Based on my experience in the redesigning of business processes, I’m sharing a few ideas that I’ve acquired over the past few years. These are strictly my personal opinion and do not reflect the stand of any firm, including my employers.
Start with a Clean Slate
The biggest mistake that consultants do is to assume the needs of the customer by stereotyping them. e.g. if it’s a consultant’s 3rd BPM engagement for Material Procurement for a FMCG firm, he shall be tempted to stereotype the firm based on his previous engagements. He shall thereby conceive a to-be business process, even before having an interaction. This can lead consultants into evangelizing the same or similar processes (not necessarily the best process) over and over again. The attitude must shift from ‘I know what you need’ to ‘I can help you achieve what you need’.
Listen to the End User
This can’t be emphasized enough. Most process designs fail because they appear alien to the end users. An imposed process, however optimized it may be, has a tendency to be rejected by the end user. On the other hand, even expert consultants listen to and become aware of new paradigms all the while. By understanding the real needs of the end user, a simple and effective process can be designed. We must lend a listening ear to the people facing the issues day in and day out, on the ground.
Bring in New Perspectives
It’s highly likely, and often the case, that the Stakeholders are stuck on some ideal process design. This happens because of their perspective on what their pain points are. Engage in a conversation and enroll the stakeholders into new possibilities. As a consultant, you can bring in the stories of your previous assignments and that can allow the stakeholders to view their key challenges in a new light, often leading to a better and more acceptable design. The Consultant should act as the harbinger for new ideas; it’s a part of the job.
Solve Business Issues, Don’t showcase BPM Tools
At times, BPM consultants add jazzy features to the business process, just to get the wow effect in the demo meetings. This act of playing to the galleries often shifts the focus from solving the core business problems to showcasing attractive possibilities. This is not advisable. The purpose of the BPM consultant is to redesign the business process and alleviate the key pain points of the end users and the stakeholders. The opportunity shouldn’t be utilized to showcase the features of the BPM Tool being used.
Be Forever Flexible
The purpose of using BPM concepts is to provide flexibility to the business process. This flexibility should be the cornerstone of all BPM engagements. Frigid opinions and business process designs don’t lead to the objective of the BPM engagement being achieved. The customer has the right to change his mind at any point during the engagement and the BPM consultant’s job is to incorporate the emergent ideas, of course after due diligence.