23/07/15

Avoiding BPM Pitfalls in Today’s World

How to avoid the most common BPM pitfalls

Consumers want more digital buying experiences, immediate satisfaction, and instant communication. How do insurance providers keep up with the ever-changing demands of the cyber marketplace and their customers? Ensuring that your business processes are tuned up and ready to take on this fast-paced, social-media and device driven world is certainly the place to start, and BPM or Business Process Management is still as relevant to running your insurance operation at peak level as it ever was. However there are things to be aware of before you head down the BPM path.

We have developed a list of some common pitfalls to be aware of before launching into a business process redesign or optimization project.

1. Jumping the Gun on Buying BPM Software

Many organizations shortchange themselves by purchasing so-called “one size fits all” software solutions, before understanding the business problem(s) or inefficiencies they need to solve. Unfortunately, this is fairly common and these organizations end up implementing costly BPM software only to find that it doesn’t provide the results they anticipated after spending a lot of time, money, and resources.

You can avoid this by determining what you’re trying to achieve before you choose a solution. Prioritize the obstacles you need to overcome by asking yourself a few simple questions. Do you need to address:

Processing speed?

Costs?

Competitive positioning?

Outdated technology?

All or some of the above?

Once you have your business context and a solid set of goals that align with your organization’s strategy, you can determine the most effective way to move forward, which could include assessing then purchasing a software solution.

2. Focusing Exclusively on What Should Be Versus What Is

Business process optimization, in its simplest form, is determining how to create as straight a line as possible between point A and point B.

avoiding bpm pitfalls graph

It’s beneficial to really look at your current state process(es) first to identify and define the root cause of the problems you’re business unit needs to solve, or the pieces of the process you need to improve or streamline. For example, if you’ve identified processing speed as a result of pitfall #1 analysis, what are the associated current state processes that are at the root of that particular challenge? Break it down by dissecting your current state to get to the cause or causes. Is it that you have multiple unnecessary manual handoffs, adding extra processing time that you can eliminate?

If you do this, you will also have your “measurement stick” for gauging your success, which you’ve defined and implemented your future state. Example: If we look at the above diagram, there are four manual handoffs illustrated in the current state version of the process. How many resources are involved and how long do they take? These kinds of considerations should be captured so that the future state model eliminates un-needed handoffs, then resource/time saving efficiencies can be tracked and accounted for.

3. Failing to Include Those Who Touch the Process

Many organizations make this mistake in their process design initiatives right from the get-go: they neglect to include those who are an integral part of executing the current state of the process to be redesigned. The process practitioners are the ones in ‘the trenches’ who have a hands-on perspective and can articulate whether things are being managed well or breaking down in the current state. Therefore they have the best ideas for where improvement are needed. Delegating and including the right people in a BPM-related project will inspire and motivate them to come up with a workable process design, because they are a part of the effort and will ultimately have a stake in its success. Engaging process practitioners will also promote end-user adoption of any new process.

4. Getting Sidetracked by the Pressure to Digitize

Some might ask, “Is BPM still relevant in this fast-tracking world of technology and mobilization, and will it continue to be?” BPM is and will continue to be very relevant. It is probably the most relevant. Without a process, a device is just a device; a gadget is just a gadget. As quoted in a recent LinkedIn post “…you can get your new Internet of Things business model wrong if you think that all you need to do is connect M2M (“machine-to-machine”) edge devices to decision makers without providing any business value-add in the middle.”[1]

Conclusion

Stay focused. Concentrate on achieving sustainable and scaleable business processes before you and your team venture into digitizing and modernizing.  Establishing a sustainable, scaleable process means your organization will be able to look to incorporating digital solutions such as eSignature, or automatic product updates or policy renewal alerts to your customers.

Use this list of common pitfalls to avoid mistakes that can set you back before you even get going. Being aware of and understanding the risks will exponentially increase your chance for success, which is the first step to avoiding them completely.


[1] John Morris. Business is the Only “Thing” for IoT Success. (post on linkedin.com, 10/30/2014)