Peter Franz and Mathias Kirchmer: Process Standardization & Harmonization – Enabling Agile Customer Service in a Digital World. In: BPM-D Paper – London, Philadelphia, March 2016


Complex market conditions combined with digitally empowered consumers present a challenging commercial environment. Most business leaders understand that the answer is innovation and agility but the question is how this is achieved. Creating a Next Generation Enterprise suited to this new “normal” is about understanding and managing processes. When processes are aligned and good practices are applied, efficiency are created freeing people to innovate. This generates a nimbler organization, which is able to adapt to evolving market conditions more quickly.

Much has been written about the importance of standardization and harmonization in achieving this alignment and efficiency of business processes. They consistently highlight the human dimension of process as being the key challenge. In the authors experience, applying five key enablers of Business Process Management (BPM) can have a dramatic impact in improving the effectiveness of standardization and harmonization in process change programmes.

Process Governance: Using segmentation of business processes to understand their characteristics and provide the basis for choosing the most appropriate responsibility (and empowerment) to standardize and harmonize the processes appropriately.

Process Knowledge Management: Establishing a process repository, which is both accessible and driven by users, is crucial in breaking down the barriers, which so often exist between process management teams and the rest of an organization. It makes standardization and harmonization tangible.

People Engagement: Creating a shared sense of ownership for the business processes and their results and engaging the whole stakeholder community in sharing the responsibility for standardization and harmonization.

Tools and Technology: Leveraging Technology as a powerful driver of standardization with the automation of parts of the business process. Using tools that have been used very successfully to improve the pace and effectiveness of people engagement within the organization.

Metrics and Monitoring: Finally, measuring success of standardization and harmonization initiatives is important but needs to be tightly linked to the business strategy with the most relevant metrics being defined to focus behavioural change and make it more manageable.

These BPM enablers have been shown to have a profound impact on achieving standardization and harmonization as elaborated in this paper and with reference to case examples.