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Process Management in Sales

“Companies with more developed sales processes enjoy greater sales performance”, say Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana in their book entitled Cracking the Sales Management Code. They argue that sales managers need a set of formal business processes. Other business functions like manufacturing or finance have formal business processes in place that allow for consistent execution and robust measurement of the activities. This visibility is required in order to exercise control and continuously improve. In the absence of standardized processes to enable active management, sales managers often have unmanageable chaos rather than “command” over their sales force. The authors further argue that every sales force should customize its sales processes to the way it does business, but it should not be responsible for defining what sales processes are. Here is an overview of the fundamental sales processes:

  • Call Management: Planning and conducting individual customer interactions.
  • Opportunity Management: Strategically navigating a multi-call sales cycle.
  • Account Management: Maximizing long-term value from a single customer.
  • Territory Management: Allocating effort efficiently across different types of customers.
  • Sales Force Enablement: Investing in improved sales force execution.

BPM 2016 – The 14th International Conference on Business Process Management

The 14th International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2016), hosted by the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 18-22, 2016.

The BPM Research Track will focus on topics such as

  • Decision management and BPM
  • Processes in the Internet of Things and wearable devices
  • BPM lifecycle management
  • BPM people and culture
  • BPM maturity: success factors and measures
  • Process change management
  • Reference process models
  • Process modeling language
  • Qualitative and quantitative process analysis (e.g. process simulation)
  • Incremental process improvement
  • Process innovation
  • BPM and other process improvement disciplines (e.g. Lean management, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management)
  • Process mining

The BPM Industry Track allows showcasing the latest initiatives, exchanging experiences and networking among BPM experts around the world. The conference will also be complemented by several workshops, tutorials, panels and demos.

More information can be found on the conference website.

How to Build a Process-Oriented Organization

The 10th Business Process Management Conference, organized by the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics, took place in Ljubljana, October 14-15, 2015. The keynote speech “Process Management Practices, Organizational Excellence, and Firm Performance” by M. Kohlbacher was about organizational excellence, i.e. how the organization needs to be designed to gain rigoros performance improvements. Buiding on real world examples, it was shown which process management practices should be deployed in practice and how the organization’s business processes have to be designed in order to improve the firm’s key performance indicators. The key building blocks of a process-oriented organization are as follows:

On the top of all endeavors, there is the customer with her needs. Between the customers and the suppliers, there is the enterprise boundary:

1_customer

Inside the enterprise boundary, the company’s value adding business processes are located:

2_business_processes

The overall goal is it to build a customer-oriented organization. So, internal customer orientation is needed, too. In order to implement internal customer orientation, the organization is designed in a way that the business processes relate to each other like customers to suppliers. In its essence, customer-supplier-relationships are built between the organization’s business processes. Every business process has a defined customer and may also have one or more supplying processes. The customer process is ordering, the supplier process is fulfilling the order and supplies the result back to the ordering process:

3_customer_supplier_relationships

So far, business processes were considered as black boxes. When the black box is opened, the activities of the business process can be seen (process design of a single business process):

4_detailed_process_design

IT-systems are supporting the business processes:

5_IT_systems

Another important element of process management is the role of the process owner. For every business process, a process owner is defined who is responsible for (i) the design of the process, and (ii) for the performance of the process:

6_process_owner

Process performance measurement needs to be in place. This is done by developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business processes. Process performance indicators are metrics which numerically capture the performance of a business process. It is important that the KPIs are derived from business strategy and internal/external customer requirements:

7_process_performance_measurement

Having KPIs in place, process performance can be measured and processes can be continuously improved (continuous process improvement):

8_continuous_improvement

In summary, the performance of the firm can be significantly improvement through building a process-oriented organization by using the following main concepts:

  • customer-supplier relationships between the business processes
  • process owners
  • process performance measurement, and
  • continuous process improvement initiatives

BPM 2015 – The 13th International Conference on Business Process Management

BPM 2015, hosted by the University of Innsbruck and BPM Research Cluster, will take place in Innsbruck, from August 31 until September 3, 2015.

The BPM Research Track will focus on topics such as

  • Relationship between business strategy and business processes
  • Business process transformation and change management
  • Success factors and measures in BPM
  • BPM maturity
  • Process monitoring and performance measurement
  • Process mining
  • Analytics and visualization of big process data
  • etc.

The BPM Industry Track serves to exchange experiences and to support networking among BPM experts around the world. Organizations are invited to submit their cases and present them to an international audience.

The conference will also be complemented by several workshops, e.g.

  • International Workshop on Process Engineering
  • International Workshop on Business Process Intelligence
  • Decision Mining & Modeling for Business Processes
  • etc.

More information can be found on the conference website.

Process Management in Service Organizations VS. Manufacturing Companies

How is process management applied in service organizations? Do service providers apply process management practices differently to manufacturers? Does firm size play a role? The brand new paper “Process Management Practices: Organizational (Dis-)Similarities” by D. Weitlaner and M. Kohlbacher, published in the The Service Industries Journal a few days ago, addresses these questions. The study empirically explores the adoption of BPM practices contingent upon different industry affiliations and firm sizes. The summarized findings are as follows:

Process management in service organizations vs. manufacturing companies:
The findings indicate that manufacturers are more process-oriented than service providers. In particular, manufacturing companies are more likely to apply continuous process improvement methods, to have a stronger management commitment toward process orientation, to have process owners on site, and to perform process performance measurement. In particular, the greatest difference between service providers and manufacturers is found in the process performance measurement practice. No significant difference is found in the context of process-supportive corporate culture as well as process documentation.

