Investigation reveals quicker, more affordable and flexible approach to business process management

Advantages of focus upon helping key work groups outlined at Process Excellence 2013

Many approaches to business process management and process excellence are costly, time consuming and disruptive according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, speaking at Central Hall Westminster at the Process Excellence 2013 conference. The author of Winning Companies; Winning People believes “there needs to be a greater focus upon helping people to excel at key jobs within important processes.”

Coulson-Thomas believes: “The adoption and implementation of business process management (BPM) needs to reflect current issues, priorities and concerns. In a business environment characterised by innovation, uncertainty and insecurity speed of impact, flexibility and affordability are increasingly important.”

The professor’s report Talent Management 2 shows that providing job-focused performance support to key work groups can quickly deliver multiple benefits for individuals, organisations and the environment by working with one’s existing people and without requiring a change of corporate culture or structure.

His Transforming Public Services report shows advantages such as low barriers to entry and cost-effectiveness also apply to the public sector. Performance support can enable people to cope with new requirements and changes of policy and priorities that occur at different stages of a transformation journey.

Coulson-Thomas reported that: “Companies need to be more selective in their adoption of new BPM initiatives. Some adoptions of process excellence approaches result in the initiation of too many process improvement and/or re-engineering projects. These can be a source of confusion and pull people in different directions.”

The professor suggests: “Prioritisation and focus are increasingly important. Endeavouring to be the best at everything can be unaffordable when customers are only willing to pay for improvements that impact directly upon them. Priority should be given to process excellence projects that have a direct impact upon the customer and are a source of competitive advantage.”

Coulson-Thomas believes “The customer is the source of all value. BPM needs to be driven by customer as well as corporate interests and also reflect the requirements of other stakeholders. Too often they appear to be motivated mainly by corporate priorities. Front-line work groups in direct contact with customers and prospects should be the first to be better supported.”

He also finds: “Integrity and trust can be vital for building longer-term and mutually beneficial relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Process excellence initiatives should deliver clear benefits for customers and employees as well as an initiating organisation.”

Coulson-Thomas investigations have revealed that “some companies adopt a mechanistic rather than a thinking approach. They work through the various stages of BPM methodologies without considering their relevance and applicability to local issues and a particular context. Process excellence approaches should be adapted by an adopting organisation to suit its own requirements and circumstances.”

The professor argues that “BPM approaches should be regularly reviewed and modified in the light of experience and changing requirements and priorities to ensure that they are still affordable, current and vital. Continuous improvement itself needs to be continuously improved to ensure a focus upon affordable routes to high performance organisations.”

Prof Colin Coulson-Thomas, a Change Agent and Transformation Leader award winner, is author of Winning Companies; Winning People, Talent Management 2, Transforming Public Services and over 40 other books and reports. He has helped over 100 boards to improve director, board and corporate performance and spoken at over 200 national and international events in over 40 countries. He was the world’s first professor of corporate transformation and is a member of the business school team at the University of Greenwich. His latest reports are available from and he can be contacted via

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas was speaking at Process Excellence 2013 held in London at Central Hall Westminster. His presentation drew upon his recent reports Talent Management 2 and Transforming Public Services, and a forthcoming report on knowledge management which draw upon a five-year investigation of quicker and more affordable routes to high performance organisations.


06 May 2013
Colin Coulson-Thomas