Spreading the word about BPM
You’ve seen the light and know business process management (BPM) can help your company operate better today and innovate for the future. You understand that documenting processes brings them to life, allowing you to discover inefficiencies and identify areas for positive change. You’re ready to launch a BPM initiative in your organization and start a chain reaction of continuous improvement.
There’s only one problem: This is the real world! And that means your colleagues have to believe in BPM as much as you do. But as anyone who has experienced change in the workplace, achieving this sort of buy-in is not always easy...
Tactics for achieving BPM buy-in
No BPM initiative can exist in a vacuum. They need financial backing, strategic direction from decision-makers, and of course, they have to fill the roles needed for BPM success. Using these tactics for achieving BPM buy-in, you will be well on your way to getting all (well, most) of your colleagues engaged in your big BPM idea.
1. Convey the value of BPM in understandable terms
Process management is not an intuitive concept for many people, even experienced business leaders. The first key in achieving buy-in is to make sure all stakeholders understand exactly what BPM is and the value it provides. Your boss probably isn’t concerned with whether or not the tool adheres to strict BPMN 2.0 standards. Rather, explain to her that this language was designed to make creating and interpreting workflow diagrams simple, thereby reducing the risk of mistakes in day-to-day tasks. Avoid being too technical and always remember your audience.
2. Make the current problems feel real
Humans are creatures of habit, and after a while bad processes can start to feel normal, or even good. If your colleagues don’t feel there are problems to solve or areas for significant improvement, they will never fully invest in a BPM solution. Highlighting real-life examples of how bad processes affect individuals can create a strong emotional response. These individuals give a face to the issues and are symbolic of how the entire business is negatively impacted.
3. Engage other believers
Buy-in experts refer to this tactic as “building a coalition.” The more people you can get in your corner, supporting your ideas and providing first-hand experiences, the more urgent and legitimate the initiative will seem. Your BPM coalition should include those with a mix of organizational credibility and executional expertise. This likely means enlisting IT leaders, managers, and some process participants.
4. Anticipate specific questions and roadblocks
Is the person that needs convincing typically very focused on costs? Assure them that the initial investment in BPM will quickly be recouped thanks to cost-saving optimizations. Are they so busy they can’t imagine anyone having the time to sit and document processes as opposed to carrying them out? Explain how putting in some effort now will save your business countless hours of unnecessary work in the long run.
Regardless of your audience, you are likely to be met with legitimate questions about both the overall vision and fine details of your proposed initiative. Fielding questions convincingly is an art in and of itself, but you should at the very least have some planned responses.
Bringing it all together
Getting a BPM initiative off the ground can be difficult, even for a seasoned modeler or consultant. Don’t let inertia stand in the way of your business achieving its goals! Just remember these tactics for achieving BPM buy-in: Always simplify the benefits of BPM, make sure your audience feels the gravity of the situation, build a group of supporters, and prepare yourself for potential hurdles.
Keep in mind that once your tactics for achieving BPM buy-in have been successful, your job doesn't end there! You should continue to be a champion for BPM within the organization and advocate for process adherence whenever possible, including acting as a support for colleagues with further questions or concerns. Of course, these questions will become less frequent over time, as more and more of your colleagues understand the value of BPM, and see improvements in the way they work. You might even find a few people become BPM champions, and start using these tactics for achieving BPM buy-in themselves.
Look out for our upcoming blog post, examining how to counter five common misconceptions about BPM. Until then, why not sign up for a free 30-day trial with Signavio, and find out how the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite makes it easy to engage your colleagues in a BPM dialogue, and quickly get people excited about BPM.