What Price Complexity?

Complexity is insidiously expensive.
When production and service cycles take forever, and costs are high, chances are that most of your processes are mired in complexity. Since Victorian times, companies have felt compelled to offer consumers whatever they want, creating a myriad of choice with goods and services each having their own process and production lines.

In turn these processes are supported by complex systems and require specific skills for bespoke services and products. How often do you hear the recital “oh we’re very different around here. What we are do is unique in the industry.”
And it probably is to the detriment of the very people you are trying to please - the customer.

Consider a few of the not so hidden costs of complexity:

1. Customer inconvenience – Your customers have to negotiate your complex system and its mind-numbing array of alternatives.
Q. Just how many Moments of Truth are there?

2. Unwieldy sales processes – The sales systems needed to support complex product lines soon grow too cumbersome, whether they require filling out complicated order forms, getting indecipherable invoices or navigating endless voice mail paths.
Q. How many rules exist to ‘guide and direct’ and are not out of date slowing things to crawl?
Q. How many handoffs occur in your processes between people, systems and services?

Eradicating those Moments of Truth, Rules and Breakpoints can change everything.

3. Impact on management – Eventually, even your managers will find numerous products and processes too much to track.
Q. How much money have you spent training people to deal with this complexity?
Remove the complexity and legacy approaches geared to streamlining processes may not be required!

4. As an absolute, the greater an organization’s complexity, the less focused its management.
Q. Where does all that management time get directed? Fire fighting and fixing problems caused by the nightmare of complexity.

Refocus management time to helping align processes for successful outcomes.

You do not have to live with complexity. We have a phrase “Fix the Cause, Remove the Effect” – perhaps that can be your guide also?

Outside-In BPM – utilize ground breaking techniques created by the market leaders who have redefined their markets and continue to outplay the competition in every aspect of the game.

You can review the CEMMethod(TM) and the training approach at www.bp2010.com

Outside-In BPM - the year closes on a high

BPM Newsletter closes a very successful 2009 - http://bit.ly/6ZGBNs - What is your elavator pitch? Podcast & conference news - Florida :-)

A New Order of Things - Outside-In

There is no easy way to introduce a new order of things however there are some principles that can be followed based on this type of mind shift.

1, Objective and immediate.
The results we achieve with Outside-In are significant and substantive e.g. Triple Crown*. Accordingly any effort should first of all identify the clear tangible benefits.

2. Talk is cheap.
Fine words and phrases will not win hearts and minds without substance. Delivery is key, hence the 'start where you are' sentiment. In current projects (where support may be lacking) introduce the techniques within the CEMMethod(tm) by stealth.
Lift the heads of those around you to think of Moments of Truth, Break Points and Business Rules for instance. "Nothing new mate, just some stuff other guys have used within... Six Sigma../..Lean../..EA../..complaince etc. (delete as appropriate)"

3. Build support.
With (2) underway you will build support. That is the point to shift focus and begin the more practical discussion of where and how.

4. Go for broke.
If you are extremely lucky/persuasive and have the top team already onboard go for broke. Discover the worst most problematic issues and set to righting em. By fixing the Cause you will remove the Effect.

5. Move on.
It is a 4-500 year shift in mindset (Dee Hock, VISA founder).
It will ultimately transform the planet. The jury is in fact back and the results speak for themselves. So when all looks desolate and casting your pearls before swine is depressing, remind them that they are part of the problem and move on.

6. Make it so.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE it just feels that way when surrounded by flat-landers (doh). Learn, exchange and do.

As an aside Charles Bennetts links to the cartoons are thought provoking. We have links to them in the respective Alumin's in the subgroup areas :-)

Join the worlds first and largest Outside-In community at: http://www.oibpm.com

Once on-board review the subgroups and join the specialist communities - you will
find friends and support as we transform the planet one person,one process, one organisation at a time!

*Triple Crown: Jim Sinur (Gartner) coined this phrase. Through the delivery of advanced BPM you will simultaneously reduce costs, enhance service and grow revenues. In public sector/not for profits replace revenue growth with delievry of strategic objectives.

Don't give customers what they think they want

It is pretty much accepted wisdom these days that companies should be customer focused. It is however unfortunate that most companies go the wrong way about this by asking their customers what they want. Customers describe their requirements in terms of products and services and then when the company builds and delivers they are not desired or bought. Henry Ford put it very well “if we ask customers what they want they’ll ask for faster horses”.

And yet at the end of the first decade of the 21st century a surprising and somewhat alarming majority of companies do precisely that. Why does this fail?

Fundamentally when the customer is asked the question “what do you want from us” the answer comes in terms of product and service. Customers when faced with this question extrapolate from their own experiences and what they know of your products and service. Hence it shouldn’t be any great surprise when the requirements are bounded by current ‘inside out’ thinking. Our organizations then construct complex systems and processes to meet the requirements, develop ‘customer focused’ strategies and seek to demonstrate with measurement systems, scorecards and the like that what they are doing is what the customer asked for. Meanwhile competitors are beating us at our own game.

So how can we resolve this apparent conundrum? The answer is delightfully simple, as are most things involving Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s). We should be asking the more relevant question "what is the customers desired outcome?". This subtlety takes us to a new place of understanding and opens the potential for innovation and the opportunity to challenge our existing business thinking.

Making customers life’s simpler, easier and more successful is a cornerstone of SCO’s. Once we have understood the SCO we should then align everything in our organization to achieve that endeavor – without exception. We can design measurement systems which understand the SCO and the various steps to achieving it. Measuring becomes a simpler task. We should create systems which contribute directly to achieving the SCO. In fact no development should be taking place if there isn’t a demonstrable direct linkage to getting the SCO. In fact everything the company does should be progressively aligned to achieving SCO’s, and not as we often see in delivering faster horses.

How do we create this new order? Again the answer is a simple one and not bounded by the inside-out complexity which befuddles so many companies. Your improvement approaches should also be aligned to creating, understanding, and implementing approaches that, yes, contribute to the SCO.

That’s where Customer Expectation Management (CEM) comes in. As an Advanced form of business process and performance management it goes the extra mile and applies our focus to SCO’s. As a consequence these ‘outside-in’ companies are able to progressively and continually innovate and create clear water between themselves and rivals and in many instances becoming market leaders. That’s what US based Best Buy did with their customer centricity strategy. That’s what FedEx Kinko are doing with their massively simplified idea to delivery process. This is what Virgin Group do across their network of more than 100 companies.

It isn’t always about market leadership though. Simply getting better against a backdrop of increasing competition, technology innovation, tightening regulation and customer promiscuity would be great for most. Going the CEMMethod(tm) route gets you where you want and need to be.

In our 2006 book “Customer Expectation Management – Success without Exception” we reviewed the theory and several case studies which is now accessible as a complete method, with supporting toolkits, resources and techniques. The CEMMethod(tm) can be taught, customized and developed to suit different environments and commercial challenges. In the last 5 years more than 8000 people have qualified as Certified Process Professionals and incorporated this approach into their thinking at all levels – from the board room to the lunch room.

In summary then we should be asking customers what is their successful outcome and once we understand that progressively move to align everything we do to achieving that through our people, process, technology and ultimately strategy.

