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Using Process Frameworks and Reference Models

to Get Real Work Done

Project Personnel and Copyright 4
Research Champions 6
Sponsor and Partner Organizations 6
Introduction 7
Chapter 1: Getting Started 24
Chapter 2: Adoption, Governance, and Oversight 43
Chapter 3: Leveraging Tools 60
Chapter 4: The Framework Implementation Journey 75
Case Study: Cisco Systems, Inc. 86
Case Study: ING Life Japan 97
Case Study: Pitney Bowes 111
Case Study: UPS 118
Case Study: The Williams Companies, Inc. 129
Nimbus Comment: Why Management or Governance Is
a Key Enabler of Continuous Process Improvement 141


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Project Personnel
John Tesmer, senior project manager, APQC
Shaina Bielaz, analyst, APQC
Travis Colton, senior project manager, APQC


Dr. Mathias Kirchmer, executive director, business process management, Accenture
Dennis Pikop, manager of process architecture, Northrop Grumman Corporation,
aerospace systems sector
Chris Taylor, vice president of consulting, Americas, Nimbus
John Tesmer, senior project manager, APQC
Jeff Varney, senior adviser, APQC

Susan Elliott Blashka


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For information about how to become a member of APQC and to receive
publications and other benefits, call 800-776-9676 or +1-713-681-4020 or visit our
Web site at

©2011 APQC, 123 North Post Oak Lane, Third Floor, Houston, Texas 77024-7797
USA. This report cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, faxing, recording, or information
storage and retrieval.

Additional copies of the report may be purchased from APQC by calling 800-776-
9676 (U.S.) or +1-713-681-4020 or online at Quantity discounts are

ISBN 13-978-1-60197-167-8 • ISBN 10-1-60197-167-2

The purpose of publishing this report is to provide a reference point for an insight
into the processes and practices associated with certain issues. It should be used as
an educational learning tool and is not a “recipe” or step-by-step procedure to be
copied or duplicated in any way. This report may not represent current
organizational processes, policies, or practices because changes may have occurred
since the completion of this study.


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Research Champions

Sponsor Organizations
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company National Bank of Canada
BOC Group plc Naval Sea Systems Command
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. Northrop Grumman Corporation
Bush Brothers & Company Office of the Comptroller of the
CEMEX Research Group AG Currency, U.S. Department of the
Champion Technologies, Inc. Treasury
El Paso Energy Corporation Panduit Corporation
Entergy Corporation Perdue Farms Inc.
General Dynamics Corporation Philips Healthcare
Harley-Davidson, Inc. Sandia National Laboratories
Hewlett-Packard Company Shell Oil Company
Horizon Wind Energy, EDP Sunflower Electric Power
Hospira, Inc. Corporation
IMS Health TD Assurance
Intel Corporation U.S. Army
Medrad, Inc. USAA

Partner Organizations
Cisco Systems, Inc.
ING Life Japan
Pitney Bowes Inc.
Sandvik **
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA **
The Williams Companies, Inc.

** These two organizations participated as “lite” site visit partners. “Lite” site visit
partners did not participate in the full best-practice partner interview process.


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APQC has long known that the Process Classification FrameworkSM (PCF) is a
widely used tool in business. Since 1992, the framework has been downloaded from
our Web site well over 100,000 times; translated into Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish,
Polish, and Portuguese; referenced in business books; and incorporated into
numerous consulting methodologies for process improvement and re-engineering.
We have worked directly with organizations throughout the world to help them
understand the history of the PCF and how they can use it. APQC has also has
worked with a number of other organizations promoting their own process
frameworks and reference models, including Accenture, Supply Chain Council, the
Telecommunications Management Forum, and the Value Chain Group.

Until 2010, however, we did not spend a lot of time tracking individual uses of the
PCF or other frameworks within organizations, nor did we really understand how
widespread the use of frameworks is. In the summer of 2010, we became acquainted
with Dennis Pearce, enterprise knowledge architect at Lexmark International,
through a post he made on Twitter. Dennis presented at EMC World about how his
organization uses APQC‟s PCF to help organize internal collaboration spaces. While
not a stretch—organizing content is a natural application for most process-based
frameworks—this was a unique usage that we hadn‟t yet seen in practice outside of
APQC. We asked Dennis if we could document his experiences in a case study.

“APQC (The American Productivity & Quality Center) has a

generic process classification framework that covers the basic
processes needed by companies in order to operate. We can use
their highest-level processes as a starting point for designing
collaboration spaces that maximize coverage of our information

—Dennis Pearce, Lexmark

In typical APQC fashion, however, we were not satisfied—we quickly began

researching and investigating other organizations that were using frameworks to get
real work done. The results were overwhelming at first—with only a minimum of
outreach, we were able to identify nearly 100 organizations using a framework to
achieve a wide variety of ends. Many of these organizations were also interested in
learning how others were using frameworks, and thus this research was born. The
frameworks team quickly assembled and developed the core hypothesis of the study:
Organizations use process frameworks to get real work done. We set out to find out
the details and confirm our hypothesis, using a modified version of APQC‟s tried-
and-true collaborative benchmarking methodology.


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This report summarizes the findings of our research, which, if you include
Lexmark‟s involvement, dates back to June of 2010. If you consider our experience
in developing and managing business frameworks, however, this report‟s findings go
back decades and include literally thousands of hours of expertise.

The findings in this report were reviewed and enhanced with the support of our two
research champions, Accenture and Nimbus. Both organizations contributed
countless hours in attending site visit presentations, facilitating discussions, and
reviewing and contributing to documents and findings.

The following findings were developed from a variety of sources: qualitative
findings from our partners, quantitative analysis of survey responses, discussions
with research champions, and feedback from our internal subject matter experts. It
is important to note here that these findings are not considered inclusive of all
frameworks research or best practices. Our goal is to provide analysis related to the
data captured during this particular project and ultimately add to the body of
knowledge associated with process frameworks.

Accelerate: Accelerate improvement projects by applying process frameworks

in three key areas: benchmarking, content management, and business
process definition.
Nearly all uses of frameworks APQC has identified can be organized into these
high-level areas: benchmarking, content management, and business process
definition. The framework is really just a tool to accomplish these tasks; it is not an
end in itself. Therefore, when determining whether or not to implement a
framework, the most important question to ask is not necessarily what benefits the
framework could provide, but instead, what the cost of not using this tool would be.

In business process definition, frameworks and reference models help support

process analysis, design, and modeling activities. Starting with a process framework
or reference model accelerates these activities by giving professionals a basis on
which to build. At best-practice organizations, the adopted framework is generally
well reviewed and supported by a consulting firm, standards body, or industry
association such as APQC (the PCF), Supply Chain Council (the SCOR® model),
or the Telecommunications Forum (eTOM).

The cost of not using a process framework is the time it would take the process
definition team to develop their own process model and obtain consensus from the
various stakeholders about the processes included within it. As was seen in the all
but the Cisco site visit (since Cisco focused only on benchmarking), organizations
adopting process frameworks for process definition can quickly move beyond high-
level process definition and modeling discussions into detailed discussions and


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working sessions about the merit of the chosen framework and how to adapt it to
meet the organization‟s needs.

Benchmarking and process measurement activities are generally too costly to

perform without the use of a process framework or reference model. Internally,
organizations need a common way to describe the work they do so that it can be
consistently and repeatedly measured. Externally, organizations normalize their
internal processes against the process framework or reference model and depend on
the objective, standard definitions in the framework to enable the comparison of
processes across organizational boundaries.

The process framework or reference model becomes the Rosetta Stone for
organizations benchmarking with others. Using a process framework or reference
model as a common language reduces the effort required to begin benchmarking
activities. A framework establishes a common language from the start.
Organizations reduce the time spent mapping their specific activities to the activities
of other organizations because everyone participating in the benchmarking has the
same, single process framework or reference model to map all processes to.

What is the cost, then, of not using a process framework in benchmarking activities?
Consider a situation in which an organization must map its processes to the
processes of each of its benchmarking partners. In a situation with five
benchmarking partners, each partner must map to each of its four partners.
Compare this to a situation in which the partners agree to adopt a process
framework or reference model. With the centralized framework, each partner needs
to map only once to the centralized model to ensure an accurate comparison. The
process framework enables each distinct set of processes to be mapped into a
common language that each entity can understand. Using a framework to overcome
this cost is one the factors that enables external benchmarking for Cisco Systems.

Content management activities rely on common taxonomies. Using a process

framework or reference model as the basis for a content management taxonomy
helps knowledge managers quickly build consensus among various stakeholders
even when the structure of the reference model doesn‟t precisely map to existing
enterprise process model. The process framework or reference model acts as an
interface between the way the content is organized and the way work is performed.
It reduces rework imposed upon a knowledge manager when the organization
changes the way work is done. Again, the cost associated with not adopting a
process framework lies in the collaboration with stakeholders.

Consider the example of the Williams Companies. Williams‟ initial adoption of the
PCF organized enterprise-wide financial content according to a single consistent,
objective model. Mapping that taxonomy to the way work is done within the
organization created an extensible and robust repository of content that can survive
future changes to the ways Williams works. Use of the framework also eliminates
costly retagging and reorganization when changes occur.


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The use of a process framework effectively reduces the time needed to develop
consensus among stakeholders. Not adopting the process framework extends cycle
times for projects in these areas.

Locate: Adopt a framework or reference model at any level of the

organization; even localized implementations yield value.
Centralized, enterprise-wide adoption of a process framework is not the only way to
realize value. Many of the best-practice partners in this study saw value in adopting
the process framework for one or more uses at department and division levels.

ING Life Japan adopted the PCF in its policy operations department. The adoption
was not enterprise-wide or even division-wide, but rather occurred to help a single
department become more efficient in its operations. Similarly, Pitney Bowes‟
adoption of its process framework in the Mailing Solutions Management division
was initially limited to a cross-functional billing transformation process. The level of
adoption within the organization in that case was relatively low, compared with an
organization such as ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, which performed an enterprise-wide

Each partner adopted the framework at a different level, yet each of them realized

Centralize: Centralize ownership and protect the integrity of the adopted

frameworks to ensure one version of the truth.
No matter where a framework or reference model is deployed within an
organization, centralized ownership and management of that framework is essential.
Organizations should set up governance structures to foster the consistent adoption
of the framework within the organization. These structures must be harmonized
with the culture of the organization, while maintaining strict control over the
implementation and management of the framework. This control as maintained by
the centralized governance structure ensures consistency and enables the framework
to contribute to the long-term value of the organization.

From a business process definition point of view, the framework itself should be
centrally managed and maintained, but ownership of the processes defined by the
framework should be distributed as widely as possible. Wide distribution of
ownership of whatever is managed through the framework facilitates stakeholder
buy-in of the adopted framework. Stakeholders are even more agreeable to
framework adoption when they learn that they are not required to actively manage
and maintain the structure of the framework, but rather contribute their expertise to
the centralized management body.

Consider UPS‟ program management group, which developed a center of excellence

to support both project management and process management. This program


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management group was the single, centralized group responsible for the
maintenance of the adopted UPS-wide process framework.

A similar situation exists in content management adoptions. The centralized group

does not own the documents stored in the taxonomy, but rather the management
and maintenance of the framework itself. Similar to business process definition
adoption, content managers participate in oversight and management through the
centralized governance function. For example, the group at Williams that owns the
Sarbanes-Oxley compliance framework is not responsible for managing the
processes organized by the taxonomy. Process management is the job of individual
process owners in their respective units.

Adopt: Adopt a framework before adapting it.

Process frameworks and reference models are typically built based on deep
organizational understanding or wide experience across a variety of organizations.
An organization that chooses a framework and immediately begins making
adaptations to fit its existing business risks losing the value inherent in the
framework: the deep organizational understanding or the wide experience brought
by the framework‟s authors. Furthermore, some adaptations can severely limit the
adapting organization‟s ability to use benchmarking to compare performance in an
objective manner.

Cisco, for example, relies on the contextual definitions of processes in the PCF to
act as a common language to support benchmarking. Without a consistent mapping
of processes to the adopted (not adapted) framework, Cisco would have to map its
processes to each of its benchmarking partners. The cost may be manageable when
dealing with a few benchmarking partners, but when comparing to a wide sample of
companies, the cost quickly becomes more than the value obtained from performing
the benchmarking exercise.

Furthermore, ING Life Japan began its improvement project by completely

adopting its process framework. Only after the complete adoption did they adapt
the framework to meet their unique organizational needs. The overall changes were
less than 10 percent of the framework‟s total activities. This strict adoption was not
without cost, however. Initially, middle and line managers tasked with performing
the adoption work pushed back on the process transformation team and questioned
the ability of the business to withstand the changes required by the framework
adoption. Strong central leadership was essential to overcoming the initial resistance.
The central leadership required and supported the complete re-engineering of the
department to align with the framework.

UPS‟ adoption of its custom-designed framework similarly encountered resistance

from the groups that were affected by the adoption. The cost of the changes from a
re-engineering perspective was too much for UPS to bear. The program
management group at UPS sought a different approach to adoption and ultimately
adopted an overlayment strategy. They overlaid the framework atop their existing


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organizational structures rather than re-engineering their entire organization. They

built consensus for the new operating models by mapping the adopted framework
to the existing organizational structures and demonstrating the value of the new
framework in defining business processes, organizing content, and benchmarking.
Overlaying the framework to the existing structure and mapping the organization to
the framework eliminated the need to change the framework‟s definition.

Tool Up: Adopt appropriate tools to reduce complexity and increase the
long-term value of a framework.
Process framework adoption activities do not require significant up-front
investment in custom-developed or specialized package-software tooling. Most
surveyed partners began exercises with simple tools already available to them,
including whiteboards and common office productivity tools such as spreadsheets
and word processing programs. Most partners envisioned formal process
management tools in their future plans, whether custom-developed or packaged
software, but they did not have to start there.

By implementing appropriate tools when they were needed, the partners streamlined
the use of their frameworks and built a strong foundation for future improvements
and process integration. They key was finding the best tool for the organization and
its needs as the framework implementation took place.

Partners such as UPS, Sandvik, and ThyssenKrupp adopted formal packaged

software business process management tools to support their use of process
frameworks and reference models. UPS‟ adoption of a packaged software process
modeling tool helped them to ensure consistency in the models based upon the
overall framework. The tool also enabled simple benchmarking capabilities around
the adopted framework by automatically rolling up cost and FTE allocations at each
successive level of the organization. UPS defined standards for the use of the tools
within the organization and ultimately trained individuals in process mapping
activities using the tools, widely distributing the expertise necessary to adopt the
framework throughout the organization.

For Sandvik, the enterprise‟s scope was a driving factor in adopting a tool to help
with its business process definition, content management, and benchmarking
activities. With over 130 production units worldwide and five distinct ERP system
implementations, Sandvik struggled to ensure consistency in process
implementation and capabilities. Adopting tools to help manage the wide variety of
organizational involvement reduced the complexity inherent in managing the
widespread adoption and ultimately enabled their organization to benefit from the
process framework.

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA did not have to struggle with organic growth for nearly a
century as Sandvik did. Its new steel plant in Alabama was envisioned to be as
efficient and effective as possible not only in steel production but also in
productivity of its office workers. This goal could not have been met without a tool


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to facilitate the adoption of the process framework and its various uses throughout
the organization. ThyssenKrupp Steel USA was able to define its processes using
the process framework as the basis and map additional frameworks atop the core
processes. This overlayment of multiple process frameworks is one of the ways in
which ThyssenKrupp Steel USA plans to quickly achieve ISO compliance.

Measure: View framework implementation according to a five-step model to

better assess the implementation’s maturity and the value it provides.
Based upon the observations made during the study, a number of criteria surfaced
that suggest a step-by-step journey organizations take on their way to realizing the
full value of a process framework.

The journey is divided into five core steps, or phases: establish, reference, deploy,
measure, and operate. Organizations may choose not to proceed through all five
steps. Since value is realized at each stop in the journey, an organization must
determine if the value of proceeding on the journey is greater than the cost to move
to the next step. Also—some steps may be taken out of order depending upon the
long-term goals of the organization; for example, an organization may proceed to
measure after reference and skip deploy entirely.

Set Goals: Evaluate framework use regularly to determine which actions to

take to increase its value and maturity.
Using an implementation model to measure the effectiveness and progress of a
framework initiative allows organizations to set reasonable goals for framework use.
This also enables the organization to completely envision the eventual benefits and
to create individual and organizational commitments to the business community‟s
goals. Lacking this sort of vision, a framework is less likely to initiate change or
bring value to the organization. A number of criteria are presented to help set goals,
including organizational readiness, disruption to the business, maturity of the
organization, and executive support.


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Research Champion Perspective

Nimbus has been single-mindedly focused on process management and
performance improvement since the first release of our Control software in 1997.
Since then, we have worked with hundreds of clients, across virtually every industry
and in more than 40 countries. Each organization has unique business drivers, but
they share a common vision: to manage business better, to achieve operational
excellence, and to embed a culture of continuous improvement. Often, clients
express it as “moving an organization up the process maturity curve.” They all
recognize that excellence in business process management is foundational to
achieving their goals.

It was, thus, an easy decision to accept APQC‟s invitation to serve as a research

champion on this study. Connecting process management with real work is
fundamental to success, and as a partner to our clients, we continually seek and
provide greater insight into how to make that connection.

Many kinds of process frameworks are widely used. Some are highly technical and
intended for IT audiences; some are functional frameworks—ITIL and SCOR, for
example. And some, such as APQC‟s Process Classification Framework (PCF),
address an entire enterprise. Because of their widespread popularity, Nimbus offers
our clients complete process maps developed from various process frameworks,
including one based on APQC‟s PCF.

In our experience, process frameworks can significantly accelerate process discovery

and alignment, providing organizations with a high-level (though, to some degree,
generic) view of the processes they may be considering for a business process
improvement program. A best practices process framework gives an organization
confidence that all process areas are considered and that the interconnections
between each area are proven and understood.

But to progress with real business process improvement, user adoption is critical.
To achieve adoption, business process content has to be complete, accurate, readily
understood, and integrated with documents, key performance indicator (KPI)
metrics, and training. Ultimately, the framework must be accessible to every
employee as a personalized intelligent operations manual—the simplest way to find,
understand, and give feedback about “the way we do things here.”


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Process frameworks alone cannot deliver adoption. They must be adapted to make
sense for each organization and to reflect its unique operational reality. Many
organizations develop a hybrid process architecture, blending several process
frameworks that deliver best practices for different business areas—for example,
combining APQC‟s PCF, SCOR and ITIL. Managing the interrelationship of such
content and cross referencing the real operating model against multiple frameworks
is a challenge we help clients with on a day-to-day basis.

Our mission at Nimbus is to make work easier, faster, and more valuable for
millions of people. Process frameworks frequently accelerate our clients‟ process
discovery and standardization efforts, so we are delighted to have been able to
contribute to this study. We hope that the best practices identified here, together
with the commentaries in each chapter, will illuminate your own organization‟s
search for operational excellence and process maturity.

— Chris Taylor, vice president consulting, Americas, Nimbus


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Chapter 1: Getting Started
Organizations that have successfully implemented a process framework all had a
specific need or problem to solve. Taking a few conscientious steps at the beginning
provided an opportunity to accelerate the project—regardless of the level at which
the framework was adopted or the tools used. This chapter identifies projects that
benefit from framework adoption and the best place to locate them within the

Chapter 2: Adoption, Governance, and Oversight

Centralized governance structures, processes, and toolkits make long-term benefits
through framework adoption possible. Centralized governance of the framework
does not imply that the processes defined by the framework, the content managed
by the framework, or the benchmarking capabilities enabled by the framework are
all centralized. On the contrary; centralization of the framework‟s maintenance and
management enables a widely distributed ownership of those adopted pieces.

Managing an adopted framework without centralized oversight can prove costly

because, as the business changes, it is difficult for every part of the organization to
stay aligned with the framework. This chapter provides an overview of two main
best practices: centralize ownership of the framework and adopt before adapt.

Chapter 3: Leveraging Tools

Business process management tools help organizations automate governance,
reduce complexity, increase flexibility, and manage content using process
frameworks. Some organizations develop homegrown tools while others buy tools
designed to meet their specific needs. This chapter focuses on the findings related to
tools: when to use them, issues to watch out for, and how tools can help.

Chapter 4: The Framework Implementation Journey

A process framework enables an organization to rapidly get on the same “process
page” and drive consistency across performance initiatives. It is widely accepted that
frameworks bring value to organizations in measurable ways and increase their
fundamental ability to perform. But not every organization is ready to fully exploit a
framework. Assessing the readiness for use of a framework sets a baseline, helps set
targets for the organization, and enables benefits to be mapped against a road map
of increasing value.


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The APQC consortium benchmarking methodology was developed in 1993 and
serves as one of the premier methods for successful benchmarking in the world. It
was recognized by the European Center for Total Quality Management in 1995 as
first among 10 leading benchmarking organizations‟ models. It is an extremely
powerful tool for identifying best and innovative practices and for facilitating the
transfer of these practices.

The Best Practices for Using Process Frameworks to Get Real Work Done project
team adapted APQC‟s methodology to reduce demands on sponsor and partner
time while maintaining the high-quality deliverables that the process is known to

The planning phase of the study began in summer 2010. During this phase, APQC
performed primary and secondary research to determine leading practices and
identify innovative organizations to participate as best-practice organizations (the
partners). In addition to this research, APQC staff members identified potential
partners based on firsthand experience, research, and sponsor recommendations.
The APQC team identified a first-pass list of 16 organization. Each of these
organizations was invited to participate in a screening process. Based on the results
of the screening process, as well as organizational capacity and willingness to
participate in the study, five partners made the final list: Cisco Systems (Cisco), ING
Life Japan (INGLJ), Pitney Bowes (PB), UPS, and The Williams Companies

The project team scheduled two additional virtual site visits with organizations that
demonstrated exceptional capabilities. These “lite” site visits were shorter (limited to
one hour) and relied on the partner to present off-the-shelf material—not a
presentation customized to the project‟s needs. The two organizations selected by
the APQC project team and research champions as lite partners were
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and Sandvik.

The APQC team and the research champions then finalized the data collection tools
and began the “collect” phase of work.

The collect phase of this project entailed collecting qualitative information about the
ways in which the partner organizations get work done using their process
frameworks or reference models. APQC and the research champions jointly
developed three tools to collect information for this study:

1. Screening questionnaire—a set of qualitative and quantitative questions

designed to identify best practices within the partner organizations


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2. Detailed questionnaire—a set of qualitative and quantitative questions

designed to collect objective data about the use of frameworks within an

3. Site visit guide—a set of qualitative questions designed to facilitate structured

discussion between partners and sponsors at the site visits

Each partner organization (except the lite site visit partners) was asked to prepare
and deliver a four-hour site visit covering the subjects identified in the site visit
guide. Some partner organizations chose to present their material in shorter
sessions. APQC staff members worked with the partners to prepare and review their
presentations before the site visits. The partner organizations determined if they
wanted to host a site visit virtually or in person. Only UPS committed to an in-
person site visit. Williams and Pitney Bowes were asked to hold their site visits at
the project kickoff meeting, held in November 2010. After each site visit, the APQC
project team prepared a written report (site visit summary) and submitted it to the
partner organization for elaboration and approval.

