How to drive business process excellence

Dave Bhattacharya

Dave Bhattacharya

To successfully deliver on business goals, today’s corporations need to have a management practice that focuses on the governance of key business processes. In turn, this enables the business to provide goods and services to its customers more efficiently and effectively, while at the same time improving business operations. Though conceptually this forms a part of standard management practice, very few companies have formally embraced business process management (BPM) and committed to driving business process excellence and process improvement. And without understanding how your company’s key processes are performing, it becomes extremely difficult to identify where resources need to be deployed to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Technology can’t fix everything

Over the years, I’ve worked with many companies ranging from small businesses to multi-billion dollar global entities that struggle to understand, manage, and optimize their business processes. Many companies think that they’re managing their business processes very well, neglecting to see the need for adopting any formal process improvement techniques. Leaders of these companies often firmly believe that they’ve already figured out solutions to major operational issues and have assigned resources dedicated to implementing those solutions. Most interestingly, these executives almost always believe that the solution to their biggest business problem is automating the company’s processes and deploying the latest and hottest application out in the marketplace.

Most of these projects (often costly technology implementations) are handed off to a project manager with the assumption that once the new technology is deployed, the operational issues will be resolved. But after spending a significant amount of time and resources on the implementation, most organizations find themselves back at square one, stuck with the same issues and very little improvement—if any. That’s because without an upfront assessment of the company’s processes and understanding of potential pitfalls, the newly implemented application does very little to reduce the business’s pains. In fact, it tends to do the opposite, frustrating those employees forced to adopt the new technology without understanding its benefits.

The reality is that most of these companies have never mapped their processes and don’t have an understanding of how their key business processes are performing, or what the main failure modes are. In some cases, these “gut-feel” solutions may turn out to be the right ones, but more typically, the solution to the business problem is not correctly identified due to lack of a structured process management and measurement system.

Applying the right levers for success

The good news is that organizations can increase the success rate of their initiatives by applying 8 key BPM levers, which can be applied independently or together. I’ll be explaining each of these levers and offering tips on how they can be applied in this blog series. Check back for my next post, where I’ll cover the first key lever: Recognize the need to focus on process management and process improvement.

About Dave Bhattacharya
DAVE BHATTACHARYA is a Lean Six Sigma MBB and is a seasoned process improvement expert and part of Slalom’s Business Process Excellence (BPE) Practice. Dave has experience working in multiple countries globally (including India, US and Iraq) and has led deployment of successful process improvement programs in multiple global organizations . Dave's expertise comes from his combination of industry leadership (as Director of Continuous Improvement) and consulting experience combined with his interest in understanding trends in the process improvement area and writing about them - in addition to published articles, he is also the lead author of the book ‘Continuous Improvement Strategy – A Business Leader’s Guide to Selecting, Deploying and Sustaining a Successful Continuous Improvement Program’ . He has worked in multiple industries both as a leader and as a consultant including pulp & paper, IT systems availability and disaster recovery, wireless, telecommunications, public transport, oil and gas, mining, hospitality, cable television and BPO sectors.

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