For some industries governance is not optional such as Food and Pharma who are regulated by the FDA, or banking who are regulated by the FSA.  Arguably every US company is highly regulated due to SarBox, but the penalties for non-compliance are less painful so it is taken less seriously.  The FDA imposes punitive fines and even charities are not immune – the American Red Cross was fined $16million and in 2010 the FDA collected over $3 billion in fines.

So governance is seen as an unavoidable cost to be kept as low as possible. Lowest cost compliance.  For any company spending $millions on governance, shouldn’t they be asking “Can I get more value out of the money we are spending on governance”?

For everyone governance is a good discipline. No, it is more than that. It is Competitive Advantage when implemented elegantly and in a way that doesn’t inhibit process improvement and agility. And it is underlined by a comment from a VP at Nestle – a highly regulated, complex organisation which takes governance seriously:

Nimbus is a game changer for Nestle Sales Division, no other manufacturer is using this tool”

What are the implications for implementing process-driven governance?

  • Governance covers the entire change cycle (suggested change, review, sign-off, implementation, audit trail, acknowledgement)
  • It covers ALL process assets; end to end flows, training materials, policies documents, SOP, video, forms, automated applications, not just the automated process flows
  • MSOffice (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Visio) do not have rich enough governance and when teamed with Sharepoint become an expensive time-suck to administer, so are not fit for purpose
  • SocialBPM needs to be integrated into the governance cycle not be seen as a shortcut around process

An extreme example is UTi Pharma, a medical distribution company. UTi Pharma doesn’t make medicine but its systems, technology, a global and local web of pharma grade warehouse facilities, fleet of vehicles make sure that patients always get the original quality medicine they need, when and where they need it.  They work with all the major pharma giants and have over 150 audits per year. Yet with a process-driven approach they can still be innovative and drive process improvement. Last year they logged 495 change requests.

So it is possible to square the circle? Yes. You can combine collaborative change with effective governance, if process is at its heart.


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