The BPM Imperative
During the early 20th Century, Henry Ford and other early adopters of the assembly line contributed to a 50-fold increase in productivity in manufacturing. Ford created a competitive advantage that other automobile manufacturers couldn't match for many years. How did they accomplish this? In Ford's words:
“…we have put a higher skill into management, planning and tool building….”
The 21stCentury Challenge
In his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter Drucker sums up 20th Century progress, and sets the challenge for the 21st Century:
“The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century
Why do Drucker and others think knowledge-worker productivity is so important? First, knowledge workers constitute more than 50 percent of the expenses of modern corporations. But more important, people are the key to competitive advantage.
was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the MANUAL WORKER in manufacturing."
"The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to
increase the productivity of KNOWLEDGE WORK and the KNOWLEDGE WORKER..”
Corporate performance researcher Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford University Business School observes,
“The question is not just what people cost, but what they do, and what value they create…”
Bob Bailey, CEO of PMC-Sierra Inc., a fabless chip company writes,
“Capital equipment doesn't generate intellectual property, people do.”
While other traditional competitive differentiators degenerate into commodities, the creativity and judgment of people are hard to duplicate.
Tackling this challenge can produce great rewards. (See our presentation The Business Process Imperative.)
How Business Process Management Helps
Business Process Management (BPM) brings the same order, quality assurance, productivity growth, and financial results to knowledge work as did the assembly line to manufacturing—but with an important difference.
In Ford's day, managers and engineers held the knowledge, and applied it to increase the productivity of manual workers.
In modern businesses, people throughout the organization hold the knowledge. Organizations must reach across traditional departmental and corporate boundaries to organize the right expertise to address important business opportunities and issues. Managers' contribution to increased productivity must come from their ability to organize, focus, and coordinate the knowledge of people on important objectives—those that confer durable competitive advantage.
How Action Helps
ActionWorks® Business Process Management (BPM) software is specifically designed to increase the productivity of knowledge workers. It is based on a fundamental understanding of how knowledge workers interact, based on fundamental research by Terry Winograd and Fernado Flores, and the only offering that integrates all four knowledge-work types: structured processes, projects, collaboration, and ad hoc requests.
Our Fortune 500 customers have used ActionWorks for more than 20 years to increase knowledge-worker productivity by analyzing, redesigning, implementing, and continuously improving their most crucial operations, yielding sustainable competitive advantage. ActionWorks-based business processes reduce the time and cost of people-intensive business processes—those dependent on people's knowledge, experience, intelligence, judgment, and innovation—by 30-70%, while typically generating returns of more than 300%.
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|ActionWorks, the Action Technologies business process analysis and redesign methodology, and the Business Interaction Model are protected under US Patents 6,073,109; 6,058,413; 5,734,837; 5,630,069; and 5,208,748