Why Business Sponsorship and a Center of Excellence is Key to BPM Success

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

BPM isn’t a fad nor a bolt-on to business. BPM is a model for business and it is growing. BPM is about continuous improvement and scale through technology. BPM must be recognized at the highest level in an organizational to truly deliver on the promises sold by vendors. Here’s why:

  • Continuous improvement is the primary business value of business process management (BPM). Continuous improvement is a business opportunity and therefore a business issue. Unless there is sustained business sponsorship, the improvement will fail to be continuous and end up as just a ‘project’.
  • Disagreements between organizational units can lead to problems prioritizing change rationally. BPM effects the whole organization – it cuts across it. Business sponsorship at the senior level must ensure that a holistic view of change is maintained and the right decisions are made for the right reasons.
  • Lack of a business mandate will result in a lack of funding. Initiatives that lack ownership tend to lack the vision of what is desired, and therefore lose support and funding. Business sponsorship should create the vision and drive, plus the governance to ensure what will become a costly exercise to deliver business value.
  • The most successful BPM initiatives think big, start small. The marginal nature of early BPM initiatives may cause confusion that BPM is a small business matter. Senior business sponsorship is needed to ensure that the organization maintains the long term view and that senior managers ‘keep their powder dry’ whilst early changes become embedded.

Business Sponsorship will create the drive and allocate the funding to BPM initiatives if successfully obtained. But organizations must address their capabilities too. Here’s why:

  • No Center Of Excellence (COE) may mean the organization lacks the capability to deliver change. BPM is a branch of IT of its own and has its own specialists. If BPM is delivered as a single project with contract resources then it will almost certainly fail to meet the objectives of continuous improvement. Isolated projects always lack the context to exploit the capabilities of their predecessors.
  • Continuous Improvement involves rapid, iterative change cycles. A COE will provide the assurance that each cycle can be met, to standard, to time. There can be no surprises in this model.
  • BPM puts the business in control of many process parameters, but it is really the job of IT to do most of the work through the COE. A COE will provide the governance and attention to detail to ensure the consequences of parameter changes are understood.
  • BPM deals in business terms but requires a technical means of expressing change – a COE will take on that task, working with the business.

It’s so important that BPM isn’t a thing you do, but a thing you be. ‘Being’ BPM is about embedding it as the way an organization does business – a continuously improving business. Being BPM is securing the top leadership of the business to adopt the model and sponsor initiatives, and it’s having the competence at the core in the form of a Center of Excellence.

This subject was suggested by Mark Christian in Ringwood, England. (Thanks Mark)

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