Process Culture vs Organizational Culture: Getting BPM To Work

CEOs are not always the most touchy-feely beings on the planet, however successful CEOs understand the organizational culture of their companies —and mold the process culture in such a way as to optimize employee contribution. As we look at successful companies, we often have the opportunity to get a  glimpse of both their organizational culture and process culture. We see that when CEOs demonstrate respect for employees and their contributions — and figure out how to map these to business goals—the business prospers and employees feel valued. One feeds the other, and the benefits are far reaching.

There are many aspects to creating the ‘right’ or ‘best’ organizational culture and fit for employees and business operations. That’s what makes business process management (BPM) so interesting: BPM software isn’t just a tool, or a piece of technology. Certainly technology is a component of BPM software. At its best, however, technology is adapted to the organization’s environment, style and culture. Some might argue that that is turning a solution on its head, but we see that organizational culture and process culture trumps functionality every time.

Individuals collaborate to create an organizational culture. Mission statements and charters may form the external perceptions of the company, however it’s the process culture; how the company conducts ‘business’ and what employees focus on that truly create that organizational culture. At BP Logix we are a BPM company that believes that ‘results’ from the desire of that process culture to become more successful . While it is true that executives need to sponsor and encourage BPM initiatives, without the support and interaction of the staff a BPM initiative will likely fail.

When organizations pay attention to the most important aspects of process culture and organizational culture, they are able to see success as an outcome of BPM. We see four key cultural elements that, when adhered to, enable organizations to tie BPM initiatives to their core culture. These include:

1. Skill set: When an organization takes the time to recognize the skills of employees and put them to work on specific business goals, BPM software can adequately be applied in an efficient way. Without first understanding how employees contribute, BPM might appear as a burdensome task that is devoid of employee creativity. Nothing will kill a BPM initiative faster than that.

2. Collective intelligence: this is not group-think. In fact, far from it, this is where the numerous conversations, meetings, coffee corners and the effects of relationships result in an evolving ethos that defines the organization. The value of all that must be allowed to envelope your BPM implementation. KM World Magazine highlighted this when they discussed the BP Logix approach: “BP Logix has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their customers by helping to harvest an organization’s collective intelligence in order to best serve its entire constituency chain.”

3. Results: humans like to solve problems and get things done right. It is wise to take this into account and allow employees to figure out how to use BPM software to achieve results in the way they want it done. We have seen Leo Burnett figure out how to roll out new processes based on employee input. The result was greater buy-in across the organization and use of effective processes.

4. Purpose: people are accustomed to working according their companies’ mandates. They will work with greater purpose and efficiency if they feel that they have a stake in the work they are performing. Unlike ERP systems or other types of behavior-shifting solutions, BPM software can be defined according to the understood purpose of the people responsible for the solution

BPM is done and managed on many levels but it is most efficiently carried out when users have had a part in deciding how it will be defined, implemented and managed. We repeatedly seek out opportunities to engage with IT managers and LOB decision-makers so we can begin the conversation about organizational culture and process culture and examine how we can best provide an entrée for BPM according to how the organization operates. When we can pair business goals with culture and help solve things with BPM software, we know that we can help a company to achieve great things.

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