Is it young and athletic, or mature and wise? Or is it disorganised and chaotic - though still delivering?

A frequent part of our work involves helping organisations improve and optimise their processes in one-time projects. Often, however, our clients tell us it is too easy to slip back into old habits and lose any benefits.

To understand how practices can be sustained beyond the end of a process improvement initiative, we surveyed more than 60 European organisations, from a wide variety of sectors including financial services, pharmaceuticals, automotive and utilities.

We found that business process management (BPM) continues to affect all organisations and companies, independent of size and industry. However, respondents often had very different perspectives on the term 'BPM':

  • those organisations looking at process improvement methodologies, such as Six Sigma;
  • those with a key focus on IT tools to document and simulate processes (e.g.BPM Suites);
  • those that specify BPM as a mixture of both, driven by a top-down management approach.

In our research we found that all groups had a level of success, but those businesses operating with a top-down, process-oriented management approach achieve the best results. In parallel with ongoing process optimisation initiatives, acknowledging BPM as strategic is the key success factor for establishing a sustainable process mind-set as part of the DNA of the organisation.

Our research shows that companies work best when the health of the whole business and each of its elements are constantly monitored. Regular, small improvements can have more effect than one-off bursts of effort. As we all know however, sustainable success comes from actions. not words.

If you want to know more, download the full paper here:


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  • Matthias Höhne
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