Revealing the Big Picture Using Business Process Management

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1 Revealing the Big Picture Using Business Process Management Page 1 of 20

2 Page 2 of 20

3 Introduction In today s business environment, change is inevitable. Changes in technology, organizational structure, products and services are major factors that influence change. An organization must examine its current state in order to determine what is needed to shape its future. Peeling back the layers of an onion is not always an easy or pleasant experience, but it must be done in order to reveal the big picture of an organization. This white paper highlights some of the challenges faced by our client, a city government IT organization, and how essential Business Process Management (BPM) is in identifying each department's functions and interactions in order to operate at optimum levels. By taking a holistic view of an enterprise, we are able to identify potential risks and critical issues that impact day-to-day operations. This white paper also shows the benefits of taking on a BPM initiative in order to prepare for anticipated organization changes, and to create an accurate visual depiction of an organization s business processes. Project Background KEDAR Information Technologies (KEDARit) was engaged in this project to document the client s existing business processes, roles and procedures in various departments that are supported by the Technology Services department. Over a four year period, the client implemented a considerable amount of new technology and changes to current business practices. This BPM project was initiated as a means to provide consistency in documentation, and to use it as a point of reference for future projects that will ultimately result in replacement of one of their critical legacy systems. As we began to conduct interviews and modeling sessions, we discovered that we needed to document more than just business processes for the Customer Utility Services department. The project s scope was expanded to include documenting three additional departments (Building Inspections, Property Standards, and Planning) along with technical program customizations not supported by the vendor. Page 3 of 20

4 This white paper addresses each department separately in order to explain how each department benefited from this project. Project Timeline The project was worked in phrases because of the large number of processes and technical customizations identified for four departments: Customer Utility Services, Building Inspections, Property Standards, and Planning. The total duration to complete all phases of the project was approximately 18 months. The bar chart in Figure 1 shows the amount of time spent to complete the assessments and documentation for each department. Subsequent sections of this white paper provide additional details regarding the level of effort performed for each department. [Editor's note: This bar chart is not visible.] Figure 1. Number of Months to Complete Each Department [Editor's note: Insert a page break here to avoid splitting the following table into different pages.] Page 4 of 20

5 Project Team Our project team consisted of one Chief Project Officer, one Senior Project Manager and two Senior Consultants. The team s diverse IT experience ranges from software development to management and executive leadership roles in numerous Fortune 500 companies. This table lists project team member roles and key responsibilities: Role Chief Project Officer Senior Project Manager Senior Consultant Key Responsibilities Provide strategic input and direction to entire project team Develop project management standards, policies, guidelines, procedures Provide project oversight in all areas of the organization Oversee resource distribution and allocation on all projects Develop, clarify, and manage the scope of projects Identify needed resources, assign responsibilities, and develop timeframes Prepare communication plan and project status Define and manage overall change control processes and quality assurance aspects of projects Gather and document client sessions using process flows, use cases, interviews, and functions of existing systems Select and apply the proper tools and techniques to model, analyze, measure and improve business processes Examine and provide re-engineering recommendations and value-added solutions Transfer knowledge and experiences in Business Process Management and software development into client solutions Page 5 of 20

6 Areas of Concern In many organizations, business requirements and processes often change, but the original documentation rarely gets updated. When this occurs, an organization is left with many disconnects and an inaccurately documented picture of its business processes. Our client wanted to take a more proactive approach to this problem in order to reduce any issues that may arise in the future with software and organizational changes. Each of the departments in the client s organization had different concerns and reasons why the project would benefit them. We will discuss each department separately and highlight the main areas of concern for each. Page 6 of 20

7 Customer Utility Services Customer Utility Services (CUS) is one of the Client s most critical departments. CUS is responsible for billing, collecting and processing revenues of approximately $130M annually for water, sewer, drainage and solid waste services that are provided to city residents and businesses. Billing Revenue Collections Revenue Payments Administration Customer Utility Services System Support Field Services Field Technologies Call Center Figure 2. Customer Utility Services Organization CUS Department Summary: Number of Employees: 47 Number of Processes: 133 Number of Technical Customizations: 296 Project Duration: Seven months Most functional groups have at least one Subject Matter Expert (SME) who can walk you through a process in his sleep and point out the shortcuts you can take to complete a task. This is a great benefit to an organization as long as the SME does not decide to leave the company or change departments. CUS was facing this very problem. A SME with more than 20 years in the department was planning to retire in a year. Losing Page 7 of 20

8 SMEs and other employees with critical process knowledge introduces potential risks to an organization s level of customer support and delivery of services. Lack of shared or detailed documentation was another major area of concern for this department. The existing documentation maintained by the SME was not in a format that others in the organization could easily understand. By documenting the processes and technical customizations, they are better able to bridge the gap between SMEs and other team members. Page 8 of 20

