Our work with customers has proven over and over again that a process-driven approach, applied thoughtfully, is the best way to achieve almost immediate and, most importantly, sustainable (self-enforcing) change.
We've all had the experience of what it's like implementing and manually enforcing change without the benefit of a process-driven approach. I'm sure you've got a story like this one:
A few weeks back, I was talking to a Finance person at a firm who was relating to me the pain they are having in managing, monitoring and tracking Alternative Fee Arrangements. His finance team went to great lengths to put together a spreadsheet and provided it to the accounting team. Of course, the 'assumption' was that the accounting team would maintain the spreadsheet going forward and that this would allow at least the basic tracking they needed. But...well, you know the answer - it didn't happen and in a few months they were right back into the confused, chaotic world they had tried to address. They essentially got no where.
So what happened?
This example is a classic one - you spend time putting something like that spreadsheet together and 'expect' it will continue to be used, but very often those kinds of mechanisms fall by the way side. The reason is that the usage is not codified and enforced, and therefore does not become a natural part of the day-to-day business process.
The Policy Police
Aren't you exhausted from manual policing of procedures and policies?? That's what a process-driven approach fixes!
The Big 3
There are a plethora of reasons why a process-driven strategy and approach makes a fundamental difference in the way businesses are managed, but let's look at what I consider to be the 'Big 3'.
1. Enterprise Agility through self-enforcing procedures and policies. Business process management ensures that adherence to procedures and policies becomes part of the natural way business is conducted, alleviating the need for 'manual' follow-ups or policing. That is not to say oversight is removed, but instead is just another coordinated part of day-to-day activities.
And, of course, processes are not stagnant! Once you've applied a process-driven approach using BPM strategies and technologies, you've now got a built-in mechanism for 'tweaking' procedures and policies, or introducing new ones. This means a new kind of fluidity and agility for your business now and forever!
2. Enterprise-Awareness Built-In through holistic thought processes.
Thinking about business activities within the context of a process, and then thinking about the process in the context of an entire LIFECYCLE of processes in which it lives forces transformative thinking in any organization. Siloes naturally begin to melt away as cross-functional understandings are forged.
3. Enhanced Risk Management and substantial efficiency gains as a natural by-product of how the business is run. While your codified policies ensure adherence to risk management and loss prevention strategies - you are getting incredible monetary benefits at the same time! Raising visibility into information locked up in existing business systems provides inreased Return-On-Investment on business systems that you thought had given all they could! Most notably, your most important assets - your people, are being empowered with meaningful, relevant and real-time information and provided new bandwidth to be applied to higher-value work (as opposed to labor-intensive manual workflow management or duplicative data entry).
These 'Big 3' are the core reason Law Firms around the globe have identified Business Process Management as integral to their survival and competitiveness. Read more about Law Firm BPM in our FREE whitepaper - Why Law Firms Can't Survive Without BPM.