Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by how things work: not so much how they are built (although that, too), but what the underlying logic of their operation is. I have come to the conclusion that once I grasp the operational logic, I can understand any other device built in a different way, but meant to satisfy the same purpose.
Fast forward half a life later, and you will see me practicing Business Process Management in various shapes and forms inside the Information Technology industry. I have worked both on the IT Operations, as well as on the Research & Development side. I have engaged on a daily basis with all levels of the organization to ensure the current Quality Management System is properly defined, analyzed, implemented, maintained, and continually improved. I have also set new structures inside the IT organizations, which support the operational and business model in more effective and efficient ways.
“There is nothing permanent except change.” − Heraclitus
Regardless of the business industry, I believe there are certain elements, which are common among all big companies that want to stay on the market. To begin with, organizations – same as organisms – have to continuously adapt and improve, due to constantly changing circumstances (both external and internal). This process of continuous improvement requires a certain level of self-awareness, which can help identify the areas to be improved. And vice versa: once a problem has been identified (in an organization or in an organism), we can drill down to the details of what caused it and understand what has to be improved on a molecular level.
In other words, we need Business Process Managers for each organization (middle to big in size) in the same way that we need doctors (scientists, care-takers, etc.) for every living organism, which is made up of more than a couple of dozen cells.
Why This Blog
My university degree is Master of Business Administration. Neither when I first applied for the BA major, nor throughout all of my studies I got to understand what a Business Administrator was supposed to do. It was when I finally graduated and looked back at everything I had studied, that I realized I had actually been getting ready to be a company Director. I had to learn all about Finances, Banking, Accounting, Business Planning & Control, Marketing, Sales, Advertising, Public Relations, Mathematics & Statistics, Economics, Information Technology, Human Resources, Law, etc., but also about things like Leadership & Management, Organizational Behavior, Business Communication, Business Ethics, Politics, Rhetoric, Languages, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Decision-making, etc. All of this essentially represents everything that takes place at any given company.
My next realization was that, unless I had a very close family member who owned several companies and was ready to put one of them at immediate risk by making me the CEO, I was in no way becoming a Director anytime soon. I had to work my way up to that position – or to whichever position I reached along the way up to my retirement. The good news was, I had a vast choice of starting points for my career path: I already had an idea of what was going on inside any company department. The only question that remained unanswered was which of those departments I fancied the most.
Somehow IT came as a natural choice. I had already been completely enchanted by this broad and unknown computational territory. However, I tried avoiding it at first, thinking that if I chose anything else, I would not have to sit in front of a PC the whole day. When it turned out that any position at any company department already required a computer, that was when I knew I had to give in to the temptation.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” − Confucius
Ending up doing Business Process Management was not as easy and straight-forward, though. Like the majority of people, I did not have a clue that BPM even existed as another business workstream, let alone what it meant. I was working in areas close to BPM and still trying to figure out what exactly my preferred area of operation was when I was faced with the proposal of becoming a Business Process Manager. It took nearly a year to convince me. When I think about it now, I am so happy that, eventually, I rose up to the challenge. People who apparently knew me better than I knew myself were convinced BPM was going to be the best thing for me – and they were right.
Still, I had to start learning something new from scratch all over again – and do that, while I was already practicing it. I had to put the BPM pieces of the puzzle together without knowing the overall picture more often than not. I had to find ways to implement and execute BPM that made sense to the fast-paced IT industry and to the specific IT company and project, which I was working on at the time. I have never stopped learning ever since.
Here is where this blog comes into play: On one hand, I would like to share my experience (my successes, but even more importantly my failures) and engage with you in inspiring and challenging discussions, which will enable us to continue exploring the depths of BPM together. And on the other hand, I hope that by clarifying the BPM principles and its ways of working, we can jointly establish and continuously improve BPM as a company best practice and as another scientific pillar.
Let’s have fun on this journey!
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” − Winston Churchill