I hear the statement, “get it right first then automate it” and variations of. In fact a considerable amount is made of understanding, documenting and modelling your processes, especially if you subscribe to the definition of BPM as stated by the Australian Community of Practice.
Indeed read it again, doesn’t it seem an age until you get to the executing bit? Now we have all thrashed the days of Business Reengineering when businesses consumed themselves in large navel gazing exercises documenting to the hilt, creating often outdated and useable mountains of paper and electronic file. And I do recognise that technology has moved on with the arrival of SOA, object orientated modelling, standards such as BPMN, etc, etc but despite this I see inertia and exercises in navel gazing continue just using niftier and sexier tools.
More nimble businesses recognise that some technologies can shorten these approaches and indeed change the approach alltogether.
Here I must turn to another source, the Harvard Review. and the elements of a successful IT-enabled process and highlight two points, 1) immediate results and 2) monitoring. The key therefore is the ability to innovate and propagate ‘immediately’ and to have the ability to monitor and refine, drastically change, or even decouple a process from the business.
So my point ….priorities, purpose, design, yes, but do not get analysis paralysis. The real world changes so frequently the best test is the live test; and remember you need reporting and analytics over your processes to provide real insight to make and deploy improvements and further change.
It’s also relevant to think about the 80/20 rule. Wait for complete understanding (it’s unlikely you’ll get it anyway) or get quick change in and improve it, that’s early payback.