The process frameworks project did not include detailed quantitative benchmarking
at a level sufficient to understand cost and FTE allocations of process framework
adoption projects.

The APQC project team analyzed both the qualitative and quantitative information
gained from the data collection tools. The analysis concentrated on examining the
practices of each partner organization. This analysis, as well as examples from the
site visits, is contained in this report.

The number of companies participating in the detailed questionnaire was

insufficient to analyze project participants (partners and sponsors) as an
independent sample. The sample from the project was combined with a similar
sample from a previous data collection effort (where possible) to develop the
sample that was ultimately utilized for further analysis and presentation in this

Adaptation and improvement, stemming from identified best practices, occur after
the sponsors apply key findings to their own operations. APQC staff members are
available to help organizations create appropriate action plans based on the results
of the study.


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Our research champions, Accenture and Nimbus, are experts in the field of
reference models and process frameworks and are supporting the study with
thought leadership, subject matter expertise, research, and funding.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing
company, with approximately 204,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all
industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world‟s most
successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become
high-performance businesses and governments. Accenture has a large BPM practice
with numerous assets, including a BPM reference model repository with over 20,000
models describing over 70 industries. Its home page is

Nimbus is a global software company with offices in San Francisco, London,
Beijing, and 10 countries. Nimbus Control software enables organizations to capture
and deploy their operational processes, business controls, and supporting
information to all of their people, across the Web, or to a mobile device. It provides
an enterprise-wide collaborative framework that underpins effective process
management and sustainable performance improvement. Founded in 1997, Nimbus
has worked with over 700 organizations including AstraZeneca, Barclays, Chevron,
Cisco, HSBC, JP Morgan, Nestlé, RBS, Sara Lee, Sony, ThyssenKrupp, and Toyota.
Nimbus is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner (ISV), an SAP Software Partner, an
Oracle Partner, and a Partner. The Nimbus Web site is located at


Dr. Mathias Kirchmer
Dr. Mathias Kirchmer is executive director for business process management (BPM)
at Accenture. He leads the global BPM-Lifecycle practice, as well as the program for
the development of Accenture‟s business process reference models across industries
and functional areas. His special field of expertise is to establish BPM capabilities
that deliver both immediate benefits and sustainable competitive advantages.

Before joining Accenture, Dr. Kirchmer spent 18 years with IDS Scheer, a leading
provider of business process excellence solutions, known for its BPM software, the
ARIS Platform. He was member of the extended executive board, holding roles of
CEO Americas, Japan, and chief innovation and marketing officer.

During his professional career Dr. Kirchmer has developed deep knowledge in
approaches, methods, tools, and software for the design, implementation, execution,


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and controlling of business processes. He has applied this know-how in companies

of various sizes and industries around the world.

Dr. Kirchmer is an affiliated faculty member of the Program for Organizational

Dynamics of the University of Pennsylvania; faculty member of the Business School
of Widener University, Philadelphia; and guest professor at the Universidad de
Chile, Santiago. In 2004, he won a research fellowship from the Japan Society for
the Promotion of Science. He is the author of numerous publications, including five
books. The last one is entitled High Performance Through Process Excellence—From
Strategy to Operations and was published in December 2008.

Dr. Kirchmer holds a Ph.D. degree in information systems from Saarbruecken

University (Germany), a master‟s degree in business administration and computer
science (“Wirtschaftsingenieur”) from Karlsruhe Technical University (Germany),
and a master‟s degree in economics from Paris-IX-Dauphine University (France).

Dennis Pikop
Dennis Pikop is Manager of process architecture at Northrop Grumman
Corporation, aerospace systems sector. His responsibilities include oversight,
administration, and deployment of the sector‟s business process architecture
framework and facilitation of its process management control board. He also serves
as project implementation lead for the adoption of a corporate-wide process
architecture framework. Key to this was his creation of a ruleset for
generation/revision of process framework elements in addition to a configuration
management process.

His experience with business process management is vast, extending back to the
early 1980s. He has served as executive mentor in related process and quality
principles through initiatives such as process re-engineering, value stream
management, quality assessment, measurement, lean manufacturing, and statistics.
He has facilitated several executive strategic process planning and teambuilding
conferences within industry, across most corporate elements, and has provided
similar support to numerous nonprofit organizations.

He views it as an honor to serve, coach, and mentor people in their quest for
process excellence—especially in the area of leadership. He works well within any
discipline internal or external to his industry.

Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor joined Nimbus in 2009 and is now vice president consulting, Americas,
where he is responsible for making Nimbus Control the enterprise standard for
meaningful business process management across their largest customers around the
world. Focusing on compliance and process frameworks to make governance,
deployment and end-user adoption the mantra at Nestlé, Cisco, Northrop
Grumman, and many others, he is a leading voice in methods and applications for


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unlocking the full value of BPM. He offers this expertise online at

His coming to Nimbus was strongly influenced by his years of experience delivering
transformational capabilities directly into the hands of business experts. With ILOG
(now IBM), Chris led consulting for the Americas in its mission to create powerful
business-facing rules, optimization, and visualization solutions for industries, which
include finance, manufacturing, transportation, and health care. His years spent
breaking through IT/business silos and liberating executives, managers, and end-
users to have direct control of their world paved the way for much of the
perspective he brought to Nimbus and his enthusiasm for next-generation solutions
that combine the concepts of automation, simplicity, and social media.

In his early career, Chris managed aircrew and flight operations while flying for the
U.S. Navy before transitioning to consulting roles with both Perot Systems and
Accenture. He is an avid skier, hiker and sailor and spends much of his off time
exploring the mountains and coasts near his home in Southern California and the
rest of the world.

John G. Tesmer
John joined APQC in March of 2006 from IBM‟s Business Consulting Services
(BCS). At IBM, John was responsible for managing custom software development
projects and for providing around-the-clock support for business-critical
benchmarking software in a globally distributed environment and with globally
distributed teams. Prior to IBM, John worked as a management consultant for
PricewaterhouseCoopers‟ Management Consulting Services in the energy and
utilities industry.

At APQC, John works with senior management to:

 manage the regular operations of APQC‟s Open Standards Benchmarking

business, including managing subcontractors, revenue and expense forecasting,
and personnel;
 re-engineer benchmarking systems, processes, and tools to reduce operational
expenses through more efficient operations;
 introduce new products and services in cooperation with respected leaders and
subject matter experts.

John also is responsible for the management and development of APQC‟s Process
Classification Framework, including the introduction of 10 industry-specific
frameworks in partnership with corporate sponsors such as IBM.


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Jeff Varney
Jeff Varney is a senior adviser for APQC‟s delivery services group. He is responsible
for the implementation of business process management and process improvement
projects, content management, custom benchmarking, performance measurement,
and performance improvement activities.

As the process improvement practice lead within APQC, Jeff coordinates research
and applied research projects for business process management and process
improvement (Lean, Six Sigma, etc.) spanning all industries and disciplines. Jeff is
also an instructor for many of APQC‟s training courses, including Process
Management, Building and Sustaining Communities of Practice, Strategies and
Tactics for Content management, and Applying Benchmarking Skills in Your

Jeff has extensive experience with enterprise projects across multiple industries,
including software development, banking, insurance, military, and space. In each
instance, he has been a catalyst for process improvement and innovation, leading
PMI certification efforts, driving SEI CMM and ISO 9001 adoption, driving Six
Sigma initiatives, establishing balanced scorecard reporting, and nurturing strong,
effective teams. He has achieved this through a blending of process, technology, and

Prior to joining APQC, Jeff worked with CSC as its banking PMO director,
establishing a project management office that merged three disparate cultures (due
to acquisitions) into a single, cohesive project management and reporting practice.
He also established and maintained several communities of practice and helped
create CSC‟s opportunity management approach, which resulted in a structured sales
process. He was an active member of the CSC project management steering
committee and led its best practices capture team.

Jeff has successfully participated in and led technology projects with CSC, Raytheon,
and McDonnell Douglas. These included custom call center solutions, military
command and control applications, and the International Space Station. With a
degree in aerospace engineering, Jeff has a strong technical background that
complements his experience in management, process improvement, and content


As APQC‟s membership grew along with global attention to best practices, it
became clear that there was no common language to describe organizational
processes. With dozens of ways to reference functions and processes, measurement
and benchmarking were impossible to do in a systematic fashion. APQC set out to
solve this problem and, in collaboration with expert and practitioner panels,
introduced the Process Classification FrameworkSM (PCF) in 1992.


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APQC‟s Process Classification Framework was originally envisioned as a taxonomy

of business processes and a common language through which APQC member
organizations could benchmark their processes. The initial design involved APQC
and more than 80 organizations with strong interest in advancing the use of
benchmarking in the United States and worldwide. Since its inception in 1992, the
PCF has seen updates to most of its content. These updates keep the framework
current with the ways that organizations do business around the world. In 2008,
APQC and IBM worked together to enhance the cross-industry PCF and to develop
a number of industry-specific process frameworks. In 2009, APQC worked with the
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) to update the PCF to
support the cross-mapping of CSCMP‟s process standards to the PCF.


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Chapter 1
Getting Started
Best practices in this chapter:

Accelerate: Accelerate improvement projects by applying process

frameworks in three key areas: benchmarking, content
management, and business process definition.

Locate: Adopt a framework or reference model at any level of the

organization; even localized implementations yield value.

Beginning any project at an organization requires dedication and commitment.

Frameworks adoption projects often require even more up-front effort than other
projects to address issues of location within the organization, centralization and
governance, and tool usage. Making smart decisions at the beginning of a
frameworks project can reduce rework, broaden cultural acceptance, and speed the
adoption of the framework, both within and outside of the framework‟s initial

Successful process framework adoption allows organizations to accomplish real

work more efficiently than organizations that haven‟t adopted process frameworks
or reference models. Many of the best-practice partners remember a time before the
adoption of their framework where employees struggled to find job aids, managers
were unclear how their work related to other parts of the organization, and
performance comparison across organizations was too costly to consider. Once the
framework was adopted and later adapted to fit the needs and goals of the business,
these issues diminished.

Accelerate improvement projects by applying process frameworks in three
key areas: benchmarking, content management, and business process
As a part of the research into using process frameworks, APQC surveyed a number
of organizations about how they use these frameworks (Figure 1).


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Findings from APQC’s 2010 Frameworks Survey

What Business Issue or Need Led Your Entity to

Investigate Using a Process Framework?
(Select all that apply.)
Data Table Findings:
Answer Distribution  The three main
Performance management and metrics 61% process framework
Definition of key processes requiring cross-
uses are:
functional owners
45% benchmarking,
Content management system/knowledge business process
management management, and
Reorganization/reengineering project, merger,
divestiture, etc. management.
Enterprise process taxonomy—basis for
enterprise operations (i.e., embedded in 25%
 Twenty-five
enterprise-wide technology and/or tools) percent of
Compliance with an external standard (e.g., respondents use
17% frameworks in
Accounting—management accounting system
or activity-based costing approach  Only 17 percent
Not using a framework 12% use it due to a
Other 20% compliance event.

Figure 1

APQC identified a number of popular uses of frameworks, which we grouped into

three main categories: benchmarking, content management, and business process
definition. More than 60 percent of respondents use frameworks to guide
“performance management and metrics,” which is essentially benchmarking. Clearly,
process frameworks can effectively support such efforts. Two core components of
business process definition—“definition of key processes requiring cross-functional
owners” and “reorganization/re-engineering project, merger, divestiture, etc.”—are
also commonly used, at 45 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Rounding out the
main uses for frameworks is content management, at 30 percent.

The diversity of these uses is the reason that frameworks and reference models have
developed and evolved over time. Modern frameworks and reference models
include not only simple functional compositions but also valuable content, such as
chains of cross-functional processes organized into value streams, key performance
indicators/associated benchmarking data, and in some cases, best practices related


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to functional compositions and top performance. One example is Supply Chain

Council‟s SCOR framework, which includes all of these features.

Overlaps Define Business Process Management

Content Benchmarking

Business Process

Figure 2

As shown in Figure 2, overlaps occur in the main uses of frameworks within an

organization. The term “business process management” (BPM) typically captures
the majority of these overlaps. Although this term can be associated with various
concepts, for the purposes of this study, it conveys the overlap among business
process definition, content management, and benchmarking.

Consider the content management and business process definition uses. In an

organization that uses a process framework to define how work is done, that same
framework can easily becomes a mechanism for managing content related to the
work. An organization can, however, manage content without also using the
framework to manage the definition of the business processes. Williams Exploration
and Petroleum, a subdivision of the Williams Companies, is an example of this: Its
content related to Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance is organized according to a
process framework that is not used to define business processes. The extent of
overlapping usage depends on the organization.


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Frameworks used for other purposes can also be leveraged to facilitate

benchmarking. Organizations using a framework to define business processes are
generally able to use that same framework to measure the execution of these
processes. Once the measurements exist based upon a common framework, it
becomes simpler to benchmark internally or externally with organizations using
similar frameworks.

The most effective organizations are those that leverage a process framework for all
three uses: benchmarking, business process definition, and content management.
The ability to clearly and efficiently understand what work is done by identifying
processes and functions (business process definition), how it is done (organizing
content using the framework or reference model as a taxonomy), and how
effectively it is being done (benchmarking) is a clear competitive advantage.

To put it simply, a process framework allows tasks to be grouped into standardized
buckets of activity that can then be objectively compared. Developing this common
language typically consumes a large portion of an organization‟s time. A process
framework or reference model accelerates this process and increases the speed and
depth at which an organization can study internal and external practices and

Benchmarking in this sense includes not just the benchmarking activities occurring
between organizations but also process measurement and performance management
that occurs within an organization. Accurate external benchmarking can be resource
intensive, mainly due to the costs associated with creating common definitions upon
which all partners can agree. Without common definitions, internal benchmarking is
also a costly exercise. The cost is even greater when more than one organization is
involved. A process framework accelerates benchmarking activities by reducing the
effort required to define a common language.

Consider an example where five organizations wish to compare the performance of

their processes and capabilities (Figure 3). In a world without a common framework
or reference model, each organization must map its processes to its four partners‟
processes. Assuming perfect sharing of information, a minimum of 10 distinct
mapping transactions are required to ensure that each partner can accurately map its
process to the other benchmarking partners‟.


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Process Mapping When Benchmarking With and Without a Framework

With Framework (5 mappings) Without Framework (10 mappings)




Figure 3

Incorporating a process framework or reference model in support of benchmarking

reduces the number of mapping transactions from 10 to five. Furthermore, as
benchmarking partners are added or removed from the exercise, additional mapping
is required only for the new entrants. The framework becomes the common
language through which all benchmarking participants compare their performance.

As shown in Figure 4, Cisco uses APQC‟s PCF to simplify the translation process
and facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, both in one-on-one
and group benchmarking projects. Cisco provides a unique example of how it
adopted a standard process framework and realized benefits throughout the entire
enterprise. The use of a standard framework created enormous value by enabling
Cisco to compare its internal processes with other organizations without mapping
its internal processes to each benchmarking partner. Working with a standard
language allowed Cisco to communicate with other organizations about how they
handle certain processes Cisco wanted to improve.


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How Cisco Uses APQC’s PCF for Benchmarking

Figure 4

ING Life Japan‟s creation and adoption of its Management Operating Methodology
demonstrates how a framework enables internal benchmarking. INGLJ‟s
methodology is completely driven by measures associated with the process
framework (see Figure 5). Each morning, management representing key processes as
defined by the framework meets to discuss the day‟s workload and ensure proper
resource allocation. Central to this workload balancing activity is INGLJ‟s process
framework. The framework enables consistent definition of the items being
measured and therefore enables the regular workload balancing meetings.

One of the key components of success across all the partner organizations that have
focused on integrating their framework with other core functions is the use of
quality and performance measures throughout all processes included in the
framework. Measurement is not solely focused on outcomes but includes in-process
measures that provide data about how the process itself is working. Liam Ward,
business transformation manager at ING Life Japan, made this point clear: “We
could map, design, and create new processes, but if we didn‟t understand the impact
[on outcomes], it is difficult to justify the costs associated with the change.”
Typically, the activity of measuring performance is a separate function located in


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Quality or Performance Management departments, but at INGLJ, it has become an

integral part of the process framework system. This type of integration provides
real-time data about process results that can be used to adjust workflow and to
forecast, with reasonable accuracy, what the results and value will be.

ING Life Japan’s Daily Schedule

Figure 5

Another benefit of integrating performance and process management is that

performance data (both qualitative and quantitative) gathered during quality control
activities can be used to find quick wins for process improvement initiatives. These
can be either minor adjustments, completed with relatively no cost, or more
involved adjustments that can be replicated across multiple processes and thus
realize huge benefits based solely on the sheer number of impacted processes.
Understanding how these measurements affect processes helps managers to
understand potential cost-benefit ratios for improvement efforts.

Content Management
Content management encompasses the processes and technologies that support the
collection, management, and publishing of information in any form or medium. As


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seen in the Venn diagram in Figure 2, content management can have significant
overlap with other uses of frameworks within an organization.

Organizations with significant overlap between the definition of business processes

and content management typically have specific tools built to manage process
content—be they SharePoint document libraries, Lotus Notes databases, or even
formal BPM tools that include document management functionality.

Organizations in which content management processes do not significantly overlap

process definition or benchmarking processes still typically use a framework to
structure content so it can be easily accessed. In many cases, organizations are not
using comprehensive packaged content management solutions, but rather
homegrown tools built on available technology. This tends to be the case regardless
of whether the business uses the content management framework to define work
processes or not. Process frameworks still offer value, even when business processes
and business process content are defined and organized separately. As long as a
framework is used for one or the other, a simple map is usually sufficient to relate
content to existing business processes.

By 2003, Williams needed to quickly demonstrate compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley

regulations. When initially planning a solution to this problem, Williams discovered
inconsistent internal language to describe work done within the organization. Rather
than attempt to build a model from the existing business unit input, Williams
adopted APQC‟s Process Classification Framework (PCF) and mapped existing
enterprise content and processes to the hierarchical structure of the PCF. Within a
year, Williams had completely adopted the PCF to document all compliance-related
processes. With the foundation of the PCF in place, Williams Exploration and
Production (E&P) was able to use the framework as the basis for projects to realign
their entire organization around a process-focused mentality. Williams E&P began
moving beyond simple “content management” use to a more holistic “business
process management” use, integrating both content management and business
process definition. This evolution is shown in Figure 6.


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Williams E&P Process Management History

Figure 6

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA also used a process framework to organize its enterprise
content, process flows, and models. This organization differed from Williams,
though, in that it originally intended to use the adopted framework in all three areas,
not just for content management. In other words, the actual work processes were
defined to match the framework from the beginning, rather than back-fitted and
mapped into the existing organizational structure.

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA (TK) manages four levels of content against its adopted
process framework, as shown in Figure 7. For each process defined against the
framework, these four levels of documentation exist and are managed by their tool.
These four levels cover a variety of detail, from the overall “why,” to the supporting
“what,” and ultimately “how.” Supporting documentation that helps employees get
real work done.


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ThyssenKrupp Steel USA Levels of Documentation

Figure 7

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA is able to manage these various levels of documentation

using a business process management tool that allows the documents to be not only
stored but also managed through their entire life cycle, including content reviews
and checkpoints. At the center of this model is the process owner.

As with benchmarking, content management is enabled and accelerated when it is

based on a process framework.

Business Process Definition

For the purposes of this study, business process definition incorporates two distinct

 using a process framework to define cross-functional processes, and

 using a process framework to create or define existing processes within


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All of the partners in the study except Cisco used the framework for business
process definition activities (Figure 8).

Definition-related Activities that Incorporate a Framework

Best-Practice Partner Definition-related Activities Location

Cisco Not used for definition N/A
ING Life Japan Redefine business processes within functions Departmental
Pitney Bowes Define cross-functional processes Division
Sandvik Define cross-functional processes (capabilities) Enterprise

Redefine business processes within functions

ThyssenKrupp Enterprise
Define cross-functional processes
Redefine business processes within functions
UPS Enterprise
Define cross-functional processes
Williams E&P Define cross-functional processes Division

Figure 8

The two main approaches to business process definition using the framework—
redefine business processes within functions and define cross-functional
processes—are vastly different in their implementation. As one best-practice partner
described it, defining cross-functional processes is like “building tunnels through
silos.” Organizations try to look at their businesses from a new perspective—
horizontally—and need a common language to define and relate daily functional
work to specific processes and individuals. Again, each partner had its own
approach to doing so, but ultimately, a few core practices stood out:

 centralize ownership regardless of adoption location within the organization,

 adopt a framework before adapting it, and
 use tools after building a solid foundation of process expertise and capability.

These practices are explored in detail in chapters 2 and 3 of this report.

Redefinition requires a different approach, which often includes a larger vision of

transformation above and beyond definition. Redefinition activities using the
process framework result in a new organizational structure built around the process
framework, typically with complete adoption of the three main uses (content
management, benchmarking, and business process definition).


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Realizing Value
Leveraging a framework for more than one use (i.e., overlapping framework usage
as illustrated in Figure 2) drives greater value and benefits for an organization. Each
time the framework is reused, it multiplies the value of the process framework
adoption as a whole. Organizations using a process framework or reference model
for just one of the three main uses realize value. Williams did with its single-use
implementation for SOX compliance. Pitney Bowes did with its use for business
process definition. And Cisco did for benchmarking. However, in cases where
organizations employ a framework for more than one use, breakthrough value can
reasonably be expected.

Consider the situation at ThyssenKrupp: The organization uses a framework for

both business process definition and content management. Because process-related
content coincides with the appropriate process definitions, employees better
understand how to do their work, manage their processes, and store/share content.
The entire organization has an improved knowledge of where work and
documentation is located.

Because Williams found sufficient value at the enterprise level with using a
framework solely for content management, the Williams E&P division adopted the
same framework as the basis for its division-specific process definition work. Again,
this reuse of the framework not only accelerated the business process definition
work being done at Williams E&P, but it also brought the E&P organization closer
to the core corporate organization and reduced friction and confusion when dealing
with content or process definitions.

Framework adoption also links employee and customer values to the work being
done. Connecting customer feedback and characteristics to a business framework
ensures that work processes are providing outputs that customers desire. It also
highlights the activities that directly translate into a positive or negative customer
experience, allowing the organization to know exactly which processes to measure
or change to increase customer satisfaction.

Using a framework to link employees to the business (through feedback, work

definitions, or training) significantly enhances employee engagement. By increasing
consistency in the way work is performed and reducing rework, standard
frameworks reduce employee frustration. Also, when employees participate in the
management of the framework or execute work defined by the framework, they feel
more connected to the organization and know that they have a say in how business
is performed.