Good hunting for your Successful Customer Outcomes.

A very old question, a very new Answer

At a recent senior executive seminar we were discussing the theme of Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO) and one question which cut to the quick deserves more after thought. Picture a dark, dingy Victorian meeting room in central London, the sleet slapping against the windows and it is late on a October afternoon.

The bright spot? A series of animated discussions around the usefulness (or not) of IT, the struggle with different process methods and the ongoing challenge of aligning our strategies with SCOs. OK you have the backdrop – here is the question from a COO in a large retail company…

“How can we make sure our people follow through and continually deliver the right thing? So often our initiatives start well and then people take their eye off the ball.” Nods of acknowledgement and congruence and even someone muttering that people just don’t get it, no matter what motivational stuff is tried.

And then a spirited response from a progressive Airline Executive (think geography and go where the birds go in a Northern US Winter) and his suggestion was so simple it was surprising that so few get it. “Well we reward for success. That is the achievement of the SCO and everyone in our company is linked to that goal. And I mean everyone right on down from the CEO to the newest trainee and college recruit.”

It set the room into a frenzy of debate, some folks insisting they do that already, others asking for more detail and some saying tried that and still failed. Airline Executive continued sensing he had something of major interest to contribute, “you see everything you do through the experience and expectation of the customer. I know we have talked about that for years but how often do we follow through, even on things like ‘Voice of the Customer’ in Lean and Six Sigma we paid lip service to the effort to truly understand and articulate everything through the SCO.” He had everyone’s attention now and continued, “Once you get started and have a clear explanation of your SCO ask yourself the question ‘is everything we are doing aligned with achieving this SCO?” – if it isn’t challenge it and ultimately "stop doing the dumb stuff.”

We then had a thirty minute brainstorm of relevant SCOs to realize that at the start there are more than a few, lots in fact. Some apparent SCOs are simply not so. Take the one suggested by a well meaning banker “To deliver credit cards on time within budget.” Initially that creates an illusion of working towards mutual success but on closer examination this one is ‘inside out’ and really doesn’t care too much about the customer. The real SCO revolves around creating the capability for a customer to use their facility in a simple trouble free way. When you think of it ‘outside-in’ that takes you to a whole new place with a set of new answers to some very old questions.

The discussion was in danger of running over time so we all took a way a brief to ‘search and deploy’ our respective SCOs knowing that our first efforts would be iterative and a learning experience.

Our next meeting then focused on helping people align to the SCO and doing as the Airline Executive proposed – rewarding folks for achieving those SCOs.
How would you do that?

The principles above are derived from direct experience and research within world leading companies. Prospective Certified Process Professionals gain full exposure to the techniques, tools and CEMMethod(tm) in the Business Professional programme.

Outside-In. The Change Imperative

By Dick Lee
Principal, High-Yield Methods

Steve Towers
Founder, Vice President, BP Group

Want to watch change in progress? Just look at the turnaround in buyer-seller relations in industrialized nations. Business is having a “Galileo moment.” After assuming for decades customers revolve around companies, guess what? Business is learning its world is round, and companies revolve around customers–at least that’s the rotation for companies planning to stick around a while.

But learning this lesson rarely translates into doing–at least doing enough to become customer-centric. Companies don’t switch to revolving around customers with a memo saying, “Beginning at noon next Monday, we’re going to be nice to customers.” Obviously. But they don’t get there with 1-to-1 marketing strategies, either. Or with sales, marketing and service using CRM software. Or with implementing more customer-friendly service policies. Or with customer analytics. Or with social networking. Or with all the above tactics. No matter what consultants and software salespeople claim.

Moving to a customer-centric business model goes way beyond these incremental changes–and way beyond the comfort levels of many companies. Organizations achieve customer-centricity through transformative change–starting with new beliefs and new cultures, which give rise to new strategies plus new work that converts strategies into actions. And to further the degree of change, new work dominoes change from organizational realignment to redesigned technology support.

Tough to achieve? You betcha. But some companies have already made the transition. In fact, some companies have been customer-centric since formation. They’re the lucky ones. But how did companies having to migrate to customer-centricity get there? There’s one common factor,“Outside-In.” They didn’t call their journey “going Outside-In.” In fact the term only surfaced several years ago, in conjunction with a Virgin Mobile customer-centric initiative. But they’ve all followed the same pattern. Now, more companies are following in their footsteps. And when something new happens frequently enough, spurred by champions “spreading the gospel,” we give it a name (hopefully not a three-letter acronym). Hence “Outside-In.”
So what is it?

Outside-In is the fusion of planning and process design into one, integrated, customer-centric activity.

The planning part redesigns strategies from a thoroughly customer perspective. And by “strategies” I don’t mean marketing, promotion, branding, stuff that advertising agencies do. I’m talking products, services, delivery, in some cases core business direction–all invented or renewed with an adult dose of innovation. It starts with “finding your inner customer,” “seeing through customer eyes,” “standing in customer shoes,” or whatever you want to call it. And results in companies raising the competitive bar, often high enough that others can’t clear it. If, that is, new strategies trigger new work.
That’s the process piece. Defining what work should be done to implement new strategies; who should do it; how it should be done; and ­enabling technology[1]requirements. Some call this “customer-centric infrastructure,” others “customer-optimizing operations,” but it doesn’t matter. Just no TLAs.
Worked together, these two Outside-In elements align strategy to customers; process to strategy; and technology to process–creating the spine of a customer-centric company.

Outside-In creates a framework for designing, organizing and simplifying the migration to customer-centricity–true customer centricity. The type that adds new value to customers as the only reliable means of adding new value to the company. Not that the transition is ever “simple.” But business will have to get there. Because when one player in a sector goes Outside-In, others will have to follow, or risk being left to an unhappy fate.

Just look at what happened to consumer electronics chains in the U.S. once Best Buy went Outside-In. Circuit City and CompUSA might as well have been bugs beneath a work boot. Squish. But that’s the usual fate when a competitor beats you to putting customers in the center of your business circle. Squish.
True, some companies survive by scurrying to change reactively. UPS has stayed profitable while scrambling to match customer-centric moves by FedEx. But how many companies have the strength and resources of UPS?

Despite the probability of facing dire consequences sooner or later, many change-averse companies continue to sit rather than change. As a past client once said to me, “I know we have to change, but we can’t stop doing what got us here.” They circle the wagons to protect themselves from customers fighting to take over the center of their circle. Or, perhaps a better analogy, they engage in a tug-of-war with customers over who controls buyer-seller relationships. Just one problem. There’s an 800 pound gorilla on the customer end of the rope, and she ain’t budging. And just wait until she gets impatient and starts pulling. When she does pull, companies will have to get Outside-In quickly, if they’re not already–or risk going upside-down.

Don’t wait until you’re forced to go Outside-In. Proactive change works so much better than reactive. Twice the gain with half the pain. So best to get a handle on Outside-In now, while you can still leave competitors behind.

[1] We italicized the four Outside-In process components because they represent transformative change in the process world. This isn’t your father’s process. For that matter, it’s likely not yours–yet.

