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Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM) Explained
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Unsuccessful software applications cost organizations significant efforts and resources. The reasons for these failed ventures are often attributed to technology issues. However, the real issue is flaws in business processes—the enterprise application deployment environment and the ecosystem which the application targets.
This calls for ensuring the organizational readiness before initiating technology deployment. It is for this reason the Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM) originated. BPMM helps achieve uniform standards, identify weaknesses in workflows, and create standardized tailored processes that simplify the requirements for enterprise applications.
What Are Maturity Models
First, let’s provide some background on the notion of maturity models. Business maturity models are useful management frameworks used to gauge the maturity of an organization in a number of disciplines or functions. They help pinpoint the specific areas of improvement in order to reach the next level of maturity. Most maturity models qualitatively assess people/culture, processes/structures, and objects/technology.
There are dozens of maturity model frameworks available, e.g. assessing Business Growth, Industry Maturity, Leadership Maturity, etc. BPMM is one specific to evaluating an organization’s business process maturity levels.
What Is BPMM
The Business Process Maturity Model’s roots can be traced back to the Process Maturity Framework (PMF) created by Watts Humphrey and his colleagues at IBM in the late 1980s. This process maturity model explores the ways to introduce quality practices in software development. Humphrey and his colleagues introduced incremental stages to adopting best practices in software organization. The PMF served as the groundwork for the development of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) for software in 1991. CMM then became the foremost standard for appraising the capability of software development organizations.
BPMM ensures the success of enterprise systems by providing proven methods for system requirements validity; accuracy of use cases, and effectiveness of applications; simplification of requirements for enterprise applications; and providing a reliable standard for appraising the maturity of business process workflows.
The Guiding Principles for BPMM
BPMM considers processes as workflows across organizational boundaries. The key guiding principles governing the BPM maturity model are:
- A process should be analyzed in terms of its contribution to organizational objectives.
- It depends on the organizational ability to sustain efficient processes.
- Process Improvement should be ideally executed as a phased Transformation endeavor that aims to achieve successively more predictable states of organizational capability.
- Each stage or maturity level works as a groundwork to build future improvements.
BPMM has the following 4 primary utilities.
- To drive business process improvement initiatives
- To gauge enterprise application deployment risks
- To ensure selection of capable suppliers
- To Benchmark
BPMM – Conformance
Evaluating the BPMM conformance is about ensuring that the implemented system meets the needs of the client. Verification of conformance necessitates an effective appraisal technique to gather multiple forms of evidence to evaluate the performance of the practices contained in the BPMM.
The BPMM conformance appraisal should be headed by an authorized Lead Appraiser—external to the organization, trained in BPMM as well as appraisal methods. The team under the lead appraiser should include some members internally from the organization. The BPMM conformance appraisal team gathers and analyzes evidence regarding the implementation of BPMM practices, judges their strengths and weaknesses, and gauges their effectiveness in meeting the goals of the maturity process areas at respective maturity levels.
The following evidence is utilized during BPMM conformance appraisals:
- Review of outputs produced as a result of a process.
- Review of objects, documents, products supporting the execution of a process.
- Interviews with individuals that perform a process and those who support and manage it.
- Quantitative data that depicts the organizational state, employee behaviors, performance, and results of a process.
BPMM Conformance Appraisals
BPMM Conformance Appraisals help assure the implementation of practices at a level that achieve the intent and goals of the practices and their process areas. BPMM conformance appraisals are of 4 distinct types:
- Starter Appraisal: An inexpensive BPMM conformance appraisal—which takes only a few days—that entails gathering quantitative data by conducting few interviews.
- Progress Appraisal: An extensive appraisal that entails quantitative data collection, investigation of all process areas and practices, review of artifacts, and analysis of interviews.
- Supplier Appraisal: An appraisal method to select sources and to make informed decisions during procurement contracts.
- Confirmatory Appraisal: A rigorous investigation of all process areas / practices where all evidence is accounted for.
