How using BPM can promote operational alignment for external suppliers and clients

I was speaking with a BPM vendor recently and they told me an interesting case study and it got the wheels a-turning again.

A large telco based company who have their product implemented on an enterprise scale currently have their staff regularly use the solution to access process related documentation. Whilst this is not revalatory by any means perhaps what is is that the company have extended the access to this information to third party suppliers via a secure extranet. With obvious restrictions and security in place, suppliers can access supply chain processes and understand how the company operates internally thereby aligning their own processes to compliment and provide a seamless interaction.

This isn’t new but why there are not more examples of this in the BPM world being sought and brought to the fore I’m not sure because it’s a powerful statement to make about how BPM can improve and align not only internal processes but those in other companies that seek to do business with you.

Similarly, if you handle administration functions of multiple parties, for example, much like a Transfer Agency can in Investment Companies, then having via a BPM implementation sets of process models and control measures available to your clients to access and understand how you do business could potentially aid and speed up external client audits, or even win further business during a tender process because of the transparency.

Personally speaking I think we would benefit more from examples and case studies of this cross-collaboration between organisations, promoting transparency of process information and sharing best practice using BPM methods and tools rather than the usual “I saved $1m by using XYZ methodology” stories which are ten-a-penny and wearing a little thin as a message. This to me promotes BPM above simple process improvement which, sadly, a large majority only see it as such.

If you have a similar story to tell, whether good or bad, get in touch.

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One response to “How using BPM can promote operational alignment for external suppliers and clients

  1. Theo is right. Working closely with suppliers or other stakeholders requires a clear understanding of the way this needs to happen in order to maximise effectiveness and efficiency. To achieve this, there is a need to think of the combined efforts as a single system, creating clarity of purpose, interaction and responsibility. This single System should reflect the reality of how the various parties work together in order to achieve common goals, but when this goes outside of a single organisation, it too often becomes a command and control mechanism, not a collaboration mechanism.This is starting to use BPM as a strategic tool, rather than a tactical one, which is where the real value lies beyond typical process improvement that is usually considered the ‘end game’. We call this System Thinking – a single system that reflects the reality of what is happening, is open to external influence, can never be fully documented (as it has soft as well as hard content). It is what the senior management need to manage – not some theoretical system that only covers what we can easily document. Once a System approach is considered, ways of better collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness become possible – but only if the head of the supply chain want to approach it culturally in this way.

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