Dick Lee
Dick Lee is the founder of High-Yield Methods, a Outside-In consultancy focused on helping clients align strategy with customers, process with strategy and technology with process. In 1996, HYM launched the first, formal, Outside-In process approach, Visual Workflow. In addition to consulting with clients including American Express, Honeywell and Microsoft, Dick is a speaker, educator and author of several books and numerous white papers and journal articles.
Dick is an Executive Advisor for Towers Associates and sits on the board of the BP Group.

Steve Towers
Steve Towers is the founder of the Business Process Management Group a global business network exchanging ideas and best practice in Business Process & Performance Management, Transformation and Process Improvement. He works with many of the leading fortune 500 companies as a mentor, coach and sometimes consultant specializing in the implementation of performance improvement, process change and transformation. He has written several books, many business articles and appears on radio and TV. Steve previously worked for Citibank where he led restructuring and business process transformation programs both in the US and Europe.
Steve is an Executive Advisor for High-Yield Methods and sits on the board of the BP Group.

The BP Group
The BP Group is a global 'not for profit' business network originally founded in 1992.
As a 'not for profit' the vision is to connect and network people interested in significantly improving organisation processes and as a consequence business performance. Our mission is to help improve individual and corporate performance through advanced process management.

Pleasing Customers all the time?

This is a follow-up to 'How to really annoy Americans'. You can join the extensive discussion to the original article at http://bit.ly/DdCLW

Let's turn our attention instead to making people happy and for that we need a candidate organisation who know precisely how to create and manage call centres and the resulting activities. This is also derived from ARG's research and provides useful pointers to all of us who need to intereact with customers via the phone.

Every telephone operator at Cabela's speaks English, and a customer never speaks to a machine. "Every single call is answered by a live person," Ron Spath, VP Customer Relations, states "We don't have any interactive voice recorders and there are no menu's. The feedback from our customers is very clear about how they appreciate not having to waste a lot of time to someone who speaks broken English. We realise that outsourcing these calls to india costs less but we think it is a good investment to pay more in order to save customers time."

To cap it Cabela's, the worlds largest outdoor retailer, even prints its telephone number on the front and every page of its website. Just imagine that, a company who actaully want to talk and learn from their customers.

This positive Outside-In approach pays on the bottom line and has seen Cabela grow to being the world leader in its market in just 50 years. You can read the story at http://bit.ly/xHYzL

So is it that hard to do. Actually let people talk to people that really understand?

Outside-In Process: The New Path to Customer-Centricity

By Dick Lee, High-Yield Methods

Peter Drucker famously opined that the greatest risk to organizations was neither doing the right work wrong nor doing the wrong work but not seeing or reacting to profound change occurring around us. Today, we're in such a period of transformational change, with a powerful confluence of forces driving up the power of customers in buyer-seller relationships—and correspondingly depressing the potential for sellers to stay competitive while putting their own interests ahead of customer interests.

That this change is occurring is almost beyond debate. But how to effectively respond to this sea change is not only a matter for debate, but a source of great frustration for sellers. Fortunately, a growing number of companies are showing the way by proactively treating the rise in customer power as an opportunity rather than a threat—and using an approach becoming known as "Outside-In Process" or just "Outside-In" to build bridges extending out to customers.

Profiting from putting customers first

Since 1996, when it brought its first commercial product to market, Gilead Sciences has been among a group of companies providing pharmaceuticals to treat medical problems resulting from HIV-AIDS. But in 2006, Gilead leapt ahead of the pack by introducing a new drug developed not just for medical efficacy, but to improve quality of life for AIDS sufferers while also increasing patient compliance with following what had been an extraordinarily complex drug regimen.

A growing number of companies are showing the way by proactively treating the rise in customer power as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Gilead stepped outside of outcomes data and all the standard product development protocols to see medication through patient and physician eyes. And what it saw was patients taking its own "drug cocktail" in 17 different daily doses that required exact sequencing, including some via IV. And what Gilead also saw were patients unable to follow the regimen and falling off their medication as a result. Classic Outside-In vision through customers' eyes. And classic Outside-In customer problem identification that lead to both a medical breakthrough and a customer breakthrough.

Access the full article here > http://bit.ly/fnmU0 <

How to please all your customers all the time

This is a follow-up to 'How to really annoy Americans'. You can join the extensive discussion to the original article at http://bit.ly/DdCLW

Let's turn our attention instead to making people happy and for that we need a candidate organisation who know precisely how to create and manage call centres and the resulting activities. This is also derived from ARG's research and provides useful pointers to all of us who need to intereact with customers via the phone.

Every telephone operator at Cabela's speaks English, and a customer never speaks to a machine. "Every single call is answered by a live person," Ron Spath, VP Customer Relations, states "We don't have any interactive voice recorders and there are no menu's. The feedback from our customers is very clear about how they appreciate not having to waste a lot of time to someone who speaks broken English. We realise that outsourcing these calls to india costs less but we think it is a good investment to pay more in order to save customers time."

To cap it Cabela's, the worlds largest outdoor retailer, even prints its telephone number on the front and every page of its website. Just imagine that, a company who actaully want to talk and learn from their customers.

This positive Outside-In approach pays on the bottom line and has seen Cabela grow to being the world leader in its market in just 50 years. You can read the story at http://bit.ly/xHYzL

So is it that hard to do. Actually let people talk to people that really understand?

Where in BPM is the Customer?

This is something scribed three years ago just after the launch of the book 'Customer Expectation Management - Success without Exception'.
Has anything changed? Well yes and no - however you be the judge.

The application of Business Process Management (BPM) is known to have multiple benefits that produce a hard return on investment (ROI). Automation, quality, compliance, management, and optimization of activities represented by business processes are the areas most often cited in this regard. Yet generally the focus of BPM started – and remains – as an “inside-out” perspective, placing hard limits on the benefits BPM can achieve.

At a time where customer satisfaction and loyalty have reached historic lows, and competition has reached its historical peak, the question must be asked, “where in BPM is the customer?” Yes, the customer is a missing piece in the vast majority of BPM practices and products. Management principles have traditionally approached business success from the inside-out perspective, concentrating on margin-based improvements. That made a lot of since during the time when internal activities suffered from substantial bloat and competition was limited by geography and time to market.

Yet over the years we have dipped into that well many times, and the well is about to run dry. Some statistics suggest as we continue to try to achieve the same percentage of gain through each improvement cycle, each iteration produces significantly less tangible value to the organization. It’s a funnel affect that just gets narrower and narrower through every cycle, leaving less and less real benefit for the business.

Meanwhile what is really driving business success? The answer, of course, is the customer. In the 21st Century Value Chain. It is the number of customers and the lifecycle of the business-customer relationship that determines business success.

Known as Customer Expectation Management, the setting of customer expectations and the delivery of those expectations without exception is the “secret sauce” behind the success of market-leading companies such as Virgin, Fedex, Zara, Best Buy, and Southwest Airlines, to name a few.

Many of these market leaders are not competing on price. Sure, their prices are competitive but that is not where their success lies. In many cases they are even able to charge a premium for their products because they are setting and managing customer expectations with a vengeance. They are telling customers what to expect, making their customers’ lives simpler and easier while delivering on these expectations with consistency.

