An Interview With A Business Process Executive: Jeff Stone From Cabela's

Have you ever heard a business process professional pose these questions?

“How are other organizations managing their BPM efforts?"

"How are their teams structured?"

"Are we like other companies?”

We often hear these types of questions from business process executives who are involved in Forrester’s Business Process Council. To help shed light on how other companies approach BPM, we recently interviewed Business Process Council member Jeff Stone from Cabela’s and asked him to share the story of its BPM program — why it was started, his biggest challenges, and biggest successes.

1. Where are you right now in your BPM journey?

[Jeff Stone] Today we are beginning our BPM journey, but we have already put significant infrastructure in place to support our vision.

2. Is your BPM initiative being driven by a senior executive, from the grassroots, or both?

[Jeff Stone] Our BPM initiative is driven by our Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement Team, which ultimately reports to our COO. We also get strong support from our EA team.

3. What was the catalyst/driver for the creation of your BPM CoE?

[Jeff Stone] Because in our mind BPM is a culture, not just a framework or a system, we felt assembling a cross-functional CoE would provide the best chance of success. This is the reason we combined technical, business, process improvement, and change management expertise in the CoE.

4. How did/do you evangelize the need for a BPM initiative and/or the related change management activities surrounding it?

[Jeff Stone] We chose to “market” BPM in terms the business could relate to. We purposely steered away from the technical aspects of BPM and focused more on how BPM could solve some of the most pressing business challenges. By using real examples, and in fact working models, we were able to gain clear executive support. Because we have dedicated change management resources, we could simply assign them to these efforts to deliver more effective outcomes.

5. Where do you find good process architects? How do you develop these skills?

[Jeff Stone] This has been a struggle for us. Today, we work with our internal recruiters to target these folks in other industries. We also leverage outside training resources to help develop these skills internally.

6. What has been your greatest BPM achievement to date?

[Jeff Stone] We piloted a project that had significant ROI and important compliance implications at the same time. This was significant in that we not only deployed the solution; we formed our CoE at the same time. At the end of the project, we had a blueprint for projects going forward.

7. What is your greatest BPM challenge?

[Jeff Stone] Today, the biggest challenge is keeping up with demand throughout the organization. While we like to link projects, our strategic priorities don’t necessarily support that model of deployment.

8. What is your most important lesson learned to date?

[Jeff Stone] For us, it was to thoroughly investigate BPMS solutions from vendors before we purchased one. It’s critical to have technical folks prove what the sales folks say is a reality.

The Business Process Council is made up of senior business process professionals from 1B+ companies, and Forrester facilitates a curriculum of activities throughout the year that allow the members to leverage both their own shared experiences as well as the experience and research from our analysts to solve their key business challenges. The members vote on the business challenges to tackle. For more information on Forrester’s Business Process Council, please contact Jeanne Strepacki.