Employee Values at ING Life Japan

At INGLJ, aligning the framework with employee values was not simple or intuitive,
but in the end it proved to be one of the defining elements of the overall success of
the framework implementation. Much of the difficulty stemmed from the fact that
adoption of a framework and its associated processes often involves some degree of


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fighting against the existing cultural inertia—the mentality that the status quo is okay
and no change is really needed. A change-resistant culture hinders the opportunities
for value to be created by the framework, simply because the people doing the work
every day are not actively engaged. The critical factor, then, is creating a meaningful
link between employee work values and the framework.

During INGLJ‟s framework implementation, cultural resistance lessened after a few

months as performance improved and frontline employees saw their day-to-day
workloads decrease (an important employee value). The staff became much more
engaged, and the culture began to shift, as people discovered how much INGLJ‟s
process framework system improved work-life factors (see INGLJ‟s case study for

Engaging and Recognizing Employees at Pitney Bowes

At Pitney Bowes, the team responsible for the framework has learned that engaging
employees in the framework itself should be coupled with recognizing and
celebrating victories, no matter how big or small. Global process leaders send
messages to their department when one of their global process owners completes a
framework implementation task. This helps build awareness throughout the
organization about the value created by utilizing the framework. In turn, these
messages reduced the need to convince employees to participate in framework-
related projects. Because employees had seen past successes, they already had a
strong inclination to join the effort.

Pitney Bowes has also recognized that since the team began regularly recognizing
and celebrating successes, team members are more dedicated and less prone to give
passive-aggressive feedback.

Customer Values at UPS

Customer relationship management and product management, two of UPS‟ core
processes, are a main source of structured inputs into continuous improvement
activities. Every interaction with a customer results in feedback—feedback that tells
UPS what it is doing but not doing well, or what products it should be offering.
Many of the requirements for new product development ultimately come from the
organization‟s customer relationship management area. Customer feedback ideas
arrive continually and embraced as part of the culture at UPS. Employees are
empowered to be “constructively dissatisfied.”

Adopt a framework or reference model at any level of the organization; even
localized implementations yield value.
Throughout conversations with the partner organizations, it quickly became
apparent that framework adoption success is not contingent upon the entire


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organization participating or even supporting the work. More value can be realized
by applying a framework to the largest number of processes, but wide-scale
adoption comes at a cost. This leads to a recurring theme that was expressed by
every partner organization: The most critical element to success is simply getting
started on a framework project—no matter how small, how many people are
involved, or where within the organization the work begins. The study did not
identify any particular correlation between the location of the adoption within the
organization and the particular use (benchmarking, content management, or
business process definition) associated with the adoption.

Enterprise-wide Adoption
UPS defined a framework consisting of four core and five supporting processes
crossing through the various functions within the organization, such as accounts
payable, and human resources (Figure 9). The trigger for UPS‟ creation and
adoption of the process framework was the identification of a performance issue in
its main line of business. Since the entire enterprise was affected by the changes in
its marketplace, UPS needed to locate the adoption of the framework as high up in
the organization as possible. UPS defined a set of core processes and set about
attempting to re-engineer the organization to match its structure.

As in many re-engineering projects, UPS found that trying to completely re-engineer

the organization to match this structure cost too much in terms of the change
required. After reevaluating the situation, the program management group
determined that a strict reorganization would not be feasible. To ultimately effect
the changes required to solve the organization‟s performance problem, the program
management group determined that an overlayment strategy would be more
successful. They then effectively layered the framework atop existing functions.


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UPS’ Core Processes

Figure 9

UPS‟ framework adoption led to tangible benefits: a reduction in complexity and a

common, clear, and consistent way to discuss the business and the impact of
strategy on how work is performed within the organization. The cost of applying
this framework across the entire UPS organization is substantial, but makes sense
relative to the scale of the adoption. UPS employs 25 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in
its program management group to manage and maintain its process framework. This
is a relatively small proportion of its work force.

Division-level Adoption
Compare UPS‟ adoption to that of Williams E&P, which adopted APQC‟s PCF
within the division after its parent organization used the PCF to organize enterprise-
wide financial content for SOX compliance.


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Williams’ High-Level Process Framework

Figure 10

As shown in Figure 10, Williams E&P has identified not only its own high-level
processes, but also processes that are managed outside of the scope of Williams
E&P, at the higher Williams Companies level. Even though the parent company
does not yet use the PCF for all processes identified in the E&P process framework,
the relationship between the two entities can be clearly identified. This is another
benefit of framework adoption: the clear allocation of process ownership.

While the UPS and Williams E&P models are similar in structure, the scope is
entirely different. The core processes identified in the Williams example are specific
to its exploration and production capabilities, while the core processes in the UPS
example span the entire enterprise, not just one specific division. Both
organizations, however, used a process framework to define business processes.

Like UPS, the approximately seven FTEs that manage and maintain the Williams
E&P framework are a relatively small contingent of the entire work force. The
scope and number of processes each organization identified is similar—UPS has
five core processes, while Williams has four core processes. UPS has five supporting
processes; Williams defined eight enabling processes. Both organizations want to
manage their business horizontally. But Williams is focused on one division, and


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UPS‟ vision is enterprise-wide. Williams‟ seven FTEs ultimately manage the same
general volume of processes, but for a much narrower organizational scope.

Even though UPS and Williams adopted frameworks at different locations within
the organization, both organizations built centralized structures to manage and
maintain their frameworks. UPS had the program management group, centrally
located at the enterprise level and reporting to the vice president of strategy.
Williams had the E&P Process Group, which reports to the vice president of
commercial operations and gas management. These two groups represent another
of the best practices identified in this study—that centralizing the ownership and
management of the framework is essential to its success.

Adoption of the process framework at other partner organizations followed a

pattern similar to that of Williams and UPS: Although the adoption could occur at
the departmental, divisional, or enterprise-wide level, the corresponding support
structures were centralized within the area of adoption.

1. Which use of a framework is most relevant to the needs of your organization?

2. Which location could benefit the most from framework adoption?

3. Can your organization use the framework in more than one area or for more
than one purpose?


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Research Champion Perspective

The first best practice described in this chapter—Accelerate—fits broadly with our
experience, although the real world is rarely this straightforward. Our clients who
use process frameworks see them as an accelerator, a way to hit the ground running.
At its best, a framework might be an 80 percent fit with their business reality; at the
very least, it is a useful checklist and common vocabulary for operations and

Organizations often need to adopt multiple frameworks—for example, blending

APQC‟s PCF with ITIL, SCOR, or the Nimbus HR Accelerator—because different
frameworks address different areas of need more appropriately or to a deeper level
of detail.

Even mash-ups of multiple frameworks aren‟t usually enough in themselves to get real
work done. A process framework only delivers its real potential when all
stakeholders embrace it. And to achieve that, the framework must be customized to
the operational realities of the business. UPS‟ experience matches our clients‟
experience: that enterprise-wide adoption, facilitated by tooling that makes access
and feedback both easy and robust, makes continuous improvement easier and
more effective. Specifically, UPS manages the work of over 400,000 employees
through a custom framework that directly groups their operational reality under the
strategic goals and metrics that drive the enterprise.

The second best practice described—Locate—also fits with our experience. In

reality, few organizations set out on day one of a process improvement program
with intention of fixing the whole organization. Rather, they focus on a specific
high-priority area. That said, an enterprise-wide framework offers huge value as a
starting point, even if the initial area of focus is only a single department or process.
Establishing an enterprise process framework as early as possible in the process
improvement voyage provides a map that links individual process improvement
initiatives together, improves cross-functional alignment, and lessens the risk of
different initiatives working in silos.

The benefits this approach provides are illustrated at UPS and ThyssenKrupp,
which both started with, or rapidly adopted, an enterprise-wide mindset. They
understood the high value of collaboration across functional areas to break down
silos and also recognized that compliance is an enterprise-wide endeavor. They
wanted a single, joined-up view of their business.


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This fits with our experience in another way: Organizations may start with one of
the three use cases described here, but they rapidly progress to a search for a single
architecture. They may start out with a content management problem or a
benchmarking challenge, but they invariably move on to search for a holistic way of
describing the enterprise and collaborating on performance improvement. That
search leads them to business process management and to the understanding that
end-to-end process management provides the best universal foundation to
help people get real work done and enable enterprise-wide collaboration on
continuous improvement and strategy.


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Chapter 2
Adoption, Governance, and
Best practices in this chapter:

Centralize: Centralize ownership and protect the integrity of the

adopted frameworks to ensure one version of the truth.

Adopt: Adopt a framework before adapting it.

Centralized governance structures, processes, and toolkits make long-term benefits

through framework adoption possible. Centralized governance of the framework
does not imply that the processes defined by the framework, the content managed
by the framework, or the benchmarking capabilities enabled by the framework are
all centralized. On the contrary; the centralization of the framework‟s maintenance
and management enables the distribution of the ownership for those adopted

Managing an adopted framework without centralized oversight can prove costly, as

it is difficult to change the framework to reflect changes in the way business is
performed. This chapter provides an overview of two main best practices: centralize
ownership of the framework and adopt before adapt.

Centralize ownership and protect the integrity of the adopted frameworks to
ensure one version of the truth.
No matter where the framework is deployed within the organization or how it is
used (for benchmarking, content management, or process definition), centralized
ownership and management of the adopted framework is essential. Governance
structures should coordinate with the culture of the organization to ensure the
maximum utility of the framework while maintaining a baseline set of controls to
ensure consistency. This baseline set of controls and governance can be combined
in a single management system.

“System” is the best way to describe how many of the partner organizations manage
their adopted frameworks to maximize long-term value. A process framework


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management system creates an explicit link between a set of independent but

interrelated functions to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Not
only did the partner organizations realize benefits after implementation, but their
framework management systems became almost self-perpetuating. One of the
outputs from the use of a process framework within an organization is a continual
stream of data that can be used to identify even more opportunities for value to be
created within the framework.

Two main practices are associated with successful centralized framework

management systems:

1. build a center of excellence; and

2. develop clear standards for process maps, documentation, and implementation

Build a Center of Excellence

A process frameworks center of excellence (CoE) is a team of individuals focused
on maintaining and managing the adopted process framework to maximize its long-
term value and utility. The center of excellence should not be responsible for
actually managing the content of the framework; that is best left to business owners
with relevant subject matter expertise. The center of excellence should support each
of the uses for which the framework is adopted. The center of excellence manages
the framework and its various applications/uses, and the process/business owners
and other employees perform the work within the framework.

All of the center of excellence team activities should be based on adopted industry
best practices in managing process frameworks and centers of excellence. In many
cases, a center of excellence for managing the process framework may actually just
be a portion of a larger BPM center of excellence. The decision to collocate the
framework‟s center of excellence within the BPM center of excellence is generally
related to the uses for the framework within the organization. Organizations using
the framework in more than one area should push the overall framework ownership
and maintenance to a single group for all uses.

The configuration of a center of excellence does not depend on the location of the
framework‟s adoption (one is needed wherever the framework is adopted) or the
type of adoption (overlayment or re-engineering). When building a center of
excellence, a good rule of thumb is to create the center of excellence in the area of
the organization driving the adoption of the framework. If multiple frameworks are
adopted within an organization (i.e., one in finance and another in supply chain), or
if each division of an organization has its own process framework, then there should
be a center of excellence for each instance of a framework. An organization with a
number of centers of excellence (corresponding to a number of frameworks) will
realize benefit from coordinating this federation of centers of excellence to ensure
consistent behavior. If multiple areas adopt a single framework, however, one center
of excellence will best coordinate efforts.


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A center of excellence should be sized based on its function and location within the
organization rather than the scope of the processes under its management. Consider
the Williams E&P example: Williams adopted its process framework for process
definition use at the division level and manages its entire framework of 12 process
categories with only seven FTEs. Those FTEs are not expected to train individual
Williams‟ employees on the process modeling and process mapping activities, so
their involvement is relatively less than that of UPS‟ center of excellence team
members. UPS‟ adopted framework of nine process categories is managed with
nearly 25 FTEs, but those FTEs perform more activities and actively train other
UPS employees (Figure 11).

Williams E&P and UPS Framework Adoption Comparison

Williams UPS

Scope of adoption Division Enterprise

Number of FTEs in CoE 7 25
Number of employees in Approximately
Approximately 400,000
organization 5,000
Types of services offered Process documentation
aligned with the
framework aligned with the

Figure 11

The Williams E&P Process Group is made up of three analysts, one technical writer,
two support staff members, and one rotational analyst. The analysts are assigned to
a specific function or process group. This creates a center of excellence for a
particular process. The CoE is responsible for the maintenance of the adopted
framework, but the ownership of the process and related content is delegated to a
specific process owner.

Maintaining the framework and the value it creates is not an easy endeavor for UPS.
It requires a significant resource investment in:

 process management and

 the associated program and project management activities that actually
implement change.

Linking these two management activities creates a synergy between the work that
gets done every day and the process framework itself. This integration is achieved


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through twin centers of excellence (Figure 12). These two CoEs are responsible for
supporting the staff engaged in all program and process management activities
throughout the entire organization. Staff members are exposed to the fundamentals
of each management discipline through internal and external training and toolsets.
In both the functional and cross-functional areas, the CoEs provide support to
teams working on projects.

UPS’ Twin Framework Centers of Excellence

Figure 12

Since their inception, the CoEs have contributed tremendous value to UPS. Project
management costs have decreased by roughly 40 percent and delivery-to-planned-
scope increased from 20 to 50 percent. The program management group believes
that with continued refinement and training, the organization can derive additional
value from the framework.


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Early in the implementation stage of its process framework, ING Life Japan realized
that the greatest opportunity for creating value was by integrating several key
management components that had been historically separate. INGLJ‟s Transformer
Program was developed to formally tie these components into a framework
management system that provides governance, continuous improvement, and
quality assurance to the organization that has adopted the framework. INGLJ‟s
Transformer Program effectively became its center of excellence (Figure 13).

ING Life Japan’s Transformer Program Relationships

Figure 13

Two unique aspects of INGLJ‟s program are key to the value the organization has
been able to create: (1) linking work to the process framework and (2) engaging
people in the program.

Linking work that is done “in the trenches” with the overall process framework
gives the entire organization a daily view of how the business is running and what
needs to be improved to gain the most benefit. Managing this feedback effectively is
the responsibility of the Transformer Program members.

Second, the Transformer Program‟s success depends heavily on the level of

engagement people have throughout the process. To facilitate this, INGLJ provides
numerous opportunities for staff members, from all levels within the organization,
to be involved in key decision making activities. This directly links staff, and their
own work values, to the process framework by involving them in overall
management and governance. The Transformer Program, acting as a center of
excellence, enables this staff engagement.


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Williams, INGLJ, and UPS all provide strong examples of how a center of
excellence can drive framework-based improvement and quality. As an organization
becomes more process focused, it must listen to feedback about processes, set
priorities, and learn where to make changes or enhance communication and training.

Process Maps, Documentation, and Implementation Guidance

Clear, concise, and consistent documentation of the adopted framework and the
tools used to maintain and support it keeps all process framework stakeholders
focused on what is important: the actual work defined by the process framework.
Beyond the information about the framework, documents and templates about
processes defined in the framework must be standardized, clear, and consistent. All
best-practice partners in the frameworks study developed clear standards for
documenting processes identified in the framework, defined core work product
types, and made models and templates.

UPS developed clear guidelines for creating process maps. Its rules are enforced
with all process owners throughout the organization. All process maps are written
from left to right with at least 70 percent of the steps written on the horizontal path,
representing the process under normal conditions. All exceptions to the typical
process are written as vertical tangents, moving downward from the main left-to-
right process flow (Figure 14). The vertical tangents or exceptions to the process
should not represent more than 30 percent of the process map.

UPS Standards for Leveling Work Force

Activities to Tasks:



UPS – Program Management Group – Process Center of Excellence

UPS Confidential and Proprietary Information 28
Do Not Copy or Distribute

Figure 14


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Not only did UPS define standards for left-to-right flows, but it also went a step
further and defined a standard for how processes should be modeled, using specific
features of its modeling tool (Figure 15). Because process framework responsibilities
are split between UPS‟ program management group (which handles the core
maintenance of the process framework) and individual process owners (who
perform much of the actual framework implementation work), a standard reference
is essential. Having a single point of reference lessens the need for constant back-
and-forth between program management and process owners, reducing rework and
cycle time. The standard reference also enables speedier training of new resources.

UPS Process Modeling Tool Standard

Figure 15

Williams E&P requires that its framework have a consistently documented and
common set of information about the processes it includes. The division‟s
knowledge repository brings together goals, policies, procedures, process maps,
process measures, service level agreements (SLAs), informational team updates, and
tools in a single location (Figure 16). Without a consistent definition for these types
of content, the content for each process would be unorganized and difficult to sift


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Williams E&P Knowledge Repository

Figure 16

Pitney Bowes also adopted common templates, tools, and document types in its
center of excellence. Its framework focuses on three core types of documents:
policies, process flow diagrams, and training. The Global Process Management team
facilitates the work with the process owners, answering questions and providing
guidance as necessary. Material is never taken straight from documentation and
dropped into the adopted enterprise process framework (EPF); it is first reviewed
and modified as needed to ensure it fits with the rest of the EPF.

Pitney Bowes‟ Global Process Management team also developed relationship grids
and key performance indicators (KPIs) at the functional level. Within a particular
process, the team developed a relationship grid identifying the interdependencies
among the various functional members of the team. For each function within the
process, the team reviews any KPIs that may already exist and develops new ones as

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA consolidates content management and process definition

within its tool, Nimbus Control (Figure 17). The tool allows consistent management
of the documents, including version control and document storage features, all
integrated with the processes defined according to the adopted framework.


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ThyssenKrupp Steel USA’s Document Management within Nimbus Control

Figure 17

Creating and managing these various tools from a central location helped the best-
practice partners minimize the amount of time spent managing the process
framework—allowing the organizations to ultimately get more real work done
instead of spending needless time ironing out the framework and process

Adopt a framework before adapting it.
At first, adopting the framework before adapting it sounds like one of the most
counterintuitive findings in the study. The idea that an organization should blindly
bring in a foreign framework of processes and begin benchmarking, managing
content, or defining processes is troubling and, in some cases, seems impossible.
However, the best-practice organizations‟ experience validates this approach.


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The scope of the initial adoption should be reasonable and attainable. The larger the
impact of the adoption, the more difficult it is to coordinate and fully implement. If
an organization plans to adopt a framework across the entire enterprise, the work
required may seem unreasonable. Even if the end goal is to implement a framework
enterprise-wide, it may be wiser to limit the initial scope to a single process. A
smaller breadth of implementation makes the decision to adopt a framework seem
more reasonable.

The scope should also be determined by reviewing the proposed use of the adopted
framework. If the use is benchmarking and is limited to a specific process, then the
effort required for adoption is less significant than if an organization decided to roll
out the framework to the entire organization for use in content management,
benchmarking, and process definition. Even if the use is solely process definition
across the enterprise, the implementation team should take time to decide how
many resources and how much effort will be required for that implementation. The
scope may need to be reduced to a single process or unit to gain more initial

When adopting a process framework, an organization must consider scope, use, and
the location of centralization. Understanding exactly which part of the organization
will be affected (i.e., the extent or scope), what the framework will be used for, and
how that adopted framework will be managed are all essential components to
understand before attempting to perform the implementation. Adoption plans can
be made once the team fully determines the scope, use, and governance aspects of
the implementation.

APQC has identified two different types of adoption plans:

1. Overlayment—applying the process framework atop existing organizational

structures and functions with a mapping layer between
2. Reengineering—moving the organization to the target framework by replacing
the existing organizational structures and functions with those specified in the

Overlayment is a relatively simple mechanism to bring a process framework into an

organization without significant changes to the underlying organizational structure.
Overlayment adoption plans work best used when an implementation has a large
scope, and where re-engineering would result in incredibly significant changes to the
organization‟s structure. In this case, change management for re-engineering would
be so immense that overlayment is the better choice. Overlayment is well suited to
content management and benchmarking implementations. Overlayment of a process
framework for process definition purposes can lead to confusion but may
successfully be used as an interim step to achieve cultural acceptance for
re-engineering of existing processes.

UPS and Williams E&P used an overlayment adoption approach. Fundamentally

changing UPS‟ four core and five supporting processes would ultimately require too


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great a change for the employees of UPS to adopt immediately. Rather than lose the
projected benefits of adopting the new process framework, the UPS program
management group decided to map the existing enterprise processes to the newly
defined framework. This mapping became the “glue” that allowed UPS to overlay
the new framework atop the existing UPS organization without applying the then-
significant changes to the organization. Through the mapping, employees could
begin to see their roles relative to the new framework and how exactly they would
participate in getting real work done, without having to give up their existing roles,
tenure, and expertise. The overlayment also puts the organization in a better
position to fully re-engineer its structure in the future.

Similarly, Williams (the larger Williams Companies, not the Exploration and
Production division) used the overlayment technique when it first adopted the PCF
as a mechanism to organize SOX compliance content. It was unnecessary to
reorganize the business around the SOX compliance activities to demonstrate
compliance. All that was ultimately required was the adoption of the framework and
a consistent mapping between existing enterprise processes and the newly adopted

The cost associated with an overlayment is calculated based on the time and
resources required to develop and maintain the mapping between the adopted
process framework and the existing organization. This cost is difficult to quantify,
but most best-practice organizations relate it to the cost of operating the
framework‟s center of excellence, since the center of excellence should work closely
with process owners to manage the mapping to existing organizational processes.
One way to avoid high ongoing costs is to re-engineer the organization to match the
adopted framework. However, the decision to reorganize is not without cost either.

Re-engineering is closely related to the “don‟t automate, obliterate” philosophy. It

requires a sometimes massive amount of change and potentially causes disruptions
to work. Implementation plans should account for these shifts and for the resources
necessary to manage the change throughout the work force.

ING Life Japan used a re-engineering approach to adopt its framework and also
chose not to make changes to the framework before implementing it. After
investigating the alternatives, Liam Ward, business transformation manager for ING
Life Japan, determined that adapting the framework would reduce or eliminate the
benefits of adopting the process framework. The adaptation would move the
company further away from the best practice models and expertise other
organizations had already contributed to the framework.

With strong central leadership, INGLJ was able to completely adopt the process
framework without significant prior adaptation. At the beginning of the
implementation, some middle and line managers resisted this approach. Over
subsequent months, however, the resistance waned as performance results improved
and frontline employees began to find their day-to-day workloads decreasing.


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Ultimately, less than 10 percent of the adopted framework was changed through

The main cost associated with full re-engineering is change management. Like any
transformational project, the success of INGLJ‟s Transformer Program hinged on
the engagement of the organization‟s people. In particular, INGLJ focused on
getting input from employees at all levels when making important decisions. Other
potential re-engineering costs include lost productivity until all stakeholders
understand the new structure and any actual downtime or delays required for

Strong communication is essential to facilitate re-engineering activities. ING Life

Japan realized that it was important to use different ways in which to communicate
with all employees. To ensure the appropriate level of engagement in the
implementation of the Transformer Program, Liam Ward created a number of
vehicles for communication:

 Transformer action teams (groups dispersed throughout the organization to

gather feedback and give support),
 Transformer Times (a quarterly newsletter), and
 the Transformer communications plan (a series of visual aids, like posters and
leaflets, used in COO communications to the organization).