Meanwhile, price competitors are stuck in a no-holds barred dogfight for the worst customer any business can have, the customer who buys predominately by price. There is no place where customers are less loyal and more demanding than in the arena of lowest-price decision buying.

Taking Customers to Heart
Yet BPM by-in-large doesn’t include the customer except as an adjunct to inside-out activities. Improving quality and streamlining processes can help reduce really poor customer experiences or align a business with the market expectation a competitor has set. But these are only secondary effects to the goals of reducing internal costs, increasing worker productivity and so on.

In an age verging on unlimited choice, global competition, and customers often livid with dissatisfaction, the only way to be a market leader is to be a customer leader. We all know that our businesses must have customers and we have all had our share of unsatisfactory customer experiences. In spite of this, why is it so difficult for us to quit viewing our business from the inside-out? Habit and tradition is all that is holding us back. Will we allow our history to determine our future? It’s our choice.

Is there a way to know if the customer is really part of the BPM practice?
Absolutely. Take a look at your business processes. All business processes have an outcome, right? So how many of your business processes have a customer outcome? What about the concept of a successful customer outcome (SCO)?

To fulfill its destiny of being the Next-Generation Business Enabler that its proponents want it to be, BPM must realign its focus to the customer. Business processes must focus on the customer, minimize potential points of failure (such as Moments of Truth, which yield either Moments of Magic or Moments of Misery), and produce successful customer outcomes at all points where the customer touches the business.

That’s the essence behind Customer Expectation Management. It is the critical element in the drive to increase growth and profitability. Traditional inside-out process improvement leverages customer success by maximizing the net positive effect to the organization’s bottom line but it won’t create success by itself.

The only reason we are here is to serve our customers and by serving our customers, making their lives simpler and easier, and helping them be successful we will make our businesses successful. It’s simple and straightforward. Focusing on the customer from the customer’s point of view is our opportunity to achieve the success we all want. It’s the experience we all want when we are in the role of the customer. It should be at the heart of everything we do and should be woven into the fabric of every application and system we use.

Will BPM be a cornerstone in the creation of success for your business?
It could be, but the question you should be asking yourself is far simpler:
Is the customer at the heart of your BPM plan?

The principles above are derived from direct experience and research within world leading companies. Prospective Certified Process Professionals gain full exposure to the techniques, tools and CEMMethod(tm) in the Business Professional programme

How to really Annoy American Customers

This is based on the research from ARG (Charleston)..

To really annoy your customers have them talk to a telephone operator in India.

The numbers from ARG reveal an uncomfortable truth:
"43% of Americans told us they can't understand what a person from India is saying" and .. "21% get downright angry" Also "95% say they are provoked when a person speaks broken English when they answer their call" The same survey says "32% of Americans said its driven them to stop doing business with the company".

We'll review one excellent case study why it doesn't have to be that way in the next mini article.

What is your experience?

Process & Organisation Maturity - ORCA

Within the CEMMethod(tm) we talk extensively of Organisation Maturity. The Organisation Readiness and Competence Assessment (ORCA) is designed to help with that endeavour. Now in its 5th year it has been extensively deployed by organisations seeking answers to the three questions:

1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to get to?
3. How big is the gap?

Certified Process Professionals have access to the full toolkit - for more information visit www.bp2009.com

Here is the ORCA overview:

Process Improvement - the tip of the iceberg

Most process improvement techniques focus on only a small portion of the improvement potential in every process… the tip of the iceberg if you will. How big is the opportunity resting out of our sight, hidden below the waterline of current practices?

Recent research by the BP Group suggests that 70 to 90 percent of the work people do comes directly from process Points of Failure and Causes of Work and this work is NOT part of the “job” for which these people were hired! Instead, this is non-value add work that takes away from people’s ability to do their job.

Does this sound familiar? Can you identify places where these Points of Failure and Causes of Work are distracting you from what you really want to be doing?

Are you required to fill out this form, check up on that order, or follow-up on those activities? Do you get tasked with finding the answer, knowing the rules, fighting that fire or explaining why you did this or that?

Fixing affects (the tip of the iceberg) only gets us so far. To create real change in how efficiently we use our time requires us to focus on eliminating the Causes of Work (the rest of the iceberg).

This is the first step we must take in aligning our businesses for success in the 21st Century.

Eliminating the Causes of Work

Fixing effects is a lot like shuffling the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. Lots of work gets done and things look different but the original problem still remains.

Fixing effects increases the complexity of our work and the technology we us to support it. It’s a vicious cycle many of us are stuck in. The more we do the worse it gets. Soon analysis paralysis sets in. We’re stuck and there’s no place for us to go.

Meanwhile successful companies around the world are now eliminating causes rather than fixing effects. But how do they spot causes and eliminate them? Is a host of Master Black Belt Cause Eliminators needed to get the job done?

Of course not. Moments of Truth, Break Points and Business Rules are the causes of work. Once we start looking for them we spot them. Elimination comes from challenging what we currently do - looking for Actions that eliminate Moments of Truth, Break Points and Business Rules.

How big is the size of the prize? Efficiency and productivity gains of 30% to 60% are common. Cost reduction of services by 50% is not unusual.

Cause elimination is a seek and destroy mission. It’s the challenge to weed out the “dumb stuff” in our organizations. Are you ready to challenge your assumptions and start eliminating those causes of work?

Complexity is the result of lack of alignment to customer success (Part 1 of 4)

There is no excuse for complexity. It is a consequence of muddled thinking and a lack of understanding of the true goal of the organisation, which is creating Successful Customer Outcomes.

Complexity has developed as organisations have added new routes to market, new ways of delivering service, new enterprise IT systems and a myriad of improvement approaches. Each internal functional specialism has developed a mindset to optimise their part of the organisation, sometimes at the expense of others. The unwieldy complexity that results has caused a reaction primarily aimed at the need to create order out of this chaos, as if accepting that complexity itself as a right to be. This is not so. Let us unravel the muddle of complexity once and for all.

All work in an organisation is fundamentally created by the need to provide product or service to the customer. Everything else is a consequence of that need, which creates value for the shareholders and creates a livelihood for the work force. All else follows.

Furthermore all interactions in meeting the needs for customers are the cause of all work within an organisation. These interactions, or Moments of Truth[i], create work in so far as we need to attend to a request internally.

In doing so we interact with our colleagues, systems and other internal processes, and create internal Moments of Truth, which can be referred to as Breakpoints[ii]. The way we deal with Moments of Truth and Breakpoints is underpinned by Business Rules[iii] which may be thought of as ‘decision points within processes’.

These three entities determine the shape of our organisation, the internal landscape of how we do work. The resulting activities from Moments of Truth, Breakpoints and Business Rules create the very processes themselves. In fact process is simply an effect caused by the way we choose to interact and guide the customer to obtain our products or service.

Think about that – process is an effect. If that is the reality then the vast range of tools and techniques created in the last century, and sometimes before, are fixing an effect. It is like taking painkillers for discomfort and nothing more. If we are not getting to grips with the causes of the pain it will surely get worse and as we discover, stronger pain killers are then required.

