A fascinating article by Peter Fingar which discusses the strategy of USAF pilot John R. Boyd and his approach to the concept of agility. Boyd’s concept of always being on the offensive in combat led him to the development of an effective decision cycle called the OODA Loop created from four interrelated and overlapping steps –
1. Observation – select the “right data” and avoid information overload
2. Orientation or otherwise “situational awareness”
3. Decision – avoid analysis paralysis
4. Act – execute the decision and repeat the above
The goal of the above cycle is to “create situations where one can make good decisions more quickly than the competition” where the organisation that “goes through the OODA cycle in the shortest time prevails because the competition is caught responding to situations that have already changed”.
Peter then presents an emerging practice of using Cloud based delivery models (IaaS/PaaS/SaaS) to execute business innovation, the most interesting to me being BPMaaS or Business Process Management as a Service. He purports that this approach could support multi-company BPM to engage in truly end-to-end business processes. With this may come the social advantages of collaboration and potentially innovative practices based upon crowd-sourced insight of the process community.
Could this theory of organisational agility be the key to process innovation and consequently organisational transformation?
This bptrends.com article is an interesting review of the successful application of a process centric approach to managing a global steel production organisation. ThyssenKrupp Steel USA was faced with a challenge of competing with other steel mills whilst maintaining the highest quality standards and minimising supply chain disruption. Their particular challenges was the management of three production sites on three different continents and cultures, and integrate their BPM initiative with existing computer systems and industry certifications.
As a highly motivated Executive group provided support for this initiative, core to the approach was a conscious decion to not design their business model around transactions but more successfully align their processes with organisational strategy and subsequent transformational activities. Critical to their success was Executive level buy-in for BPM and the accountability, control & governance that this level of stewardship brings to the initiative.
Their model, known as the Integrated Business Management System (iBMS) consists of 5 key goals each linked to a central process repository:
1. Drive best practice
2. Process accountability
3. Business and IT alignment
5. Drive standards certification
This model also helped to establish a “hierarchy of process” that linked the strategic goals of the organisation down to the most tactical, operational of processes and gave transparency to the “why” and “who” questions of process outcomes and ownership. Further, the involvement of Executive process owners, advisors, auditors etc supports visibility, accountability and continuous process improvement as the program matures.
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA provides an excellent example of a successful BPM implementation through process transparency, ownership and governance. It will be interesting to analyse their progress and follow how this initiative evolves over coming years.