UPS also identified consistent communication as a key method for reducing the cost
of framework adoption and change management activities. When rolling out its
initial framework, the program management group created a variety of vehicles to
communicate the changes, from screen savers to posters in break rooms and

Another solid, but sometimes confusing, approach to framework implementation is

a combination of overlayment and re-engineering. These projects may be multi-
phased, with overlayment coming first, leading gradually to full reegineering.
Organizations may choose overlayment in certain areas of the business but fully re-
engineer others. If re-engineering is the goal, but the effort and resource
commitment is too intensive to proceed, a combination approach may be the best

After a framework is chosen and adopted in the business, the next step is to adapt
the framework to fit the business‟s needs and ultimately integrate the framework
into employees‟ everyday work. The framework should ultimately give employees a
better of understanding of their role in the business, above and beyond the core
uses identified in the frameworks project.


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Avoid Premature Optimization

Organizations naturally progress from adopting a framework to adapting it to the
specifics of the business, but performing this adaptation too quickly can lead to later
rework, a lesson commonly cited by the best-practice partners. The partners learned
to avoid premature optimization by taking small, calculated steps in the adaptation

For example, UPS learned that process changes that span functions or business
units generally provide the most benefit but are the hardest to execute. The
organization recommends breaking up these efforts into manageable pieces. Linda
McCain of UPS suggests that organizations start framework implementations in an
individual function, but then have a plan to evolve.

The Williams Companies had a similar approach in that it documented only the
processes that were required under the SOX act and then addressed new processes
as business needs arose. INGLJ recognized that about 96 percent of the annual
transactional volume within its paying out and paying in process categories came from
only 34 percent of the 132 transactional processes it had identified. Ultimately,
INGLJ realized that it needed to address only a small number of sub-processes to
make a huge impact on the efficiency of an entire process category.

Adoption as a Tool
Taking a big step back and looking at the question of why organizations should be
adopting frameworks allows us to consider an important idea: The framework is
really just a tool to help accomplish other objectives and tasks. Considering
frameworks in that light, what activities does the framework enable or accelerate,
and what is the cost of doing those activities without the framework to help?

Each of the partners in this study adopted frameworks for one reason: they
accelerated the organization‟s journey to achieve its objectives. UPS identified a
need to re-engineer the organization, and the framework helped the company
achieve value faster. Had UPS not adopted its framework, could it have achieved the
same objective? Probably. Could it have done it as quickly or as efficiently as it did?
Probably not.

The Williams Companies‟ framework helped the organization achieve SOX

compliance sooner. Williams had a pressing deadline that demanded immediate
attention. Without the adoption of the framework, the effort required to secure buy-
in from the various stakeholders was immense. The framework made connections
between work activities, compliance requirements, and points of accountability
explicit. The effort expended to achieve the same end without the framework would
have been significantly greater, especially since the scope of the adoption addressed
all financial processes across the entire organization—all business units included.


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1. What are the organization‟s business goals?

2. What resources can participate in the center of excellence?

3. What will the framework be used for?

4. What standards must be developed to support framework adoption?

5. What kind of adoption will fit best with the organization‟s culture?

6. How can the center of excellence use communication to reduce change

management issues?

7. What frameworks will be adopted, and how will they interrelate?


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Research Champion Perspective

The first best practice described in this chapter—Centralize—is a necessary step
toward process maturity. Without it, different initiatives—which should reference a
common framework—risk creating duplication and contradiction as well as wasting
effort. The result would most likely be an ungovernable mess.

Maintaining a trusted “single version of the truth” with a centrally governed process
framework is critical. Inconsistent implementations discredit the initiative and
drastically decrease adoption by the work force. Ownership at each level needs to be
clear. This includes design standards, end-user experience, access controls, and

The center of excellence (CoE) concept proposed in this chapter is invaluable in

ensuring this integrity. CoEs enable the organization to achieve its process
framework-dependent goals—typically, continuous improvement of business

Our own methodology—the Nimbus Control Implementation Approach (NCIA)—

pulls together learning from hundreds of client projects over many years. NCIA is a
complete toolkit for those charged with setting up and managing a CoE in
conjunction with the use of Nimbus Control.

Overview of the Nimbus Control Implementation Approach (NCIA)


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The NCIA includes documents, templates, and examples covering every aspect of
the work of a CoE including: content governance, skills management, application
management, program and project support, and process community development. It
also has pre-built best-practice processes known as “accelerators” and toolkits for
methodologies such as Lean SixSigma.

The development of a CoE follows a common trajectory. Initially, content

governance and skills management are typically the CoE‟s highest priorities. As
organizational capabilities mature, a federated governance model becomes possible,
increasing the importance of other aspects such as process community

This chapter‟s second best practice—Adopt—is, as explained in the text,

counterintuitive. We agree with this finding in one context and disagree with it in
another. The particulars of an adoption plan really depend on the intended use of
the process framework.

Where we agree: If the process framework is being used as a reference model, to

cross-reference the real operating model of the business (described in the report as
“overlayment”), by all means, keep it generic. It serves as a reference against which
to compare how you actually operate.

Many Nimbus clients commonly use generic frameworks to cross-reference the

organization‟s operating model. But such frameworks are not normally process
decompositions or definitions. Instead, clients use multiple frameworks to
document quite different things to their operating model—regulatory compliance
requirements, for example—where it clearly serves to have a robust list of
compliance requirement statements linked to organizational work, not a deviant
version of a framework which an auditor or regulator would see as contributing to
compliance blind spots and failure.

We agree with the observation in the report that “overlayment” is more likely to be
appropriate if the use of the framework is limited to benchmarking or content
management. Further, we agree with the report‟s finding that the overlayment of a
process framework for process definition purposes can lead to confusion.

Where we disagree: In the field of business process improvement, most

organizations use process frameworks as accelerators for developing their own
process operating models. This type of framework, which we call “The Intelligent
Operations Manual” for all employees, should not be adopted before some
adaptation occurs.


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This type of framework starts to deliver value when employees adopt it as their
operations manual—when it becomes the trusted and simplest way to find and
understand “the way we do things here.” The benefits include faster staff training,
process standardization, higher compliance, higher quality, greater agility, and so
forth. A generic process framework can never achieve that. If the organization
wants the framework to be applied as an intelligent operations manual, adaptation
and enrichment of the content has to happen before deployment, or employees will
find it incomplete and inaccurate. It will not make their work easier, faster, or more
valuable. In summary, without adaptation, there will be no adoption and no
prospect of continuous improvement.

An intelligent operations manual acts as a line-of-sight connection between the

organization‟s strategy and its operational reality. Ultimately, this sort of framework
should include performance metrics in addition to process descriptions, so that the
organization can tie performance deficiencies to process areas and prioritize process
improvement efforts where they will deliver the greatest benefits. The UPS case
study illustrates that process adoption across the enterprise critically depends on the
adaptation of a process framework. Once a framework reflects the operational
reality of the business, it can be deployed and become a trusted collaborative
platform for continuous process improvement and compliance.

As described in Chapter 1, this effort can occur in a single, specific process or

department. The entire organization does not have to be modeled before such
benefits can be achieved.


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Chapter 3
Leveraging Tools
Best practice in this chapter:

Tool Up: Adopt appropriate tools to reduce complexity and

increase the long-term value of a framework.

Business process management tools help organizations automate governance,

reduce complexity, increase flexibility, and manage content according to process
frameworks. Some organizations develop homegrown tools while others buy tools
designed to meet their specific needs. Deciding when to adopt the tool is also a
critical decision. Some of the partners in the study devised and built homegrown
tools that evolved as the organizations matured, switching to packaged software
only after fully leveraging organic growth. Others were content to manage using
homegrown tools, whereas one organization adopted a highly sophisticated, off-the-
shelf tool from the initial opening of its business. This chapter focuses on the
study‟s findings related to tools: when to use them, issues to watch out for, and how
the tools can help.

One of the study sponsors clearly summarized the decision process regarding tool
adoption: “A tool is meant to make something easier to do; an aid. In framework
adoption, another way of looking at this is asking oneself, „What am I trying to make
easier through the adoption of this tool?‟ If one can‟t clearly answer the question,
don‟t implement the tool.”

A wide variety of tools are available to automate work related to process framework
ownership, maintenance, and overall governance. Many of these tools are focused
on a specific use (such as business process modeling tools), while others are capable
of supporting not only business process modeling but also content management or
benchmarking activities. These tools typically perform one or more of the following

 model, organize, and disseminate information;

 manage governance workflows and processes; and
 measure and report organizational performance.

These functions combine with other extant functions within an organization (such
as identity management or core file storage) as a kind of toolkit. Organizations then


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build other tools to add to the toolkit, including document templates, workflow
patterns, document repositories, and tools to capture measurements.

Even more tools are available that specifically handle business process management,
including workflow execution tools and tools related to managing and implementing
business rules. For the purposes of this study, business process management tools
are tools that perform the three core functions defined on the preceding page.

Figure 18 summarizes the tools used at the different best-practice organizations

participating in this study.

Process Framework Tools

Type of Tool Homegrown Packaged Software Comments

Benchmarking Excel, Word, Integration with other UPS uses a proprietary

PowerPoint, shared BPM software such as tool called IS/Modeler
folders, Web-based data Aris, MetaStorm, and that allows an
collection tools, Nimbus Control. No organization to measure
SharePoint or Lotus specific benchmarking- performance at various
Notes collaboration and only software exists. levels within the
groupware. framework.
Observed at UPS.
Observed at Cisco and
ING Life Japan.

Content Custom Web-based tools, Documentum, Alfresco, There are a variety of best
management shared folders, OpenText, etc., or a practices; many depend
SharePoint, Lotus Notes. hybrid BPM/content upon organizational
management tool, such as culture.
Observed at Williams Nimbus Control‟s
E&P, Pitney Bowes, ING Document Registry.
Life Japan, and UPS.
Observed at

Business Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Aris, Corel, MetaStorm, Tools are plentiful in this
process Word, shared folders, Nimbus Control, etc. space.
definition SharePoint, Lotus Notes.
Observed at UPS, UPS‟ adoption can be
Observed at Williams Sandvik and considered a hybrid, since
E&P, Pitney Bowes, ING ThyssenKrupp. the organization uses a
Life Japan, UPS. formal tool (IS/Modeler)
but also has developed its
own tools to support the

Figure 18


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Homegrown Tools
Homegrown tools support the core functions of process framework adoption for
most of the best-practice partners. Some homegrown tools were built using simple
and widely available office productivity tools, such as spreadsheets, presentations,
documents, and diagrams. Others were built upon an existing IT infrastructure to
enable more in-depth automation of processes. Yet another class of homegrown
tools was developed using existing groupware platforms, such as SharePoint or
Lotus Notes.

Each of these classes of tools was observed in the process frameworks project from
one or more of the partners. (See Figure 18 for more information.) The spectrum of
adoption among partner organizations varied. Some organizations adopted more
than one of the tools, while others had not adopted any and were still dealing with
paper filing cabinets and whiteboards. The maturity of the process partners and
sponsors was thus inconsistent, making identification of a singular and all-
encompassing best practice difficult. However, this suggests that the best course of
action is to focus on the type, amount, and scope of technology that will work best
for an organization‟s particular needs. Organizations generally clustered around the
low end of the tool-adoption spectrum.

Pitney Bowes
Among the organizations participating in the process frameworks project, Pitney
Bowes has one of the lowest amounts of automation or formality in tools. All of its
tools are homegrown and based on best practices as identified in APQC training
materials. At the core of its framework adoption lies a series of documents that
model and map the organization.

Tools Used at Pitney Bowes

Function Finding
Model, organize, and Pitney Bowes uses Microsoft Office-based process
disseminate information modeling and documentation. Shared folders serve as
the repository, organized according to the PCF.
Development of SharePoint-based tools to further
integrate into an existing intranet is the vision.
Measure organizational n/a—Pitney Bowes does not measure organizational
performance according to performance against the adopted framework at this
the framework and report time.
on results
Manage governance These are managed using manual document reviews,
workflows and processes manual tracking mechanisms, and e-mail distribution.

Figure 19


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Pitney Bowes performs these management functions using a variety of roles,

including process managers, business analysts, and project managers.

Williams Exploration and Production

Williams E&P uses a number of homegrown tools to address its implementations of
core frameworks management functions:

Tools Used at Williams E&P

Function Finding
Model, organize, and Williams E&P uses Excel-based process modeling
disseminate information and documentation. Shared folders serve as the basis,
organized according to the PCF. Development of
SharePoint-based tools to further integrate into an
existing intranet is planned.
Measure organizational n/a—Williams E&P does not measure
performance according organizational performance against the adopted
to the framework and framework at this time, although this is planned as it
report on results shifts to a process-focused organization.
Manage governance These are managed using manual document reviews,
workflows and processes manual tracking mechanisms, and e-mail distribution.

Figure 20

The Williams E&P team manages all framework-related processes using seven
FTEs: three analysts, one technical writer, two support staff members, and one
rotational analyst.

ING Life Japan

INGLJ also manages its process framework using a series of homegrown tools.


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Tools Used at ING Life Japan

Function Finding
Model, organize, and INGLJ uses a SharePoint-based process library,
disseminate information containing as-is process maps, to-be process maps,
and training materials. Process maps were developed
in Visio as well as scanned from hand-drawn images.
Measure organizational INGLJ‟s Management Operating Methodology
performance according allows rapid changes to resource allocations based on
to the framework and measurements of framework processes.
report on results
Manage governance These are managed using manual document reviews,
workflows and processes manual tracking mechanisms, and e-mail distribution.

Figure 21

Similar to Williams E&P, INGLJ, and Pitney Bowes, the UPS program management
group uses a number of homegrown tools to manage its process framework. UPS,
however, has adopted a formal process management tool called IS/Modeler in
addition to its homegrown software.

Tools Used at UPS

Function Finding
Model, organize, and UPS uses IS/Modeler for process modeling and
disseminate information documentation, as well as a Lotus Notes-based
repository application.
Measure organizational Proprietary IS/Modeler functionality allows for
performance according to measuring of cycle time, cost, and FTE allocations.
the framework and report
on results
Manage governance These are managed using manual document reviews
workflows and processes (including “on the wall” sessions), manual tracking
mechanisms, and e-mail distribution.

Figure 22

The UPS toolkit is a hybrid toolkit in that a single modeling tool performs all or a
portion of two distinct functions: benchmarking and process modeling. The process
modeling tool, however, does not include capabilities to manage governance
workflows, so resultant process maps are stored in a proprietary format and later


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housed in a Lotus Notes repository. The Lotus Notes repository is developed and
managed by the program management group.

Packaged Software Tools

Packaged software tools provide value to organizations because they reduce the
amount of effort expended on work related to process framework ownership,
maintenance, and overall governance. Effectively, packaged software tools automate
the main framework‟s functions by combining many tools into a single package or
suite that partially or completely automates core process framework functions.

The process frameworks project observed only three instances of organizations

using packaged software tools to automate process framework processes:

 UPS used IS/Modeler to map and measure processes (described above).

 ThyssenKrupp used Nimbus Control for its end-to-end process frameworks
oversight and management.
 Sandvik used Aris for its documentation tasks.

Adopting a packaged software tool to automate work supporting process framework
ownership, maintenance, and overall governance helped ThyssenKrupp realize value
and get real work done.

Initially charged with taking a greenfield business and applying a consistent

management approach, ThyssenKrupp adopted APQC‟s PCF and Nimbus Control
software to quickly identify organizational processes and activities, incorporate those
identifications into an enterprise process model, and automate the management of
that model.

ThyssenKrupp realized four core benefits from using Nimbus Control and the PCF.
This combination allowed the organization to:

 provide business process accountability, control, and oversight;

 drive best practices throughout the organization;
 align business needs with IT solutions (specifically SAP); and
 drive ISO/TS certification.

In addition to these core benefits, APQC‟s PCF gave ThyssenKrupp a starting point
from which to define key business functions. The organization began by adopting
the PCF at the category level and assigning ownership to high-level functions within
the business. These categorizations and assignments drove further decomposition of
the framework into detailed operational processes and activities, all defined and
managed by individual process owners (Figure 23).


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High-Level ThyssenKrupp Process Map

Figure 23

ThyssenKrupp‟s initial goals for continual process improvement could be achieved

only with significant automation, which it found was attainable only through
automation of the core processes.

Tools Used at ThyssenKrupp

Function Finding
Model, organize, and Nimbus Control is used to document the process
disseminate information flows and definitions and to disseminate process
Measure organizational Nimbus Control integrates KPI metrics visually into
performance according to the process content against relevant activities.
the framework and report
on results
Manage governance Nimbus Control is used to achieve change control
workflows and processes and manage process-related collaboration.

Figure 24


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One of the core drivers for ThyssenKrupp‟s adoption of the tool was the need to
quickly get up to speed with a minimal amount of resources and project
documentation. Using the process framework and the tool allowed ThyssenKrupp
to achieve its tight timeline objectives, as well as to conveniently incorporate
additional models (such as iTIL) and overlay ISO standards requirements above the
processes with a minimal amount of effort.

Sandvik also adopted a packaged software tool to manage the model of its business
processes. Use of the Aris Design Platform allows the organization to quickly model
enterprise-level processes and develop “business capability maps.” These maps are
based on the PCF and link business objectives to processes, organizational charts,
and enterprise master data (Figure 25).

Sandvik’s Process Models Relationship Diagram

Figure 25

Sandvik decided to adopt a tool because it planned to implement its framework and
define processes enterprise-wide. The broad scope of the implementation required


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additional support, which a sophisticated tool could provide. With revenue from
over 130 production units worldwide, ensuring process consistency is critical for
Sandvik. Relying upon manual processes at this level of complexity and scope was
impractical. Sandvik‟s stated approach to its process work is to “… let our business
organization do the documentation. Then we have to minimize the complexity and
the cost for using a tool.” The organization had to work with Aris to determine how
to adopt the tool in a way that would meet its needs.

Tools Used at Sandvik

Function Finding
Model, organize, and Sandvik uses Aris Design Platform (including its
disseminate information design and publishing components).
Measure organizational Tools from Microsoft currently provide support.
performance according to Sandvik is investigating Aris Strategy Platform for the
the framework and report future.
on results
Manage governance Sandvik is investigating Aris Design Platform, which
workflows and processes includes a component to manage governance, for this

Figure 26

Most of the organizations participating in the frameworks study did not adopt
formal tools to automate work related to process framework ownership,
maintenance, and overall governance. They leveraged what they had and learned to
use existing technologies to their advantage. The organizations that have adopted
formal tools—including ThyssenKrupp, Sandvik, and UPS—depended on these
tools and realized value from their adoption and continued use. The
implementations involving formal tools had enterprise-wide scopes and were highly
centralized, indicating that advanced tools may best serve a broad implementation
driven from a central location.


Organizations generally adopt tools according to one of three methods:

1. during initial adoption of the framework,

2. as a gradual switch, or
3. as a wholesale change.


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Initial Adoption
The objectives of ThyssenKrupp‟s project required the project team to quickly
define, assign responsibility for, and design enterprise-wide processes. The new
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA plant depended on a greenfield, enterprise-wide
application of the process framework. The parent company provided clear
objectives at the beginning of the project that were eventually achieved using the
process framework and a selection of tools that included packaged software. Based
on the project team‟s experience, manually performing the tasks required to succeed
would quickly sink the project, due to the effort required to maintain the framework
and keep it viable. It was therefore evident that adopting the toolkit and the process
framework simultaneously would cost more than performing the adoption and
accelerating business process management aspects of work without the tools in

The initial adoption approach works best in conjunction with the “locate” and
“centralize” best practices identified elsewhere in this report. Framework adoption
should not take place until the organization determines the scope of the processes
to be addressed by the framework and at least conceptualizes some level of
centralized governance. Once the organization finalizes assumptions regarding
location and governance, the team can quickly move into the tool adoption practice
in preparation for actual framework adoption. At this point, there are typically few
cultural or business barriers to the tool‟s adoption. The decision to adopt a tool,
then, can be based on a simple cost-benefit computation, where the cost of
implementing the tool is just the time it will take to adopt it.

Gradual Switch
A gradual switch occurs when an organization begins with a homegrown set of tools
and slowly migrates to a packaged software implementation.

UPS‟ approach exemplifies a successful gradual switch. The UPS team initially began
with simple homegrown tools and later began process mapping activities using its
IS/Modeler tools. This gradual switch approach was compatible with the
“overlayment” approach to process framework adoption UPS took. Gradual switch
best serves organizations that have performed some work in the process space prior
to deciding to adopt a particular process framework.

This approach takes the most time but is most suitable for continual improvement.
It takes longer because the change scope includes not only process changes, but also
issues related to the process/content management tool. This approach could be
compared to “changing the tire while the truck is driving down the road,” but even
this risk can be mitigated with proper management.

Wholesale Change
Wholesale change is a method designed to drastically change an organization‟s
behavior in a short time. Typically, organizations implement a wholesale change


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when a new business or organization is acquired or divested and the enterprise must
quickly react to the newly available tooling (adopting, adapting, or removing it).

APQC does not recommend a wholesale change approach except in cases of

acquisition or divestiture, and only then with sufficient training and explanation to
those charged with the success of the framework and its tools. The process
frameworks project didn‟t identify any instances of wholesale change within the
project partners.

1. What work has been done to date?

2. What work should be automated, and how would a tool help?

3. When is the right time for a tool?


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Research Champion Perspective

As a vendor of a business process management application, you might expect
Nimbus to be fully supportive of this chapter‟s best practice recommendation—
Tool Up. But before considering tools, we need to be clear what is meant by long-
term value. In other words: “How are you going to use process frameworks in
your organization?” For our clients such as ThyssenKrupp (featured in this
report), the end goal is operational excellence—where business processes, related
documents and measures are treated as crucial assets for the organization.


A process, just like any physical asset, must be looked after and kept current. To
achieve this, it is essential to nominate someone as the owner of each asset (or
process). Those that need to contribute to or manage the asset may need training to
use it efficiently, safely, and according to any rules for its correct use. The
performance of the asset should be monitored, and if necessary, it must be repaired
or improved.


Nearly all end-to-end processes involve a mixture of manual and automated steps,
carried out by different people in different roles at different points in the process
flow. Often, those steps involve employees performing activities or transactions
enabled by a software application.


Operational excellence involves process owners, end users, and all other
stakeholders sharing a commitment to continuous improvement of business
processes. This is where appropriate process management tools can help. In our
experience, organizations are looking for a process management tool that meets four

 It uses the language of process. It is intuitive and readily understood by

process owners, stakeholders, and end users across the enterprise. It engages the
enterprise by using the language of end-to-end process, not an IT or other
specialized language.
 It is holistic. It is comprehensive and enables a complete 360-degree view of
the enterprise. At its heart is an integrated hierarchical process model of the
enterprise. It encompasses every activity, not just the automated parts. It allows
multiple views that meet the needs of different stakeholders.


