*Please note that Etelesolv changed its company name to Cimpl in 2016.
Last week, I posted Part 1 of my interview with Robert Al-Jaar, Vice-President of Product Engineering here at Etelesolv. He was gracious enough to share his knowledge on business process automation (BPA) – both in terms of concept and advantages. In this week’s post, Robert discusses the critical success factors that are implicated in properly implementing BPA. Note that the interview is mildly edited for length and flow, but not for content. And so, without further ado…
So, there seems to be many advantages to business process automation. But these things don’t exist in a vacuum, and they do require effort to carry out. What would you consider to be the critical success factors for proper BPA implementation?
In my opinion, the most important critical success factor would be to have an executive sponsor who truly champions the initiative. You need an executive sponsor who will support the implementation team – the executive sponsor has to take charge of removing roadblocks (which can come from resource limitations or resistance from other personnel for example).
Another critical success factor lies in having a business process management (BPM) goal and strategy (note: BPM refers to “a systematic approach to making an organization's workflow more effective, more efficient and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment”). This is especially true for large enterprises.
Those two are pretty broad, high-level factors. What would you focus on once you’ve gotten executive buy-in and a BPM goal/strategy?
Well, once you’ve secured those, the usual suspects come into play. The implementation team would have to:
- Select business processes to automate (and justify the choice)
- Define in details the process to be automated
- Explicitly define the success metrics
- Describe the concrete outcomes
- Obtain buy-in from all stakeholders (including business units, IT department, compliance and operations teams)
- Get additional champions and advocates to pioneer the change across the company
- Stay on-time, on-budget, and on-scope for the implementation
- Adopt an agile/rapid phased approach to show results quickly and iteratively
- Promote the project and its achievements internally – buy-in isn’t a one-time thing; you have to maintain people’s approval.
That’s a lot! Anything else?
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate!
Ultimately, the right way to think of BPA is that it’s a mindset shift and a change process, not just one of choosing a tool! Once you have that, then make sure you select the right BPM/BPA tool or toolset (you’ll probably want more than one tool) that fits your company. But keep in mind that, while important, choosing the right toolset is only one necessary condition to attaining success for your firm – it’s not sufficient for success. You obviously need to take care of the other success factors that I discussed earlier.
Whew! You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing so very much with me!
No problem! Any time at all! My office is always open!
Prior to joining Etelesolv, Robert spent 25 years creating and leading software product and services divisions at multiple technology and consulting companies. He is renowned for delivering phenomenal results in product innovation, software development, product management, and professional services for Silanis, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Netscape, and Digital, among other top firms.
Robert brings his exceptional experience to his role as Etelesolv’s first Vice President of Product Engineering. He currently leads the product development department in delivering the next generation market-leading products now called Cimpl, including leading Etelesolv’s patent portfolio.