, but carve out a manageable piece of it for your initial efforts. Pick a real customer-facing process, not an internal administrative process: success with such a process is what’s going to capture the executive-level attention that you need to get the budget and sponsorship for the implementation phases of the project. These solutions can be built and deployed rapidly, in as little as 90 days, so a quick win can help build momentum for future BPM projects down the line. It’s also important to control scope creep, a major cause of © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. www.kemsleydesign.com analysis paralysis: learn to say “no” when someone wants to www.column2.com add in just one more part of the overall business process to Page 4 of 8 your first modeling project. Many people are concerned that they’re only going to get one shot at BPM, and have to do it all at once, but today’s agile BPM tools allow business processes to be extended and modified easily. You don’t need
  • 5. to do it all at once when you have the right tools for incremental process improvement. Show that first success, then build on it. Remember, the key is to select a subset of your business process where you can demonstrate business value from BPM, not to solve everyone’s process problems in the first implementation. That will come in time once you build a repeatable process improvement engine. Benefits of Process Modeling Embarking on a process modeling project can provide a number of benefits, even before the processes are implemented in a BPM system: • Introspection breeds change. The very act of examining your business processes will inspire new thinking about how they can be improved; you’ll almost certainly find immediate improvements that can be made to the manual processes, as well as modifications that can be enabled by process automation. You cannot hope to improve a process unless you articulate it first and see what you’re dealing with. © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. www.kemsleydesign.com • Involvement reduces resistance to change. By driving www.column2.com the process modeling efforts from the business side, Page 5 of 8 the business tends to take ownership of the new processes, and more readily embrace the changes that will occur when the processes are automated. Opening up the early process discovery and modeling phases to
  • 6. anyone who wants to contribute, rather than use a small, predefined team– a social networking technique called “crowdsourcing” – further encourages ownership across the organization, as well as capturing knowledge about the business processes that is buried in those individuals’ daily routines. • Early exposure to process modeling tools demystifies BPM tools and techniques, making it less threatening to the business people whose day-to-day operations will be most affected by BPM. We Have a Process Model – Now What? You’ve followed the above advice, grabbed a free process modeling tool and modeled your first business process, but that’s not the end of the road. First and foremost, process models are used as input to ROI calculations in order to create a business case for a full BPM implementation. You’ll be able to highlight improvements to the process that will occur when the process is automated, and also demonstrate how management will have greater visibility into the business processes. This solves key common business challenges: knowing where a deal is in the © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. www.kemsleydesign.com closure cycle, where a customer’s order is during the www.column2.com fulfillment process, or understanding where a critical new Page 6 of 8 customer might be stuck in the account set-up process. Furthermore, you’ll be able to show how a high level of participation from the business side fosters ownership, and
  • 7. how the new generation of process modeling tools allows for greater process agility. You can also use the process models to get IT onside with the project: if the business side is taking responsibility for creating and maintaining the process models, there’s less work for them, better mutual understanding of requirements due to speaking a common language, and a shorter time to getting your first process up and running. Getting from a process model to a working prototype will take some work, however. First, your modeling tool must integrate with a process execution environment if the business side is going to maintain control over the process models on an ongoing basis – this just doesn’t work if you have a one-time- only export from your modeling environment to the execution environment. Secondly, business and IT will have to work together to attach the correct services in the organization’s service-oriented architecture (SOA) layer at certain points in the business process. The key to implementation success, like modeling success, is to keep it simple: keep customization of the system to a minimum, and concentrate on getting something simple working within 90 days. However, don’t forget essential tools like analytics – © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. dashboards, reports and simulation – since they provide www.kemsleydesign.com visibility into the process and a springboard for process www.column2.com optimization. Page 7 of 8
  • 8. Summary In this paper, we’ve covered some of the main barriers to getting started with BPM, and some ways to overcome these barriers. The solutions range from encouraging business- driven process modeling, to using low-cost yet fully- functional modeling tools, to selecting a high-value yet well- bounded process to get kicked off at process modeling. We saw that just the act of business process modeling can yield its own benefits, and that heavy involvement of business people demystifies the technology and reduces resistance to process innovation. Lastly, we looked at some of the steps necessary to move from process modeling to a working prototype. Now it’s up to you: download that process modeler and get started! About the Author Sandy Kemsley is an independent analyst, systems architect and © 2007 Kemsley Design Ltd. blogger specializing in business process management. She www.kemsleydesign.com performs engagements for both end-user organizations and BPM www.column2.com vendors across North America, and writes the popular “Column 2” blog at www.column2.com. She also creates and delivers BPM and Page 8 of 8 related training courses. This white paper is sponsored by Savvion www.savvion.com