How To Scale Up BPM in a Fast Growth Company
When an organization starts out, it is unusual for people to pay too much attention to processes. Some do, of course, but many keep their focus on building an innovative product, growing the company, and other operational activities. However, as an organization scales, the issues that arise from a lack of processes can scale with it. The question then becomes: how to scale up BPM in a fast growth company?
CityFibre, one of the UK’s best-known fiber infrastructure companies, experienced rapid growth and identified a need for more effective processes to ensure that further expansion was painless and managed efficiently.
A growing business means growing demand for processes
CityFibre is a telecommunications firm that connects cities to gigabit speeds, enabling both residential properties and businesses to reap the benefit of superfast broadband. In 2016 it had just 98 employees, but by the end of this year, that figure will have grown to almost 1,800.
It has ambitious targets to connect eight million premises by 2025 and is regarded as a genuine market disruptor. Yet in 2016, there was no process team in place and no business analysts. After CityFibre won a major contract in 2017 to deliver fiber infrastructure to the premises of Vodafone customers, it became very apparent that the company needed process analysis.
Peter Murray’s team grew a little and began writing down and mapping processes. But there was no standardization of language, style, tools, or structure, and they lacked a single portal for agreed processes. People within the business lacked awareness of processes, and overall, the process drive was lacking coherence. CityFibre continued to grow, and the lack of standardization became even more of an issue. That’s when Peter contacted Signavio.
Moving to more mature BPM
This was the catalyst for CityFibre to approach BPM more seriously. They worked closely with Signavio and undertook a project to convert 250+ legacy flows to Signavio. The standards are machine-readable, making them auditable, and Peter's team created standard operating procedures and ISO compliance documents containing process maps and rich narratives to produce up-to-date governed content.
The SAP Signavio Collaboration Hub was used for all agreed processes and ISO documents, and Peter was able to quickly devolve initial process design steps to capable individuals in operational areas. The process owners were more involved, and the team wasn’t a bottleneck but retained oversight and governance over all published processes, which were now all mandated via Signavio.
Although the new BPM systems were making life much easier for Peter's team, there remained challenges to be overcome. Although the collaboration hub was launched with great fanfare, some employees are still unaware of its existence. Given that all 1,800 employees need access to process documentation and must adhere to common agreed processes, this is an ongoing challenge.
The advanced Signavio features, beyond simple process modeling, allow more efficiency and automation, providing real-time information on events. This helps with employee awareness and executive buy-in as well as improving understanding of how processes work in underlying systems and the real time taken to complete tasks.
CityFibre is also not yet accustomed to taking responsibility for process ownership at the appropriate level, making the final steps of publishing/governance hard. Finally, the process team is frequently invited late to process design and change initiatives. They end up process mapping instead of process modeling. This is not the best use of expertise, although Signavio can create process maps very quickly.
The challenges above are typical for expanding organizations like CityFibre, who are tackling the challenge of how to scale up BPM in a fast growth company. Thanks to Signavio and improved BPM, CityFibre has significantly improved the way company operates. Next up is automation and the opportunities afforded by robotic process automation (RPA), which is very much on the radar for CityFibre.
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