Process management in small vs. large organizations:
Large companies are more process-oriented than small ones. More specifically, they are more likely to apply continuous process improvement methods, to have a stronger management commitment toward the process view, to have implemented the process owner role, to measure process performance, and to exhibit a higher level of process documentation. However, process-supportive corporate culture seems to be independent from firm size.

What is Process Mining?

Process mining techniques allow for extracting information from event logs. Process mining takes existing data records from your IT systems, extracts the business process (and its variations) and automatically generates understandable visualizations of the business process. Because existing IT records are the basis for process mining, objective visualizations of the real business process are obtained. The following video gives a short introduction on process mining:

See the following ressources for further information:

12th International Conference on Business Process Management

This year’s Business Process Management Conference (BPM 2014) will take place in Haifa, September 7-11, 2014. The BPM conference series embraces the diversity and richness of the BPM field and serves as a melting pot for experts from a mix of disciplines including Computer Science, Information Systems Management, Services Science and Technology Management.

  • Process modeling and theory (e.g. reference process models, process simulation and static analysis, business process quality, etc.)
  • Process model management (e.g. process model storage, process model indexing, etc.)
  • Process architectures and platforms (e.g. service-oriented architectures for BPM, workflow management systems, etc.)
  • Management of process execution data (e.g. process performance measurement, process mining, process data analytics and visualization, etc.)
  • Process flexibility and evolution (e.g. adaptive and context-aware processes, case handling, process change management, etc.)
  • Human-centric BPM (e.g. people-intensive processes, user-centric aspects of process management and use)
  • Non-traditional BPM scenarios (e.g. knowledge-intensive processes, data-driven processes, etc.)
  • Management issues & empirical studies (e.g. business process lifecycle management, business strategy and business processes, success factors and measures in BPM, etc.)

Visit the BPM 2014 conference website for more information.

Comprehensibility of Process Models

Doris Weitlaner presented her paper on “Intuitive Comprehensibility of Process Models” at the conference “S-BPM One 2013″.

The study empirically examines the use of semiformal process modeling languages in companies. It could be revealed that formal BPM has still not been accepted as a useful practice in firms. Corporations mainly rely on flowcharts in order to design processes. The study further investigates the comprehensibility of BPM languages. Based on empirical data the paper analyzes to what extent EPC, BPMN, UML and the storyboard design are understood by individuals. It was found that the comic representation “storyboard design” is broadly intuitive and easily understood. BPMN and UML also achieved good results, too, but only under certain restrictions. EPC and concurrency of activities in general caused some problems. The full paper is available here. View Doris’ presentation here:

An example for a process (in storyboard design) can be found below:

Storyboard Design

11th International Conference on Business Process Management (BPM 2013)

BPM 2013 is the 11th edition of the reference conference for researchers and practitioners in the field of Business Process Management (BPM). The conference covers all aspects of BPM, including theory, models, techniques, architectures, systems, and empirical studies, and engages the most renowned representatives of the BPM community worldwide in talks, tutorials, and scientific discussions.

BPM 2013 will take place in Beijing, August 26-30, and it will be the first edition of the BPM conference series in Asia. Topics include

  • Process modeling and theory (e.g. reference process models, process modeling languages, notations and methods)
  • Process model management (e.g. storage, indexing and retrieval of process models)
  • Process architectures and platforms (e.g. workflow management systems, service-oriented architectures for BPM)
  • Management of process execution data (e.g. process performance measurement, process mining)
  • Process flexibility and evolution (e.g. process change management)
  • Human-centric BPM (e.g. integrating strategy, processes, people and IT)
  • Non-traditional BPM scenarios (e.g. knowledge-intensive processes)
  • Management issues and empirical studies (e.g. success factors and measures in BPM, BPM maturity)

More information can be found on the conference website.

The Effects of Process-Oriented Organizational Design on Firm Performance

This article briefly summarizes the study “The Effects of Process-Oriented Organizational Design on Firm Performance”, by M. Kohlbacher and H. A. Reijers, which will be published in the Business Process Management Journal.

The study investigates which process management components (i.e. process design and documentation, management commitment towards process management, process ownership, process performance measurement, corporate culture in line with the process approach, application of continuous process improvement methodologies, and organizational structure in line with the process approach) are important for improving customer satisfaction, product quality, time-to-market speed, delivery speed, delivery reliability, and financial performance.

The empirical findings of the study reveal that

  • process performance measurement is important for improving product quality.
  • a process-oriented organizational structure is important for improving time-to-market speed.
  • the application of continuous process improvement methods is important for improving financial performance, and
  • a culture in line with the process approach is important for improving customer satisfaction, delivery speed, delivery reliability, and financial firm performance.

The paper will be published in the next issue of the Business Process Management Journal (Vol. 19, No. 2, 2013).