I’ve argued previously that sustainable success in complex global enterprises depends upon effective collaboration, and that process is the language that best enables it. I’ve also argued that BPMN is out of the running as a universal business language, and proposed three questions we should ask in assessing alternatives.
The right language is vitally necessary but it’s not sufficient. Traditionally, we say it needs to be supported by a tool. I want to make the case here that the real value comes when it is supported a process management platform.
Tool, platform – what’s the difference?
Here’s ten ways we can know an enterprise process management platform when we see one:
- It is the single source of truth. It goes beyond defining what we do and how we do it. It defines as well roles, responsibilities and accountability.
- It integrates processes with documents, systems, metrics and training to deliver content that is personalised, intuitive and valuable to every desktop and mobile device.
- It makes it easy for users to feed back improvement ideas to process owners and stakeholders, to get engaged in continuous improvement.
- It recognizes the need for variants and seamlessly manages them behind the scenes. It allows global processes to be designed and managed in English (for instance) but displayed to the user in their chosen language. It manages the ongoing optimization of the variants to a global process necessary to meet local requirements.
- It is the framework for performance management. It integrates processes with metrics and analytics. It overlays processes with metadata, hidden to most users, with analytical features and reporting that allow process stakeholders and Op Ex and Lean Sigma teams to collaborate on change. It underpins every CxO dashboard.
- It is the framework for change management. Recognizing that almost every proposed change has ripples, with implications for other groups across and outside of the enterprise, all business change is managed through it.
- It bridges the IT:Business divide. It engages business and IT in a rich ongoing dialogue.
- It is the enterprise QMS. It enables risks, controls and compliance to be embedded and managed within the end-to-end operational processes.
- It provides all this within one unified governance framework that is robust enough to meet every compliance requirement yet also automated and intuitive enough to be easy to use.
- It is a chameleon. It can be stand-alone, or it can invisibly and intelligently integrate with other collaboration and social platforms, and any other systems, as required.
An enterprise BPM platform of this kind provides direct line of sight between strategy and reality. It links the operating model directly with the operational processes. It reduces the risk in every business transformation, from acquisition integration to major IT programmes. It embeds a culture of continuous innovation and sustainable improvement. And the Chief Risk Officer sleeps easier at night.
The stakes are high. This is an enormously valuable prize. There’s a race on to deliver it. Exciting times.
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