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 It is real. The tool is not an artificial construct; it‟s the DNA of the enterprise.
It blends process with documents, key performance indicators (metrics), and
training to deliver a personalized intelligent operations manual which helps
people get real work done. It becomes “the way we do things here.”
 It is governed. It provides governance capabilities that are powerful but easy to
use, so that people trust the content as authoritative, approved, and up-to-date.
People adopt content that they trust, and will participate in collaborative and
continuous improvement activities that have proved useful and consistent. With
sound governance, the tool becomes the obvious platform for driving
compliance, risk, and control initiatives as well.


Regarding the right time for tools, we have the following comments:

 Initial Adoption: Very few businesses are greenfield and able to follow the
example of ThyssenKrupp, which implemented a sophisticated process
management tool from the very start of their existence. However, this example
does show a best-case scenario of where an organization can strive to be, even if
not starting from a greenfield situation.
 Gradual Switch: We agree with the strategy outlined here to move when
appropriate to best-practice process management tools. This switch can happen
early (as shown in the ThyssenKrupp example) or soon after the initial capture
of processes in widely available tools.
 Wholesale Change: Many organizations do not have a complete and integrated
process model describing their operations. So, even though the report only
envisages a wholesale switch being likely in the case of an acquisition or
divestiture, it‟s worth noting that, in reality, what is considered a wholesale
change often manifests as a gradual switch. If the status quo is incomplete and
out-of-date content, a quick export and import of this content to a new toolset
will only replicate the same result in the new tool. However, it‟s possible that
the new tool may speed up the transition and lower the ongoing cost of
continuous improvement by delivering superior collaboration and governance


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Whichever of the above scenarios an organization is faced with, the first steps are to
gain agreement on an overall process architecture, establish design standards and a
content governance approach, anchor the business case, set up a center of
excellence, evaluate process frameworks as accelerators, and deliver training for
those involved.

With basics such as these in place, an organization would then begin process
capture. Sometimes, this would involve the repurposing of processes already
documented in another tool. Most often, process capture would happen through
live workshops with relevant process stakeholders and subject matter experts—to
ensure that the captured process is “real” and that all stakeholders have a shared
understanding and sense of ownership. The adoption of a new tool needs to be
properly structured; it is never simply about migrating data. But, in our experience, it
can occur rapidly, provided that there is clear executive support.


This diagram illustrates the Business Process Content Lifecycle, which helps
illustrate the need for appropriate tools to manage process frameworks and their
associated content. The lifecycle depicts two main phases in the life of every process
asset (e.g., diagrams, related documents, and metrics): development and exploitation.
This should be seen as an iterative cycle—you need continuous process
improvement, not a single turn of the wheel.

Business Process Content Lifecycle


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Furthermore, these process assets travel independently around the lifecycle; the
entire framework does not move from development to exploitation or to an
additional round of improvement at the same instant. Instead, individual process
diagrams and related content are improved, approved, and deployed on a
continuous and gradual basis. These efforts involve different stakeholders for each
asset—different process owners, reviewers, approvers, and ultimately, different end-
user consumers of the content who need to be informed of the change and will
contribute ideas for additional process improvement.

This lifecycle is as much knowledge management as it is process management.

Specialized business process management applications can provide the tooling
needed to facilitate all aspects of this collaborative effort. This includes
improvement suggestions, communication/notification, review, approval, content
management (including change control and version management), and the training
required to ensure that end-users understand the process content and the behavioral
changes which are required. Such specialized tooling can help ensure that a process
management endeavor doesn‟t sink under the strain of continuous change—a state
implied by the quest for continuous process improvement.


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Chapter 4
The Framework Implementation
Best practices in this chapter:

Measure: View framework implementation according to a five-

step model to better assess the implementation’s maturity and the
value it provides.

Set Goals: Evaluate framework use regularly to determine which

actions to take to increase its value and maturity.

A process framework enables an organization to rapidly get on the same “process

page” and drive consistency across performance initiatives. Frameworks bring value
to organizations in measurable ways and increase businesses‟ fundamental ability to
perform. But not every organization is ready to fully exploit a framework. Assessing
an organization‟s readiness for a framework or its current capability to optimize an
existing framework helps improvement teams plan targets and goals for the
organization. An organization‟s framework-related preparedness or maturity can be
mapped to a standard roadmap (Figure 27), which guides organizations toward ever-
increasing levels of optimization and value and sets expectations for what is possible
at each stage of development.

View framework implementation according to a five-step model to better
assess the implementation’s maturity and the value it provides.
Based upon observations made during the study, a number of criteria surfaced that
hint at the journey an organization may take on its way to realizing the full value of a
process framework. The journey is divided into five core steps, or phases:

1. establish,
2. reference,
3. deploy,
4. measure, and
5. operate.


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Organizations may choose not to proceed through all five steps. Since value is
realized at each stop in the journey, an organization must determine if the value of
proceeding on the journey is greater than the cost to move to the next step. Also,
some steps may be taken out of order depending on the long-term goals of the
organization; for example, an organization may proceed to measure after reference and
skip deploy entirely.

The Framework Implementation Journey

Figure 27

1. Establish a Framework
At the lowest level, a framework provides a common vocabulary that can be easily
adopted by an organization and used to foster enhanced communication among
different facets of the business such as IT, production, sales, and marketing. It also
creates a common set of terms that facilitate communication with outside
organizations. In this sense, adopting a framework has immediate value with little
implementation cost. No realignment of the business is necessary, and the
organization can continue to conduct business without disruption.

All the study partners exhibited this level of maturity.


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2. Reference a Framework
Beyond a common vocabulary, the next level of value comes from cross-referencing
or mapping the vocabulary and hierarchy defined by the framework with the
organization‟s real operating model/hierarchy and vocabulary. This step brings value
by explicitly comparing process activities with actual behavior, regardless of
functional structures or organizational silos.

Using a framework as a logical reference model allows an organization to identify

similar business behaviors throughout the enterprise and reveals optimization
opportunities. Much like the use of a framework for a common vocabulary, the
reference model use also has value without realignment or disruption of the
business, and implementation costs remain low.

The cross-reference requires ongoing support and maintenance, but its benefits
usually outweigh the cost of the maintenance effort. As more of the organization
learns of the cross-reference and the common language established in the first step,
additional parts of the organization may wish to also adopt the framework. This
happened at Williams Companies after it completed its cross-reference in support of
its SOX compliance efforts. Williams‟ Exploration and Production business unit
decided to adopt the framework after learning of the success experienced by the
core organization.

Many organizations build core governance structures around the cross-reference at

this stage of the journey, so the cost of this step relative to the first step (establish) is
relatively higher. It is possible to proceed without a core governance structure at this
point, but changes made to the cross-reference or to the way the business operates
require diligent communication amongst all parties using the framework, thereby
increasing the cost to a point where it may not make sense to proceed manually.
Tools, either packaged software or custom developed, can provide the necessary
infrastructure to facilitate this communication, but they also typically require
centralized governance.

3. Deploy a Framework
In the third step of the journey, an organization may begin to organize its structure
and functions in a way that manages work in an end-to-end fashion, based upon the
cross-referenced process framework or reference model. UPS created its own
framework around its business needs by adapting APQC‟s PCF. The organization
separated operational processes from supporting processes and then deployed the
framework enterprise-wide. At this maturity level, continuous improvement efforts
become more easily aligned and executed.

The location of the adoption of the framework or reference model is a significant

driver of cost and value at this step of the journey. Organizations adopting a
framework or reference model with a broad scope must have strong centralized
governance structures in place. The cost of maintaining the structure in a distributed
fashion for a broad-scope adoption is generally too great to accomplish without


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centralized governance structures and related tools. Organizations deploying the

framework to a relatively narrow part of the organization (a single process, for
example) can generally avoid building a centralized governance structure.

Because the deployment of a framework potentially suggests revision/realignment

of the organization, it is critical to strategically deploy the framework in a way that
directly relates to an organization‟s primary or core process value chains. The
organization should make clear, using the cross-reference and other tools already
developed, how the framework contributes and supports the work being done and
the value being created for customers and the organization.

Deploying the framework first in limited, high-priority areas of the business and
demonstrating success can pave the way to smoother deployments throughout the
remainder of the organization. The deployment strategy and the affected portions of
the business should be carefully planned and communicated. When an organization
deploys a framework in this fashion, adoption becomes a part of “how we do
business,” and concerns center less on the investment required to adopt the
framework and more on the cost of not adopting it.

4. Measure Against the Framework

Once deployed, a framework provides a valuable way to measure an organization‟s
performance. The ability to perform benchmarking and use metrics relies on having
a consistent view of the organization—a view that allows functions to be grouped,
measured, and compared against historical and external data. This gives managers
the ability to track the relative performance of their organization and provides a
platform for deeper analysis and continuous improvement or realignment.

A manager typically monitors his or her process domain via “lagging” or “post-
mortem” measures (e.g., cycle time to perform a particular process). However, if an
organization views its process framework from an end-to-end perspective, then one
manager‟s lagging metric can be seen as a “leading” or “predictive” metric for the
manager involved with the next step. Tying the measures together can yield a view
of the performance of the entire end-to-end process. The framework facilitates the
consistent measurement of these organizational process components and enables
management to rely on these measures to make critical business decisions.

This end-to-end perspective has the potential to save or avoid substantial rework
costs. Additionally, it can provide a basis to compare industry best practices through
benchmarking services such as with APQC‟s Open Standards Benchmarking

5. Operate Through Frameworks

Any program to analyze, compare, and improve an organization must also
coordinate the effort so that stakeholders understand what is being studied and
managed. The deployed process framework gives managers this capability when it is


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used in conjunction with mature measurement capabilities and appropriate feedback

loops from strategy to actual work performance.

Organizations demonstrating significant experience using process frameworks to get

real work done have the ability to accurately describe their business and the
initiatives going on within it. They can tie those descriptions directly to the
frameworks and models they have developed for themselves, whether those
frameworks focus on operations, compliance, or other capabilities. The ability to
identify and cross-reference multiple frameworks to the organization‟s vision and
self-description enables the business to move forward on many fronts
simultaneously. By knowing what it is and how it functions, an organization can
make more informed and strategic decisions. What begins as a process classification
framework becomes an operations manual for the enterprise.

The discussion would not be complete without mentioning that the journey does
not necessarily culminate with enterprise-wide adoption of a process framework. An
organization may be taking a variety of journeys, either in a single area of the
organization, in multiple areas, or across the entire enterprise. The same steps of the
journey apply whether the benefits are localized or broad, and the organization
chooses how far it needs to go to achieve its goals.

Strategy Through Frameworks at the Operational Level

UPS aligned its processes with strategy through the work of its program
management group. This group focuses heavily on strategy. With only 25 individuals
supporting the management of process within an organization of over 400,000
(Figure 12), the program management group must have a clear understanding of
strategy and how processes work together to achieve it.

These 25 people are able to align the work of 400,000 employees with the strategic
goals of the company because of a custom framework, managed by a center of
excellence, that makes strategy and related processes highly visible and contextual
(Figure 9). Without this framework, UPS would not be able to clearly assign
accountability, and that would relegate strategic initiatives to a very high-level,
conceptual space within the organization, separating it from the execution of daily
work. The framework guides daily work according to the organization‟s ultimate
strategic goals.

Operating Multiple Frameworks

In the study, each example of the use of frameworks had its own unique elements:
UPS created its framework around specific business needs; ThyssenKrupp Steel
adopted APQC‟s PCF and mapped it to multiple compliance frameworks; the
Williams Companies adopted APQC‟s PCF and mapped its organizational processes
in order to demonstrate SOX compliance. Despite many differences, in all cases, the
ability to consistently cross-reference multiple frameworks or external requirements
proved that an organization had reached step five (operate) of the framework
journey. Williams E&P deployed its framework in a segment of the organization,


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and ThyssenKrupp Steel‟s was used enterprise-wide. Although both were deployed
at different levels of the organization, both implementations reached the “operate”
step because they linked and mapped multiple frameworks, increasing the
actionability of their frameworks.

Figure 28 shows how ThyssenKrupp manages ISO 9001:2008 compliance as a

framework overlaid on APQC‟s PCF. The organization‟s capability to operate a
business, including all of its internal and external relationships, through a single,
consistent language represents a high level of maturity and is a textbook best
practice for the operate level.

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA Integrates ISO9001 with its Frameworks

Figure 28


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Measure: How Good Are You—Really?

Measuring allows an organization to understand the benefits it can expect at its
current phase of the journey, as well as the benefits associated with moving to the
next step. By measuring a framework‟s implementation, organizations also can see
where they need to shore up use of the framework. Measuring and identifying gaps
can bring the following strong benefits:

 Increased organizational awareness of the framework (or frameworks) and its

value, both realized and potential—The act of measuring is, in itself, a method
for increasing awareness of the framework.
 Improved alignment between framework stakeholders and other parts of the
organization—For example, measuring could identify a compliance framework
that isn‟t properly aligned with underlying process activities.
 Enhanced decision making—Consistent measurement of the framework‟s
adoption and deployment provides objective evidence that enhances an
organization‟s decisions on where to put its energy and resources in terms of
the framework journey. Measuring a framework can show that the framework
needs to be adapted or customized to better represent the reality of the
business. UPS, for example, made a conscious decision to adapt APQC‟s PCF
to better represent the realities of its business.
 Validation of the choice of framework—Not all frameworks are appropriate for
all situations. Once a framework is adopted, measuring the value of that
framework‟s deployment against expectations either validates that the choice
was a correct one or shows that a different or more customized framework
would be a more appropriate fit.

When an organization chooses a framework, it should put an implementation plan

in place that establishes the timeline for its rollout, associated costs, and expected
value to the organization. If a framework is already in place, the same is true. Clearly
stating cost and benefit expectations sets the stage for measurement that leads to the
achievement of specific goals.

Evaluate framework use regularly to determine which actions to take to
increase its value and maturity.
Using an implementation model and measuring its effectiveness and progress allows
organizations to set reasonable goals for framework use. This also enables the
organization to completely envision the eventual benefits and to create individual
and organizational commitments to the business community‟s goals. Lacking this


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sort of vision, a framework is less likely to initiate change or bring value to the

Framework implementation involves setting both short- and long-term goals, and
each type of goal reflects a key part of an organization‟s strategy. Short-term goals
for framework adoption and eventual growth include simple efforts such as
organizational awareness. Short-term goals ensure that initiatives are started and that
a foundation is laid for higher-value achievements set by long-term goals.

The promises of long-term implementation goals greatly outweigh the immediate

benefits of the short term. For example, at the fifth level of implementation
maturity (operate), an organization is able to map its strategic goals through the
adopted and deployed framework directly to the most important metrics and key
dependent processes, even though they may be obscured several levels below those
strategies. Setting a goal to map processes to strategy supports a vision of a fully
aligned organization. This long-term goal guides decisions made earlier on in the
framework implementation journey, helping individual employees catch the vision
and execute work and framework-related activities accordingly.

When setting goals for frameworks implementation, consider the following:

 Organizational readiness. How prepared is my organization to accept the idea

that it needs to put an industry-standard or custom framework in place? The
groundwork of support needs to be laid before higher-level and longer-term
goal setting can be practiced. To gain support, set and achieve a series of short-
term goals targeted at gaining executive buy-in and educating stakeholders about
the benefits of frameworks. An organizations must design its framework
journey according to what is most practical for the type of framework(s) being
implemented and the benefits expected.
 Disruption to the business. If a frameworks goal setting exercise is likely to
create contention and other disruptions within the work environment, a
communication strategy will need to address this challenge. Organization
leadership often views frameworks, like compliance, as essential to business
continuity and as proof of the quality of operations. Therefore, they are not
optional. However, a framework that has the potential to realign business units
and governance, can be viewed negatively by people affected by the changes
and can create a challenge in goal setting. Carefully looking at potential
disruptions and creating proper messaging and communications can help avoid
energy-sapping contention and political maneuvering. Gaining executive buy-in
can also make this less painful. For instance, ThyssenKrupp Steel‟s first
executive directive—when the number of employees was very small and before


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most business groups were formed—was to implement APQC‟s PCF in its

 Maturity of the organization. Each organization has its own level of maturity,
readiness to accept new ideas, and ways of doing business. Pain is often the best
teacher, and organizations feeling pain from a disconnection between goals and
execution are often the most ready for frameworks. A successful, relatively pain-
free organization would perhaps need more foresight into or evidence
supporting the benefits of adopting frameworks before embarking on a
prescribed journey. Each organization has a pace at which change cannot be
successfully implemented; finding and planning around that pace is critical to
the successful journey.
 Executive support. Without the support of an organization‟s executives, the
implementation of a framework risks being “bolted on” versus adding real
value, which is “baked in.” A framework that is simply bolted onto existing
ways of doing business may be part of the organization‟s vocabulary but not
part of its ethos.

Operating without a plan for where to take the use of frameworks will likely limit
their value and fail to unlock their potential to transform the organization. Setting
goals for frameworks and their maturity helps to build organizational readiness and
stakeholder support for the new way of aligning and measuring.

1. What are your organizations‟ drivers for choosing and implementing a

2. Can an organizational maturity assessment help secure buy-in for the work
required to move along the journey and ultimately realize the benefits of
framework adoption?

3. How will you assess your organization‟s journey to operating using a


4. Which approaches and IT applications will you use to lock in the benefits of a

5. How can your organization make sure that a chosen framework will provide the
expected benefits?

6. Which stakeholders will eventually benefit from the framework or frameworks

you implement at each step along the journey?


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Research Champion Perspective

This chapter explores the lifecycle or implementation journey organizations go
through in order to fully exploit a process framework. The five phases—establish,
reference, deploy, measure, and operate—perfectly describe the journey taken by
many Nimbus clients who have adopted one or more process frameworks (such as
APQC‟s PCF or the SCOR model) as an accelerator for managing and improving
business process. It‟s from this typical Nimbus customer experience perspective that
we comment on the chapter.

When implementing a framework for process management and improvement—

rather than for performance benchmarking or content management—the five
phases are not taken out of sequence, nor are steps skipped completely. If an
organization wants to start measuring performance for benchmarking purposes
without having first deployed the framework to a wide audience, bypassing a step
may make sense. But if the goal is process management and improvement,
deployment of processes along with their expected outcomes is a prerequisite of
measurement or operation. Our experience tells us that an organization cannot
meaningfully measure performance improvement if the work force hasn‟t been
involved in and advised of the process change and the new behaviors and activities
which are required of them.

We see the operate phase as the natural outgrowth of an organization recognizing the
need to have its resources work from a single source of organizational truth that is
“live” (i.e., continually updated and available to end users in a time and context that
helps them do their work). Regardless of their starting point, Nimbus clients mature
to operate one or, more often, multiple frameworks as a means of getting real work

Amongst the case studies, UPS, ThyssenKrupp, and the Williams Companies
receive special mention in this chapter for two main reasons:

1. UPS demonstrated a high level of maturity and exemplified how, in the operate
phase, corporate strategy effectively cascades into processes and performance
measures, which in turn makes it easier for employees to visualize how business
strategy effects their work.
2. ThyssenKrupp and Williams are cited as excellent examples of businesses that
have adopted and cross-referenced multiple frameworks, so that operational
processes link to compliance frameworks such as SOX, ISO 9001:2008, and
others. As a consequence, operational staff, quality specialists, and compliance
personnel all share a single, agreed view of the organization‟s business
processes, and process improvement and compliance initiatives are addressed in


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Nimbus frequently helps clients assess their BPM maturity against a variety of
measures, which fall under six pillars: IT Infrastructure, BPM Application
Environment, Content Governance, Skills Management, Community, and
Program and Project Support. These six pillars form the basis of the methodology
used to drive long term success from Nimbus Control, which we call NCIA—the
Nimbus Control Implementation Approach. More details available from


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Case Study
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Cisco Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of computer products and solutions.
Building on its core business of networking systems, the company now produces a
wide range of hardware and software for voice and video collaboration, data center
operations, wireless applications, and consumer use.

Cisco is headquartered in San Jose, California, and has more than 67,000 employees
in 75 countries. Revenue for fiscal year 2010 was in excess of $40 billion.

Cisco‟s business structure contains:

 six business groups,

 15 technology groups,
 51 business units,
 30 worldwide development centers, and
 20,000 engineers.

In line with Cisco‟s vision of “balancing innovation with operational excellence,”

these diverse groups share processes for determining business strategies, developing
products and services, and delivering those products and services to users. Each
process is designed to enhance the company‟s performance in diverse and
expanding markets while delivering consistent value to its customers.

Use of APQC’s Process Classification Framework (PCF)

Cisco uses APQC‟s Process Classification Framework (PCF) to organize its many
processes and initiatives (Figure 29). The Cisco Priority Assessment Dashboard
(CPAD), the company‟s process for setting corporate direction, falls under PCF
category 1.0 Develop Vision and Strategy. The Cisco Product Development
Methodology (CPDM)—used to ensure coordinated, quality-driven engineering—is
an example of a process found in 2.0 Develop and Manage Products and Services.
Category 4.0 Deliver Products and Services houses Cisco‟s Quality Management
Operating System (QMOS), while benchmarking—which is how Cisco closes the
loop on processes—is a prime example of a 12.0 Manage Knowledge, Improvement, and
Change process.


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Cisco’s Use of APQC’s Process Classification Framework

Figure 29

Each of these processes will be explored in detail throughout this case study.


Cisco‟s corporate direction at each business level is determined using the
organization‟s Vision, Strategy, and Execution (VSE) alignment template. VSE is a
formal process that identifies a long-term goal, finds the strategies involved in
reaching that goal, and puts forth the supporting programs, actions, and metrics
(Figure 30).

“There are three elements that assure quality around the VSE:
people, process, and tools.”

—David Hsiao, director, corporate quality


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Cisco’s VSE Alignment Template

Figure 30

Under VSE, the “vision” is the top level—where the company intends to be in five
years for a particular business objective. Based on that vision, corporate councils,
boards, and functions define the “strategy”—the priorities necessary to achieve that
objective. Finally, VSE requires “execution”—the initiatives, programs, and actions
that deliver each strategic priority and a plan for measuring the success of each.

While the vision remains consistent, the strategy and execution may change as
products and markets evolve. Strategies are commonly adjusted every year, and
execution methods may change more frequently, as conditions demand.

VSE is applied across Cisco as a common language for all business opportunities.
Almost every major program within the company uses VSE to set its direction.

Cisco provides numerous resources to ensure that VSE remains an integral part of
its approach. The templates and VSE training are available online to all employees,
and the process is open to internal and external feedback for continuous


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VSE is a central part of Cisco‟s transition to a collaborative, scalable, and repeatable
strategic process. The company‟s methods have changed considerably in the past
decade. As late as 2005, it set its business objectives using a top-down “command
and control” structure. The operating committee established one priority per year
for each line of business.

Rapid technological change and emerging business opportunities soon required a

broader approach. In 2006, the company began using a collaborative “council”
process to set corporate direction. With 50 senior executives serving on interrelated
business councils, the company expanded its yearly strategy to include emerging
markets and the development of new technologies adjacent to its core business.

