You project is underway. Positive change is being implemented in areas of need, and goals are being met. So the big question comes in - is it working?
Often, the improvement of a business's processes becomes a difficult thing to view as a single project. Projects have quantifiable outcomes, immediately upon completion. Organizations and executives can see before and after, and discover how or why things occurred the way they did in the closed environment of the particular project.
True process improvement, though, will make this more challenging. The task is often referred to as "continuous improvement", because it isn't a single task. The goal of BPI is to work towards individual goals as the necessity for new improvements reveals itself.
Without a clearly defined finishing point, how does an organization measure the results?
The same way they implement the improvements - continuously.
One of the major contributing factors to accurate results is having key performance indicators, or KPIs, at multiple stages of the project. Instead of focusing on the goals of one project or improvement at a time, monitoring standardized KPIs can result in a much more accurate view of how the business is improving as a whole.
In manufacturing, this can mean accurately measuring changes in cycle time as changes are made to processes. Another powerful example is from the IT world: measuring overall availability/uptime of specific systems or tools is an impartial way of judging the overall success of improvements. This can be combined with a KPI such as average initial response time or average case duration to give a great example of what the person on the other end feels like when using your product.
One of the greatest values of measuring the improvement results (aside, of course, from knowing that your hard work isn't wasteful) is gaining insight to what your customer experiences interacting with your organization throughout the entire process.
Of course, the added value of these results internally will also become clear: using tools that will measure process metrics and accurate business intelligence, it is easy to see the agility your organization will gain through the improvement. Not only adapting as a business to market change, but adapting the continuous improvement as new challenges present themselves.
Software solutions measuring KPIs, with true BI possibilities, is the single best way to success during continuous improvement of processes.