Intentional Evolution: Why BPM is the New Key to Survival

Anthony Lee, CEO, Rulesware LLC
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Anthony Lee, CEO, Rulesware LLC

Game-changing shifts are occurring with astonishing frequency in today's global markets, and the ability to quickly and intentionally adapt to these shifts is a key to survival for today's businesses. Evolution is required in business, just as it is in nature. But whereas in nature, evolution is incremental and often painstakingly slow, evolution in business must happen quickly. True evolution takes more than reactive speed, however. It requires thoughtful analysis and intentional design. I believe Business Process Management is the best way to design the evolution of your business.

Business Process Management arms companies with a systematic approach to identifying, analyzing and optimizing business processes. Better yet, when companies in process-dependent industries like healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing, crack open the lid on their business processes, they must—and do—open up critical dialogues within executive teams about precisely how they wish to change and evolve organizationally, often resulting in unexpected clarity and understanding.

Adapt or Die–With Crystal Clear Intention

If we look to the natural world, we can see that the environment often disrupts the playing field, so that a species’ ability to adapt to that change is what determines whether that species will falter or thrive. In nature, this can take generations. Natural evolution is slow and incremental.

 ​I believe Business Process Management is the best way to design the evolution of your business 

In key business sectors such as healthcare, financial services and manufacturing, the majority of incremental changes that businesses implement are not enough to ensure survival, much less evolution. Companies that rely on slow and steady evolution of their business models and processes tend to flounder. Companies that hold onto old habits and inefficient processes will fail. They simply can’t keep up.

Instead they need a thoughtful, intentional and rapid move away from old habits and inefficient processes.

A growing number of companies in process-dependent industries are electing to not only keep pace, but to achieve competitive advantages and growth, by evolving their key systems using BPM.

Finding Opportunity beneath the Pressing Problem

Some organizations turn to BPM to solve a pressing, process-related problem. This is, of course, something that BPM can readily address, and that BPM practitioners take on daily. But from an evolutionary perspective, it’s my contention that BPM can help organizations go much further, and truly help them to envision and design their own growth.

One of Rulesware’s health industry clients, for example, recently sought to automate a particular business process that they had always handled manually (with spreadsheets and emails). The client hoped that the implementation of a BPM solution would solve their urgent problem, which had resulted in a backlog of work, and would allow them to catch up and serve their clients more efficiently.

We knew immediately that BPM could solve their problem. We also knew that BPM could help them evolve. Sure enough, during the course of analyzing our client’s pressing problem, it became clear that there was an opportunity to not just fix the problem for current customers, but to create a system that would enable the company to scale its business substantially—so that it could compete on a level that the company hadn’t previously considered.

They implemented the BPM solution and are now growing by design—with a new understanding of precisely what it takes to do so.

Investing in Thought and Shared Understanding

Companies often look to BPM to help them improve efficiency. A leading provider of diagnostic testing services in the U.S., to use another recent example, approached us to help them to better manage their test data: one of the company’s most valuable assets.

The company had invested significantly in producing that critical data—but they simply hadn’t created an efficient and reliable way to transfer that data to the right people in the organization (again, they were doing this manually), resulting in lost information and failure to capitalize on one of the company’s greatest assets.

When we dove in to clarify our understanding of the organization’s existing process, we quickly realized that there were multiple owners of various related processes, and that it would be critical to work in full partnership with the client to achieve a shared understanding of all aspects of the overall process—and what the company wanted to achieve.

We knew that if we didn’t make this investment, there was a very real risk of simply solving one set of problems for the short-term. We elected, in partnership with the client, to think about the company’s ‘big picture’ and to create a solution that could grow and evolve with them.

This approach involved a significant amount of ‘pre-work’ on the project: clarifying existing processes, exploring desired solutions, and ensuring that all parties were clear on recommendations and suggested approaches, as well as scope and timelines.

Thanks to this investment of time, the implementation of our thoughtfully designed solution went quickly and smoothly, coming in under budget, on time, and nearly without error. And because everyone who would be using the solution had contributed to its design, there was also strong buy-in across the organization. The solution was ultimately one that not only helped the organization to manage its test data more efficiently, but because of the care and thoughtfulness that the client put into their key processes, it also allows for changes over time, and will evolve with the company over the years.

Conclusion

There is no question that businesses today must move quickly to keep pace with their competitors. But moving quickly–without the thoughtful consideration of where, when and how to move–can yield unwanted results. In my experience, BPM not only produces the results that company leaders want and need, but also requires them to closely study the processes–the moving parts—that give their businesses the power of motion. And by carefully analyzing and envisioning these processes in perfect motion, intentional evolution—smartevolution—becomes possible.

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