A study printed by Gartner (Gartner: Michael Adam Melenovsky / Jim Sinur / Janelle B. Hill / David W. McCoy, "Business Process Management: Finding your way through the Process-Managed Firm", 2005) defines Business Process Management (BPM) as follows: "BPM is a management practice that provides for governance of any business's process environment toward the purpose of bettering agility and operational performance. BPM is a set up approach using methods, guidelines, metrics, management routines and software tools to control and continuously boost an organization's activities and processes".
My learning experience on business process management started in the early years of my career whenever i proved helpful as programmer and consequently a project director with an area software house (See CV Aug 1981 - Aug 1994). I put in many years working in the development, implementation and management of any insurance package for a number of insurance agencies in Malta. Working closely with insurance employees to comprehend their pain areas and their business requirements provided me a good knowledge and insight on the insurance business, and helped me develop my social and communication skills. Analysing their working routines, identifying areas of advancements and making tips for automation developed my analytical skills.
This experience was further strengthened when I attended a one-year study course with examination (See CV - Training - 1985 to 1986) for the attainment of an evaluation and design diploma and a graduate membership with the Institution of Experts and Programmers.
Good formal training on internationally-renowned systems evaluation and design methodologies, kept in the nineties (E. g. SSADM, DSDM, BPR), further strengthened my skills and knowledge in process modelling and business examination. This also taught me how to intelligently decide on a variety of techniques and methods to be used in tackling different varieties of situations. I think about this training as a turning-point in my own job because, through it, I discovered a profound desire for structured methodologies, that i continued developing over time but still at it after thirty years.
The in-depth knowledge in set up methodologies acquired in the previous years also switched me into an extremely structured specific with good organisational skills who can organise himself yet others.
In 2005, as Information Systems Strategist at Air Malta, I proposed the establishing of any business process improvement function within my sphere of responsibilities. This suggestion was accepted. Over the next 2 yrs I worked on two assignments, namely, the reorganisation of the Airline's Commercial Section, and the Travel Operator Agreement Management business process (See AOL1 - Project Management Pg 2).
A couple of months ago, in my own role as Head of computer at APS Lender, I made suggestions to set up a fresh BPM unit in order to initiate lots of change programmes that would give attention to enhancing the Bank's working methods and present further automation. The recommendations were accepted and an alteration programme set in motion.
In this AOL, I am going to demonstrate the utilization of my skills and knowledge in the creation of your business process management function at APS Bank or investment company and my experiences on the first change assignments.
My knowledge on business process management has developed over the years throughout a mix of implicit and explicit learning, formal training and on-the-job working experience.
Diagram 1: BPM Learning Trail
Skills and Activities
Gaining Organisational Adoption
Establish Bank's BPM readiness
Research best practices
Gain buy-in for adoption of new idea
Setting up a Business Process Management Competency Centre
Establish the company structure and services to be offered
Select a methodology and toolset
Establish a programme of works
Deliver a BPM programme
Execute a pilot project
Execute the first project
Promote first achievements and good results
Formation of a BPM Competency Centre at APS Bank
Gaining Organisational Adoption: APS Loan company is relatively small in proportions and clientele in comparison with other local finance institutions, but has a niche market and a abundant banking record spanning over 100 many years of successful procedure.
My direct involvement in the planning of the Bank's IT strategy and its own business strategy (See AOL 2 - IT Strategy Meaning), provided me a fairly good insight in its business model and working routines. When I looked at the evolution of the lender within the last hundred years; its transformation into a commercial bank a couple of years before; its fast progress rate; and the findings of an situational analysis; it became apparent that fast change and frequent evolution created functional silos and inefficient working practices. If you ask me, these factors obviously indicated that the Bank needed urgent re-engineering to streamline and standardise its business procedures; to realign the company structure; and introduce automation to support this change. It was the perfect site for the adoption of Business Process Management (BPM).
As Head than it I firmly thought that reengineering a business process prior to automating it might be extremely beneficial, because the resultant computer-system would symbolize a streamlined and productive process - legacy working methods, duplication and redundant steps would be eliminated before embarking on systems development.
I made a decision to research and explore the perfect method of use in order to develop business process management capacities within the IT Section.
