How Organizations Achieve Real Process Improvement

My favorite part of my job is working with customers. I admire their vision, strategy and approach to solving complex problems. Each customer challenge is unique and different. I work with some of the largest European companies and government agencies, who’s application landscape contain intricate business processes designed to solve various challenges.

With the release of ARIS 9.0 only weeks away, I thought it would be timely to highlight some customer successes that exemplify the power of process improvement. If your organization has similar complexities and isn’t quite sure what approach might work, reference these example as a possible solution indicator.

German Ministry of Defense: Business Process Management in Big Organizations

The Bundeswehr is a very large organization with more than 190,000 employees. This includes men and women in uniform serving in the armed services and organizational departments. Furthermore, there are approximately 125,000 members of staff working as a civilian labor force, mainly in the armed forces administration and in support areas. The existing application landscape is rather complex and consists of more than 1200 applications that have to be converted to a single integrated solution based on standard SAP software.

The German military chose to implement standardized software based on processes more than ten years ago. This marked the beginning of a comprehensive evaluation of nearly all its business processes using ARIS. Process models today depict not only the work flows related to IT implementation, but also illustrate the relevant departments by way of end-to-end target processes.


  • Process standardization
  • Process adjustment
  • Integrated IT- landscape of administrative and logistical systems
  • Removal of legacy system by 2013


  • Concept and realization of SAP- reference based process models and value-added chains
  • Implementation, test and rollout for targeted processes based on SAP
  • Migration/ redemption of applications and data
  • Consulting services needed to support the project

The initiative has the objective to move the existing IT islands to an integrated Standard Application Software Product Family – this is also the name of the project: SASPF. Here you see the basic concept of SASPF.

Lessons Learned

  • External support for complex rollout-projects recommended
  • Quality of Master Data is critical
  • User-Care (User-Help-Desk, Advisor) is important
  • Change management must be a management discipline
  • Standardization and uniform guidelines is needed
  • Effective support from general management

Deutsche Telekom: Methodological Approach to Business and IT Transformation Programs

Deutsche Telekom set out to radically reduce ERP systems and simplify the associated business processes in each subsidiary. This project was steered from the beginning with strong business sponsorships for a process-driven approach and for shared IT and business goals. Deutsche Telekom chose ARIS for process documentation and standardization.


  • Different processes / IT in each country
  • Different customer experiences & lack of flexibility due to complex processes
  • Different data models, manual reports
  • Partly manual and individual processes
  • Many ERP systems


  • Cross country harmony / standardized processes / IT
  • Improve unified customer experience and increase service performance
  • Improve cost structure and reduce time-to-market
  • Innovation leadership in individual markets and partners
  • One common data model, Single Point of Truth for KPIs
  • Standardize processes and create one ERP IT landscape
  • Create easier implementation of organizational changes

Deutsche Telekom´s overall process  improvement Lifecycle consists of 4 phases: Define, Assemble, Execute and Control. In the first two steps, process guidance as a standardized approach was established:

  • Early commitment from the business for results
  • Structured and committed requirements along with business processes
  • Process model serves as a binding basis (template) for roll out in all countries

The next step is to pilot an integrated BPM tool chain in the laboratory. The objectives is to establish an agility layer for end-to-end processes, to monitor process performance with Process Intelligence and to analyze process and service performance according to KPIs.


  • Degree of process standardization: more than 80%
  • Development of a group-wide ERP data model and process for maintenance
  • Group-wide ERP IT Architecture developed
  • Enterprise-wide portal concept developed

Lessons Learned (Dos and Don’ts)


  • Involve the business early
  • Create a common criteria for standardization of measurement
  • Create translation between business process view and IT standardization view
  • Involve the national companies and C level support early


  • Use dogma method
  • Use unaligned methodical decisions for single projects
  • Use IT has the lead in the early phases (conceptual design)
  • Have extensive tool discussions

To conclude with a quote from the project sponsor: Dr. Karsten Schweichhart, Vice President Group Enterprise Architecture / Deutsche Telekom AG: “On the long and exhausting way towards project success, it is strongly recommended that Business Architecture and IT Architecture share the driver seat in an aligned manner. We will never drive alone!”

Cable & Wireless: From Process Infancy to Enterprise BPM

Process Excellence is at the core of Cable & Wireless’s vision to be the mission-critical communications integrator. They elevated BPM from IT to a more strategic business level in the organization, and shared their experiences going from process infancy to Process Excellence. This customer story is interesting because of how Enterprise BPM factors into their plans, and what lessons they learned for strategic, transformational BPM programs.

Cable & Wireless simplifies process excellence to 5 components:

  1. End-to-end process model: A single process asset with documentation standards. All processes housed in a central repository.
  2. Process ownership: Every process has an owner who is held accountable for the measurement, control & outputs of this process.
  3. Process control: All processes are held under a change control method balanced between central authority and local delivery.
  4. Process measurement: Clearly defined efficiency & effectiveness measures are tracked for every process.
  5. Performance improvement: A consistent and continuous improvement methodology to prioritize and execute a portfolio of inter- and intra-process improvement projects.

Cable & Wireless signed off on an investment in an enterprise-wide deployment of webMethods BPMS to implement and improve their critical processes based on these criterias:

  • Criteria 1: Generate a positive ROI à Result: >£1M annualised hard benefits
  • Criteria 2: Demonstrated demand beyond Quick Start à Result: 2 qualified projects – one from a quick start sponsor
  • Criteria 3: Effective cross functional engagement during test drive à Result: IT BPMS Team and Process Excellence practice joined forces to deliver to internal customers

Best Practices

  • Process Excellence is about the balance between effective process design, management and improvement
  • Don’t lose focus of the two key Process Performers: People (owners & operators) & Technology (BPMS, Data, Development)
  • BPMS is not about building new capabilities or installing a new IT platform – it is all about improving business performance
  • BPMS may be an IT platform but it is NOT solely an IT initiative
  • Agile Process – is not simply IT Agile Development it is about Rapid (governed) change from the business

To conclude with quote from the project sponsor, Mark Zirbser, Head of Operational Excellence at Cable & Wireless Worldwide: “Process Excellence is all about balancing effective process management on a daily basis with a drive for the improvement of process effectiveness & efficiency.”

You can see from these customer successes, process improvement solves many challenges and delivers real process improvement to all kinds of organizations. How has process improvement helped your organization? Did it help your organization deliver high quality IT solutions to meet business demands?

About Joerg Klueckmann

Joerg Klueckmann has written 30 posts in this blog.

Joerg Klueckmann is head of Enterprise BPM at Software AG. He studied sociology, business administration and intercultural communication at FSU, Jena, Germany, and at Louisiana State University in the U.S., where he graduated with distinction. Prior to joining Software AG, Joerg was head of product marketing at Intershop and IDS Scheer. He has written numerous articles about business process management, business innovation and process intelligence.

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