Today, Cisco uses councils, boards, and working groups to create its comprehensive
strategy, drawing on up to 2,500 employees to address over 30 market adjacencies
per year.

The Council Structure

The operating committee and corporate alignment board oversee the interaction of
15 councils. Three broad categories of councils provide specialized and collaborative
input into the corporate direction.

 Corporate segment councils, by area of customer relevance:

 Enterprise
 Commercial
 Service provider
 Small business
 Consumer

 Cross-segment councils, addressing innovation and operational excellence

across business functions:
 Emerging solutions
 Connected architecture
 Emerging countries
 Connected business opportunities

 Functional councils, organized along Cisco‟s internal structure:

 Cisco Development Organization (CDO)
 Sales
 Cisco Services
 Operations


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 Cisco Marketing Organization (CMO)

 Finance

These councils augment the standard functional councils of Cisco‟s business

function and help the company manage emerging markets, broaden product lines,
and “cross the chasm” in technology development.

Crossing the Chasm

The “chasm” principle comes from businessman and author Geoffrey Moore, who
identified a consumer gap in the technology adoption life cycle, between the
introduction of new technology and its full-scale integration into the business
environment. Left unattended, this gap prevents new products from reaching their
potential and becoming successful in the marketplace.

To overcome the chasm, technology must solve real and diverse problems for users.
The Cisco Priority Assessment Dashboard is a management tool for key early-stage
priorities, those after a technology product‟s introduction but before mainstream
adoption. It augments the VSE by providing a clearly defined assessment framework
for the VSE‟s strategies and actions.

CPAD allows the company to:

 measure market adjacencies and emerging technologies;

 identify growth opportunities and expand customer value;
 accelerate the company‟s entry into new markets;
 enhance its collaboration, problem-solving, and resource allocation;
 utilize a scalable, repeatable, and flexible decision-making process; and
 track the progress of company priorities.

CPAD uses a phased approach to score these opportunities and technologies

(Figure 31). The process takes the priorities and actions from the VSE and subjects
them to real-world testing.

The vision, strategy, and business model for the product or service are developed
during phase one. Phase two involves early product deployment and developing
leadership in a narrow market segment. Phase three expands the product or service
into a wider market, and phase four integrates it into the traditional operations and
functions of the company.


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Cisco Priority Assessment Dashboard (CPAD) Phases

Figure 31

The CPAD process is documented and supported by templates, and each phase has
defined success measures.


Engineering and product development is managed using the Cisco Product
Development Methodology (CPDM). It coordinates the work of the technical and
business functions within the company as a product moves from concept to

All technical aspects of product development are divided into the following business
layers, or phases:

 Concept
 Plan
 Develop
 Validate
 Launch


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 Sustain
 End-of-life

The business layers may include multiple technical layers, each responsible for one
aspect of product development.

Phase Verification and Approval

When a phase is complete, the product must pass through a “checkpoint” and a
“commit gate.” The checkpoint verifies the work and deliverables of each phase, as
defined by the technical functional organizations.

The commit gate is the final review and management approval before moving to the
next phase of development. Six commit gates occur during a product‟s life cycle:

 Concept commit
 Execution commit
 Development commit
 First customer shipment readiness review
 Global availability commit
 End-of-life commit

Each commit gate represents a key decision point in the life of a product. By
ensuring the coordination of management and technical functions at these points,
CPDM provides:

 project accountability,
 product quality,
 business and technical coordination, and
 visibility and control for management.

The process is flexible, well documented, and readily available. All test plans,
required specifications, design approval documents, and other templates are stored
online and are downloadable. This documentation includes a “flexibility procedure,”
which is used to customize the standard CPDM process to fit specific product

The methodology behind CPDM also allows the lessons of prior products to be fed
back into the development process (Figure 32). When the end-of-life phase is
complete, Cisco analyzes all phases of the product‟s life, reports those findings, and
integrates the results into the beginning of the next product development cycle.


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Cisco Product Development Methodology

Closed Loop Learning

Figure 32


Over the past 20 years, Cisco has moved steadily away from the in-house
manufacturing of products. Today, it outsources 95 percent of its production to an
“ecosystem” of manufacturing suppliers. In response, the Global Business
Operations unit shifted its focus from manufacturing oversight to management of
an extensive worldwide value chain.

The company views efficient, quality-based value chain management as an essential

component of quality, market leadership, and the customer experience. Cisco uses
Customer Value Chain Management (CVCM) to control every aspect of product
delivery throughout this network and the organization (Figure 33).


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Cisco’s Customer Value Chain/End-to-end Customer Experience

Figure 33

CVCM incorporates multiple groups and functions within the company as well as
the input of top customers and sales channel partners. Members of the CVCM team
are located with, and are part of, the company‟s working teams to represent value
chain interests at every level of product delivery.


CVCM‟s integration reflects Cisco‟s view that product quality and value chain
consistency are the responsibility of every group in the organization. Prior to the
implementation of CVCM, a number of independent quality processes were in
place, but a lack of coordination prevented optimal results.

In 2008, Cisco formed a team to develop a new, cohesive method for managing
quality at every level. The result is the Cisco Quality Management Operating System
(QMOS), an organization within CVCM designed to bring groups and processes
together to drive quality (Figure 34).


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Cisco’s QMOS Operating Model and Governance Structure

Figure 34

QMOS is not a stand-alone business group. To ensure consistency and

organization-wide implementation, it is composed of members from across Cisco‟s
business functions and groups. These members review existing quality processes,
establish metrics, and drive the adoption of processes within their working groups.

“[QMOS is] a common environment where we can plan together,

act together, and deliver together on common goals and then
measure that output as we go forward.”

—Giselle Stancic, CVCM market intelligence and

benchmarking manager

QMOS has its own VSE, expanded to Vision, Strategy, Execution, and
Measurement, or VSEM. Internal and external quality measurement is an important
part of, and input to, the QMOS process. For example, Cisco collects over 105,000
customer surveys annually, and the results together with internal operational metrics


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are considered in the determination of quality processes. Review is also part of the
metric process, and each measurement is evaluated and modified for
appropriateness, accuracy, usefulness, and customer impact.


External benchmarking offers Cisco the opportunity to improve its processes by
learning how other companies handle similar processes successfully. Throughout its
benchmarking initiatives, Cisco has discovered that every organization has its own
language, which can make benchmarking a challenge. Cisco uses APQC‟s PCF to
simplify the “translation” process. The company has discovered that using the
categories—both at the top level and the drill-down levels underneath—facilitates
the exchange of information and best practices, both in one-on-one and group
benchmarking projects.

Cisco‟s current practices and processes provide a consistent approach to rapidly
changing and expanding technology markets. The company places great value on
collaboration and coordination throughout its strategic, development, and delivery
processes. This integration allows the company to take advantage of new markets
and opportunities in a reasoned and consistent way, while preserving the customer
experience and value that has made it a market leader.


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Case Study
ING Life Japan
ING Life Japan (INGLJ) is embarking on its second year of transformation. It will
be difficult to top the results of the first. The organization has:

1. reduced staffing from 167 to 100 core Operations people while maintaining
current volume,
2. decreased call handling time by 25 percent,
3. reduced cycle time for all transactions by 50 percent,
4. been ranked top performer for Contact Center in the entire industry within the
country, and
5. accomplished it all at a cost equivalent to four FTEs.

And this is only the beginning for ING Life Japan (INGLJ) as the organization
begins its second year of transformation. So how does an organization with over
700 people managing 25 billion in assets accomplish such results in a short amount
of time? Just two words: process framework. The design and implementation of
INGLJ‟s framework is based on four components: process improvement/business
process framework, a management operating methodology, quality assurance, and

These components are described in detail in the remainder of this case study. At the
core of INGLJ‟s transformative journey to become one of the highest-performing
Operations functions in ING Asia Pacific is the way it harnessed the power of a
process framework by linking management activities to the day-to-day work that
was occurring. Easy to say … not so easy to do.

ING Background
ING Life Japan is part of the ING Global corporation, which includes 107,000 staff
members in 40 countries, serving more than 85 million customers. ING‟s core
service areas include banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services,
with over 1.1 trillion Euros in assets under management.

INGLJ‟s journey began in 2009 in response to the global economic crisis that was
having a significant impact on financial institutions—not just in terms of revenue,
but also in terms of how organizations operated on day-to-day basis. Increasing
governmental oversight and regulations as well as changing customer expectations
created a catalyst for transformation. Although INGLJ was not as heavily impacted
as some other financial service organizations, its leadership knew that it had to make
changes to maintain INGLJ‟s current level of success. This meant improving


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services that customers valued to increase brand awareness and reducing costs to
maintain profitability. Every function within INGLJ was given targets to reduce unit
(transaction) costs within a very short timeframe.

With a strong focus on cost reductions, INGLJ leadership turned its attention to the
Operations function as one source of potential savings (in most organizations,
Operations is not a profit center). Operations at INGLJ consists of four main areas
under the direction of the chief operating officer: underwriting, customer service,
customer contact, and business engineering. This group initially consisted of 167
core Operations staffers, with 100 interacting directly with customers and
accounting for approximately 2.2 million transactions per year (Figure 35).

INGLJ’s Operations Structure

Figure 35

The Process Framework Journey Begins

In November of 2008, INGLJ conducted a four week audit of its core operations
and concluded that although performance was in the “green,” it was significantly
behind other ING regions in terms of service quality, performance, and cost.
Although executive leadership felt the external push for improved performance in
response to the global economic crisis, it was a tough sell for many middle managers
who felt performance was good enough.

Leaders saw this as a perfect opportunity to create breakthrough transformation for

the organization, so the Transformer Program was established to move the work
forward. Liam Ward, business transformation manager, was brought in to lead the
effort based on his success in developing a process transformation framework with
ING Australia. The goal was to not simply learn from ING Australia‟s best practices
but to adopt those practices as holistically as possible. INGLJ‟s chief operating
officer at the time felt this would provide the greatest chance for overall success.


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During the initial stages of the Transformer Program, it became apparent that
INGLJ did not have the operational levers in place to identify, implement, or
manage systemic change. The biggest piece of this was the inability to really
understand, in a quantitative way, the work that was being done on a day-to-day
basis. The impact of this was that nobody knew where to apply improvement
methods or what the impact could be. The team responsible for the Transformer
Program saw five critical weaknesses that needed to be overcome:

1. Very few processes were formally identified and mapped.

2. The majority of operational knowledge was tacit, held in people‟s heads.
3. There was no common process governance model, which led to large variations
in the way processes were managed and ultimately in the types of services and
deliverables customers received.
4. Lack of common processes perpetuated uncommon performance measures,
making it difficult to track, compare, and monitor process performance across
5. Lack of visibility into the day-to-day workload made it extremely difficult to
provide resource leveling.

In response to these challenges, four initiatives were established as the core

components of the Transformer Program (Figure 36). These were:

 streamlining the complexities of the processes by developing a framework to

govern process improvement,
 implementing a management operating methodology,
 introducing a quality assurance program, and
 increasing employee engagement (people).

In the end, INGLJ was recognized as having a best-practice Operations area within
the ING Asia Pacific region. The following sections describe the objectives and
goals, implementation strategy, success factors, and impacts of each of these


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Core Elements of ING Life Japan’s Transformer Program

Figure 36


Liam Ward, manager of the business transformation team that was responsible for
the Transformer Program, made it very clear that the first initiative had to be
process improvement. The key to this work was to take a step back and get a
complete understanding of what work was actually being done. How many people
were involved, how long tasks took, the volume of transactions, and the frequency
of processes across the entire Operations function were all vital pieces of
information. Without this knowledge, there would be no way to evaluate process
improvement opportunities, measure change, or evaluate success.

The process improvement initiative had five goals that defined success:

1. Improve productivity by 50 percent, reduce head count by 30 percent, and

reduce overtime by 14 percent.
2. Create a business process framework for Operations based on APQC‟s Process
Classification Framework (PCF).
3. Apply Lean principles to all Operations activities to identify value-add from a
customer perspective. The end results were to eliminate waste (resources and
capital) and to remove unevenness across service delivery.
4. Enhance transparency of process tasks, workflows, and measures across all
levels of management and staff.
5. Move the organizational culture into one focused on process improvement as a
key value creator by training and involving all staff members in the work. All


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employees, from front-line employees to the COO, should be fully engaged in

the process improvement framework and fully immersed in the cultural change
that they would be going through.

These goals were accomplished by creating the business process framework (BPF)
(Figure 37) that aligned core operational processes throughout the entire
organization. It is important to note that at this time INGLJ did not have a central
repository or governance for any of its processes. Therefore, the development of
the BPF was a new and necessary initiative.

INGLJ’s Business Process Framework

Figure 37

The BPF included five stages for developing and maintaining processes across

 design,
 modeling,
 execution,
 monitoring, and
 optimization.

Design work encompassed both the identification of existing and the design of “to-
be” processes throughout the entire business cycle. It focused on representation of
the process flow, the actors within it, alerts and notifications, escalations, standard
operating procedures, service-level agreements, and task hand-over mechanisms.
Microsoft Visio was used for process mapping, SharePoint for storing and accessing


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documentation, and Microsoft Excel to manage the list of process and associated
targets and measures. All aspects of the processes, including human-to-human,
human-to-system, and system-to-system workflows, were designed or redesigned
according to targeted regulatory challenges, market, or competitive challenges faced
by the business.

The bulk of the modeling effort was allocated to mapping the “as-is” state, but there
was some discussion about theoretical design. For example: If cost, system
capabilities, time, and customer needs were not limitations, what would the ideal
process look like? After the as-is mapping was complete, the next step was to
develop “what if” scenarios, or process exceptions, to ensure tasks could be
completed no matter what happened. During modeling, the team identified specific
steps, tasks, and outputs that historically have had high levels of rework, either
automated or manual. These data were a critical input to the second initiative, the
management operating methodology.

Here the focus was on identifying all non value-added activities or process
bottlenecks that were impediments to improving performance goals and removing
them from the process. In addition, tasks that had the longest cycle times, not due
to any impediments, were highlighted and contextualized to explain why. This phase
also included a risk assessment for each process.

This step encompassed the tracking of all process steps so metadata (the who, what,
when, where, and why) would be current and available, and statistics pertaining to
process performance could be provided. Ward made this point clear: “We could
map, design, and create new process, but if we didn‟t understand the impact [on
outcomes], it [would be] difficult to justify the costs associated with the change.”
Process performance measures developed during this phase typically fit into one of
three categories: cycle time, defect rate, or productivity. Each was monitored to
various extents based on what information the business wanted to evaluate and

Performance data (both qualitative and quantitative) gathered during the monitoring
phase were reviewed to further identify bottlenecks and potential opportunities for
design enhancement. Special attention was paid to tasks that could be automated for
“quick wins” or to improvements that would impact multiple processes.


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Supporting Tools and Deliverables

In conjunction with the development of the BPF, the team created a set of tools and
deliverables that were used to manage the BPF itself as well as the five-steps just
described. First was the process matrix, which was a spreadsheet that held all the
metadata about each process.

For example, Figure 38 shows a portion of the process matrix for set of
transactional processes in the paying out and paying in process categories. Data were
collected pertaining to service levels, service expectations (expected cycle times to
complete the transaction), annual transaction volume, the existence of a map, and
whether the process had gone through the optimization phase. The matrix played an
integral role in the entire process improvement initiative as it finally gave the team
and other staff members a way to visualize the impact of each process, as well as the
potential return on investment for improvement activities.

ING Life Japan’s Process Matrix

Figure 38

The Transformer team soon realized that that only a small percentage of the 132
processes had to be optimized initially to see a significant return. Thirty-four percent
of these processes accounted for 96 percent of the annual transactional volume.
This provided crucial data for prioritizing which processes should be focused on
first as part of the Transformer Program initiatives. Prioritization was also based on:

 critical processes that must be completed,

 high transactional volume, and
 whether the process was categorized as major or minor (major meaning
transaction volume higher than 100 annually or monies as the transaction


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The second tool in the BPF, a process library created on the internal SharePoint
portal to provide information for all employees, includes as-is maps, to-be maps,
and training materials. The key here is that the information was available to all
employees. The last tool was the implementation of two process improvement
methodologies: One Touch and Lean Kaizen.

 One Touch: Eighteen of the operational processes were selected to go through

the One Touch methodology, which is based on drastically reducing the
number of touch points in a process. Essentially these 18 processes were
redesigned and optimized to have only two touch points—one to handle the
actual work associated with the transaction and one for quality control. Some of
these processes had upwards of seven touch points, so redesigning them was a
fundamental leap in the way work was completed. It was a simple concept that
had a huge impact in terms of efficiency and cost savings.

 Lean Kaizen: The main goal of this methodology was to eliminate waste in the
form of waiting time, unnecessary interruptions (avoidable phone calls and staff
movements), over-quality (focus on what customers truly value and remove the
rest), over-processing, and load-balancing workloads. Employees were
beginning to be multi-skilled. Therefore, the number of individuals touching the
process could be reduced, and they could work on a broader range of processes.
Throughout the implementation of this methodology, INGLJ made a conscious
and concerted effort to leverage a more bottom-up approach as Kaizen ideas
were solicited from all employees.


The next step after building the BPF was to figure out how to support the work
necessary to complete the processes. The Management Operating Methodology
(MOM) was established to support this as a framework within which employees do
their work. It was a consistent, reliable, and integrated system for planning, decision
making, executing, and reporting on activities. In support of the BPF, MOM also
enabled managers to effectively plan and manage day-to-day activities in the most
efficient and consistent way by:

 Setting standards in which to plan, organize and assign work, and monitor
progress and performance. This provided consistency in the way that activities
and performance were communicated, reported, and tracked.
 Providing a daily monitoring system to identify variances and the means to
correct them quickly.


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 Having a clear reporting framework for all management levels. This enabled
follow-up on work assignments and ensured that work was completed on time,
to service and quality standards, and conformed to all business requirements.
 Clarifying roles and responsibilities for key processes. This ensured that people
were held accountable for their work and performance.
 Aligning and reinforcing the right behaviors.

The MOM was designed to help ING Operations measure what really matters and
to enable teams to make sound operational and strategic decisions in a timely
manner. It includes tools that facilitate corrective action, develop root cause analysis,
and determine the exactly what the organization needs to accomplish its business

ING Life Japan’s Management Operating Methodology (MOM)

Figure 39

The following five steps, shown in Figure 39, are the core components of the

1. Forecast—This step combines historical trends, real-time data, and

management judgment to provide a more reliable method of predicting future
volumes. A forecast is created for every process on a daily, weekly, monthly,
and annual basis.


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2. Plan—This step involves translating the forecast into workload by applying

standards and constraints and then assigning resources. In combination with
robust forecasting, the plan allows more accurate matching of resource levels to
the expected workload.

3. Schedule—In this step, the plans are converted into work that has to be
completed to effectively meet plan targets. Each schedule matches the work to
be done to the resources required to complete the work, such as labor,
equipment, and materials. It also details the service expectation (the amount of
time to complete the transaction), ensuring staff members are allocated a fair
day‟s work, and tracks actual performance so that teams can detect any
variances and remove them from the process.

4. Implement—This step manages actual performance against planned

performance in real time to identify and correct variances. This is essentially
measuring the health of the process, allowing the team to take timely action to
ensure it meets daily business objectives. Many circumstances can impede the
delivery of the daily plan, so effective short interval controls are needed. The
measure and control activities within implementation are seen as a supportive,
which encourages employees to focus on performance-to-standard and to
articulate barriers. Review meetings (“huddles,” which are described in more
detail later) are a key component of this phase.

5. Report and Evaluate—Reporting is clear, consistent, and timely, showing

performance against the plan, and provides the foundation for increasing the
accuracy of forecasting, planning, and scheduling. This phase is well-rounded to
account for quality, service standards, and cost. Through reporting and
evaluation, management is able to identify variance to plan, determine the root
cause of the variance, and subsequently determine the corrective action
required. Overall, it becomes a systematic approach to permanently remove
problems from the business.

One of the critical success factors of the MOM implementation was the ability to
visualize the business. To provide this ability, INGLJ created four tools to forecast,
schedule, and report process results. These tools were the driving force behind the
Transformer Program‟s success at exceeding goals for customers, employees, and
shareholders. The MOM tools are:

1. Master schedule (MS)—a spreadsheet-based tool that incorporates daily

forecasts, daily schedules, and a monthly summary of resources. It translates
expected transaction volumes into the resource requirements needed to
complete the work to quality, cost, and delivery requirements. The MS uses a
measurement called service expectation, which is the number of units of work a
competent operator can complete per hour under normal circumstances.

2. Daily reporting—hybrid reports that link transactional data from the mainframe
to offline data (process metadata, for example) stored in smaller databases. The


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daily report displays the results for the previous day for each administrative
team. Data elements in the reports include:

 Number of staff members on each team

 Total staff members scheduled to be in the office on the day of the report
 Available hours minus shrinkage (noncore activities, i.e., meetings and
 Forecasted hours, calculated based on case volumes
 Actual hours received and completed
 Variance, or the difference between cases forecasted and actually received
 Outstanding cases not completed for the day
 Attainment, or completion rate

3. Whiteboards—used to clearly demonstrate each team‟s current workload and

highlight the performance of the team relative to the previous day.

4. Daily huddles—used at the start of each day to review the previous day‟s
performance and detail any issues that may affect achievement of the current
day‟s goals. Each workday begins with one huddle for management and another
for managers and their individual teams. Managers also conduct floor walks to
see if each team member requires any assistance and to monitor the day‟s
overall performance.

The daily reporting, whiteboards, and daily huddles all fall under the Active
Management umbrella. This proactive approach to the daily management of
Operations allowed for early detection of variances to work plans.


To ensure the BPF and the MOM provided ongoing tangible benefits, measured in
terms of business competitiveness, a Quality Assurance (QA) and Monitoring model
was also created and deployed for Operations by the Transformer Team. This
model enabled managers to provide constructive feedback to workers and to
evaluate the processes themselves through consistent and structured evaluation of
activities. The QA work, in conjunction with all the data collected and reported in
the MOM, gave an accurate and immediate view of the process environment that
could be used to ensure overall quality. The transportation team, as an independent
function, provided governance for the QA model.

Quality Assurance has four distinct elements, shown in Figure 40:

1. Complaints—reporting, servicing, and action plans to reduce the number of

customer complaints received. All complaints are tagged to the process
framework by process, which provides extremely valuable data for the
optimization process. The processes with the most complaints are good


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candidates. The data can also be used in the design or redesign phase for the
“to-be” state for processes.

2. Voice of customer—activities focused on gathering value-based data from

customers. This is done through the use of customer satisfaction surveys as well
as the calculation and reporting of the Net Promoter Score (an industry
standard method of evaluating customer satisfaction and loyalty).

3. Quality control—data from all transactions, which are checked by Operations

team members. This core set of data is used to identify errors by task, work
stream, or the larger process. Management monitors these data to identify
specific work tasks that have a significant number of errors. Solutions are
additional training for the staff or process optimization/modification.