That’s the rub. We have been systematically fixing the wrong things and is it any wonder that change doesn’t stick? Have you ever had that feeling that this is the same project challenge as before, just dusted off and here we go again? It is because we are not fixing the causes of work, and while we continue to ignore the causes the complexity worsens, costs increase and service suffers.

Einstein put it well when he said
“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”

Part Two: Case Study – UK Bank “How complexity developed” - See http://bit.ly/LBhwq

[i] Moments of Truth – a concept discovered and explained by Jan Carlson.
Any interaction with the customer is a Moment of Truth.

[ii] Breakpoints – internal handoffs within an organisation.

[iii] Business Rules -Decision Points within a Process.

Latest Includes: You can't manage what you can't measure (or can you?)

The weekly update on the BP Group LinkedIn has some interesting perspectives:

Group Metrics:
Members: 2,356 (up 370 from last month)
Discussions: 220 (Each Month)
Subgroups: 4

Articles/Discussions underway this week - more than 224 underway!

Dick Lee - You can't manage what you can't measure (or can you?)

Steve Towers - BP GROUP SOAPBOX 2: Six Sigma caused the Financial crash

Thomas Olbrich - Barriers to Outside-In (Outside-In subgroup)

Janne Ohtonen - The Gap Between IT & the Business (Research & Study subgroup)

Fast links to key BPM resources - http://bit.ly/Hd1pB

Steve Towers – Group Controller and the Business Process Professional subgroup
Also on twitter – http://www.twitter.com/stowers
Connect directly - http://bit.ly/11txOl and if you need an email use steve.towers@bpgroup.org

Dick Lee (US) – Group Manager and the Outside-In Process subgroup (100+ members)

Janne Ohtonen (Finland) - Group Manager and the Research & Study subgroup

John Corr (UK) – Group Manager and the Advanced Process Management subgroup

St├ęphane Haelterman (Belgium) – Group Manager
David Mottershead (Australia) – Group Manager
Erika Westbay (US) – Group Manager

Do you need Business Process Management, Certification (7,000 in 4 years), or Coaching Support?
Visit http://www.bp2009.com for the program or learn more at http://www.businessprocessprofessional.com

Quick Update on the mid year series underway. All Registrants will receive a copy of the webinars when the series completes

The sessions so far are producing lots of feedback and we'll make available a review of these soon.
If you would like to join in then this week features FIVE Free webinars.
+++ For CPP people these webinars add 2 credits for certifcation renewal in 2009 +++

Review and register at http://www.bpgroup.org

Recommended Conference (This week) - http://bit.ly/3bb8mZ
Recommended Conference (January 2010) - http://bit.ly/w2JWW

North American Airlines customer satisfaction falls to a 4-year low

J D Powers latest survey (issued June 30, 2009) ranks the Customer Experience of 13 Airlines.

An indicator of the trend to 'Outside-In' business models is the performance of companies delivering consumer oriented products and services (B2C) and no less so than the airline sector.

The survey, which queried nearly 13,000 travelers, measured airlines in seven categories: cost and fees; flight crew; in-flight services; aircraft; boarding/deplaning/baggage; check-in; and reservation.

"Any improvements in customer satisfaction are being offset by passenger displeasure with cutbacks on in-flight amenities, increases in fees and attitudes of flight crews,” says Dale Haines, senior director of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement.

We have taken J D Powers data and with additional commentary combined results from the latest survey to present a complete picture of airline performance across the sector, ranked in terms of the customers importance.


J D Powers separates the report into two - traditional carriers and low cost airlines. We think that distinction is no longer as relevant to the customer experience as, for instance 'low cost carrier' Jet Blue offer a fully and complete range of services, on a par if not better than most regarded as 'traditional'.

In fact 'traditional' service is a poor cousin of much of the 'low cost carriers'. Also the distinction of traditional carriers having multicabin is lost on the vast majority of travelers, as for instance several carriers only additional facility in a higher class is to offer a 'free' drink and newspaper. Much has been said about the failure of tradtional carriers to effectively manage the customer expectation with feedback such as this experience is not unusual (thanks to Vicky Cartwright, e2e Technologies Ltd; Broadcast Media Consultant).

It is reassuring to see the data represented as the customer experience, rather than a set of activities. This distinction should be applied to all consumer surveys, measuring as it does the customers view of the process.

Additional steps could be taken to extend the scope of the actual survey to include the total customer experience, for instance the airport services and facilities, the transportation systems, the ease of access and egress from the airports. That actual customer experience is a big part of the consumer decision making process of which airline to fly.

Infact more progressive airlines now consider that complete customer experience as their process, and while they can't own every aspect of it they can partner and control it. For instance Southwest's partnering with various hotel chains to provide a unified check-out/check-in service is an improvement to customer service while at the same time reducing Southwests costs and growing future revenues.

As consumers it is the smart thing for airlines to do and changes the customer expectation of others. This lifting of the bar places further pressure on the inside-out carriers who continue to see a drift of passengers to a complete offering.

These aspects of travel are making their customers lives easier, simpler and more successful.

Here's the consolidated table combining the results produced by J D Power.

In summary Alaska Airlines ranked highest for a second consecutive year. JetBlue once again performed well, topping the low cost carriers followed closely by Southwest.

It is worth noting that all top five performers are 'outside-in'** companies.

More on this theme soon!

See the complete J D Power report here.

**New to the distinction of 'inside-out' to 'outside-in'?
Here's a quick summary provided by BP Group LI Manager, David Mottershead

An outside in process is one which has been created to successfully deliver a customer outcome and has been designed from the customer's perspective. This process is likely to reduce the number of moments of truth or interactions with the organisation and is "doing the right things", in terms of delivering the process as part of an overall customer success strategy.

An inside out process may be thought of as one which also provides the goods or services to the customer, but the process to provide these are viewed from the organisation's perspective. It may be "doing things right" but not necessarily "doing the right things". It may seek to improve the customer's experience, but not necessarily aligned with delivering a successful customer outcome, or what the customer really wants.

>David Mottershead, CPP (Certified Process Professional) - Creative Digital Technology (Australia)

Fundamentally flawed thinking (for the 21C) is why companies like British Airways and the Detroit car industry are going bust.

This example tells you much about the demise of many - see http://bit.ly/drVHa - with the quote from CIO Update "A process is a process is a process, whether it is the manufacturing floor or airline passenger check-in. And what worked for manufacturing in Detroit years ago is also working for British Airways."
(as a matter of fact it isn't)

This typifies the inside-out thinking which does not acknowledge anywhere near sufficiently the Successful Customer Outcome. It might have worked in the 70's and 80's but it just isn't sufficient anymore.

There's an active discussion underway on the BP Group LinkedIn community - join it here http://bit.ly/eHSEz

Architecture World 2009

iCMG Architecture World conference is focused on IT architecture as a specialty. The key focus areas include understanding of EAF(Enterprise Architecture Frameworks), Model Driven Architecture (MDA), Component based product line, Service-oriented Architecture (SOA), Business Process Management (BPM), ITSM etc. which are key for the End-User Companies for reducing IT costs, ensuring system longevity and enhancing productivity.

