In many of my classes and lectures I am often asked who is responsible for a Business Process Management (BPM) project. Who should be leading the effort and own the responsibility of it all? While I could easily say it is this group or that, the truth is that BPM is a team effort and each member of the team has certain responsibilities and expectations. In some cases, I have seen IT drive these projects and from a technical perspective, that is not a bad thing as the user community should not be held responsible to install and maintain these tools; that is part of the IT infrastructure and the role of IT. Likewise, IT should not be dictating how the business organization, sales as an example, operates and conducts business; that is up those who lead the sales department. Each entity of the enterprise has a part and role to play.
In addition, since we used sales as the example, these may not be the only organizations to be involved in a BPM project for sales. When you step away and look at the overall process, you may find that the impact reaches beyond sales into finance, manufacturing, shipping and human resources. When a sales person is successful and sells product, finance is involved for billing, manufacturing to ensure product availability, shipping to get it to the client and human resources to pay out any commission owed the sales person. The key factor being that the end of one process is the beginning of the next and what we do here will have an impact on another department. The question becomes one of what type of impact? So in this scenario, it may be reasonable to include members of those departments on the project team to provide insight as to how the project will change how they interact with sales.
In my view, BPM is a team sport and should be viewed as such, not done in isolation. These projects should be driven with purpose to meet a business need as presented by the business organization and supported by IT. Once in place, it is up to the department heads to determine how process is managed or changed, using the tools provided and IT to provide the support and maintenance to keep it all running. Many of the products available today are moving toward greater degrees of usability by the user rather than requiring IT to make changes. The concept is simple, place the ability to make change in the hands of those who make the business decisions and enable them to be flexible and agile in moving the business forward. In order to achieve this goal, it has to be done as a team.
What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? What is on your mind? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.
Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM
You can meet me September 13 at the Document Strategy Forum in Chicago
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