Companies that invest in strong business processes enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace. While automating business processes is essential for global competitiveness, we know that laying the proper process groundwork is the first step to automation success.
Application software can help organizations achieve the benefits of automation and efficiency, but in isolation, these solutions do not readily solve the top problem that businesses face – broken business processes. Using the Perigon Method, Business Enterprise Mapping diagnoses and eliminates the top reasons that business processes are broken in most organizations. By utilizing all of the tools available, organizations can achieve efficiency, effectiveness and a wide reach of enablement to the knowledge workers of today’s industries. To get a better automation outcome, we recommend the simplify then automate philosophy using a simple 5-step approach.
1. Map with a Better Tool.
The Perigon Playbook incorporates proprietary tools, templates, and instructions that provide a uniquely effective method for defining and documenting business processes. To deploy the Perigon Playbook, process owners are trained just-in-time on best practices and provided a library of icons, symbols, analytical tools, templates, and matrices, all leveraging Microsoft Visio, the most popular software of its kind. Process owner engagement ensures ongoing ownership and continual improvement. While other visual documentation tools are available, none are as widely deployed and supported as Visio, and the Perigon add-on library makes it far more robust and valuable as a process mapping tool.
2. Stabilize the Process.
Business process automation of an unstable or undefined process can overwhelm personnel and inundate leadership with waste generated by errors and customer complaints. Once a Perigon Playbook is defined and deployed, then a process can be further analyzed for problems or improvement opportunities. Perigon utilizes a systematic, structured, and highly effective problem identification and opportunities methodology (Red Clouds) that enables organizations to achieve a defined, stable, and deployed process prior to software-enabled automation. By first ensuring a competently deployed process in a state of control, further process analysis can drive improvements that will sustain effectiveness and create additional breakthroughs using customer value modeling, capability assessment, and constraint analysis.
3. Deploy Using Best Practices.
Perigon Playbooks have evolved with expert knowledge, field application, and extensive client input. We have learned that best practices are difficult to achieve using some of the most popular, yet less powerful, process documentation tools such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), process flow charts and swimlane diagrams. While each of these tools has utility, using a less robust and more difficult to deploy tool will inevitably slow an organization’s improvement progress, particularly when compared to the agility and robustness of Perigon. In addition, we have found that using the BPMN 2.0 standard and BPM software in general to create a process map does not capture a level of process detail that lends itself to serious process analysis uncovering real improvement insights.
4. Make Knowledge Available.
The Perigon user community varies widely by organization, industry and application environment. Many clients deploy Perigon Maps via a combination of MS-SharePoint Server, sometimes in conjunction with other document management applications (e.g. Livelink), servers (e.g. intranet), cloud storage (e.g. smartsheet.com), or data control applications (e.g. Agile). Users need to easily access active, approved, and appropriate process documentation. Clients have chosen multiple methods to optimize for this need, including the multi-platform (Linux, Mac OS-X), mobile (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows phone) and hosted (smartsheet.com) solutions. BEM has implemented Perigon in all of these environments (and more) based on business needs and the specific IT requirement.
5. Automate to Improve Efficiency.
The Perigon Playbook, when used within the MS-Visio and MS-SharePoint Server environment, offers powerful enterprise workflow and linkage capabilities for use with common enterprise and cloud applications. Many organizations already have licenses for SharePoint Server, limiting the IT software expense to a few additional Visio licenses. Additionally, organizations choosing to standardize on other shareware or proprietary solutions should note the following best practice recommendations:
Automating a broken business process will yield undesirable outcomes faster and software automation alone will not solve the business problem as intended. Software applications offer limited business process diagnostic tools and expertise with results dependent on organizational capability or additional consulting expertise beyond the software deployment.
Automating low complexity, high volume transactions such as Accounts Payable, Customer Service Call Center, and IT Help Desk are highly recommended when business processes are stabilized. High complexity, low volume processes such as New Product Introduction, Strategic Planning, and Marketing Product Launch may not benefit so directly from additional and unnecessary automation of human-dependent processes. Rapidly changing or frequently customized processes are rarely suitable for automation, although there are exceptions such as Build-to-Order configurations.
Simplify Then Automate
BPMN has many helpful standardized process attributes such as task sequence order, and various gates and linkages, however critical elements well defined within a Perigon Map are undefined in BPMN, leaving gaps versus best practice. Additionally, a typical BPMN implementation architecture utilizes swim lanes or unstructured flow charts. Best practices avoid using both of these tools. The time-tested and well-proven Perigon Map facilitates ease of use, the speed of implementation, superior diagnostics, and more importantly, ownership and sustainability.
How many business process implementations still provide value more than 5, 10 or 15 years after implementation? Utilizing simplify then automate, BEM has many clients who have successfully deployed Perigon, and who continue to thrive during rapid growth, major acquisition integration, and significant technology shifts.
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