9 Building Inspections Building Inspections (BI) is responsible for issuing building permits, levying fines, and carrying out city inspection services to city residents and businesses. They are also responsible for billing, collecting and processing the revenues of approximately $1.8M annually that comes in to the city for these services. The department is comprised of seven divisions. Figure 3 displays the seven divisions of the Building Inspections department. Figure 3. Building Inspections Organization Page 9 of 20

10 BI Department Summary: Number of Employees: 44 Number of Processes: 81 Number of Technical Customizations: 139 Project Duration: Three months The BI department is one of 13 building departments or code enforcement agencies in the country who currently hold accreditation through International Accreditation Service (ISA). In order to maintain their accreditation they must adhere to the strict guidelines set forth by ISA. Providing and maintaining proper documentation is critical to the success of the department with regard to compliance requirements and customer service. By documenting the department s business processes, they were able to use the time spent as a team-building exercise that provided greater insight into how each functional area operates and satisfy compliance requirements. Page 10 of 20

11 Property Standards The Property Standards (PS) department is responsible for ensuring that city residents comply with property standards as dictated by City Ordinances. The department is responsible for billing, collecting and processing revenues of approximately $400 thousand annually for issuing fines, and property standards inspection services that are provided to city residents and businesses. The department is comprised of five divisions, as shown below in Figure 4. Figure 4. Building Inspections Organization PS Department Summary: Number of Employees: 34 Number of Processes:63 Number of Technical Customizations: 79 Project Duration: Five months Many employees in the PS department were unhappy with the existing legacy system and have expressed interest in moving to a new system. Although the interviews and modeling sessions took time away from their normal duties, they knew it would help ensure that any new system to be considered would be in sync with what they needed in order to do their jobs more efficiently. Page 11 of 20

12 Planning The Planning Department manages various activities and programs related to development, neighborhood preservation, and maintenance of mapping and demographic information. The department is comprised of three divisions, as shown below in Figure 5. For this project, GIS was the only division assessed in this department because of budget constraints. Planning Planning GIS Community Services Figure 5. Planning Organization [Editor's note: Move the following descriptive summary of GIS Department to this page.] Page 12 of 20

13 Planning GIS Department Summary: Number of Employees: 14 Number of Processes: 14 Number of Technical Customizations: 111 Project Duration: Two and a half months The GIS users also expressed their frustration with using the existing legacy system. Employees who provide user support were most concerned with getting the new version installed, so that they could move from the antiquated look of the AS400 green screen to a much more user-friendly interface. [Editor's note: Insert a page break here, and before each major section of the paper.] The Solution BPM is essential in identifying business processes, system interactions and transfer of knowledge between staff members. Although the concerns of each department differ slightly, a number of commonalities exist. The client realized the need to document their processes to provide a transfer of knowledge and gain a greater understanding of the organization s activities. This would benefit all of the departments, not just those experiencing changes in personnel. Due to the large amount of technical customization done to the legacy application and future changes in personnel, the documentation created from this project will help prevent or minimize missed requirements during future system upgrades or replacement efforts. [Editor's note: Insert a page break here.]business Process Management Methodology Choosing the right approach is an important factor in the success of any BPM project. A method is needed that aligns an organization s technology efforts to effectively support its business strategy by using best practice and proprietary tools to define, analyze and optimize IT Service Management and BPM. [Editor's note: Methodology is the study or system of methods. Keep it simple!] Page 13 of 20

14 KEDARit has developed a strategic approach that recognizes the value chain created by people, process and technology to deliver a product or service. We connect business value to the supporting technology services. The end result becomes an organization that is transformed to Lean Thinking and optimized processes. The tools that we useinclude: [Editor's note: Capitalize only proper names & initials.] KEDARit Cop-S, KEDARit SUM, Best of breed BPM Analysis and Automation Tools, Lean Six Sigma Methods, IDEF0 Method, ProVision Enterprise Architecture Method, Information Mapping approach, and KEDARit-developed templates. Our structured approach transforms an organization from chaos to clarity by providing effective solutions to support their business technology challenges. KEDARit has incorporated the following industry standards into our BPM approach to ensure the highest level of success: Six Sigma Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in business processes. Each Six Sigma project follows a defined sequence of steps that has not only quantified financial targets, such as cost reduction or profit increase, but also other benefits, such as reduction in errors resulting in better controls on the business processes. IDEF The IDEF0 Functional Modeling method is designed to model the decisions, actions, and activities of an organization or system. In its original form, IDEF0 includes both a definition of a graphical modeling language (syntax and semantics) and a description of a comprehensive methodology for developing models. Information Mapping Information Mapping is a research-based approach for creating structured documents and communications that are clear, concise, and user-focused. This is done by analyzing, organizing, and presenting information based on audience Page 14 of 20