IT Architecture is getting recognized as a critical element for realizing practical vision of the IT system for Fortune 2000 companies. With the rapid pace of change today... iCMG Architecture World '09 - Architecture for Business Innovation & Risk Mitigation http://bit.ly/R0imJ

4th Wave BPM - Outside-in - does it win?

The article about American Airlines late arrival and subsequent conversion to Outside-In BPM raised many questions, not least is how 'others' are doing. What about those established BPM companies and their standing? Hence this piece of research which compares brand value with business model maturity.

The more mature the business model the more it is outside-in with increasing alignment to achieving successful customer outcomes.

So we went to an authoritative reference for a respected breakdown of performance. That source Millward Brown Optimor produces an annual survey and this is the latest one.

We have combined the BP Group Outside-in analysis and the results suggest a clear trend.

Fundamentally flawed thinking (for the 21C) is why companies like British Airways and the Detroit car industry are going bust.

I have lifted this from the BP Group Linked-In as it seems very appropriate in terms of Successful Customer Outcomes.

This example tells you much about the demise of many - see http://bit.ly/drVHa - with the quote from CIO Update "A process is a process is a process, whether it is the manufacturing floor or airline passenger check-in. And what worked for manufacturing in Detroit years ago is also working for British Airways."
(as a matter of fact it isn't)

This typifies the inside-out thinking which does not acknowledge anywhere near sufficiently the Successful Customer Outcome. It might have worked in the 70's and 80's but it just isn't adequate anymore.

The BP Group and iCMG have a FREE webinar on this theme on Tuesday 2nd June - 'BPM, Evolving beyond Lean & Six Sigma' - click this link to join: http://bit.ly/krEnR

We will demonstrate precisely why companies like BA have it wrong, and what you can do immediately to 'do it right'

A few hours later after this initial post I received a rather terse reply regarding BA in my private mail... which allowed me to follow up as follows:

Oh dear. Given the private comment I have just received it looks like someone is a tad upset and everything is really OK with BA. We are sticking to our guns as the ultimate judge of that is the customer who by buying (more) product and service endorses the business model.

One of the features of 'inside-out' companies is the way people blame others for their ills - even though they were the ones responsible for the mess.

If you need more evidence read this interview from last months Information Age
http://bit.ly/rKs6O which featured their CIO blaming the British Airport Authority (BAA) for the Terminal 5 debacle. All those lost bags, disastrous service, hopeless communications, pitiful systems etc.had nothing to do with the new lean technology (apparently - honestly). No I suppose it was the tooth fairy again eh?

Now don't get me wrong I would love BA to become hugely successful (as I need to fly their routes often) but the first stage of that is sorting out the mindset within. A good start is truly understanding the only reason you have a job is because of the customer. Get that and then make sure everything you do makes the customers lives easier, somper and more successful.

If BA don't get it together soon then extinction is their final destination.

BP Group - Global not for profit business club with 32,000 members - FREE membership, join at

LinkedIn - BP Group discussions, presentations, toolkits, video, downloads

BP Community blog- Articles

Customer Expectation Management Method (CEMMethodtm)

Business Process Professional - Certified BPM Training

Summer Webinar Series (free to BP Group members)

Contact the author - Steve Towers
web - www.stevetowers.com
linkedin - www.linkedin.com/in/stevetowers
twitter - http://twitter.com/stowers
email - steve.towers @ bpgroup.org

BPM Weekly Update from the BP Group

BPGroup weekly LinkedIn update (152 discussions, 1815 LI Members)

Video keynote from Gartner conference - http://bit.ly/gW4zi
What are the top Outsider-Inners doing - http://bit.ly/R4RiA
Top Discussion - http://bit.ly/O7WUH
Are “Bolt-On” BPM Systems Running Out of Market Space? http://bit.ly/VT4Je
The Best Way to pitch BPM (summary) - http://bit.ly/JfWkl
FIVE Webinars in progress - http://bit.ly/kG4WI
Business Process Professional training - http://www.bp2009.com
Newsletter for May (last week) - http://bit.ly/12Lcop

All the Best, Steve

PS. Monthly newsletter next week - new ICMG webinars also

Learn more about business process management - and get certified!

If you're like most other professionals, the economic downturn has you looking critically at business processes. Want to learn more about that?

In mid-June we are conducting the Business Process Professional course – via the BP Groups Certified Process Professional programme.

Developed over ten years and with more than 7,000 Certified Professionals since 2005 it features the latest case studies, best practices and a complete method for implementing advanced BPM as featured recently on radio and TV.

The course is very well regarded by attendees and takes place in central London. You can get more information here.

BPM Quick Presentation links

For those looking for an handy quicklink to downloads and slides - here you go!
The Summer Webinar series will create several more and update these - details at www.bpgroup.org

BPM CEM method http://bit.ly/xxiEM
Here is the website with some
additional background http://www.cemmethod.com

BPM 1 developing the Skill
– see update in webinar on July 14

BPM 2 bridging the gap
Quite out of date – see webinar on July 28

BPM 3 Succeeding w/BPM in the age of the customer

BPM 4 Building BPM Scorecard
Quite out of date – see webinar on July 21

Choosing the Right Supplier

BPM & Complexity

Any queries please let us know news @ bpgroup.org

Alan Trefler – The wonderful Wizard of Oz? - Gartner, San Diego

At the recent annual Gartner BPM conference in San Diego, diehard BPM veteran Alan Trefler of Pegasystems (founder and CEO) gave his keynote presentation. Trefler began by reminding the audience that in today’s turbulent economy we are all “not in Kansas anymore” and may just need some fancy slippers to find our way back home to success and profitability.

Get yourself a coffee and revisit the Wizard of Oz for quarter of an hour with Alan Trefler – Video (you will need to register with Pega but that just takes two minutes) Event here

Whatever next "Stargate BPM"? :-)

Emerging Business Models

Seven minute video introduces this theme.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shY9SshsukQ

we cover more on this subject (with latest case studies) and certification at www.bp2009.com

BPG Process Professionals Newsletter - May 2009

New downloads, articles, webinars availability, research and updates.

Here's the link to the newsletter: http://bit.ly/12Lcop

All the Best, Steve, Chair - BP Group

Why ERP is (potentially) really dumb

There that's done it ;-)

Here's part of a discussion underway at http://bit.ly/h6dMr and I will start my 'call to arms' with a quote from Stephane Haelterman, SAP BPM & SAP Business Workflow consulting:

"Looking to ERP ;-)
Most of complexity is often resulting from poor understanding of the system capabilities, poor integration and poor consulting. An ERP is a 'standard' system. You can really leverage the power of it if correctly implemented following industry best practices and a good dose of pragmatism and creativity.To my experience, a total outside-in approach will make such a system fail by creating a monster (i.e. AS-IS becoming TO-BE at the implementation).
In case of ERP systems, you should align the outside-in thinking with the inside-out features by composing new processes and applications consuming services from different systems. And there comes BPM to leverage your investment."