4. Quality monitoring—random quality control, achieved and rechecked by the

monitoring program after a transaction has been completed. This check is used
within the contact center once a call is finished.

ING Life Japan’s Quality Assurance Program

Figure 40


Employee engagement was driven by factors based on demographics and
perceptions (Figure 41). The factors that were most important, or most valued by
employees, were also the motivating factors that drove engagement. This
information gave the Transformer Program team insight into which factors to focus
on first to improve employee working life. The team realized that many of these
factors were directly related to the processes in the BPF and that streamlining these
processes through the Process Management steps and balancing resources with
workload as indentified by the MOM would increase employee engagement.


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INGLJ’s Employee Engagement Model

Figure 41

Improving employee engagement was not as simple as aligning the motivating

factors with the process work. It would have been easier, in terms of time and
cultural inertia, to simply adapt the best practices from ING Australia into the
culture of INGLJ. But it became apparent that adapting would compromise the
scope and benefits and ultimately change the practices too much. The COO decided
that the only option was to adopt best practices and change the culture to fit the
practices. At the beginning, some middle and line managers resisted this approach.
This resistance reduced after a few months as performance improved and frontline
employees saw their day-to-day workloads decreasing. The staff became much more
engaged, and the culture began to shift, as people found that the process framework,
MOM, and quality assurance initiatives greatly impacted work-life factors.

The continued success of the Transformer Program depends on the level of

engagement people have throughout the process. Thus, it is important to provide
opportunities for the staff, from all levels within Operations, to be involved in key
decision-making activities and to make the whole process (the management of the
framework) transparent. This is accomplished through three communication

1. Transformer action teams—groups of frontline employees working with the

business transformation team to provide feedback on all change initiatives in
the Operations area. Every team in Operations is represented by a member in a
monthly meeting. Transformer action team members work as ambassadors,
collaborating with their own teams to receive feedback and communicate
changes. Managers are not allowed to be part of this frontline working group.
2. Transformer Times—a quarterly newsletter, much of which is written by
employees, is sent to all Operations employees. It includes updates, staff


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profiles, an events calendar, and Q&A. The newsletter is placed on the

recreational area of SharePoint for easy access.
3. Transformer communications plan—a series of visual aids (posters, leaflets, and
e-post cards) is used in the COO‟s communications to the entire organizations,
monthly Operations manager meetings, and quarterly town halls.

ING Life Japan has moved their Operations function from the middle of the pack
to one of the top performing in the entire ING Life corporation—all within a single
year and at a relatively low cost compared to the realized benefits. While the journey
has started off with many successes, the Transformer team has a lot of work ahead
of it in the coming years, as success breeds higher expectations. The focus for the
next phase of implementation is going to be on integrating knowledge management
best practices into the framework, implementing ING common process (from a
regional perspective), and beginning the work of moving the framework into other
functions in the organization.


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Case Study
Pitney Bowes
Serving the $250 billion U.S. “Global Mailstream” market, Pitney Bowes has
continuously operated since 1920, earning over $5.6 billion USD in revenue in 2009.

Pitney Bowes has acquired 83 companies since the year 2000. These acquisitions
include high-tech companies involved in customer relationship management,
litigation support, and traditional mail services. Pitney Bowes also maintains a robust
intellectual property portfolio including more than 3,000 patents worldwide.

Pitney Bowes uses their framework to get real work done. Their Mailing Solutions
Management line of business defines and manages business processes and organizes
its content using the framework.

Pitney Bowes is unique in its bottom-up adoption of a process framework, which

continues to spread through the business. Although the organization‟s use of a
framework began as a high-level business transformation project within one of its
divisions, the project hasn‟t yet left that single division. The spread of the process
framework outside that division of Pitney Bowes can be credited to the work done
within that department.

Considering the unique way in which Pitney Bowes is using the process framework,
it should not be compared to organizations with more centralized or well-funded
business process management (BPM) initiatives. Pitney Bowes‟ excellence comes
from the bottom-up way in which the framework was adopted and is currently
being adapted.

Pitney Bowes lines of businesses include: Mailing Solutions Management (MSM),

Pitney Bowes Business Intelligence (PBBI), Pitney Bowes Managed Services
(PBMS), and Mail Services. The Global Process Management team is chartered
under Mailing Solutions Management and consists of four global process owners
and three directors, each responsible for components of process management and
business transformation within Mailing Solutions Management.

The Customer Operations organization is responsible for managing key customer-

facing functions and processes for the Mailing Solutions Management organization.
Initial work on the Business Transformation project included the Pitney Bowes
Business Transformation team (composed of members of the Customer Operations
organization and the Global Process Management team) and a professional services


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In 2007, executives in Pitney Bowes‟ Mailing Solutions Management recognized the
need to modernize and streamline their operations and become a more customer-
centric organization. The executives initiated a project to review and enhance the
policies and processes surrounding their customer billing processes, a core
customer-facing function within the organization. Objectives for this “billing
transformation project” were to reduce billing complexity and cycle time in the end-
to-end customer billing process.

The work on the billing transformation project caused the project team to realize
how many processes across Pitney Bowes depend on the customer billing process.
Until this time, a single customer doing business with multiple Pitney Bowes
business units could have received a different invoice from each of those units.
Within a year, the executives realized that a more thorough business transformation
project was in order. The interdependencies between the customer billing process
and the rest of the processes in the business were just too great to consider the
customer billing process alone.

Pitney Bowes chartered a new business transformation team. It consisted of the

individuals from the previous billing transformation team and an additional 20
people from across Mailing Solutions Management who lent expertise in related
areas that were now within scope. The Global Process Management team also
formed at this time. This team would become the key catalyst for the adoption of an
enterprise process framework and the further adaption of the framework within the


The charter for this new business transformation project—started in 2008 near the
peak of the global financial crisis—included a reduction in the complexity of Pitney
Bowes‟s Mailing Solutions Management (MSM) operations. The project also focused
on a return to the core of what made Pitney Bowes a market-leading company by
funneling the results from the Mailing Solutions Management division upward to
the results of the project‟s efforts. MSM executives challenged the project team to
document “What is Pitney Bowes?” with the objective of becoming “totally process
driven” and gaining more of a global perspective of all customer-facing functions
within this line of business. Gaining this perspective, largely by interacting with
functions outside of MSM, was a simple way to reduce operational complexity.

Pitney Bowes hired a professional services firm to participate in the business

transformation project, and that firm made the initial selection (adoption) of the
first enterprise process framework for Pitney Bowes, with little input from the
internal project team. During the adoption process, Pitney Bowes asked the
professional services firm to “help us define what it means to be Pitney Bowes.”


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After the professional services firm recommended a framework, the Pitney Bowes
team began the adoption process. First, the team identified critical “business
policies,” statements that summarize the operating principles and philosophy of
Pitney Bowes. Defining these policies was a labor-intensive task. The combined
team spent 10 calendar weeks, eight hours a day, working on this initial policy
development activity. The initial team consisted of 35 individuals, including seven
process owners and a number of functional managers and business analysts.

After identifying the practices and policies that defined the future vision of MSM,
the Global Process Management team began the arduous process of backfilling that
content into the adopted framework (Figure 42).

Pitney Bowes’ Global Processes and Ownership

Figure 42

The strategy adopted by the Global Process Management team to backfill this
content was simple: It would adopt the framework as a baseline set of processes that
defined what Pitney Bowes accomplished. In certain critical areas, the team would
then dive into the details, creating additional policies, procedures, and other
necessary documentation. Pitney Bowes was trying to identify the best practices—
through the policies that defined the Mailing Solutions Management division—by
which to transform their business. It did this by looking not only “back” at the
policies and procedures it currently performed, but also “forward” at the policies
and procedures it sought to implement. The business policies combined with the


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high-level framework defined what MSM at Pitney Bowes does. The defined
documents organized into the framework defined how the work was accomplished.

The team also recognized the need for long-term governance of the framework. As
a result, the Global Process Management team created and implemented a
governance strategy for the framework. The governance structure covers two main
areas: the framework as a whole and the content managed by the framework. One
of the key concepts introduced by the framework is version control over the
documents. Documentation is managed in Pitney Bowes‟ SharePoint portal. The
overall intent of the governance structure was implemented to provide risk
management oversight to this new critical asset.

After about 12 months of working on the project, the team reached an intermediate
goal, and the business transformation project transitioned to the adaptation phase of
the work. One of the most significant deliverables from the business transformation
project was Pitney Bowes‟ complete enterprise process framework (EPF), which
was ultimately adopted by the Global Process Management team, including Maureen
Gervais, program manager.

The framework, based on APQC‟s Process Classification Framework (PCF), depicts

at a high level the interdependencies among the various parts of Pitney Bowes. The
Global Process Management team is responsible for maintaining the EPF and its
continued adaptation by the various Pitney Bowes departments and operating

The choice to continue the adoption and ultimate adaptation of the enterprise
process framework without formal centralized support and buy-in may seem to be a
recipe for rework, but Pitney Bowes has found a unique way to continuously widen
the scope of the project: stakeholder management and continuous adaptation.


The Customer Service & Support process suite, led by its global process owner, is
considered a center of excellence for using process frameworks within Pitney Bowes
because it has taken the lead in adapting the framework to the actual work being
done within the department. The Customer Service & Support process suite handles
a significant portion of customer-facing functions and processes in the Global
Service organization.

The Global Process Management team engaged APQC in 2009 to customize and
deliver a training class covering BPM basics. This training helped the entire Global
Process Management team craft a common frame of reference for the adaptation
process. Once the initial framework was defined, the strategy outlined, and the team
trained, the next steps became clear.


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One of the first adaptation steps taken by the Global Process Management team
was to define the scope of the work it would try to accomplish. The team did this by
drawing a line in the sand around the processes that would be included in the initial
transformation effort. The initial in-scope processes included:

 bill presentment;
 bill processing;
 customer service—incoming call-handling activities; and
 customer handling—on-site service and maintenance, including repairs.

Processes outside this scope but still within the Global Service organization do not
have assigned global process owners and are not candidates for review and
adaptation until a pressing business need arises. When that happens, the Global
Process Management team evaluates the request and determines if the effort
required to adapt the process will produce a sufficient benefit. Processes that are not
adapted simply continue to exist in their current state.

The Global Process Management team began its adaptation activities by assembling
the various functional leads and process owners in a room and having them identify
the gaps between the adopted framework and the reality of their various processes.
This activity identified a number of gaps and helped define the scope the work to be
performed by the Customer Operations team.

The adaptation process effectively takes any existing documentation and adapts it to
fit one of these core content categories:

 Policies
 Process flow diagrams
 Training

If information required to develop the content is not available for the process, the
Global Process Management team synthesizes the content. The Global Process
Management team facilitates the work, answering questions and providing guidance
to the process owners as necessary. Material is never taken straight from as-is
documentation and dropped into the adopted EPF; it first is reviewed and modified
as needed to ensure it fits with the rest of the EPF.

During adaptation, the scope of the Global Process Management team‟s work is
managed using a simple parking lot method. If, in the course of adapting the
process, a functional owner or the global process owner has a question about the
process‟ scope that cannot be answered, the matter is removed to the parking lot
where the global process owner can choose to address it at a later time.

The Global Process Management team also developed relationship grids and key
performance indicators (KPIs) at the functional level. Within a particular process,
the team developed a relationship grid identifying the interdependencies among the


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various functional members of the team as defined by the adapted framework. For
each function within the process, the team reviews any KPIs that already exist and
may develop new ones as needed.

A number of challenges arose after the adaptation process began. One of the
challenges that most affected the Global Process Management team was that the
process elements of the adopted EPF are not consistently leveled, meaning that
some activities are relatively more detailed than others. Some of the elements in the
EPF were more descriptions of “how” to do something rather than descriptions of
“what” was to be accomplished. The resulting gaps in the documentation made it
difficult for the team to accurately associate the new policies with the process
framework and complete the adaptation activities.

The Global Process Management team solved this leveling problem by choosing a
new target level of detail and performing a gap analysis to identify any process
elements requiring remediation. The team then added the missing information based
on the scope of adjacent process elements as needed. The team conducted two-day
reviews of the adapted processes, during which the members unanimously agreed
on the framework. The global process owners signed off on the framework for their
pertinent areas, and that version of the framework became the baseline.

Adapting a process is not a trivial task. Participation in a process can be very wide,
depending upon the process. Also, the state of existing process documentation
materials prior to framework adaptation is a good indicator of the effort required to
adapt the process. In Pitney Bowes‟ case, many of the Customer Operations
documents were not systematically organized or were stored in a variety of formats,
including paper copies. In some cases, there were no electronic copies of paper
documents. Locating, understanding, and converting these documents into a
consistent format was a time-consuming and error-prone process.

Reducing the effort required to adapt a process begins with choosing a friendly
voice—a process owner or functional owner who has expressed interest in the
work. Pitney Bowes‟ Global Process Management team found individuals within the
functions and processes who were interested in the process owner role. Because
they had inside knowledge, they needed little guidance and were able to begin work
quickly. Also, after completing a few minor adaptation tasks with all involved
parties, the team made a sort of internal case study available for other process and
functional owners to review. Using these case studies as guides helped reduce the
effort needed to get new team members on board and fully participating.

Another tactic leveraged by the Global Process Management team to reduce the
effort required to adapt a process was focusing on the WIIFM (what‟s in it for me?).
With the work structured to reflect WIIFM, the members of the Global Process
Management team were more apt to participate and produce high-quality work
products. Preparing the “pitch” to communicate the value proposition to new and
potential teammates was a good investment of time. The initial teams that did not
have the pitch prepared didn‟t fare as well as the later teams that were prepared with


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this communication tool. Those earlier teams ended up spending more time
revisiting initial assumptions and boundaries.

Consistent training also helps to reduce the cycle time to adapt a process. Many of
the Pitney Bowes‟ team members involved in adaptation did not have a good
understanding of the work performed by the Global Process Management team or
where the work fit within the organization. Early on, the Global Process
Management team developed a six- or seven-slide presentation about the EPF. The
global process owners in the Global Process Management team were responsible for
taking this base training presentation and customizing it as needed for their team
members. Again, this upfront investment in tools helped Pitney Bowes improve the
quality of the teams‟ work products.

Once a process has been completely adapted to suit the global process owner‟s
needs and the Global Process Management team‟s standards, the document is stored
in a special SharePoint repository organized by the adapted framework (based on

Another key that Pitney Bowes identified as critical to its success is that it celebrates
the small victories. Global Process leadership spends time sending messages to their
department when one of their global process owners completes an adaptation task.
This helps build awareness and “fans” of the work that the Global Process
Management team is doing, simplifying future work. Pitney Bowes has noticed that
team members involved in these positive feedback activities are more dedicated and
less prone to passive-aggressive feedback.

To date, Pitney Bowes has completed the adaptation of the bill presentment and bill
processing processes within the Customer Operations global process owner realm,
commonly referred to as the order-to-cash process. These revised processes have
proved the value anticipated by the Global Process Management team, and work
continues on subsequent processes in the Customer Operations portfolio.


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Case Study
Almost everyone has either sent or received a package through UPS. Their
ubiquitous presence is but a thin veneer over a complex worldwide organization
with a dynamic history spanning over 100 years. With humble roots starting in
Seattle, Washington, UPS has grown to deliver more than 14 million packages a day.

UPS is organized into four main divisions:

 U.S. Operations, consisting of Airline, Brokerage, Ground Operations, and

Freight Operations;
 International Package Operations;
 UPS Contract Logistics; and
 Other Non-Package business, including the UPS Store and Mailboxes Etc.
mailing services retail chains.

The company was founded in 1907 by Jim Casey, and today still exhibits the culture
he created. With over 400,000 employees, UPS is the second largest employer in the
United States. Many of its managers and supervisors were hired from within.

“The world changed around UPS. If you don’t change your

processes, and if you don’t have a framework that keeps you
anchored in what you do … you’re going to be in real trouble.”
—Dawson Wood, department manager,
program management group

UPS operates more than 250 aircraft and is among the 10 largest airlines in the
world. It also operates more than 88,000 trademark-brown package cars, vans,
tractors, and motorcycles. This large fleet is required to handle the daily delivery of
over 12 million packages worldwide, collected from over 62,000 retail access points
and innumerable homes and businesses. In conjunction with UPS‟ delivery service,
UPS information systems handles more than 22 million package tracking requests
daily. UPS also generates, processes, and ultimately discards more than 2 terabytes
of data daily.


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Many of the employees at UPS are trained industrial engineers, and it shows in the
company‟s development of mature processes. Dawson Wood, department manager
for UPS‟ program management group, summarizes it best: “UPS sells only one
thing: the output of its processes.” He goes on to say: “Customers expect
consistency and quality: „I need it delivered in three days every time from Houston
to New York, and I need it [delivered] without being broken. For that, I‟m willing to
pay you a pre-negotiated price.‟” If things don‟t go right within the processes that
make that possible, UPS loses money. UPS‟ industrial engineers have carefully
developed systems of processes, including a process framework, that help them get
this work done.


“... A hard part of management’s problem is to know when to make

changes and when to hold fast to what is still good.”

—Jim Casey, founder, UPS, 1948

In the early 1990s, UPS had a problem: Results for many key performance
indicators (KPIs) were down, and forecasts were not encouraging. This trend had
been present for a few years by this time, but by 1996 it caught management‟s
attention. A complete explanation for the trend was not readily available, but
managers knew they faced external pressures from new competitors in the U.S.
small-package delivery marketplace. These new competitors were taking the most
profitable customers from this core market segment, and it was affecting UPS‟
overall profitability.

Customers like Wal-Mart were demanding more visibility into their own supply
chains. As a result, they began to place more demands on UPS. This new breed of
customer requested services such as “demand pack” and the pre-determination of
the contents of boxes, skids (pallets), and entire package trucks. No longer was the
business about making sure that the package arrived on time; the business now had
to be as concerned about package information as it was with the package itself. One
customer even demanded that package tracking information arrive at least one hour
before the package.

Management then began to investigate the UPS‟ core processes. Using sophisticated
statistical process analysis that leveraged the expertise of its core industrial
engineering skill set and in-the-trenches managers, the management team
determined that it needed to restructure the core UPS processes. At the time,
business process re-engineering as defined by Michael Hammer was in vogue, and a
re-engineering project was considered.


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Armed with a wealth of popular business process re-engineering information,

management convened a team to re-engineer UPS‟ core processes (Figure 43). The
team worked for about two years to come up with the “to-be” design of the new
process framework.


The resulting framework consisted of a set of 11 customer-facing processes, which
were eventually reduced to four. The team also defined a set of five support
processes. The distinction between the core processes and the support processes
was simple: Support processes are not “what the customer comes to UPS for.”

For example, customers don‟t come to UPS to participate in the billing process. The
billing process is a support process, subordinate to the package management
process, but it still must be as effectively and efficiently designed as the package
management process.

This new process framework also considered customer demands on UPS and
emerging trends such as business analytics and the ability to track the individual
contents of packages. Because the design of these processes took place during
normal operations, UPS‟ next challenge was to apply this new framework of
processes without disrupting the business.

With over 100 years of history and culture working against it, the core team tried
fruitlessly to change the organization of UPS to match the new process framework.
Employee feedback on the new framework was negative: In many cases, employees
had spent decades following particular functional career paths, only to have those
paths disappear in the new model. This left senior employees uncertain as to where
they fit. It soon became evident that the change in organizational structure could
only succeed if accompanied by a similar change in culture, career pathing, and
career progression. This ultimately led to a severe change in thinking about how the
organization would adapt the framework.


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UPS’ Core Processes

Figure 43


After realizing that a complete change in organizational structure was not feasible,
management crafted a different plan: assign ownership of core processes to a
manager and then overlay the cross-functional processes atop traditional functions
with their existing managers. The result was a structure in which a cross-functional
process is led by a single cross-functional leader but involves a number of
subordinate functional managers. The cross-functional leader interacts with other
cross-functional leaders to resolve conflicting demands on functional resources.

Implementation of this strategy required a significant amount of effort in training,

oversight, and performing the required tasks. To assist with implementation, UPS
created the program management group, 25 people under the vice president of
strategy supporting the worldwide UPS organization. The group‟s original charter
was to act as a governing body, protecting the integrity of the core framework. Its
charter secured future growth into training and personnel development. The
program management group not only provided guidance to teams performing the
process work but also provided individual training to project and process
professionals. The program management group‟s approach to training reflects the


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open nature of work at UPS. “This [process work] is not a specialty skill set.
Everyone needs this knowledge,” said Dawson Wood, department manager of the
program management group.

With a defined strategy and a governance and support structure in place, the work
of translating this new core process framework and strategy into reality could begin.
Adaptation work started on each of the cross-functional processes simultaneously.

One example of the adaptation work is the billing process. In UPS, and specifically
in the package delivery business, a number of functional areas are involved in the
billing process, including sales, drivers, package management, and finance.

Example: The Cross-Functional Billing Process

1. A shipping client provides electronic information about the package. (The sales
group owns relationships with shipping clients.)
2. Drivers collect data while picking up and delivering packages. (Operations and
technology own this.)
3. Information moves ahead of the package to the sender and the recipient.
(Package management owns this.)
4. The actual billing processes occur. (Finance owns this.)

In this example, the billing process owner must communicate with at least four
functional owners. Under the new process framework, the manager of the cross-
functional process became responsible for the results of the defined process as well
as the continuous optimization of the various participating functions. The manager
also must evaluate any changes initiated within his or her process against the other
core processes, to ensure that a change in one function would not reduce the
effectiveness of another core process.

Process owners coordinated at monthly meetings. Section 5 of this case study

provides a good example of how this coordination gets work done.

Dealing with Push-Back

Some existing functional owners resisted the changes. Their feedback had common
themes, including: “It‟s not how we do things,” “We‟re different,” and “We‟ve
always done it this way.” UPS developed four mechanisms to combat push-back,
with a goal of approaching process owners in a way that doesn‟t trigger defensive

1. Appeal to the common good. Appeal to the inherent key KPI measurement
objectives and the “we are here to help you” mentality.
2. Consider the customer. Appeal to the notion that it‟s not important how this
function performs; it‟s important how the customer perceives the function
within UPS as an organization.


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3. Strict process-based review. Analyze how the process works. What are the
steps of the adopted process? Where do the data come from? Who needs the
data? Why are the data needed?
4. Authoritative change. Take this step, affectionately referred to as “arm-
twisting,” only when needed. UPS ultimately had to resort to this in a small set
of circumstances.

Adapting existing functional work into a new cross-functional process framework

was not a trivial task. The required effort varied widely: Adaptation of the product
management process occurred relatively quickly while other processes, like package
management, took nearly 10 years to complete.

The time it took to complete each adaptation was determined primarily by the
availability of technical infrastructure and components. In 1996, one set of functions
within a process needed to move the equivalent of terabytes of data within 2.5 hours
to specific operating centers. At the time, the technology didn‟t exist to enable this
level of data transfer, so the process had to change. The process owner had to work
with the appropriate functional leaders and customers outside of UPS to reconsider
the need for the individual fields of data and to reprioritize individual field-level data
transfers. When the technology became available, the processes changed again to
use the new capabilities, and the performance of the process improved accordingly.