15 needs and the purpose of the information. The method is both subject-matter and media independent. Page 15 of 20

16 Information Gathering Process Information gathered during the initial interviews, group review and modeling session are all compiled to formulate a baseline model that gives the big picture of an organization s processes. By incorporating a workflow driven methodology (Figure 6) with various information gathering techniques we are able to: Optimize business processes, Define workflows, resources, costs in each functional area, Overlay functional areas business processes using the appropriate BPM tool, Determine gaps and best practices, Define optimum business processes, and Simulate different processes to determine what if scenarios for analysis. [Editor's note: Figure 6 is not visible here.] Figure 6. Workflow Driven Methodology Before a process model can be created, the following information is needed: The desired outcome of the process, The inputs and outputs (customer need and customer need fulfilment), The key steps and the sequence in which they are performed, The roles of the staff members who perform the activities, and All documents and forms used by internal or external customers to complete the process. The number of sessions required is based on a department s estimated number of processes. For this particular project, an average of six to eight modeling sessions was conducted during each phase. Figure 7 depicts the percentage of time spent for each session type during the information gathering phase. [Editor's note: This figure is not visible here.] Figure 7. Information Gathering Session Types Page 16 of 20

17 [Editor's note: Insert a page break here, and before each major section of the paper.] Process Models Inputs, outputs, controls and mechanisms are key components of process models used to document business processes. The graphical representation of a process can be can be very simple or highly complex. Process models for large processes can be more meaningful to people when they are broken up into smaller self-contained processes. [Editor's note: This figure is not visible here.] Figure 8. Process Model Diagram For this project, high level business process models were created along with documented key steps. Figure 9 provides an example of a typical process model that was created. This approach was taken because most of the day-to-day business processes were not complex, and did not require many departmental dependencies to complete the processes. Figure 9. Example of Process Modeling Diagram Page 17 of 20

18 Deliverables Project deliverables may vary depending on the scope of the project. This project only assessed the current processes and did not address any future process improvements. The client deliverables were: Business Process Optimization Workbook, An executive summary presentation, All related materials and templates, soft copies, models and documentation, and Recommendations on process gaps, best practices, areas to optimize and Lean practices application. Benefits and Cost BPM provides many benefits beyond just a set of documented processes. Organizations committed to improving processes typically see a reduction in costs, higher revenues, satisfied customers and improved morale. This project assisted our Client s organization by: Reducing the ramp-up time for employees to learn new processes, Allowing others within the organization to see the big picture, Providing recommendations for process improvements and quick wins for the organization that allow for increased efficiency and cost reductions, Establishing guidelines that result in little or no variation in how processes are performed, and. Creating documentation that links business processes to technical programs The cost to complete this project averaged 2.5% to 3% of each department s annual budget. Justifying the cost is easy when considering that increased efficiency, effectiveness and agility are three core benefits of a properly executed project. Page 18 of 20

19 Recommendations At the conclusion of each phase of the project, we provided a number of observations and recommendations to the client. Recommendations were provided on process gaps, best practices, areas to optimize and application of lean practices. This table lists a few of the recommendations proposed by KEDARit that were based on our findings: Observation Documentation was 90 95% complete. Evidence existed that unused programs were being supported by the vendor. A vast knowledge and expertise for the main application lies in one person s lap. Recommendation The Sr. Programmer Analyst should completely document those areas with technical flows (as necessary), add programmer notes, and update tracking spreadsheet. Use document and knowledge gained, along with the Sr. Programmer Analyst s application knowledge to gain further cost savings on support costs. Continue documentation and business interaction mapping for all technical customizations and designate additional resources to support the application. The scope of this project was centered on documenting the as-is business processes. The finalized documentation can be used as a baseline for future projects requiring further analysis for process improvement, increasing efficiency, and business process automation Page 19 of 20

20 What KEDARit Offers For more than a decade, KEDARit has used our experience and expertise to help organizations solve growth, innovation and transformation challenges. We specialize in helping our clients achieve enduring results for IT Strategy, Business Process Management, IT Service Management, and Certification Training. This white paper focuses on how Business Process Modeling is used to identify operating processes that support each functional area in an organization. KEDARit Business Process Management (BPM) solutions can also be used for several operating processes functions, such as: Transporting goods, Optimizing delivery routes, Accounting and financial management services, Processing of back office services, Planning load and capacity, Legal processing, and Healthcare. Clients turn to KEDARit to help them overcome BPM challenges by gaining greater transparency into processes and workflow operations to make sound business decisions. We are second to none in developing visual processes that deliver powerful results using Lean Thinking solutions. Page 20 of 20

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