What keeps the managers, directors and executives of a business awake at night, tossing and turning? The long-range questions about where the ecomony is going and what the competition is or will be doing? Does anyone think they are wondering if they should install BPM or ACM? Much more likely their twisted bedsheets will be caused by the two related questions:
- Are we doing the right things?
- Are we doing things right?
One cannot separate these two questions and consider one or the other as more or less important. Yes, 1. ought to be asked first with 2. right thereafter. Not to do so is similar to considering effectiveness and efficiency independently. That is unfortunately one of the major fallacies of business management today. Too often efficiency is the only consideration when poor effectiveness might be the cause for the lack of profitability. The efficiency and cost-cutting focus applied in too many BPM implementations would tie knowledge workers into straight jackets and kick them downhill, while bureaucrats folly over their rolling speed in governance meetings. Makes me still wonder …
Doing the right things right can only be improved by one essential element of business management: TRANSPARENCY. Is transparency about management demanding information from the business units? No, transparency has to start from the top down. Executives first need to make their strategy, directors their targets and managers (process owners) their goals transparent to those who execute. That consolidated view allows to look at the things the business is doing to discuss if they are being done right. A business even should be as transparent as sensibly possible to its customers.
Information about how things are going makes only sense in one way: REAL-TIME! There is little benefit in knowing that things went wrong last year by means of business intelligence, but one ought to know right at the moment they go wrong to enable steps to make them right! How can one ensure that things that go wrong are being corrected? The people with the right knowhow need to be empowered to take ACTION. But which action will get things right? Who knows? Will it always be same action that fixes an apparently similar problem? Can a rigid, flowcharted execution ensure that nothing goes wrong? Not likely, except for a few simple business activities like moving a box from one room the other. Empowering the right people to do the right things right puts the organization into auto-pilot. Empowerment is not about using Twitter, YouTube and iPhone apps but about authority, goals and means.
To know if the business is doing right things right for a certain outcome needs immediate feedback from the customer. Does that mean that the customer ought to be real-time connected to the customer-focused processes of your business? Yes, that is exactly what focused means.
At this point Adaptive Case Management comes into play. It is essentially empowerment technology that puts the customers and actors in the driver seat. No amount of social networking will improve flowcharted processes before, during or after things went wrong. ACM allows the business to empower selectively and securely all the people that do things and those for whom things are being done. ACM is about communication and process as ONE! ACM leaves the automation of the low-value, highly repetitive administration tasks to BPM, but it provides the platform for the high-value, unique and skill or knowledge intensive customer service processes. That is where customer loyalty is being created and maintained.
But that is not the only place the ACM empowers, because it also interconnects the management layers and enables continuous innovation and optimization without ANY bureaucratic governance overhead. Reorganizing a business could become an exercise that executives and directors can perform by rearranging tactical targets on their iPad.