The complexity of traditional Business Process Management (BPM) platforms has often meant that deployment fails to deliver the value originally anticipated – at least in the short term. In addition to complexity, there are very real obstacles to overcome. This is particularly true in terms of helping employees to see process automation as a way to remove time-consuming manual processes. The danger is that employees may find it difficult to abandon a broken process just because “that is the way it has always been done”. For these reasons, it is essential to build some early quick wins to build confidence and get buy-in.
The following list of best practices has been found to greatly increase the likelihood of success of BPM projects. The key is to start small rather than trying to do too much too soon.
1. Plan Baby Steps
While the ultimate goal is to have everyone in the organization adopt the BPM tool, you need to start off small. It could be a particular function in your organization. It could even be targeted at a specific workflow inside your department. For example, if you are targeting the human resource function, it is smarter to start with the recruitment workflow. Once the recruitment process is at its most efficient from end to end, you can plan to extend those learnings to the payroll and attendance systems. This strategy will let you close the cycle faster and highlight tangible gains to executives.
On the other hand, if you are the executive yourself because you run a small business, start off BPM tools in a particular function of your company. Additionally, have a time-bound roadmap to extend the implementation across all functions one by one.
2. Communicate Well
The biggest hurdle such an implementation faces in most organizations is the ‘why mend something that isn’t broken?’ question. People are hesitant to change their working style because they feel it would only lead to more paperwork without giving any real results. That is why it is important to communicate with your employees and managers. This should not be in the nature of a one-way communication, but more of a candid discussion.
The ideas that get thrown up during such discussions will help you in two ways. First, it gives you a platform to explain the need for a workflow system to those who will actually implement. More importantly, the discussions will help you sharpen the specific lacunae that the new system would need to address. This will ultimately help you in selecting the right tool for your needs.
3. Set up A Core Team
You need a tightly knit small team to be your mascots for the implementation. This team should surely have these three types of people: –
- a couple of senior executives
- a few SMEs (subject matter experts)
- one or two members of the function where this tool would be implemented.
This team of fewer than 10 people should be your brainstorming group in deciding which BPM tools you would use. In turn, this team would also be your weapon in ensuring the implementation gets the complete and enthusiastic participation of the extended team as well. Later, when the tool is implemented, this team would also help to troubleshoot the implementation roadblocks.
4. Spend Money and Time On Trials
When you set out to implement workflow software, you will get lots of options. One of the best ways to select the best process management tools is to insist on actual trials at your workplace instead of looking at endless PowerPoint presentations. This will give you an opportunity to pinpoint glitches in the tool. It also gets the team comfortable with the usage. Many software companies offer free trials, but even if you need to pay for trials, it is not a bad proposition. It can see whether the tool you will use aligns perfectly with the workplace scenario of your organization.
5. Get Feedback from fellow users
Every organization has its own set of challenges. It is also true that every situation that you are facing, or might face in the future, would be likely to have a reflection in a situation that another company had faced earlier. There are a number of good user review websites on the internet. Go through those websites to understand the views of actual users for different business process management software. Try to interact with them to compare specific situations.
The Importance of Buy-In
Most new initiatives at small or large corporates start at the very top. The executives decide that a particular tool needs to be implemented and then coax, cajole, or force the teams below to implement it. The first issue with this approach is that the complete roll-out takes much longer than if the change was embraced by the employees themselves. That is why proponents of BPM advocate a bottom-up approach when implementing a process management software or tool. This allows the coverage to be for much better spread out in a shorter time. This would allow you to aim for a better ROI in a shorter time.
Benefits of a Bottom-Up Approach
When preparing to implement a business process management software in your own company or department, the initial thought has to come from you. But in order to make the transition seamless, it is necessary to encourage the people at the very base of the pyramid to adopt this process. Here are some specific advantages of having a bottom-up approach to the implementation:
- The initial successes of the first few phases of BPM can be used to highlight its benefits to senior management. A top-down approach would mean that the team wouldn’t be so keen to gather tangible positive results.
- The implementation in several pockets simultaneously would permit shared learning and better understanding to take place.
- It would be easier to find advocacy champions among the middle and lower management who would then highlight the advantages and proven benefits to their superiors.
- In case your organization has any manual processes as well, a bottom-up the framework for implementing BPM would make the replacement or modification of those processes much easier.
Armed with these strategies, you should stop putting off the implementation in your organization or department. Follow the steps given above to start off your process integration journey. Once you have successfully implemented your chosen BPM tools into some specific workflows, you can go for the bigger step of integrating all those solutions into one composite whole, so that your whole organization can benefit.
Begin your search for the right BPM tools for your business by looking at reviews and ratings here.
This guest post was written by Elena Haidukova from Comindware, Inc.