Changing Wheels While Still In The Race . . . Lessons Learned From Process Excellence

I’m at IQPC's Financial Services conference in New York listening to Brenton Harder, MD and head of operational excellence at Credit Suisse. He's clearly got a lot of experience under his belt that is worth sharing. Here are some BPM lessons learned based on his experience working in multiple businesses:

  1. Businesses must move from static BPM to a dynamic community with a clear customer focus. He believes BPM practitioners need to own the customer experience and even become chief customer officers. He also thinks “outside in” BPM hasn’t been customer-centric enough. Focusing on the customer requires more than thinking about inputs and outputs to a process; instead, it involves really digging in and understanding the end-to-end business process from the customer’s vantage.
  2. Continuous improvement, or Kaizen, is fundamentally sound, but sometimes you must go faster than that. For example, in financial services, regulatory requirements are moving faster than ever, and customer expectations are increasing at a faster pace, requiring process experts to move faster than most continuous improvement methodologies and tools support.
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Gotcha’s In Change Management For Business Process Improvement

IQPC’s Process Excellence for Financial Services conference just got to one of my favorite topics — change management. The more I work in process transformation, the more I realize that change management is absolutely crucial for determining success or failure. Also, driving innovation and sustaining a culture of innovation is closely linked to how well the organization does change management.

The panelists include:

  • Karl Friedman, coaching/training lead, Allstate Insurance Co.
  • Larry Duckworth, COO, The Quality Group.
  • Christopher Gaver, vice president, service excellence, Prudential.
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Live From New York — Process Excellence For Financial Services

Today I’ve had the opportunity to speak at and attend a conference about Business Process Management for financial services.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Process practitioners and BPM practitioners are still discovering each other. Although these two types of people are passionate about improving and transforming processes, they invariably come from different backgrounds and practices. Process practitioners typically have Six Sigma black belts and/or practice Lean, and they usually report into business operations or some C-suite business executive. Often, process practitioners do not have any experience in, knowledge about, and interest in BPM software. Conversely, many BPM practitioners work in IT, may report to a director of BPM or the CIO, and have found BPM software to be a powerful way to “modernize” IT and automate improved processes. These two kinds of people desperately need to meet each other, join forces and learn from one another, and ultimately end up in a BPM Center of Excellence together. Usually process practitioners get nervous whenever software creeps into the discussion, but this conference is different. It’s great to see both types of practitioners sharing experiences and figuring out how to work together in the future.
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Don’t Miss The Transformation Boat When Modernizing IT

I recently got a briefing from HCL about its Business Process Management practice, and we are hosting a joint webinar on April 4th.  The briefing was impressive in that HCL is focused on large scale business transformation projects — what we call Big Process. When we got to the following slide, the wheels in my head started turning.



This graphic depicts how IT is modernizing IT infrastructure to include BPM, enterprise content management (ECM) collaboration, and social to expand the IT architecture beyond enterprise suites — like ERP and CRM — which are systems of record rather than systems of engagement. This IT legacy renewal is powerful, and, by focusing on technologies that support systems of engagement, it will position the business to support customers in new and exciting ways and to be more creative and collaborative throughout the organization. In fact, I recently talked with an executive from Pegasystems about the same thing, and he said virtually all of its customers are focused on modernization.

During our discussion, I asked HCL if IT modernization works, and they said yes, it works especially well when there is a corresponding top-down business transformation exercise providing the context and justification for bottom-up IT modernization. In the rest of the cases, where it’s more from the bottom up than the top down, IT modernization stutters along due to lack of business case and funding. 

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