2.0 The Process Implementation Challenge

The authors have worked with many organizations and often find that they know what they should be doing; it’s the approach of getting these ideas in to action, which provides the greatest challenge. The challenge is strategy execution; building a management discipline which will not just implement the strategy but will sustain it in the short and long term as well. (Kirchmer, Franz, 2012).

Throughout this paper we will use a case example to bring the concepts to life. This is included as notes in side boxes (as shown on the right here) and describe the company, their standardization and harmonization challenge and how the BPM enablers made a pragmatic difference to their efforts.

Many companies like this face common challenges. They know they need to adapt to their specific markets and they understand the kind of change required. Their problem is implementing the change at the customer interface in a consistent standardized way.

They had well engineered process flow diagrams, but they had failed to adequately understand that process is either implemented through technology and/or by changing what people do.

The answer, as seen by many organizations, is process standardization and harmonization. Here are definitions of these terms and our application of these to a process context.

Standardization as defined in the Business Dictionary (Business Dictionary, 2016) is: Formulation, publication, and implementation of guidelines, rules, and specifications for common and repeated use, aimed at achieving optimum degree of order or uniformity in a given context, discipline, or field.

Stated simply, standardization is the creation of a single, common set of business processes that should be used across the organization. Standard business processes make it easier for the different parts of the organization to work together to share best practice and create synergies; it cuts down organizational barriers and makes it easier to implement changes in these processes to adapt to everchanging market conditions. This could be achieved, for example, through the automation of the business processes using a single technical system and through defining standard manual procedures that need to be implemented around the technology.

Harmonization is defined in the Business Dictionary (Business Dictionary, 2016) as: Adjustment of differences and inconsistencies among different measurements, methods, procedures, schedules, specifications, or systems to make them uniform or mutually compatible.

Harmonization in a process context is minimizing the variation from the adoption of standardized processes across the organization. The various parts of the organization seek to adopt the standard processes minimizing local or product related variation and jointly focusing on maximizing the overall organizational value rather than sub-optimizing within specific organizational entities.

There is much being done in the quest to achieve both standardization and harmonization. Most notably standardization can be enabled through rationalization of the application portfolio and moving all parts of the organization onto the same standard applications thus automating parts of the business process. This is discussed in more detail in section 7 below. With standards in place for the application portfolio comes the second, more challenging step of getting people to work appropriately with the systems and adopt the standardized business processes.

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