BPMM – Maturity Levels
BPMM encompasses 5 maturity levels that signify the transformation of an organization on the basis of improvements in its processes and capabilities. BPMM Maturity levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 each contain 2 or more process areas, whereas the Maturity level 1 does not contain any process areas. The 5 successive levels of BPMM are:
The focus of the BPMM level 1 is on achieving economy of scale, automation, and productivity growth by encouraging people to overcome challenges and complete their tasks.
The 2nd maturity level aims at developing repeatable practices, minimizing rework, and satisfying commitments — by managing work units and controlling workforce commitments.
The focus of the 3rd maturity level of BPMM is to accomplish standardization in terms of business processes, measures, and training for product and service offerings.
The 4th maturity level aims at achieving stable processes, knowledge management, reusable practices, and predictable results. Organizations accomplish these results through standardization and managing processes and results quantitatively.
The focus of the organizations operating at the highest maturity level of BPMM is on implementing continuous improvements, developing efficient processes, and inculcating innovation.
Benefits of BPMM
Organizations that have implemented BPMM report 5 key benefit areas:
- Process Improvement: BPMM helps organizations identify their current process maturity level and provides a roadmap for enhancing their processes over time. It allows them to move from ad-hoc and chaotic processes to well-defined, optimized, and controlled processes. For additional frameworks specific to Process Improvement (e.g. BPI 7, Kaizen, BPR, etc.), see here.
- Standardization: The model encourages standardization and consistency in process management across the organization. This can lead to increased efficiency and reduced variations in how processes are executed.
- Continuous Improvement: BPMM is based on the concept of Continuous Improvement. By evaluating and advancing through different maturity levels, organizations can keep evolving their processes to stay competitive and relevant.
- Performance Measurement: The BPMM model provides a basis for measuring process performance and effectiveness. It enables organizations to set clear targets for process performance and monitor progress towards achieving those targets.
- Benchmarking: BPMM enables organizations to compare their process maturity against industry best practices and benchmarks. This comparison can help identify areas where the organization is lagging and areas where it excels.
Drawbacks & Critiques of BPMM
Here are also several drawbacks and critiques of the framework:
- Simplification: Some critics argue that BPMM oversimplifies the complexities of real-world business processes. It may not capture the full range of intricacies that exist in organizations with unique structures, cultures, and business contexts.
- Rigidity: BPMM follows a linear, staged approach to process improvement. Critics argue that this rigidity might not be suitable for organizations that require more flexibility and agility in their approach to process improvement.
- Resource-Intensive: Implementing BPMM can be resource-intensive, requiring time, effort, and expertise. Small or resource-constrained organizations might find it challenging to fully adopt the model.
- Lack of Focus on Innovation: BPMM primarily focuses on optimizing existing processes and may not give sufficient attention to fostering innovation and creativity in organizations.
- Tool-Centric: Critics argue that BPMM sometimes becomes too tool-centric, with organizations focusing on acquiring specific tools and technologies rather than understanding the underlying principles of process improvement.
As with any model or framework, the effectiveness of the BPMM depends on how well it aligns with an organization’s specific needs, goals, and culture. It should be used as a guide and adapted to suit the organization’s unique circumstances to derive maximum benefits from the process improvement efforts.
Interested in learning more about the process areas and practices at various maturity levels of the Business Process Maturity Model? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Business Process Maturity Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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Process Improvement involves analyzing and improving existing business processes in the pursuit of optimized performance. The goals are typically to continuously reduce costs, minimize errors, eliminate waste, improve productivity, and streamline activities.
As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and its economic aftermath, most organizations will prioritize Business Process Improvement initiatives. This is true for a few reasons. First, Process Improvement is one of the most common and effective ways of reducing costs. As the global economy slows down, Cost Management will jump to the forefront of most corporate agendas.
Secondly, a downturn typically unveils ineffective and broken business processes. Organizations that once seemed agile and focused during periods of growth may become sluggish and inefficient when demand drops off.
Lastly, COVID-19 has expedited Digital Transformation for most organizations. One of the quickest and most impactful forms of Digital Transformation is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Thus, we have included numerous RPA frameworks within this Stream.
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About Mark BridgesMark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.
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