How to Implement Business Process Management

Key takeaways

After reading this article you should have a good understanding of the following points:

  • How to define your business objectives
  • How to identify your business processes
  • How to implement and measure a business process management strategy

Define the business objectives that are driving your business process management strategy

Before you begin a business process management (BPM) initiative, it’s critical to know where you’re going. That’s why the first step in implementing an effective BPM strategy is to review your business objectives. This will help prevent misguided priorities and focus your efforts on the processes that will best support your goals.


To create a clear picture of your company’s business objectives, gather all the key stakeholders together to talk through where you’d like to be in the next few years—and what steps need to happen to get there. It can also help to conduct an audit across every department in your organisation, which will give you a strong baseline understanding of how each department operates.


Once you’ve defined these objectives, identify which processes will have the biggest impact on reaching them. You may discover that what worked for one area of your organisation doesn’t work for another—so use this time for research and data collection before setting anything in stone.

Two people discussing planning a process map on sheets of paper
Define the business objectives that are driving your business process management strategy

Identify your organisation's most critical business processes

Imagine the business process management journey as a hike up to a mountain peak. What you’ll need for that trek is a map, and this high-level plan will help you identify which processes are most important to your organisation.

 

The first step is to start with the processes that provide the most value for your company; in other words, those that directly impact your customer or client. Your goal here is not to look at every single process within your organisation—that would be overwhelming—but rather, to focus on mapping out the most relevant and important processes. In addition, try to identify what role they play in reaching key goals within your organisation.

Take a look at how your organisation is currently managing its processes

  • Talk to the stakeholders and find out how they currently manage their processes.

 

  • Use this information to create a simple process map that shows each step in the process, who’s involved in it, and when they’re supposed to do it.

 

  • Use a swim lane diagram to see where the handoffs occur in the current process, and whether there are any steps that might be missed or done out of order.

 

  • If you have time and resources, talk with stakeholders at other locations within your organisation to get a feel for what’s happening outside of your department or team (if you don’t work inside a department or team).

Develop a comprehensive plan

A thorough process analysis—which can be conducted by either team members or an external consultant—is necessary to understand the current state of your processes. Your analysis should include a map of both manual and automated tasks, timelines for each task, the tools that are used throughout the process, and how well these tools meet the needs of employees. A gap analysis may be useful at this stage to determine where changes need to be made.

 

At Agility System in order to identify the specific business processes within a company our experienced business analysts perform a gap analysis exercise known as a Discovery Exercise which is our proven methodology to provide an overall scope of deliverables in addition to revealing the following:

 

  • Providing a benchmark to identify duplication of documents
  • Eliminating redundancy due to changes in working practice
  • Uncovering gaps where document development is required
  • Creating ‘Ownership Links’ between disciplines and documents
Positive crew of male and female multiracial colleagues enjoying productive cooperation looking at planning
A thorough process analysis—which can be conducted by either team members or an external consultant—is necessary to understand the current state of your processes.

Determine how you want to measure the success of this new process management initiative

To improve employee-driven effectiveness and consistency, it’s important to determine how you want to measure your progress. This step may be straightforward if you’re trying to drive change within a small team or department, but if the process management initiative is company-wide, consider starting with a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you define your metrics and benchmarks.

 

This can be as simple as using a balanced scorecard approach—determining what success looks like for your organisation, then using metrics and KPIs to show progress towards reaching those goals. Seeing specific ways in which this initiative has helped the company can also help identify areas for improvement. Plus it enables you to show stakeholders the value of this business process management project—and justify its costs.

Decide who will be responsible for leading the effort

In your organisation, this person should be someone with a strong knowledge of the business and its processes. They should also be a good communicator, and be able to get along with everyone who will be involved in implementing the new solution. They’ll need to have the ability to organise and plan ahead, as well as making decisions and taking charge.

Enlist the support and commitment of senior management

If you’re going to be successful in implementing a business process management system, you’ll need to enlist the support and commitment of senior company executives. This means that everyone needs to buy into the initiative and understand exactly what their role is in that initiative.

 

You will need your senior managers and leaders from different areas of the organisation to explain how they see their own responsibilities changing, what actions are needed, and how they want to move forward.

 

By following this guideline, you can ensure that all stakeholders are involved in your business process management program while keeping it clear who is accountable for each action and item along the way.

Keep leadership informed about progress and issues

It’s important to keep management informed of progress, especially if things are not going well. If you have a major issue or problem in the process, it is important that leadership be made aware. They may be able to help. Once you have a solution or a plan, they may provide valuable feedback and input on the situation.

Use a phased approach to implementing your new process management strategy

Phased implementation allows you to take on one part at a time, which can ease the burden of managing such a big project and allow for easier collaboration. Perhaps you want to start with your internal processes first, since you know those best, and then move on to working out the kinks in your supply chain once you have a process management strategy in place that works for your company.


Keep in mind that phased implementation could get drawn out if the scope of each phase is too large or if it continues indefinitely without any clear goals or direction. Keeping stakeholders engaged during this time can be challenging as well. Stakeholders will likely lose interest if they don’t see progress being made so it’s important to communicate with them regularly and keep them updated.

Effective implementation is key to successful BPM

If you’re looking to implement a business process in your company, understand that it’s going to take time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You want to dictate the pace so you can make sure the project moves smoothly and efficiently from start to finish without any unexpected bumps along the way.


To ensure your BPM implementation works, follow these steps:

 

  • Start with executive buy-in. If your boss doesn’t get what’s going on and why, you won’t be able to move forward in an organised fashion. By drawing up an executive summary of the BPM project before it begins and making them aware of how their role will change as a result of what you’re doing, you’ll be able learn from their feedback and act accordingly

 

  • Understand the current state. Before implementing processes or any other system change, first analyse what is currently happening within your company as it stands today and ask yourself if there are ways that can be better at doing things so that you can begin right where you are now—or perhaps even look at improving in new areas by shifting responsibilities or adopting new technology or software tools for ease of use (and cost). This assessment will give your team insight into exactly how improvements should be made for maximum effectiveness during implementation, as well as moving forward after it’s wrapped up.

 

  • Use a phased approach. As with anything else, there needs to be realistic expectations about how far things will go while they occur in phases so that everyone involved knows what they have to work towards achieving each step of the way—and also know that they’ll agree on when everything has been completed correctly so that everyone knows where they stand. Also remember: don’t let this process drag out indefinitely past its intended time frame—everyone involved needs clear goals so they have something concrete to aim for regardless of what may happen along the way because everyone deserves closure (on-time delivery) once complete results start rolling in.

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Peter Shields
Peter Shields

With extensive experience of Quality Management, Risk & Compliance in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence industries since 1979, Peter formed BusinessPort in 1996 to specialise in Process-based Management Systems delivering both Performance and Compliance.

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