No best time than Business process modeling(BPM) to redefine your business processes.The reason I say that is because this is considered the “Idle time” for your business. It’s a oppurtunity to look at if your business processes are simple,efficient,non redundant and to the best in class industry standards. It’s a state of mind isn’t it ? The top down or bottom up approach whatever you choose has to be prepared mentally to give a 3rd eye perspective to the process. Be an outsider to analyse and take a stab at your processes. Few processes might be age-old but still well streamlined and established in your organization. You might ask why to change something which is running fine. Also might quote the famous proverb ” Never change a running system”. True. Don’t disagree at all.But doing a devil’s advocate is it not the time to re look at your age-old processes and provide a facelift if necessary ? Is the process in your organization comparable to best in class ? Do you still want to do your business the old way ? Would you not want to change your system if the ROI due to process change gives you a thumbing jump in sales ?
Every organization go through this critical time when the change becomes inevitable. One would have deferred it,but cannot deny it. In the generation of technology advancement where every day newer concepts are being born, senior management in the organization has to be driving for the betterment. The changes most certainly is a Top down decision,but make it feel that it is bottom up. Make your staff be part of the decision rather than,I say you do approach!! Get a problem statement from them, let they do the ground work and identify the critical and bottleneck processes. Take an outsider look to the problem, you will find solution within.
Now the question comes on the timing of this exercise. I would say the compelling vision for change or the growing frustration on the current processes might fast forward the process change. Or else during the systematic Business process modeling you can certainly deep dive into your systems to understand the current processes and define the to-be process. One way of building To-be process is to start with the ideal scenarios. This stretches organization to achieve excellence in their field and execute far beyond the norm. Decision making not going to be easy. But hold on to your nerves. The top management may have to go through very anxious moments if the core processes are touched. Aim for something above normal and work towards it. Key is to sustain and not break down !
Other approach for to-be is to go through the systematic process design principles. Perform thorough As-is process and try to adopt best in class organization’s processes. The As-is process should drive the broken pieces in this approach.
In scenarios where organizations have decided to implement best in class commercial off the shelf packages, you still have to perform BPM. This helps you to understand the current processes and look out for potential opportunities in new system. prototyping /simulations will be of great help during to-be process mappings. The end users had to envision on how their processes would look like in new system. prototyping will help them to visually see the processes running. Consultants has to map the current processes in the new system (AS-is) and then have to list the features which are unused. This would lead to iterative prototyping but is worth it. The key is to break down the processes into sub processes so that any tweaks and changes will not impact the whole “Big flow”. Come out of your comfort zone and brainstorm the processes with clean slate.
Another aspect which has to be kept in mind is that sometimes the business partners gets overwhelmed(another extreme) with the process change and all low priority(nice to have) tasks will also be included. This becomes more a wish list and consultants has to perform MOSCOW (must,should,could,would) analysis with ROI to determine the priority one’s which will make it to the bus. Creating a new process is like making a right dish. You need to have appropriate ingredients to design elegant and robust process. asking these questions would help –
1. Outline the problem areas in current process
2. Compelling needs ( to upgrade to newer technology to impress stakeholders,investors so on)
3. Technology drive ( social networking, reaching out to customers in newer ways etc)
4 What are the best practices followed in other organizations ? Are we competent enough to survive in the market with this process ?
Bottom line, seize the opportunity to evaluate your processes. Organization may not be willing to do it repeatedly. Do it right the first time and right way.