Business Operations Managers are also known as General Managers. They are the ones who manage, plan, and organize the business activities of an organization. They are expected to have the intelligence and backbone to make the tough decisions and implement them. They must show leadership. To do so, they must show an understanding of a firm’s culture, finances, and outlook. And my understanding is that anyone who is in that role or wants to be in that role understands the responsibility well and performs it.
Business Operations Manager with Knowledge of Business Process Management (BPM) / Workflow
Now, with the understanding that person in the role knows the responsibility and performs it well, what is it about knowledge of the BPM that makes one BO Manager different from another BO Manager?
Let us take two scenarios and two BO Managers to show how BPM knowledge makes difference.
All the skills and environment remain the same for both BO Managers except that one Manager has BPM knowledge and other one doesn’t.
First Scenario: Without Business Process Management / Workflow Knowledge
Business Case: A BO Manager has to implement the senior management decision of replacing an old business software system with a new and up-to-date system in order to be competitive in the market.
The BO Manager asks a subordinate to identify people to be involved and to ask them to start the work.
The Information Technology team was completely dependent on the identified business representative to tell them what to build and they did successfully build it.
After few months the Business Operations Manager decides to check the ROI from this initiative and is shocked to see it is worst than before. Through investigation and a survey from the floor, it is clear that the identified team had replicated the old system with new technology — there was no change / enhancement to make it more competitive and efficient.
Everyone involved was asked go back and document the lessons learned. The team kept struggling to fix things with patches, as the organization had made a huge investment.
But then the Business Operations Manager sat down to think, ‘What are my lessons learned? What could have I done differently?’
What do you think the BO Manager could have done differently? Any idea? Let’s see in the next scenario.
Second Scenario: With Business Process Management / Workflow Knowledge
The business case is the same. The BO Manager has to implement the senior management decision to replace the old business software system with a new and up-to-date system, to be competitive in the market.
The BO Manager has knowledge of BPM and asks the subordinate to identify a Business Process Analyst to create end-to-end business process workflows for the business unit that uses the old/existing software system.
They are then asked to create a changed / enhanced end-to-end business process workflow for the same business unit by using the new software system. This will show how the new system will enhance the efficiency of the business unit.
Then BO Manager lets everyone involved in the project the opportunity to understand the business process flows. This particular step of the BO Manager brought clarity to the initiative, brought everyone on the same page, and set clear expectations.
Not getting to far into the details, but understanding the process workflow made the BO Manager a strong and knowledgeable leader that the whole team looked up to.
The team worked on the project and the output was not a surprise to the Business Operations Manager, as it met the expectations. The team is happy, the business unit is happy, the customers are happy, and the organization is heading towards success.
The scenarios show how knowledge of BPM set one BO Manager successfully apart from the other. It is very natural to think, ‘Will the BO Manager have time to do this?’ Yes, if a BO Manager wants to succeed. It is important to have high-level knowledge of BPM, and start BPM practice in the organization to build a successful, empowered, and talented team, which in turn will sucess to the Manager and the team, and that will lead to success in the organization.