Business Process Management Unplugged

Let’s unplug the technology, return to basics, and talk about how business process should be used to get and keep more loyal customers.

Is Cost Optimization why we’re in business?

Recently, I had a discussion about business process and cost optimization.  It seems in this economic environment, companies want to use business process to 1) justify layoffs and 2) optimize costs.  And, while those two objectives may be necessary in this environment, it’s not the only use for good business process.  What’s more, it should not be the primary use for it.

I heard someone once say that if a company intends to lay people off, it should just do so.  Then, it should use business process to figure out what to do next.  We shouldn’t use business process to justify layoffs.  And, while this is a discussion onto itself, the assessment is correct.  If a company is going to lay people off, it should just lay people off.  As for cost optimization, business process can provide relief.  But, NO company is in the business of optimizing costs.  

ALL companies are in the business of optimizing revenue… through 1) understanding what their customers’ expectations for successful outcomes are and making sure that the products, services and all the work (represented by their processes) are aligned to meeting these successful outcomes.  If a company does this properly, it stands a much better chance of getting and keeping more loyal customers now, and into the future.  For it’s survival it must do this and constantly re-evaluate itself relative to its customers’ expectations for successful outcomes.

Companies can use business process to optimize costs.  While this is a good use of business process management disciplines, it is only half the story.  And, it’s the half of the story that, on its own, will not assure that a company survives.  Business Process must be used to get and keep those loyal customers who will assure and “optimize” the revenue stream for the company, now, and into the future.  This economic environment, while difficult, presents great opportunity for customer-focused organizations to plant the seed of outstanding alignment to customer expectations.  Those companies that invest in the customer today in everything they make and do have a foundation for success well into the future.

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2 Comments»

  Alexander Grosskopf wrote @

Seems to me that people concentrated on cost reduction are lacking the empathy for customer needs and a vision for revenue grows.

Economic downturns are a challenge indeed and BPM can help to identify flaws in the organization of work. But we’re not the excuse for those that don’t have the balls to make for their decisions.

  noviconden wrote @

Recently, I read a blog posting on an ABPMP affiliated site at LinkedIn. The author talks about how IT organizations have taken the business decision making process away from the business… or more to point, how the business has let that happen. At the end of the day, when we remove the influence our technology has not just on the decision making process but on the decisions, themselves, we put our leaders back in the position of having to truly understand what their organizations’ value to their customers is, and the roles each member of the organization plays to secure the relationship with them. The organization’s customer and value focused work, correctly directed and effectively executed, will secure this relationship. Process is nothing more or less than the representation of this work.


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