The BPM Field of Dreams & End-User Adoption

Thought Leadership | Princeton Blue

While walking in his cornfield, Kevin Costner’s character “Ray Kinsella” in the movie “Field of Dreams” hears a voice – and in our case – let’s call him “CTO Ray” – walks through “his cornfield” (the IT Development Team’s Sandbox) and hears a different voice (the Business/the Stakeholders voices) that whispers, “If you build it, they (the Employees) will come”. He envisions a phenomenal state-of-the-art, optimized and streamlined newly implemented Business Process Management (BPM) System for all to utilize, making their day-to-day tasks more efficient, cycle times reduced, and a maximum return on invest for the business sponsor.

Another “Field of Dreams” character, “Annie” – or in our case “a BPM Team Member or End-User” is rather skeptical, like most employees facing a new system, a new way of working or change itself – is quite resistant. Though opposing the change, she supports them (the Implementation Team) to plow under Ray’s corn (As-Is Process) to build the desired (To-Be Process) to form the future state real-life “BPM Field of Dreams”!

“CTO Ray” knows right-away, no matter what the business desires or how well the system is implemented that user adoption is a key element – often the missing link, which needs to be infused into his company’s successful BPM roll-out strategy from the start to truly be “The BPM Field of Dreams”

Factors impacting End-User Adoption

Let’s look at five critical ways that successfully impacted end-user adoption from our recent BPM engagements:

Identify a Process Owner:

Process owners have one of the most critical role to play as “the process expert” – they should be”the one” person most knowledgeable and with accountability across the BPM initiative. Critical responsibilities include:

  1. Understanding the overall process including sub processes, with their intricate details – the process owner is the expert on the “As-Is” and “To-Be” process and can answer questions across functions.
  2. Understanding the businesses goal(s) and the areas of process improvement
  3. Collecting the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and monitoring process performance metrics
  4. Documenting – Making sure all documentation remains up-to-date across the project

Make the Process Visible:

In most cases, the process implementation/process improvement effort should not be “secretive”, so gain that important visibility aspect across the entire organization while employees become energized with these proven methods:

  1. Tack-up the high-level process models diagrams and sub-process wire-frames EVERYWHERE. Employees will gravitate to the imagery, begin to ask questions and know right-away that its critical to the business – it’s displayed – so it must be important!
  2. The more they see it around the office, displayed by the water color, in the lunch room, in various conference rooms/huddle rooms and on the outside office doors of offices and cubicles, the more those process models will drive questions and important conversations.
  3. Those Conversations will lead to ideas, and those ideas will lead to impactful results, funneled to the functional team leaders and eventually to the established process owner. This behavior will happen automatically and THIS is what you want in your organization.

Get Cross-Functional Team Leaders/Team Members Involved:

  1. Not only will the discussions happen from number (1) and (2) above automatically, ask/demand for cross-functional team leaders to sit in and react to the agile playback session of the time-boxed functionality which is most important to that specific business function. Eventual system users will see process-improvements in real-time and those same users will contribute right-away. They will see that their discussions and valuable enhancements matter and more importantly, they will see that they are impacting functionality to improve how their job on a day-to-day basis is done. That’s valuable!

Keep it Simple – Contribute to ”Ease of Use/Usability” by:

  1. Having a clean intuitive interface. Limit the number of tabs, buttons, and so-called bells and whistles – Do you need a busy interface? This only confuses. Interfaces should be easy to use! For example, click and accept the task, complete a small form, review a clean report and send it down the flow to the next user… Easy!
  2. Reporting that is aligned with goals of the business (i.e. metrics that matter)
  3. Avoid the Noise to increases end-user adoption – Whitespace is GOOD. De-clutter!

Go-Mobile – Implement for a Device!

  1. Tablets and smart phones are no-training devices which are crucial in 2013 – more than ever; in fact, young children know how to use those same devices almost upon purchase … so implement not only for a portal view on your desktop, but also on a portable device, which will be the number one avenue to reach the internet by 2015 according to industry analysts.
  2. Users will quickly become “part of the process”, as they are enabled to do their work anywhere – anywhere where work happens – for example, in the field and away from the office. Anytime, anyplace. Now that is convenience!

As you can see, end-user adoption needs imbibed into the implementation from the start and revisited often and throughout your BPM initiative for the most dynamic impact.

Just as in the movie, “Field of Dreams”, Ray desired his ball players to enjoy his newly built “Field of Dreams”; whereas, “CTO Ray” desired the business users to assimilate and adopt the newly implemented BPM Solution and important business strategies right out of the go-live gate. By having a end-user adoption plan from the start, woven throughout the implementation’s fabric will only increase the success rate of user adoption and gain valuable benefits enterprise-wide that BPM has to offer.

Danny Leo
Danny Leo
Danny Leo is an Appian Practice Leader at Princeton Blue.

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