Still writing lengthy procedure documents? You're in trouble


Word processing documents are inadequate to reflect the constantly evolving nature of BPM. Nintex Promapp provides dynamic solutions for your procedures.

Based on our experience of working with many organizations the number one business process management (BPM) tool, by user volumes, is still the humble Word document, stored in a file or on a document management platform.

So what’s so bad with these type of static procedure documents anyway?

Oh, they’re bad. If the intentions of your BPM program are to ‘improve processes continuously’ (thanks Wikipedia) then they’re really bad. Static documents like these have a great history for achieving short term goals (look we’ve written 114 procedures this month!), but unfortunately they’re not worth much beyond that. They’ve got a dreadful history when judged by business teams for actual usefulness and therefore a very low impact on organisational culture and improvement and the benefits your customers see.

That’s a problem for those of us working hard to help teams change old behaviors, which can innovate, delight customers and standardize working approaches.

Why has this humble old approach not been knocked out of the park by the new breed of BPM tools? 

Well, mainly because it’s the cheap and easy option for that short term goal of process capture. It’s a universal tool that teams already have, therefore it’s easy to demonstrate perceived progress quickly - run the workshop, haggle over changes, save as, you’re done. (For small organisations, this is a perfectly valid way to start your way up the process maturity curve.)

The costs of this approach can actually stay hidden for a long time. You can’t measure the ‘losses’ from the status quo: from minor costs like re-writing these documents every few years, to the business critical costs of helping teams get things right, being slower than competitors to innovate, to standardise processes, to lift rates of customer satisfaction and repeat business. You can only measure these as gains, once you’ve invested in a programme of improvement.

So, if you’d like to make progress against objectives like these below then you need to look at replacing Word and these other static documents with a tool that actually works:

  • Improve customer satisfaction levels
  • Improve efficiency
  • Reduce costs
  • Increase market share and revenue
  • Reduce operational risk
  • Decrease defects
  • Increase business agility
  • Support innovation
  • Adapt to new regulatory requirements

If not, then stick with the static documents, but beware your business will also fast become static too.

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