An approach to assist managers of SMEs to benefit from business process management
Jacobs, Dina Elizabeth
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Growing small enterprises to become medium enterprises, with the aim of job creation, is a priority in South Africa. The lack of business skills, including business process management (BPM) skills, required to manage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the transition of growth is one of the factors contributing to the limited growth of SMEs in South Africa. Another constraint on SME growth is the reality of resource poverty in the SME domain in South Africa. BPM is regarded as a management approach that is relevant to the management of organisational change, value optimisation and process improvement. The transition of an SME from an early-stage entrepreneurial activity to an established business entity involves organisational change, value optimisation and process improvement, which explains the relevance of BPM to SME growth. Given the reality of SME resource poverty, no suitable BPM approach currently exists that can be used to support SME managers during the typical transitions associated with SME growth. Although such a BPM approach on its own will not solve the problem of SME growth and job creation, it is argued that creating awareness of BPM as a management approach and creating awareness of the transitions related to SME growth is one small step on the journey towards supporting SME growth in South Africa. The research objective is to develop a BPM Approach that can be used to help SME managers, during typical transitions of SME growth, to benefit from BPM as a management approach. The constraints to be addressed are the criticism of the existing SME growth stage models as input towards the definition of the SME growth transitions and finding a BPM approach that is supportive of resource poverty. One subobjective of the research is to define a model that describes the transitions associated with SME growth. A second sub-objective is to define a BPM framework supportive of the reality of SME resource poverty. Emanating from these sub-objectives are a number of other sub-objectives to ensure self-sufficiency in the use of such a BPM framework, cross-referencing the relevant BPM practice per SME growth transition, and ensuring that the solution to the problem is user-friendly and non-intimidating. The proposed 5S SME Growth State Transition Model addresses the criticism of the concept of ‘stages’ in the existing SME growth stage models. The BPM CanvasTM Framework developed together with the WIN Approach and the BPM Patlets form a proposed solution, the BPM@SME Approach, supportive of resource poverty and the requirement of self-sufficiency. It is argued that the BPM@SME Approach can be used to help SME managers to benefit from BPM during SME growth. The BPM@SME Action Maze is a prototype to package the BPM@SME Approach in a more user-friendly and less intimidating interactive digital solution.