Who or what is the real heart and soul of business process management? Is it identifying the processes that generate the highest quality products and services, or documenting and implementing a quality system? Increasingly companies are recognizing that the heart and soul of their BPM processes is, in-fact, its people.

Most organizations have been focusing on process and increasing the quality of their processes by using quality guides such as ISO 9001:2000 which specifies that key processes are properly identified and documented. Then, there is Six Sigma which emphasizes consistency. While organizations have achieved significant benefits from quality efforts, there is a growing opinion that there is a limit to what they can provide.

The neglected area in BPM: People

In the book, Human Interactions, by Keith Harrison-Broninski, the author describes the limitations of quality processes that do not include a people element. The quality process, while providing value, “do not supply a rounded and generic set of criteria that can we can use to judge an individual process in terms of the humans who operate it.” He goes on to say that the European Excellence Model analyzes processes as follows: “Excellent organizations design, manage and improve processes in order to fully satisfy, and generate increasing value, for customers and other stakeholders.” This focus includes managing and enhancing customer and stakeholder relationships, not ignoring them.

What’s the next horizon for quality management?

The point of all of this is that to get more gains out of quality initiatives, we must broaden the set of quality criteria currently in place which mainly focuses on processes and not people. We should include how processes make the best use of people. This includes broad roles of employees, managers, executives as well as customers.

Mr. Harrison-Broninski provides a set of criteria or metrics for measuring the effectiveness of human involvement in a process:

Seven indicators for measuring employee effectiveness in business processes are:

  • Cross-cutting

Allow for the maximum sharing of human resources

  • Agility

Ability to change based on demands are built into overall processes

  • Creativity

Fosters a learning and innovative culture

  • Flexibility

Ability for a process to operate differently to meet the needs of different customers, or suit the nature of different employees or resource availability

  • Resource Utilization

A good process should capitalize on the human skills present among us

  • Empowerment

Processes should be designed so that they are not unduly stressful and foster job satisfaction

  • Value

Promotes fair processes that remove favoritism to certain employees and levels the playing field for all employees to succeed

Workload management embodies qualities for employee effectiveness
We at Genesys embrace these concepts and have been involved for quite a while in pioneering the concept of workload management. This is a technology solution that complements BPM, CRM, case management and other work channels and focuses on how to improve the way employees engage with work and work processes. It does not replace workflow systems, but when an employee is called for in a process, the workload management system is able to accomplish the following:

  • Interface with various work systems and work channels to understand the employee need
  • Prioritize the work task based on company business rules, customer value and due dates
  • Allocate and distribute the work to the most appropriately skilled and available employee
  • Monitors and tracks progress so that managers can understand what is going on and where they stand in terms of work progress or backlog

One of the revolutionary aspects of workload management is that it does the work prioritization and distribution in real time, across all work channels. As work prioritization and distribution becomes integrated with more channels and events across the organization, the quality advantages as well as efficiency gains for companies, customers and employees are extremely powerful. Learn more!

Keith Harrison-Broninski, Human Interaction, Mehgan-Kiffer Press, Tampa, USA, 2005