Here is another lessons learned from my world, but this time the focus is BPM, not SOA. I have mentioned many times how we sold the business on BPM and SOA. After modeling the future state processes and creating a roadmap of projects based on a combination of business priority and service reuse, we took our business case to the finance department and secured funding for a number of high ROI projects. The funds secured were for procurement of BPM and SOA tools (BPMS, ESB, Data Services, etc.) and for capital labor to work on the various projects. We also were able to justify two new positions in a new department in the business who is responsible for business processes. Sounds good so far, right?
Well, we should have funded one more thing and that is an initiative to change our culture to be process centric. The two new resources are consumed in the new projects which means the process of becoming a process-centric culture will take a very long time. It takes focus and dedication to the cause to train staff, hire experienced talent, and move the organization to a place where optimizing business processes is the norm. So what is the down side?
Although we are providing a ton of value by automating processes, connecting legacy systems, providing visibility into the workflow, shortening the order life cycle, and leveraging operational dashboards and reporting, we are not creating processes that are as efficient as they could be. In some instances, users are asking for the same functionality and processes that exist today. There is still too much focus on reports and not enough focus on data and there is still too much emphasis on exceptions and not enough standardization.
Is it a disaster? No. Could we be developing more efficient processes? Yes. I am hoping that with each iteration we will improve the processes and the business folks will become more process-centric over time. I do feel that if we could have justified an initiative to create a process-centric culture, we would achieve a higher ROI and see the benefits of it quicker.
So the lesson learned that I would like to share is don't forget to invest in change management initiatives. Getting funds for a culture change initiative is not easy, but you should strongly consider trying. Some companies already have business process centers of excellence or practice methodologies like TQM, Six Sigma, Lean etc. For those who don't, the earlier the culture becomes process centric, the better the Return on Investment.
Here are a few of my other lessons learned from past posts:
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