Business transformation—a fact of life

Change is an inescapable reality, in business as in the rest of life. Without change, there is no growth, no way of measuring progress, no new opportunities—and definitely no excitement!

Of course, from a business perspective, too much excitement is very often a bad thing. Unpredictability and uncertainty are rarely conducive to smooth and efficient operation, and in the worst cases, change can mean enormous disruption to an organization’s ability to actually function. Most businesses realize this, and have plans and structures in place to deal with the inevitable changes they will face, whether they are internally-driven, or in response to external challenges.

In fact, supporting organizations through changing circumstances is something of a Signavio specialty. The Signavio Business Transformation Suite is designed to provide organizations with the tools they need to transform the way they do business, and we are always ready to help people understand why collaboration is key to successful business transformation, as well as the importance of creating a single source of truth in your business. We even have a step-by-step guide to business transformation, to help organizations of all shapes and sizes work through this challenging process.

But we also know this is just the beginning.

A volatile environment

“In today’s era of volatility, there is no other way but to re-invent. The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it. Because nothing else is sustainable, everything else you create, somebody else will replicate.”

As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos points out above, business transformation is more than a single moment in time. In a digital economy driven by mantras like ‘move fast and break things’, the idea that business transformation can be contained to a specific project is itself changing. Instead, organizations of all shapes and sizes are embedding change in all aspects of their work, and redesigning their businesses for constant updates and never-ending innovation.

In other words, businesses need to be agile: not only ready for anything and everything to be overturned, but actively welcoming the opportunity when it happens. Traditional reactive change mechanisms will be replaced by business architecture and business process designs which are deliberately planned to be flexible, responsive, and adaptable. Building business agility is no longer an option, it is a requirement.

Of course, the only way this can work in practice is if an organization’s systems and processes are robust enough to deal with sudden shocks. In turn, this means an organization must be confident in knowing what business processes it has in place, how each one works and interacts with others, how efficient and effective each process is, and what elements of each process can be changed quickly. The clearest route to this goal is a strong business process framework, meaning building business agility with BPM has to start there.

Building business agility with BPM

Building the internal capability for ongoing business agility requires businesses to establish standard business objects for stability or easy adaptation. This means an organization can assemble new business capability without starting over each time.

To succeed using this ‘mix and match’ approach requires far more than agile software methods. It takes in all aspects of the business including strategy, process, policy, organization, infrastructure, technology, human competency, information, and culture. The challenge in tackling all of these simultaneously is that a change in any one category may impact one or more others. If we do not know what that impact might be, rework and delays will almost certainly happen. Then it’s just a question of whether they happen right in the middle of a transformation project, or once an organization tries to return to business as usual. Neither of these scenarios would help!

A process-centric approach to building business agility with BPM negates this challenge because it considers each business process as a separate (though connected) object, meaning businesses can work towards optimizing each one regardless of how it links to the various business aspects described above.

In other words, if in order for a particular process to be optimized, an organization needs to: 1) redefine a specific position, 2) update a certain piece of technology, and 3) refine an organizational policy, they can. This is because the ultimate goal of process improvement provides both the rationale and the motivation to make those changes. Strong processes offer the foundation that allows businesses to be agile and adaptable.

Business agility with BPM webinar

Roger Burlton, President of Process Renewal Group and author of the pioneering book ‘Business Process Management: Profiting from Process’, will be exploring these ideas further in an upcoming Signavio webinar—and you’re invited.

The webinar will offer an overview of what you need to understand as you work towards building business agility with BPM, starting with the parts of your organization that need to be in sync to ensure business agility, including your process architecture, models and descriptions. It will also cover the capabilities and resources you will need, and what your organization already has in place that can be reused.

If you’re keen to learn how to move forward rapidly by understanding your value-creating processes, register now for Roger Burlton’s webinar on Business Agility and the Role of Value Creation and Business Processes. Best of all, it’s free, and if you can’t join live, you can download a copy to view later.

On the other hand, if you’d like to shift towards an agile approach and leap into your own business transformation, why not see how Signavio can help. Sign up for a free 30-day trial today.

Published on: July 30th 2018 - Last modified: July 30th, 2018