Starting into the breakout sessions here at Gartner BPM 2011 in Baltimore, Elise Olding, with some help from Joel Kiernan of Altera, gave a presentation on selling BPM within your organization. This is about selling that first project internally as well as expanding your BPM initiative beyond the first project: leveraging your success so far and your business-focused BPM definition to see how it can be applied with other opportunities. Like any good sales pitch, you need to have content that is relevant, compelling and repeatable. I wrote about expanding BPM adoption within your organization in a recent article series for Global 360, and covered some of the same issues about generalizing beyond that first project into a BPM program.
Kiernan discussed their own case study at Altera (a semiconductor company), starting with how they had to understand their key business processes and communicate this to the steering committee responsible for the business process projects. They’re early in their journey, but have put together the storyline for how BPM will roll out in their organization: identify the right processes, do some as-is and to-be process analysis including external best practices, implement process/system changes, then move into ongoing process improvement.
As Olding discussed, there will need to be different messages for different internal audiences: senior executives are interested in how BPM will improve performance, competitiveness and operational flexibility; line of business managers are interested in operational goals including reducing errors and rework, and gaining visibility into processes for themselves and their management; front-line workers want to know how it will make their work easier, more interesting and more effective.
As an aside, I get the feeling that Gartner presenters have been coached by someone who really likes complex analogies woven throughout the presentation: in the keynote, Ken McGee used a courtroom analogy throughout the presentation, and here Olding is using a film-making analogy with “trailers”, “setting” and “engaging the cast”. It was also a bit of a strange segue to involve the Altera person for only about two minutes when they were really just starting in their process, although I have to give her credit for sharing the stage with a customer, since that’s pretty rare at any Gartner events that I’ve attended in the past. Would have been great to hear from someone further along in the process, and maybe a bit more from them than just two slides.
She covered some of what you actually want to communicate, as well as the who and how of the communication, stressing that you need to achieve buy-in (or at least understanding) from a lot of different stakeholders in order to reach that tipping point where BPM is seen by your organization as a key enabler for business improvement. She changed the format a bit to get people working on their own process issues, giving everyone time to jot down and discuss their challenges in each of the steps of selling BPM internally, then calling on a couple of audience members to share their thoughts with the room. This format shift caused a bit of loss of focus (and a bit of down time for those of us who aren’t really into this form of audience participation), although she was able to bring the experiences of the audience members in alignment with the material that she was presenting. Not surprisingly, one of the key messages is on the business process competency center (what Gartner calls the center of excellence) and the methodology that they employ with customers to make a BPCC successful within an organization. Success, in that case, is measured completely by how well you can sell BPM inside the organization.