Friday, 10 July 2015

Process or Outcomes?

Having worked a fair bit in the business process management world I have myself, and have certainly worked with others, who get a bit obsessed with process. Process is important, no doubt, in many organisations, but is it ubiquitously necessary?

Many operations just do what they with everyone doing it differently; this is particularly in where applying professional knowledge is key rather than following a step by step workflow. In step by step workflow process management stands out as being the "best practice " way and in particular in businesses whose strategy is differentiation by cost leadership.

Your average process person will say " every operation has a process" if that operation replies by saying "well it depends" the conversation usually continues to the point where the parties get fed up with each other and any improvement opportunity has gone out of the window as a consequence of the conversation.

Process centric thinking permeates modelling too, and certain vendors can't again get their heads around modelling using any other hub other than process as a modelling approach which is really frustrating to business architects who like flexibility in their choice of modelling approach.

Actually, what is equally important as process is outcomes and there are many compliance regimes that are now outcome based rather than process based, because the previous focus on process delivered good process, but poor outcomes.

What today is growing is the concept of case management which groups together a web of connected activities rather than a straight line process flow. case management reflects particularly well in an application of human skill deploying professional knowledge to a case or event.

Process has its place but the outcomes are what is really important and this is why some are arguing "business process management is dead" I think this is a bit extreme to be honest but I can see where it is coming from.