Mitigating BPM Disruption From Process Expert Turnover

by MK Strupe on Wed, Dec 03, 2008 @ 09:43 AM

It happens to all companies, valued employees leave the company and panic sets in.  The impact of people leaving touches every aspect of your business:  customer knowledge, IT expertise, software application usage, ability to handle emergency situations, etc. 

This same concern also relates to your BPM initiative.  To ensure the value in your BPMS investment is preserved when your Process Experts leave the company (and I say "when", as it will happen eventually), you need to institute process knowledge recording and process knowledge transfer best practices.  Ironically, one of the reasons why you may have chosen to automate your processes is to minimize the dependence on your individual contributors from the manual reliance of ensuring process efficiency.  But without instituting some vital best practices relating to your BPMS, it is the key person / persons in your BPM Center of Excellence team whom you will miss dearly.  Ask yourself these questions today to determine how well your BPMS implementation can handle personnel change:

Are your processes documented?  Meaning, do you have external sources of documentation outside of the BPMS (Word or PDF format) which explain the business process from a high level?  It is important here to not rely on your old process templates or models that existed BEFORE your process automation initiatives began.  You may be very surprised to see the differences between your original model and your automated model.

Do you have the process construction and architecture documented (rules, business level data elements, process participants, forms, etc)?  Having a full report on the details behind each of the steps in your automated process is crucial when your new process architect needs to plan and make revisions to the process.

Who are your designated process experts for each of your processes?  These identified process experts could also be described as process champions, the people who know the business reasons behind the processes themselves.  Do you have their insights and needs of the business process recorded?  If you do not, and these people leave your company, over time, you may find yourself asking what the real intent (from a business perspective) does this process really serve.

Who is your Ultimus process administrator (the person who maintains your BPM Server and BPM Databases)?  Do you have more than one person?  You should for the obvious reasons!
As you can see, while process automation is an endeavor to remove people from the day-to-day tasks of driving process effectiveness for your company, there are still vital role players that ensure the overall success of your BPMS.  Process documentation does not end when your process automation efforts fact, without a routine and regular practice of documenting your processes, their architecture, and the associated process experts, you risk facing failure tomorrow after you just today recognized all of the benefits a quality BPMS can provide


Chris Adams
VP Product Marketing and Management

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This post was written by MK Strupe