Beat this for exec engagement in using process as the language of business transformation. Even better, it’s a turn-around where BPM has been the pivot.

This was an $80m SAP project heading for a derailment. The client’s SI had configured ‘vanilla’ SAP without much reference to the business requirements (which had been ‘captured’ in a Word document).

So when the SI presented the business with a preview of what its new SAP world would look like, there was panic: the business didn’t recognize any of it.

One month later, the client and its SI are using a Cloud service to describe the end-to-end processes, with Storyboards showing role-based views of typical user activities. Everyone now speaks the same language.

Now there is shared visibility and understanding: across the client organization, especially between IT and the business, and between the client and its SI. Requirements are rapidly becoming precise.

Process improvements are being identified. And the user experience is being transformed so that processes will be integrated with Storyboards, documents, metrics, risks and controls to create a personalized ‘intelligent operations manual’.

The next step is Visualization Workshops to fine tune the design and the SAP configuration requirements. Then the same Storyboards created for the Visualization Workshops will be used for UAT, training and user support – so there will be no gaps and no overlapping teams re-creating the same thing slightly differently.

But what’s really interesting is that both the CEO and and CIO now carry iPads – and not as bling. They use them to pull up the latest versions of the processes and Storyboards in their discussions with the various program stakeholders as they move around the office.

Companies such as Carphone Warehouse adopted the iPad early on to support their Lean process excellence people walking the floor. But hats off: this is the first time that I’ve come across a CEO and CIO rolling up their sleeves and getting so involved with process in this hands-on way.

The bottom line is that this company has, in one month, turned an IT-led systems implementation that was heading for disaster into a business-led transformation programme that will be enabled by SAP – and with every chance of success.