Building Your Company's Center for Process Excellence

by Laura Storjohann on Fri, Nov 07, 2008 @ 03:32 PM

From my experience and research, Business Process Management continues to be one of the top priorities for CIOs. As Business Process Management Suites (BPMS) are often enterprise applications, the out-of-pocket expense, time, and resource investments in these applications are significant. Coupled with the fact that a quality and properly implemented BPMS returns significant ROI, cost cutting, and overall improved efficiencies, results in the BPMS having visibility at executive levels. As you further invest in your BPMS, it is important that you work smarter, rather than harder, with your business process initiative (BPI). What strategies can you incorporate for a successful business process initiative?  Some questions you should ask yourself as you continue with your BPI are:

  • What will be your next automated business process? What processes will you implement in the long term?
  • Do you currently have business process initiatives active in numerous countries or departments where there is little to no communication or knowledge sharing?
  • Are you collecting similar information across your processes and/or across your other applications?
  • What are your reporting needs inside and outside your BPI?
  • Is the data you are collecting (including the KPIs) consistent with critical information collected in your other applications?

While there are many IT challenges and concerns with taking any enterprise software application live, such as risk management, change management, business data consistency across applications, etc., you should pay special attention to your BPI goals when developing a broad and deep business process library. 

 BPI Goals

It is these types of concerns that merit considering building your own Center for Process Excellence.  A Center for Process Excellence is a library of reusable standards, methodologies, and techniques surrounding business process development to not only ensure continued success with your BPI, but also to minimize the time and effort needed to achieve those successes. Leading BPM market analysts, such as Gartner and Forrester, recognize this initiative as one that companies growing with business process management initiatives should consider.  For example:

  • Gartner describes a Business Process Competency Center (BPCC) focus as:  "In the beginning, the BPCC focuses on the services needed to guide projects. Early projects are generally discrete but need to build off common modeling techniques, and so forth.  As the organization adopts the process view, the BPCC supports the shift from the single project view to managing programs that involve process, organization and technology projects, which need to be tightly integrated."
  • Forrester's states the following in the publication "The EA View: BPM Has Become Mainstream":  "almost half (49 percent) of the enterprises that reported clear and measurable benefits from their BPM efforts had a BPM COE [Center of Excellence] in place; only 10 percent of the group reporting mixed results had a BPM COE in place."

Consider the following example of costs (both direct and indirect) associated with a company's BPI.  As seen below, even if the initial BPM Software cost is not included as part of the overall cost of automating your first business process, when you implement a strategic plan of process automation as part of your Center of Process Excellence, each new process you automate will cost you less.

cost of process automation decreases with each process

With the advantages of a Center of Process Excellence in mind, your next questions might be:  What if I do not have a person or a team to lead this initiative currently?  What can I do today to start my own Center for Process Excellence? 

If it is the case that you do not have the budget and/or resources to start this initiative in your own company, you should consider working with Ultimus Professional Services to at least assist you in documenting your business processes. With your processes documented, you will be able to take a step back from the day-to-day management of your processes and gain a broader understanding of exactly what your processes are doing today.  Moreover, Ultimus Professional Services can help you to understand what impact your future plans have on your everyday IT management and how to be more efficient with your next business process automation effort. With this information documented and understood, your company can set a foundation to start your own Center of Process Excellence.

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This post was written by Laura Storjohann