This comment highlights one of the potental challenges we face as we move forward with BPM. So here's my response:

Stephane - complexity is a ball and chain of existing businesses created by a multitude of things but primarily driven by the change in 'the customer'.

Lack of understanding of why a business exists (it is the customer stupid) and what processes should be doing (delivering products or services to the customer) causes all that internal specialism and fractionalisation. We have inherited models from the 20th century (and before) which can not and do not cope with the 'new customer' who is choosey, fickle and demands excellent service every time.

I am afraid businesses (especially in the service arena) who standardise around ERP are removing their own capacity to differentiate. If everything is the same how can they be different? Of course SAP and ORACLE et al will differ in that view as they are selling products that deliver 'best practice' - how can everyone be 'best practice'? - and those businesses who are truly succeeding do not tell us it is because of their ERP systmes.

In fact the opposite is true. They tell us it is their focus on truly understanding the NEEDS of the customer and aligning everything they do (which doesn't always require technology) to those needs. That requires ingenuity, simplification and dedication in developing business processes that do not have the burden of the past (take a deep breath) - checkers checking checkers, SLA's, functional specialists, top-down inside-out hierachy's, remuneration systems based on ladders, pyramidal thinking with customers 'at the bottom' in the 'front line' (why the trenches analogy?), top down, left to right process mapping - why is that? measurement systems counting activities, project management approaches that deliver 'on time to budget' but miss the point of delivering results... the list goes on and features strongly in the BP Group Process Audit approach (free for those who are interested).

By the way AS-IS and TO-BE is more of that inside-out baggage also!

Mature process organisations (4th wave BPM) are progressively removing all this 'legacy' and the really good news is that we have passed the tipping point and 'outside-in' thinking and practice is a shining light of success in the middle of the current global recession.

I work with more than a dozen companies who continue to generate profits and are managing customer expectations in new innovative ways without the need for all that old dross. (They are featured in the new upcoming book by the way).

Of course there must be some companies simultaneously reducing costs, improving revenues, enhancing service and exceeding at compliance who are being driven by SAP? Let's feature them in this discussion and we can compare notes about what drives their success. Or even Oracle for that matter. Come on guys step up to the plate!

You can see the latest on this: http://bit.ly/h6dMr

What do you think Business Process Management is?

Part of the BP Group 2009 Annual Survey - ( http://bit.ly/17OGIy )

Over at LinkedIn there's been a vibrant discussion (with more than 67 comments) which forms part of the inout to this years annual survey - go see at http://bit.ly/2m9AgA

FREE SCO Toolkit

The BPGroup (established in 1992) is a not for profit business club representing a community of more than 30,000 individuals sharing information in business process management.

This week we passed 1600 LinkedIn members. In just 6 months membership has blossomed to include the widest possible range of interests and people. With over 200 discrete discussions the conversations are vibrant and frequently contentious. The most visited discussion “What do you think BPM is” started just two weeks ago, and across the community now has over 300 contributions.

To share our success members of the BP Group can download the Successful Customer Outcomes toolkit (for one month only). This toolkit helps in identifying exactly why a process exists and provides a framework to uncover how to align an organisation for achieving success – without exception.

The SCO toolkit is one of six toolkits that can be reviewed at http://www.bpgroup.org/Toolkits.html

To download the kit visit the BPGroup article and click the link http://bit.ly/16Djao – if you are not yet a member you will be invited to join, and as always with the BPGroup – it s free. You will receive he toolkit as a PDF complete with templates, pointers to other resources, and the means to implement your own Successful Customer Outcome.

Oh for goodness sake now its Twibes!

Look I am not complaining. I have been banging this drum called BPM for 17 years (yes I am a grandad) and now look what happens. Last month it's the BPM Nexus and now today it is BPM Twibes. The link is below for the masochists who want more information overload - it's too late for me already :-)

Next I anticipate Tribbles (Trekkies will understand that one). Come to it in the new Star Trek perhaps they'll make a return (sorry completely off topic).

If you have stuck with me so far you can join my Twitter at
and the new BPM Twibes thing is leaving the station now from platform http://twibes.com/BPM just jump onboard!

Is BPM doomed like its predecessor BPR?

Once again BPM is coming under fire as inter factional fighting threatens to destroy what Research and Markets describes as a $32 bn industry by 2012. This time it is the proliferation of the initiatives purporting to be the real BPM leaving the corporate decision makes confused and dismayed.

BPM continues to decline as a search reference with the latest findings suggesting a decrease to less than 40% of the interest from the same quarter five years ago however IT vendors marketing campaigns reflect more spend, up 200% on the same period.

The ABPMP (Association of Business Process Management Professionals) has taken its time in establishing its presence and despite the many competing educational offerings is yet still to launch its BPM certification program. The original intention expressed in 2005 is still to appear while at the same time commercial offerings are fulfilling the needs of corporates in providing methods and approaches to make process management a key discipline. Recently technical training has emerged with organisations like the OMG (Object Management Group) providing training in process modelling semantics.

BP Group researches suggests three versions of the truth are obvious in the market place, each attempting to satisfy the needs of corporate and individuals in understanding and deploying BPM. The initial 2009 study of more than 120 European and North American senior executive decision makers reports 37 per cent of companies already use BPM ‘inside-out’[i], 27 per cent view BPM as a technology and another 36 per cent prefer BPM ‘outside-in’[ii].

The situation is similar to the demise of BPR a decade ago when ultimately the lack of delivery, hyped promises from IT vendors and then corporate disenchantment scuppered what had promised to be a transformational change in business thinking and practice. Will BPM go the same way?

The signs are ominous. The Linkedin community now boasts more than 15 communities covering the themes of business process management. Some groups, led by technology vendors, claim independence from any one product and yet push their own BPMS (BPM Solution) leading to many to see the sham of those communities as thinly disguised marketing machines. Who can the senior executives trust to provide impartial and objective advice?

Recently there have been developments amongst some of those disillusioned to form new entities. One such project from Theo Priestley, sometimes also known as Process Maverick, is creating some interest. Following a poll amongst BP Group members asking the question of whether a BPM Manifesto is required Priestley formed BPM Nexus, hosted on the Ning community platform. Will this initiative be any more successful? Time will tell.

In undertaking the BP Group’s 17th annual research programme we are seeking answers to all these questions. You can join this research and input your two cents worth. The findings will be fully published at the 5th annual BPE conference in London during September 2009.

[i] ‘Inside-Out’ reflects the way organisations are implementing BPM when they view processes as beginning when they cross the organisation threshold and end when they leave the door. A classic depiction would be in the airline business where some carriers treat ‘booking to carousel’ as the process. Typical ‘inside-out’ approaches include six sigma, lean and TQM.

[ii] ‘Outside-In’ sees processes as the customer experience. The starting point begins with customer desire, and ends only when the customer says it does. The ‘outside-in’ view is commercially more attractive as the organisation then influences and obtains revenue at each stage of the customer experience. Organisations such as Southwest airlines, Apple and Best Buy represent mature approaches to BPM adopting outside-in viewpoints.