I was concerned about the Bank's readiness to simply accept this culture change. I was aware that introducing and training BPM would lead to significant changes and perhaps resistance to change. Having researched the topic, I uncovered Gartner's 'Venture Personality Account' (EPP) solution to examine the Bank's readiness for this change (Gartner: Elise Olding, Invoice Rosser, "Getting started off with BPM, Part 1: Assessing Readiness", Pg 3, 2007). On analysis, I concluded that the lender could be labeled as a 'Cultural Medium', whose description by Gartner is: "Cultural moderates operate in a more secure but sometimes disjointed fashion; they tend to seek parity with other enterprises". I could relate to this definition, because of the Bank's: (i) functional silos; (ii) conventional prospect and low risk urge for food; and (iii) propensity to check out market market leaders and rarely business frontward into becoming innovators. The Gartner research also advised that "Moderates are more likely to respond to jobs that will offer you competitive gain such as much better customer service". I used the results of the assessment to mould my next steps in obtaining organisational adoption. Subsequently, I also used this new knowledge whilst getting ready the annual programme of works.
The experiences and skills I put acquired in my previous jobs with MITTS Ltd as i set up an instant Application Development Unit (See CV Jan 1996 - Aug 2000); an Information Management Unit; and an Business Architecture Device (See CV Sep 2001 - Aug 2004); were extremely helpful. The aggregation of negative and positive experiences encountered during these assignments offered me a turned out and tested approach to used in the creation of the new product.
My next thing was to research approaches used in similar situations by my peers in the industry. I used Gartner research material and found a great deal of information on the subject. It was comforting to see that my approach was pretty near to the mark.
I collected everything I required and well prepared a PowerPoint presentation that provided the explanation behind my suggestion to set up this new function. Then i started my normal 'lobbying' grand head to of influential people within the lender.
The first difficult milestone was to persuade the CEO, who is a very thorough person whose focus on efficiency, willpower and attaining business email address details are on top of his agenda. I therefore centered my display on the existing situation and the added value that the new product would bring. The CEO was thinking about this new principle and instructed me to take it up for debate at the Exec Management Committee.
I used the same presentation at the Professional Management Committee, but the results were different. Some mind thought that BPM was an invasive and meddling exercise in their methods of working - they had difficulties accepting external parties informing them what's wrong and how to do things. Other mind questioned the need for any improvements to the present business operations. Others were worried at their required degree of involvement throughout a BPM project. In short, I realised i had made a mistake - I had rushed into this without having carried out the appropriate level of lobbying with the individual heads before get together them collectively in a group - I hadn't used my experience and intrinsic learning I had fashioned previously purchased. In the next weeks I had formed to make some corrections and therefore modified tact. In other meetings that adopted, I emphasised on some key areas to try and convince the minds that this was best for the company, because: (i) the BPM Product is usually to be considered as a consultant that delivers re-engineering services to the top and his department - it isn't an internal audit; (ii) the Head and his section will rarely ever before have the time and chance to dedicate weeks of effort to reassess their working tactics - the BPM product can do that on their behalf; (iii) every decision or proposed change will be completed with the division - the BPM product are only facilitators; and (iv) any proceed to change must be totally authorised by the Head of the department. This painful but important exercise, that should have been completed previously, was relatively successful - the Professional Management Committee cautiously bought in to the concept. My suggestion to set up the new BPM Device was adopted by the Bank and placed as you of my targets in the new Business Plan. It had been now important to tread carefully in the first one or two BPM projects in order to ensure full buy-in.
Setting up a BPM Competency Centre: Two years previously, I put create a product within the IT Department (i. e. Client Services Product), to do something as a buffer between IT and its interior business clients. This unit is staffed by ex-business workers who grasped the Bank's working techniques; could speak the same terminology as their business clients; and who could therefore show empathy towards their business colleagues. Researching, understanding and proposing changes to working techniques required a good doze of knowledge on bank. I therefore found it appropriate and logical to create the new BPM function under the umbrella of all these Unit. The objective was to ensure that BPM workers inherit the frame of mind of customer support and relationship building. I did not want to start big, so I recruited two loan provider personnel who possessed a good mixture of banking knowledge, as well as, a good IT know-how.
