7.0 Tools and Technology – Enable Speed and Effectiveness

As described at the beginning of this paper, technology plays an important role in standardizing business processes. With the ever increasing digitalization many processes are automated through standard application systems. These systems encapsulate parts of the standard process and enforces those process components.

However, when looking at any larger organization it has a diversity of business units and/or regional operations. For many reasons the application portfolio will have become vast with many applications supporting the same business function in different parts of the organization. This diversification tends to be increasing due to the availability of cloud-based application solutions. The business leadership finds it easier to source their application support directly through cloud-based point solutions rather than attempting to have these implemented into the legacy portfolio by IT.

Standardization and harmonization is therefore only achieved with the parallel optimization and rationalization of the application portfolio. Many of the reasons for this proliferation are more people oriented. In the same way that people choose which process standards to adopt and where to do things their own thought to be better way, they also make decisions about which applications to use. Therefore, the answer to portfolio reduction and the associated standardization lies in combining this technology optimization with the enablers mentioned in the previous 4 sections of this paper.

The appropriate use of newer technologies can also enhance the speed and effectiveness of the each of the other four enablers (described in the previous sections). Newer research (Ewenstein, Smith, Sologar, 2015) tells us that change management practices need to “start catching up”. Many companies have made great progress in digitalizing their customer-facing businesses. The application of digital tools has untapped potential to promote and accelerate internal change. The research paper further identifies that digitalizing five key areas in particular make internal change efforts more effective and enduring: Provide just-in-time feedback; Personalize the experience; Sidestep hierarchy; Build empathy, community and shared purpose; and Demonstrate progress.

These areas are aligned with the authors’ experience. As an example, social media tools are an effective way to break down the barriers between process management decision makers and the people within an organization. Linking people via internet and cloud-based tools creates transparency and encourages communication across organizational boundaries. This use of social media to enable many of the BPM processes, we refer to as “Social BPM” and is likely to increase as social media tools like online communities, the cloud, subscription feeds and tagging grow more common-place. All of these enable individual, role-based engagement of people and the sharing of process related information.

Another example of the enabling technology is the collaborative modelling software products like Signavio. These are helpful in engaging the people who are implementing the models to be involved in delivering the process. They offer appealing and flexible formats which encourage users to comment and give feedback on a process. This in turn ensures the model remains relevant, functional and fit for purpose.

Technology is therefore both an enabler of standardization and harmonization and a key contributor to adding pace and certainty to the internal change efforts described in the other sections of this paper.

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