At IBM Impact 2014, many IBM clients shared their experiences with the adoption of Smarter Process solutions that include Business Process Management (BPM) and Operational Decision Management (ODM) technologies. Almost all of the speakers used the term journey to describe the process of planning and introducing the new technology.
This analogy of a journey applies well. And as with other journeys you need to be well prepared. Unless you want to go on a pleasure trip where time and money do not count, you definitely need to know where you want to go. You need to involve your companions in planning activities so that everyone is excited. And it is certainly of value to learn about the foreign culture and talk to people who have done the same journey before.
Let me summarize the most common advice that IBM clients shared. You can apply these considerations to any enterprise-wide technology adoption.
1. Know where you want to go.
Start by determining where you want to go. The enterprise-wide adoption of Smarter Process solutions can be seen as a chance to systematically rethink the way your enterprise works today. Clearly state your vision of what your business objectives are. Define which initiatives will address these goals and how technology will support these initiatives to ensure continuous improvement of your current organizational operation.
2. Inspire your team to collaborate.
Numerous examples of successful projects in the past have proven the benefits that may derive from the adoption of Smarter Process solutions. Examples include process automation, improved operational efficiency and entering new markets by creating new services and products, to name just a few. These compelling references may lead lines of your business to rush into a project and follow their own agenda, believing they will get quick results. This leads to isolated initiatives with different purposes and can
prevent team members from collaborating well. In order to avoid redundancies and get the most benefits, motivate your team to stay focused on achieving common business goals.
3. Chose a partner who has successfully done this journey before.
The adoption of Smarter Process technologies in general involves significant efforts to plan, design the solution and manage the technology deployment cycles. In order to avoid getting stuck in your first-time project, select a trusted implementation partner with specialized skills, methodologies and tool knowledge. Ensure a constant knowledge transfer during implementation phases. Avoid outsourcing efforts with inadequate involvement of your project members, as this will hamper maintenance activities once the project is finished and responsibilities move back to your team.
4. Plan in stages, and wisely select your first leg.
The adoption of Smarter Process is not a single project but rather a journey of continuous improvement. In order to pick the right first project, here is a checklist to look at:
Make sure the project has an adequate value for the business and is aligned with the objectives you defined for your organization.
Do not make it too complex, and do not take the most business-critical process, least of all the one that you believe will disrupt your entire industry.
Select a project that is winnable but not too easy.
Consider choosing a project that will be related to more than one line of business. This will increase communication efforts, but it has a potential to bring teams together, make them aware of the common goals and foster collaboration.
5. Do not underestimate the cultural change.
You probably know the feeling of insecurity, confusion and anxiety when traveling to a foreign country with unfamiliar behaviors and customs. People in an organization feel the same way when they have to change their methods of operation and get accustomed to a new set of tools. The adoption of Smarter Process will definitely force people to reorganize their previous working style. Proper communication, motivation and skill transfer will help your team to adapt to the new culture.
What have you discovered on your Smarter Process adoption journey? Are you just getting started, or do you have experiences to share? Please leave a comment or send me a tweet @LarissaAuberger.