Adaptation Decisions and Making Tough Choices

Not all processes in the new process framework received the same attention in the
adaptation phase. Support processes were ultimately left with little adaptation
because UPS determined that the existing functions were sufficient and that they
were not key drivers for filling previously identified KPI gaps. The company would
simply react to the need for change as the business case demanded it.

As the infrastructure became available and resources became scarce, UPS developed
a method of prioritizing and approving project-level adaptation work. The
responsibility for this prioritization fell to the business information analysis (BIA)
group, a group similar to business intelligence. This group acted as an independent
party to evaluate the assumptions that were built into projects. It also attempted to
improve estimation efforts among project teams by driving a single methodology for
costing and pricing the resources needed to complete projects. The program
management group works very closely with the BIA group.

After overseeing a number of projects that didn‟t deliver projected value or

exceeded cost and time estimates, the program management group began enforcing
strict governance rules. One of these rules stated that any project affecting a core
process had to proceed through a review process to ensure that its estimates were
accurate and that the project was accurately planned. Project results are also
included in personnel performance planning and individual scorecards, tying project
performance directly to the annual employee review process.


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Education, Training, and Communication

Maintaining the integrity of the framework required a significant investment in not
only process management and governance but also corresponding program and
project management. As a result, the program management group formed two
distinct centers of excellence (CoEs): the project management CoE and the process
management CoE (Figure 44). The process management CoE and its members do
not “own” processes. The process management CoE owns improvement
methodologies and tool sets to help process managers do the actual improvement

UPS’ Program Management Centers of Excellence

Figure 44

These two complementary CoEs represent one of the ways in which UPS protects
the integrity of its framework. Individuals at UPS are exposed to the fundamentals
of each discipline through internal and external training and tool sets. In both the
functional and cross-functional areas, the CoEs provide support to project teams.
The close partnership between these two CoEs is one of the tools that enable UPS
to get real work done using process frameworks.


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The CoEs were not part of the original adaptation plans, but rather emerged as
another response to the program management group‟s dissatisfaction with poor
project and return-on-investment estimates. After benchmarking large projects, the
program management group determined that UPS‟ process-related projects were
anywhere from 50 percent to 70 percent over budget (cost and or time) and
delivered only approximately 20 percent of the planned results. Since UPS started
these CoEs and provided training and oversight to its employees, project results
have improved. Projects now deliver approximately 50 percent of planned
deliverables, and overages have reduced to about 30 percent over cost and time
estimates. The program management group believes that additional improvements
are attainable.

Another way in which the program management group protects the integrity of the
framework is to require certification for employees operating projects in the process
space. The certification program was not initially planned but was developed to
respond to issues realized after the framework adaptation. Project managers seeking
certification in process management work are tested on a process improvement
exercise. They have to take a process, map it, and implement changes according to
the CoE guidelines. The certification includes a full, in-depth audit of skills and is
roughly equivalent to a Six Sigma green belt. Project management skills are typically
dependent on the Performance Management Institute‟s Project Management
Professional (PMP) certifications.

The program management group later sought ways to reduce cycle time to achieve
the to-be processes. After reviewing historical projects, the group determined that a
reasonable project duration was about one year. Projects initially defined to last
longer than one year were not as successful as projects with planned durations of a
year or less. Recognizing the need for multi-year projects, the program management
group views larger projects as programs and works with the project managers to
subdivide them into year-long pieces.



“You should come to work every day with the thought that
you can do better than you are [doing] today.”

—Dawson Wood, department manager,

program management group

UPS‟ culture is one of continuous improvement. Originating with its founder, the
concept of “constructive dissatisfaction” is applied throughout the organization.
Constructive dissatisfaction is the principle that employees can do better with
constructive changes to the way that work is done. On top of this, UPS has a


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promote-from-within mentality, and many of its employees have formal education

in industrial engineering, a discipline dealing with the optimization of complex
processes. The result is a number of senior-level executives with a deep expertise in
the business and a core understanding of the methods to improve it.

Managing the flow of feedback is essential for an organization as focused on

processes as UPS. All of the business and industrial engineering experience in the
world won‟t help an organization that can‟t effectively manage feedback and then
use it to prioritize and manage the resulting improvement projects. The program
management group serves as a central body for UPS, coordinating improvement
projects and the processes used to perform them.

Customer relationship management and product management, two of the core

processes from the original 1996 framework, are one of the main channels
providing structured inputs into continuous improvement activities. Every customer
interaction results in feedback that tells UPS what it is not doing, what it is not
doing well, or what products it should offer. Many new product development
requirements come from the customer relationship management area. These ideas
arrive continuously and are the result of the culture at UPS, where employees are
empowered to be “constructively dissatisfied.”

Senior management works with the program management group to review and
prioritize improvement projects, considering the existing enterprise data
infrastructure and the overall UPS mission and strategic imperatives for the period.
The tools for managing this constant stream of improvement include UPS‟ strategy
road map, process pyramid, balanced scorecard, and suite of governance checks and
balances. The program management group also works closely with the BIA group to
review project fundamentals. One core question the group asks for all projects is:
“Are the benefits you claim to seek really available?” The group acts as a reality
check against wild project assumptions. This process evolved over time in response
to projects that didn‟t meet initial assumptions for cost and deliverables.

Long-Term Life with the Framework

“You can’t rest on your laurels; you can’t expect organic growth to
carry you where you want to go. You have to be looking at new
products and new markets all the time.”

—Dawson Wood, department manager,

program management group

After about 10 years of living with the framework, UPS realized that the processes it
had so carefully defined began to look a lot like the functions they were intended to
replace. Again, the senior managers at UPS were determined to improve the way it


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does business. Around 2004, UPS embarked upon a strategic review of its

This review produced four strategic imperatives, a number of corresponding

measures and goals, and a series of over 30 critical initiatives. All were initially
summarized into a single document called the strategy road map (Figure 45).

UPS’ Strategy Road Map

Figure 45

The strategy road map communicated how the mission of the organization related
to the projects necessary for achieving its strategic imperatives—the things UPS had
to do to remain competitive. Although the map was helpful for communicating this
interrelationship, it provided little immediately actionable information. Employees
needed a way to understand how these projects related to the ways they were already
getting work done. To respond to this need, UPS evolved the strategy road map into
a single document that identified the strategic imperatives and critical initiatives—
the projects intended to effect the required change—and named senior managers to
these initiatives.

As a result, the program management group was able to better coordinate critical
initiatives such as the “global shared services project,” the “integrated global sales
force” project, and the “problem resolution” project. These projects aligned with
enterprise strategy, making it easier to secure resources and remain visible among
the many concurrent demands placed upon the project teams (Figure 46).


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Project, Process, and Strategy Alignment at UPS

Figure 46

While not a traditional off-the-shelf framework, the UPS framework of processes is
a good example of how an organization can, through introspection and teamwork,
develop a common language under which everyone in the company can operate.
UPS‟ business process management activities have become dependent upon the
framework, and the core processes remain relevant even after 15 years.


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Case Study
The Williams Companies
The Williams Companies, Inc. is the 10th-largest natural gas producer in the United
States. A publically traded Fortune 500 company, Williams‟ 2009 revenue exceeded
$8 billion. The company employs more than 4,800 individuals in 25 states.

Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this integrated natural gas provider has major
offices in Houston, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Williams also has a significant
presence in western and southwestern Colorado, northwest New Mexico, the Gulf
Coast, and Pennsylvania.

Williams has three business units: Exploration & Production (E&P) (the focus of
this case study), Midstream, and Gas Pipes.

The E&P process group is part of the E&P business unit. It is a shared service
across the organization, conducting projects in multiple areas of the business unit.
The group consists of three analysts/specialists, one technical writer, two support
staff members, and one rotational analyst.

“We are a very lean shop; we focus on the use of contractors

when needed, whether it’s an optimization effort or a
need from the business.”

—Matt Foste, senior business process analyst

The analysts in the group are aligned with processes, such as procurement or
knowledge management, rather than locations. This creates a center of expertise,
which is how the group provides value to the business.

History of E&P Process Management

Williams E&P launched its process management initiative during 2000 to 2003. The
IT group learned about process methodologies in 2001, and as a result, the
organization formed its business process management (BPM) practice. In 2002,
Williams E&P undertook its first process initiative within its accounting group; the
beginning of enterprise SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) documentation formed the
foundation of early process work the following year.


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The next phase in the organization‟s process management journey, which lasted
from 2004 to 2007, involved the development of Williams E&P‟s framework and
standards. Standards teams were developed to provide governance. In 2005, the
company began working with APQC and subsequently established its BPM
methodology and Williams process model. Also in 2005, Williams documented the
E&P procurement process and created its first process team. Then, in 2006,
Williams E&P focused on understanding its core processes, defining and
documenting them through its Management Systems Framework project.

Since 2007, Williams E&P has concentrated on business unit processes, moving
from compliance to optimization. 2007 saw the formation of the E&P common
process team, the E&P Business Process Group, and the process support team, as
well as the creation of the BPM governance framework. In 2009, the E&P process
management group rolled out key performance indicators (KPIs) for major
company processes and developed its knowledge and records management strategy.
Most recently, in 2010, the group developed and rolled out the SharePoint tool for
knowledge and content management.


In the early 2000s, E&P employees were confronting obstacles such as:

 difficulty finding documentation about specific processes,

 not knowing which document was the most current,
 no audit trail of changes in processes or controls, and
 too much time spent looking for information.

Still, the need for compliance didn‟t reach its peak until 2002, when Williams, a
publically traded company, needed to comply with the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act. All
of the business unit processes with financial implications had to be documented

“The threat of noncompliance was huge, so it drove a need to determine a

framework that we could use to start documenting,” explains Sondra Holt, E&P‟s
manager of business processes.

The general auditor and director of enterprise accounting tasked Holt, who then
worked as an internal consultant in the IT group, and the rest of her group with
assembling a framework to document the company‟s processes. This top-down
approach was atypical for Williams, which usually forms grassroots teams that take
time to discuss issues and try to create their own solutions. In this case, however,
the solution had to be delivered quickly, and the group conducted research to find a
tool it could adapt. That research led to APQC and its Process Classification
Framework (PCF).


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To capture E&P‟s processes, the group came up with standard templates for
mapping, using Excel rather than a specially designed mapping tool. The process
owners received brief training on how to complete the documentation so that
everyone was working in the same way to create a standardized result.

Williams E&P‟s initial framework project was completed within one year and
resulted in the base framework that now serves numerous processes.


Williams‟ framework was created in 2004 and has been refined over the years as the
company‟s processes have changed. The framework is a high-level, industry-neutral
model focused on energy. It enables Williams‟ departments to see activities from a
cross-functional process viewpoint. It is used primarily to catalog and segment
process documentation.

The business process group is responsible for governance and maintenance of the

Based on APQC‟s PCF, Williams also created an eight-point process documentation

model to categorize types of documentation that are included in the framework. The
divisions are as follows:

1. Policies
2. Standards
3. Process maps
4. Procedures and tools
5. Supporting documents
6. Process measures
7. Projects
8. Catalogs

This eight-point process model is embedded in the framework. Each process has its
own eight-point model underneath it for information storage and cataloging.

Williams‟ Business Process Alignment High-Level Framework (Figure 47) includes

12 processes, categorized as either core or enabling, that are documented in the
framework. “This isn‟t meant to be everything,” explains Matt Foste, senior
business process analyst. “This is just everything we‟ve touched from a compliance
perspective or an optimization perspective. We don‟t define additional processes
until there‟s a need to do it.”


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Williams’ Business Process Alignment High-Level Framework

Figure 47

This framework guides Williams E&P‟s business model, which consists of the
following five core processes:

1. Assess reserve potential

2. Acquire ownership
3. Develop reserves
4. Optimize production and operations
5. Market and sell

Key activities—pre-drill, gather, drill well, complete well, well-head operations, and
close/abandon—support those core processes, as do the enabling processes of
planning (vision, strategy, and compliance), information technology (IT), human
resources (HR), environmental health and safety, finance and accounting, and
managing business improvement and change/knowledge management.

The next level of the process framework breaks the processes down into
subprocesses. Procurement, for instance, is divided into the subprocesses of
authorization for expenditure operations, contract administration, bidding, sourcing,
and invoice coding and approval. Several of these have subprocesses under them as


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Adaptation of Williams‟ framework occurred in four basic steps:

1. Identification of targeted groups and departments

2. Identification of targeted processes—those that impact the bottom line
3. Identification of targeted process owners
4. Adaptation of the processes to the framework

With the framework in place, Williams E&P was able to shift the work perspective
from a vertical to a horizontal one, focusing on processes across the company rather
than the activities of a single location. It also has been able to put more effort into
fixing the processes than into fixing the people and to manage the organization
more as an adaptive system.

The process group turned to Williams E&P‟s definition of process owners as it

completed step two. The company defines a process owner as the individual
ultimately responsible for process performance. This person coordinates the process
management activities, has the authority and the ability to make changes in the
process, and manages the process end-to-end to ensure optimal overall
performance. While process owners own the processes on the framework and their
documentation, the process group is responsible for keeping the framework current
and available to the process owners.

When Williams rolled out its framework, all departments, functions, and processes
with financial implications were included in the adoption. As noted earlier, since that
initial rollout, the scope of E&P‟s framework initiative has expanded from
compliance to optimization.

One way Williams E&P executes its framework is by taking a BPM approach with
teams that addresses three levels of performance (Figure 48). At the organization
level, it helps ensure strategic alignment with the vision of both the business unit
and the company. It also focuses on the strategy for meeting goals and adhering to
the applicable policies or standards.


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Business Process Management at Williams

Figure 48

The tools employed in this step are a process catalog, which uses numbering
corresponding to the framework; a relationship map, which helps set the
framework—another important tool; and the policies and standards.

E&P documents its processes using a RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted,

informed) chart, which helps determine who is accountable for each activity and
who needs to be consulted before decisions are finalized, as well as who needs to be
informed. Process maps and process measures also are valuable tools at the process

Supporting documentation used at the individual level includes procedures (which

specify the terms of the process), governing documents, templates, forms, and a
listing of tasks and who performs them.

When working with the teams, the E&P process group emphasizes that
documenting a new process is not a one-time event. Although the team would like
to get the entire process documented in detail the first time around, the exercise is
one of continual improvement. To facilitate this continual improvement, the team‟s
technical writer is responsible for keeping track of the documentation. Part of her
job is revisiting the documents every two years, with SOX documents being


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reviewed more frequently. She asks the process owners if the document details are
still current and updates anything that has changed.

Process owners are also asked to send changes to the technical writer whenever they
occur so she can keep the documents as up to date as possible, even between
scheduled reviews.

The Process Management Road Map

Williams E&P‟s process management road map consists of nine components, many
of which were addressed earlier in this case study:

 Identification of processes.
 Process support team review. This governing executive team within the process
group is composed of the executive in charge of operations (who was also the
process group‟s initial sponsor), the optimization director, the human resources
director, the IT account manager, and the controller. The process support team
helps the process group determine its annual guiding principles and goals. The
team and group meet approximately every two months.
 Identification of the process owner.
 APQC‟s PCF placement. At the beginning, when new processes were being
identified and documented, they needed to be placed on the framework.
Because there are fewer new processes today, the framework is mostly used
during optimization efforts, where the team drills down and completes
additional documentation.
 Process documentation.
 Identification of KPIs and metrics.
 Knowledge management. This step addresses what knowledge the process
performers need to do their work and where the group will place it so the
performers can find it easily.
 Records management. A corporate-driven compliance effort involving records
management has been combined with the process group‟s efforts in process and
knowledge management (Figure 49). The goal of this integration is to have “one
source of truth” so that Williams employees aren‟t confused by conflicting


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Williams’ Consolidated Approach to Managing Processes, Knowledge, and Records

Figure 49

Knowledge Repository and BPM Repository

Williams E&P has two linked repositories that store its process documents: its
knowledge repository and its BPM repository. The knowledge repository is the front
end and the BPM repository is the back end of this knowledge sharing tool.

The knowledge repository, accessible through the company‟s intranet, offers users
access to the documents they need. The documents there are categorized by type—
such as process maps, procedures, and tools—and assigned headings that closely
align with the PCF. Some subprocesses with a lot of related documentation may be
split into more than one category or have a special numbering scheme in the
knowledge repository, rather than being shown as a subcategory as they are in the

The knowledge repository also offers access to process catalogs—which show every
document created under that process, the version number, the date last updated,
and anything else a user would need to know about the documents.

The BPM repository, stored on a shared drive, serves the entire corporation. Only
certain people can access the documents through the BPM repository; most users
access them through the knowledge repository instead.


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Measuring the Impact of Framework Adoption
The Williams E&P process group compiles data annually to track its success. The
following measured criteria demonstrate the group‟s worth to the rest of the

 Number of processes defined (i.e., maps created)

 Centralized coordination of process documentation and common processes
 Employee understanding of standards for documentation
 Employee understanding of common processes
 Metrics identified and measured for most core processes

“Since [the process group has] been in existence, we’ve always

saved a lot more annually than we’ve spent for the head count.”

—Sondra Holt, manager, business processes

Guiding Principles for Adopting a Process Framework

Based on its process management experience, the Williams E&P process group
offers the following suggestions to share with other organizations preparing to
undertake similar initiatives.

 Use existing tools such as APQC‟s PCF as a foundation.
 Align your framework with an existing business model.
 Apply centralized governance of the framework—particularly for a program like
SOX that has to be managed at the corporate level.
 Reinforce usage of the model in all aspects of process management and
 Create a framework that is transparent to the process owners. They don‟t need
all the details about it; they simply need to understand the logical process for
finding their documents.


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 Overcomplicate the framework. Make it easy for people to find the documents
they need, and don‟t burden them with more than that.
 Create a model that‟s not easily adjustable.
 Make the framework a focal point. Holt says: “If you went to [individuals at]
Williams E&P and asked, „Do you use APQC‟s Process Classification
Framework?‟, they would say, „What?‟ They would not know. If you said to
them, „Where do you find your procedures?‟, hopefully they would know that.”

In addition, Williams E&P‟s process group operates under the following guiding
principles for integrating knowledge management and business process

 Integrate process and knowledge management efforts consistent with the

business strategy and process model.
 Begin with creating and optimizing business processes, and then focus on
knowledge management.
 Treat knowledge management as part of the process and not a separate
 Align business processes, records, and knowledge management as a natural
 Keep it simple—integrate where and when it makes sense.
 Ensure that the approach is practical, cost-effective, and non-disruptive to
normal business operations.

“[Being non-disruptive] is so critical to our people in the field

because they don’t have more people than they need, and they’re
focused on producing the output that they’re responsible for. So for
us to come in and try to give them days of training or lots of
explanation … they just want to know what they need to do to get
it done.”

—Sondra Holt, manager, business processes

Future Plans
The process group believes there are local procedures it doesn‟t yet know about and
therefore has not documented. It believes it will uncover them during E&P‟s


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upcoming rollout of SharePoint. Every time the process group sets up a new
SharePoint site, it does an inventory of the documentation that site has. These
inventories should help the group detect local procedures it needs to learn about, as
well as promote the use of a central repository.

SharePoint will be a centralized place where employees, teams, and functions go to

work, collaborate, and find all of the documentation they need. SharePoint has two
kinds of sites: access team sites—which are location-based—and process sites—
which take the concept of the framework one step further. Each process that
identified through the framework has a dedicated site where people involved with it
can collaborate and work on their daily jobs. SharePoint will be available from the
E&P business unit‟s main intranet page.

Williams E&P plans to continue its journey toward becoming a more process-
focused organization. It uses a chart based on APQC concepts (Figure 50) to show
its progress and its destination. When the business unit began its efforts in 2006, it
was just slightly beyond the level of a functional-based organization. Today it finds
itself within the process-focused section, with some progress still to be made.

Process-focused Progression at Williams

Figure 50

The target for Williams E&P is not to be process-based. “Our culture wouldn‟t
enable us, we do not believe, to be totally organized by process,” Holt says. That


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Using Process Frameworks and Reference Models
to Get Real Work Done

would require each location to have individuals responsible for each process, rather
than having one director or manager responsible for the entire location. Although
Williams E&P has leaders in those process areas, it does not have single process
owners and does not foresee that changing in the future. This decision demonstrates
the importance of choosing an implementation strategy and setting goals based on
the specific characteristics and goals of an organization. The experience of Williams
E&P illustrates the benefits of committing to process thinking and organizing work
using a framework and adoption plan that fits the culture and business needs.


page 140
Why Management or Governance is a key
enabler of continuous Process improvement
The real world for many organizations is a myriad of
process fragments, scattered across the enterprise,
many of them out of date, using different notations,
only loosely connected and often conflicting.
Organizations who want to climb the “process maturity curve” typically require a
single process repository, which connects strategy with reality. The content must
be authoritative – ‘the way we do things here’ – and it must foster collaboration for
continuous improvement. But it must also be accessible and useable by everyone
in the workforce.

For this to be possible, it’s imperative that the process model is held within a
governance framework that is robust but also easy to use. Then you can design
and implement change, in lock step with risk and compliance management, a
recipe for “Operational Excellence”.

At Nimbus, we see Operational Excellence as a series

of interlinked capabilities:
• Flawlessly translate strategy into the reality of operational processes.

• Engage the entire workforce in collaborative continuous process &

performance improvement.

• Provide all corporate “assets” (systems, metrics, documents) in the

context of process.

• Visualize & manage performance, risks, controls & compliance within

one process framework.

A BPM platform with these capabilities puts business process management at the heart
of your Operational Excellence program. A platform that underpins enterprise wide,
continuous and long-term business performance improvement, rather than a process
analysis toolset only used by a few project team specialists.
So why does Nimbus want to put the M back into BPM?
Because in our view the need for Management (or if you prefer “Governance”) is all
too often neglected.

Those responsible for Operational Excellence have always understood the value
of engaging the entire enterprise in collaboration, and know that it is the key to
delivering continued performance improvement. Leveraging social media methods
to foster engagement and collaboration makes sense.

SocialBPM brings a new energy to engaging end users with process, and fostering
collaboration. But without a governance framework that is robust, easy to use and
baked-in to your BPM platform, SocialBPM is unlikely to significantly contribute
towards Operational Excellence.

The real prize is one trusted and up-to-date process model of the enterprise
with different views for different stakeholders, delivered as a “personalized
intelligent operations manual”. And that’s simply not possible without a robust and
embedded governance framework: the M in BPM.

A pioneer in Social BPM

For more than a decade, Nimbus Control has included the features needed to
enable effective and sustainable collaboration for process and performance
improvement, in a way which engages the entire workforce, while meeting the
needs of multiple stakeholders such as Operational Excellence, Governance Risk &
Compliance and Systems Implementation teams.

Nimbus clients – including...

AstraZeneca, Barclays, Chevron, HSBC, JP Morgan, RBS, Sara Lee, Sony, Toyota
and ThyssenKrupp - have adopted Nimbus Control as their BPM platform to
support operational excellence and continuous improvement.