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I’m sure all have been witness to broken processes, sometimes as victims of those.
For instance, it’s not uncommon for customers requiring to call up and follow-up on a pending service request. It’s also not uncommon for organizations failing to make payments just until the point it starts hurting them in the form of penalty, if any. What is pretty uncommon though is for an insurance company making every attempt to close a claim in the fastest possible manner, the same organization that would want to close the sale in minutes if they had their way.
You probably may know by now what I’m getting at. This is one of those process management rants, but let me boil it a little bit…
Business Processes are a sequence or set of activities. They are also typically a bunch of transactions. Transactions are give-and-take, with one party as beneficiary of something – a service, payment, delivery or such. And organization will have business processes of all kinds, with transactions in every process area. In some of them they act as beneficiary, in some they don’t – directly or indirectly.
When a business process culminates in a transaction that has the organization as the beneficiary, they will find a way or the other to keep track of it, and keep making progress. In other words, not let the ball drop. They will have the notifications, escalations, and metrics set up so as to not let the process break. And that is regardless of whether they have automated their process execution through a BPMS.
On the other hand, it’s surprisingly common for the same organization, and same management, and same departments to turn their backs to the processes that may not be directly associated to an output that adds to their measured performance or coffers. And despite the fact that they have automated the process execution, the process may end up as broken. Priorities are not just set up to get those tasks float to attention.
It’s a matter of priorities and not presence of technology. Technology can add value where organization is focused. You can teach and preach Process Management, but you cannot force customer orientation. It’s another matter that organizations continue to harp on customer orientation “as means to” achieve market leadership, but you see that’s the point – as means, not an end. When you see a broken process, problem lies mostly with focus and priorities; not with their ability (technological or managerial) to manage processes.