Business process improvement
"Needs particular methods and tools eg skills and authority to challenge. All staff managing/handling each process to be involved"
BPI involves numerous components and stages, all of which are essential to the end result - achieving change within the service concerned. A structured methodology is therefore important, to ensure that all issues are appropriately addressed. An incomplete approach results in unwanted outcomes.
The key elements of a successful approach are:
- Where are we now? Identifying and communicating with stakeholders, mapping current processes, performance assessment
- What are we striving for? Identifying the business vision, options appraisal, refining proposals, mapping future processes
- Making it happen. Planning change, making the business case, planning communications, resourcing the programme, making the changes, reviewing the programme and documenting the new processes as implemented.
- Continuous improvement. It is vital to establish a culture of continuous improvement, so process owners ar e continually looking for opportunities to improve and develop the service. Formalise this through regular reviews and by training staff in the techniques of evaluation, mapping, assessment, and change management.
Process Mapping is an essential element in BPI: analysing current processes in service delivery, ways in which they could be improved, and the key stakeholders who need to understand and put those changes into practice.
However, the public sector's renewed interest in BPI and Process Mapping has drawn suppliers of very complex Process Mapping toolsets into the market. Most such tools are over-engineered for public sector use, costly, and work against standardisation - whereas other, simpler toolsets can exploit the growing standard libraries of process maps developed by other public sector organisations.
Our recommended approach is to:
- Ensure you are clear about the reasons for doing process mapping
- Use the most appropriate tools for the job - being understandable to the people involved in the process is the most important criterion, and where applicable, being able to provide the structured information needed by the IT people a close second
- Keep it simple - use the simplest tool consistent with what is required - and focus on understanding the process rather than on learning a new tool; once a process is understood, it can be represented easily in any representational tool
- Don't be distracted by technology - avoid adopting a product that no-one else is using; encourage standards and products that are in widespread use, so that the work can be shared with others.
|Related Consulting Services||Related briefings|
|Business process change||The transformational organisation and how to become one|
|Related Insight publications|
|Modern public services: business process management (July 2007)|
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