BPM Consulting and Implementation is often perceived to be just another IT Services offering. You have certain business requirements which need to be implemented using a BPMS platform. What you need is a technical team that understands the BPM Platform in-and-out and can implement the most complex requirement with ease. While that sounds logical, we do have a different perspective on it. We believe that BPM needs a far more consultative approach. While technology skills are necessary, one needs to nurture many other skills in order to be a trusted partner for clients – hand holding them on their BPM Journey. What we need is a true BPM Consultant, rather than just a BPM Developer. Here are the top 5 skills that differentiate a BPM Consultant from a BPM Developer.
A BPM Professional must always wear her “Consulting Hat” to guide the clients. Often clients need to be educated on the right usage of BPM. One needs to evangelize BPM Concepts with the business users and help them understand how BPM will add value. Instead of just reading a business requirements document and implementing it as-is, the BPM Consultant must apply best practices and good usage of BPM to influence the requirements. The consultant also needs to advise clients to bring out maximum value out of the BPM solutions. Often Business Users are not aware of what a BPM solution can do. An additional out-of-the-box report, an escalation notification, a simple configurable business rule, etc. can be of significant value. A consultative approach like this is a step forward on the journey from an “Implementation Vendor” to a “Trusted Partner”.
I have seen many individuals who carry exceptional technology skills, but below average communication skills. This is not so much of an issue when you are an individual contributor, sitting in a cubicle, as part of a large team, developing Java Code for the specs that you receive. A BPM Engagement is different. It is as technology focused as it is business focused. A BPM Consultant needs to continuously interact with Business Users, Business Analysts and Functional SMEs. She needs to often run playbacks of the solution that she is working on. Irrespective of the level/designation/title, every BPM Consultant needs to interact very effectively with business team. Clear and crisp communication is the key. A BPM Consultant needs to nurture both written as well as oral communication in order to communicate her ideas and solution design in a most easy to understand language so that business users could understand and appreciate.
BPM Methodology inherently is very collaborative. Almost all of our engagements are executed in an agile fashion. Gone are the days when there was one “Lead” who would provide updates to the client, send out weekly status reports, bring up issues and challenges if any and be overall responsible for delivery. The entire team would sit behind and do their job with little or no interaction with clients. BPM Implementations follow Agile methodology at Princeton Blue where there are daily “SCRUM” Meetings with the entire team. Every Consultant often demonstrates her work to business users on a weekly basis. It is her responsibility to understand the feedback from the users and incorporate the same in her solution during the upcoming “Playback”. What this means is not only the “Lead”, but every consultant working on the Engagement needs to have strong Client Interfacing skills.
Techies love Technology. Often great technical brains ignore the business perspective of the solution they are working on. As mentioned earlier, BPM engagement is as Technology Focused as it is Business Focused. The entire team working on a BPM Engagement thoroughly needs to understand the business perspective – the objectives of the engagement, the business context, the pain areas that the solution is trying to address, key metrics, etc. Unless this happens, the BPM Solution cannot deliver the real business value. Expertise in a particular domain often takes time to build. However, putting efforts to understand the larger business perspective is a skill that can be achived with little additional efforts.
Finally, what differentiates a BPM Consultant is the ability to apply her thought and articulate ideas and share with others – the Thought Leadership. It is important for a BPM Consultant to look beyond her world of day-to-day work and share her knowledge and experiences with rest of the world. It could be a blog, a white paper, a case study or simply an opinion about developments happening in the world around. This will not only helps others learn from your experiences, it will also helps establish your credentials as a BPM Professional and help you stand out in the rat race.
At Princeton Blue, we value all the 5 attributes in our Consultants. This is very integral part of our Hiring Process. The company also invests in nurturing these skills in our Consultants. The results are for everyone to see with the kind of Client Referenceablility that we have built.