BPM and Complexity

Due to popular demand here is the slideshow discussing complexity and how we can eradicate it

BPM Webinar Invite, New record for Discussions, New downloads

Kick start the BPM week

Upcoming Webinar – BPM and Operational Intelligence

Project Management Certificates compared
http://bit.ly/3OecHt (66 views this week)

Top Discussion (this week) – Process Savings Potential

Latest Article – Gartner says 20% Y1 is doable (shock)

Next CPP Program – Next Week – Sydney

Latest Presentation – Building a Successful BPM Scorecard


This Week, Webinar, Perth, Australia – next, Sydney ( http://alturl.com/ggk ) soon * Dubai * Hungary * London * Denver *

Hopefully see you at Tuesdays Webinar

BPGLI Group Leader.

Top 5 Business Tools in Twitter

Here is the list I use for getting the very best out of Twitter.
Bill Gates talked about business at the speed of light.. Twitter has made that Warp Factor 9.

Review my favorites and let me know of your own!


Where is the Customer in your BPM initiative?

The application of Business Process Management (BPM) is known to have multiple benefits that produce a hard return on investment (ROI). Automation, quality, compliance, management, and optimization of activities represented by business processes are the areas most often cited in this regard. . .. {more}

Choosing the Right Systems Provider

In response to a question on LinkedIn I blew the dust of this slideshow on selecting suppliers - enjoy!

Zen and the Art of Process Management

In PartOne of this three part article we reviewed the factors driving transformational change and how the old ‘inside-out’ approach to business is about as useful as a steam engine in getting to the moon. In Part two we’ll look at how some of the world leading trend setter companies are embracing the new outside-in challenge and creating new powerful business models driven by advanced forms of BPM such as the Customer Expectation Management Method (CEMM). . {more}

Gartners Magic Quadrant wears thin?

Quite a debate has broken out in reaction to the latest release/retraction then rerelease of the annual Gartners BPM Systems Magic Quadrant. Join the discussion at http://bit.ly/LWcPK.
Here's an extract from Theo Priestley...

The end of Gartner's reign in my opinion.

I had a sneak preview at the latest MQ report from Gartner from a friend in a particular vendor who were very pleased to say the least to make the MQ for the first time.....however.....

This smacks of a major u-turn to fit either the market conditions today or getting 'found out' for leading organisations down a path they really didn't need to go down. Honestly, I wonder how they got away with those MQ reports for so long. People take them far too seriously and their glorified SWOT analysis really only served to preserve a very uneasy status quo in BPM. There has been little real innovation in tools because this kind of paid advertising can backfire on a vendor who develops something out of the norm.

Are companies growing tired of their broad brush format and BPM changing little over the years ? Are they turning their backs on Gartner (I suspect Butler and Forrester will no doubt revamp their reports just to keep up) in droves to make their own decisions based on what fits their business not what Gartner tells them will fit ?

I know for a fact, I've been involved in vendor selection before and have been told to look at research but never to base the final decision on it. Research on BPM tools and methods should be impartial, fact based and tailored to the clients needs. It needs to go back to basics to the old approach where clients and customers ask for specifics to be investigated according to their needs, industry and future demands. Not a broad brush approach and a 20 page report covering every aspect, relevant or not.

Oil & Gas, Financial Services, Utilities, NFPs, Legal, Local Govt: they all use BPM(S) for different reasons and as such should have difference criteria to weight each tool upon. That means REAL research.

There is a need for this in the market place. In this time where resources are precious and decisions cost, can we afford not to have it.

Business Transformation - Are you onboard?

The world of business is undergoing dramatic change. Driven by a number of factors organizations are needing to realign themselves to adapt and evolve. This transformation is global and reaches into every business sector impacting how companies create, deliver and sustain their products and services. {more}

Emirates to optimize critical Moment of Truth

By 2011, according to the International Air Traffic Association (IATA) there will be 4.75 billion airline passengers a year. In other words that’s the equivalent of 3 out of every 4 people on the planet taking a flight in one year, and everyone of those trips involves an average of 1.6 bags per person – that is 7.6 billion bags a year. {more}

Gulf States Embrace Certified Process Professional training

The Middle East has enthusiastically embraced the presence of BP Group partner on the ground, Dr. Fahad Altwaijry and EBTRAC (altwaijry@bpgroup.org) and there are several projects underway with consultancy and training around Advanced BPM and the Customer Expectation Management Method. Here's a report.. {more}

Don't give the Customer what they think they want

It is pretty much accepted wisdom these days that companies should be customer focused. It is however unfortunate that most companies go the wrong way about this by asking their customers what they want. Customers describe their requirements in terms of products and services and then when the company builds and delivers they are not desired or bought. Henry Ford put it very well.... {more}

The Evolution of Business Process Management (updated)

A theme of recent global conferences has been the mix of different approaches to improving business performance. This quest for business performance improvement as measured by reducing costs, improving revenues and enhanced service (also known as ‘the triple crown’) is a worldwide phenomena brought on by increasing competition, greater customer promiscuity, chaotic business cycles and more generally ‘globalization’. The pressure continues to increase and companies are seeking to extract every last opportunity out of their various initiatives and approaches. So what works best then?

Review the full article

BP Group Members can download a PDF of this article (with tables etc.)
and an associated Powerpoint presentation

To join the BP Group (it's free) click here.

The Causes of Work

Every Customer Interaction is a Moment of Truth (MOT). Whether it’s person to person, person to system, system to person, system to system or person to product they are all Causes of Work.

That work in dealing with MOT’s creates internal handoffs, these are Breakpoints. Places where things can and do go wrong and we see them happening between people, systems and services all the time.

All our internal communications are in fact Breakpoints. For instance how many emails do you receive from colleagues and business partners daily? How many calls do you have to make to get the job done? How many 'systems' do you work with?

According to US research firm The Radi... [more]

Let's talk Successsful Customer Outcomes (SCO) then...

How do Disney weave their magic?

The recent article 'The World of Magic' resulted in a series of questions around ‘what is the SCO?¨. Well as it is so often said it isn’t rocket science. In fact it has to be one of the simplest concepts available in business today – and yet so often missed. It is often so simple it is elegant, so let’s review what Disneys SCO might just be...

Most of us have been there. A car full of screaming kids eager to start their Disney vacation however trouble is you’ve driven six hours (or flown ten) and frankly the last thing you want to do is fight the car lot. Much better find that quiet hotel room and bar and chill until tomorrow? Not so. This is the kids vacation and they’re going to squeeze every minute out of the long awaited trip to the Magic Kingdom. So what say Disney in this situation? Do they leave you to fight the crowds, get incredibly irritated and leave you with a pile of now prickly family? Well no - they have been there too after all and it is real easy to see it from the customers point of view. {more}

Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO's) and the world of magic

For many of us talking and acting the SCO way has become second nature.That means if you are eating and breathing the alignment of your processes towards SCO’s then progressively the original focus begins to shift and in fact we refine and sharpen our ability both to meet and subsequently exceed customer expectations. That’s precisely what is happening in the magic kingdom [more]

Building the BPM Balanced Scorecard

This conference in Arlington, VA reviewed the most upto date thinking and practice with BPM, Scorecards and Strategy Maps. Features a FedEx mini casestudy.