BPM & eLearning: Twin Sides of Same Coin

Written by on November 9, 2015 in eLearning, Process Management with 0 Comments

Business Process Management, Process Documentation, Procedure Documentation and eLearning, are they independent concepts or should we consider them part of a whole?

In my experience in working with many organizations, these concepts are kept separate and are often performed by different people within the organization.

4puzzlepiecesBusiness Process Management (BPM) is often the responsibility of IT or Quality; eLearning is developed by HR or Training.  Process Documentation is often left to an individual department unless it?s part of a regulatory requirement.  No one really understands who is responsible and therefore, the documentation process is neglected.

Instead, why not think about these concepts as intertwined and dependent upon the other.  It?s not enough to document a process or procedure.  The documentation must be shared and end users trained on the best practices you described.

It doesn?t help when the IT department creates user documentation for a new system that is technically correct but not user-friendly for your staff.  Or a department spends time documenting its procedures and then the information sits on a shelf or is hidden on the shared drive.  Unless you spend time training and sharing the information, you would be better off not doing it at all.

Why is this important?

Managing business processes and training is important in any organization.  Having process documentation and training ready at a moment?s notice can mean the difference between meeting customer expectations and failing miserably.  Do any of these common scenarios resonate with your organization?

A key employee leaves or is incapacitated.  A key employee is someone who understands your business and does the work without anyone telling them what to do or how to do it.  They are great at

satisfying your customer?s requests and know how to get the job done quickly and effectively.  They know where the files are located, and how to complete the critical tasks assigned to them.  They are often the only person doing that job.

How would your business be impacted if they were to suffer a health emergency or leave the organization without much notice?  Maybe you know they are going to retire and you think you have lots of time for them to train their replacement, only to realize they are leaving in a matter of weeks?  Are you prepared?


New software is coming.  IT wants to install the ?vanilla? version right off the shelf.  But the end users are not happy.  The way they do business is going to change dramatically.  Tasks that used to be done (or not done) will make their job more difficult.

IT doesn?t understand why the changes can?t just be implemented. After all, the system provides ?best practice? solutions.  Learning to use the software should be easy.  It?s just Download securitysoftware, right?  The users can just play around in the beta version for a while and figure it out?no big deal.

On the other hand, users feel they are missing critical functionality that will make their job easier, not harder.  Without understanding how business is conducted and what is important, software solutions are met with varying degrees of suspicion and avoidance.  It?s no wonder that new software implementations are not successful.

High employee turnover.  HR must not be screening new hires very well.  People are leaving within days or weeks of being hired.  If people are honest at their exit interviews (if you even do them) they complain that they weren?t trained very well.

Time For Training Expectations were not clear and the training was haphazard or non-existent.  Perhaps you have your ?best? employee do the training.  Often these folks have forgotten what it means to be new.  They have too much knowledge and baggage they bring to the training situation.  Without understanding what the expectations for the position are, how the tasks ?should? be done, and standardizing the training, it?s no wonder people become disillusioned and leave.

Regulations, regulations, regulations.  In highly regulated organizations, documenting processes and procedures to meet regulatory requirements becomes the only documentation performed.  There is so much emphasis on following the ?regs? that the organization is burned out on doing anything more.  It simply takes too much time as it is.  And because the documentation must meet the requirements, it is often not useful as a training or process tool.

I?m sure there are many more scenarios that you can think of that would apply.

Independent Or Dependent Concepts?

So to answer the question, are these independent concepts or do they share a dependency?  My answer is that these are dependent concepts.  All of these methods have the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your processes and to ensure that the products and services you provide meet your customer?s expectations for quality and service.  It makes sense then for the organization to ensure that documentation efforts involve everyone in the organization from the person actually performing the work, to IT, to Quality Control and Training and Development.


Benefits Documenting processes can help ensure the scenarios discussed earlier don?t cripple your organization.  Creating the documentation is not just busy-work that management decided is important.  Some of the many benefits of defining processes/procedures include:

  • Documentation provides visibility into areas of quality, productivity, cost and schedule.
  • Documentation improves communication and understanding of the business.
  • Documentation helps to facilitate the analysis and execution of organization-wide processes.
  • Documentation provides the basis for training and skills assessment.
  • And much, much more.

Next Time

In the next article, I will share a Documentation Matrix that can be helpful in determining the appropriate medium to use when documenting your business processes.



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