The next thing was to research, select and set up a methodology and a toolset that would eventually be utilized to provide BPM tasks. I consider the use and understanding of methodologies to be one of my primary competencies. Inside the nineties, I went to lots of good training research training in methods, such as Systems Development and Design Methodologies (SSADM) and the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM - now known as Agile) (See Relevant CLASSES below). I have also acquired sturdy hands-on experience in the utilization of these methods, especially through the period 1990 to 1994, when I worked on large projects in the insurance and petrol business (See CV Jan 1990 - Aug 1994). Therefore, creating and documenting a short approach to be used for BPM jobs was not a difficult job to complete.
In 1995, in my new job at MITTS Ltd (See CV Sep 1994 - Aug 2000), I was given the opportunity to set up a rapid application development device for the federal government of Malta, whose raison d'Єtre was to provide small computer-based alternatives in a phased and quick manner. This experience was an extremely positive learning experience because it trained me to: (i) understand the importance of establishing a eye-sight, which gave the team a shared and common course to make it happen; (ii) understand the importance of heavily including your personnel through the birth of a new unit - I found that this approach instilled a sense of satisfaction, bonding, comradeship and ownership; and (iii) understand group development, whereby clubs proceed through four stages of maturity as explained by Bruce Tuckman (Tuckman, Bruce (1965), "Developmental collection in small groups", Psychological Bulletin 63 (6): 382-99), particularly the forming-storming-norming-performing.
I therefore attempt to use the above mentioned learning experience to make the new BPM function. I employed the new recruits in the design of the BPM method, techniques and toolset through interactive workshops and proof-of-concept assignments. At each step of the way we met, compared notes and reviewed areas of improvement. We shifted into an all natural cycle of constant improvement, whereby each step of just how was constantly being challenged and sophisticated on the basis of each other's experiences. This method turned out successful, because the employees were motivated and fully engaged.
Deliver a BPM program: As mentioned previously above (See Gaining organisational adoption), the Exec Management Committee cautiously bought into the new concept of a BPM function. Some Minds were not yet convinced of its benefits and some others were sceptical of the complete concept. I was presented with the chance to prove that was the right thing to do. I therefore embarked on an exercise to determine a program of works for another twelve months. During the business planning exercise, that takes place each year, I invited my colleagues in the executive management committee to propose pain areas which they believed needed attention and assistance to straighten out. I considered the Enterprise Personality Profile analysis I had carried out early (See Gaining organizational adoption section above), whereby I had fashioned figured a commercial moderator may likely " respond to projects that will offer you competitive edge such as superior customer service " (Gartner: Elise Olding, Expenses Rosser, "Getting started off with BPM, Part 1: Assessing Readiness", Pg 3, 2007). Surely enough, the mind proposed four areas that would focus on customer touch-points (e. g. customer on-boarding and the decision centre) - an extremely positive turning point and a show of trust. We now had a programme of works plus some ready sponsors.
Before getting into the first formal project, we made a decision to start a pilot job with desire to to: (i) Test the picked way and toolset; and (ii) Raise the level of skills and understanding of the newly arranged BPM unit workers - on-the-job training. We determined the IT service table business process that included incident management, change management, service level management and service submission management. We piloted the entire BPM lifecycle and again used regular conferences to identify areas of improvement at each step of just how. This exercise helped us to fine tune the selected procedure and gain enough self-confidence to continue with the first standard BPM job.
During the first task we tried to apply all the abilities and knowledge we learnt during the proof-of-concept projects we had previously undertaken. At this time, the methodology, techniques and tools were already well enhanced. We made it a point to use a totally participative and consultative way across each step of the way.
We prepared an in depth project short and plan and ensured the full engagement of key business workers selected by the project sponsor (mind). The plan and expected results were authorised by the project board. The job proceeded well and the original result was very encouraging. We had handed down the first difficult test.
Relevant Training Courses
Business Process Management
Gartner Ireland Limited, UK
Dynamic Systems Development Method Practitioners Course (DSDM)
Dynamic Systems Development Method Practitioners Course (DSDM)
Business Process Re-Engineering
Parity Training Limited, UK
Systems Analysis &Design Technique (SSADM V4)
BIS Applied Systems Limited
Systems Analysis &Design Methodology (SSADM V3)
BIS Applied Systems Limited
1985 - 1986
Analysis &Design graduate regular membership after having attended a formal course research and exam approved by the Institute
Institution of Analysts &Developers, UK
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