BusinessForward

Business Process Consulting 101 and Beyond

Posted by BusinessForward Team on April 18th, 2016

Business Process is BusinessForward

The concept of process improvement is one of listening to the voice of the customer and giving them the tools they need to work in the most effective and efficient way.

We work with you to design business processes that create results-driven change. What does that mean?   We help you focus on what outcomes you want to achieve and then develop a pragmatic plan together. Pure and simple.  No more than you need, no less than will have impact.

Getting to Results

Today’s customers are educated about how to improve their organizations.  You have a better awareness of the benefits and concepts of process improvement. In some cases it is part of the DNA of your technology and continuous improvement initiatives. That’s why we don’t clobber anyone with buzzwords or most times, don’t start from scratch to implement change.

Some consultants talk a lot. Performance measures. Time and motion studies. Current state. Future state.  But if your reality is, “Our margins aren’t good, our customers are upset. How is this going to fix my problem?” listening is far more important.

Process Design

We believe that processes should never be designed in a vacuum. Without the voice of the customer to make operations more effective, efficient and consistent, waste is inevitable.  It’s pulling information from the customer. Not pushing it to the customer.

When you know the who, why and how and what your business needs to produce, we can get you closer to reaching your goals.

The standard thinking is that an organization can only pick one goal to accomplish, like sales. We know there are other things you want to achieve like revenue growth, profit capture through cost reductions, employee engagement and let’s face it:  customer delight. Process improvement is the key to unlocking all of those doors at once.

And let’s not overcomplicate things. We know that sometimes customers don’t necessarily want disruptive, wholesale, transformative change. Sometimes you just want a reliable payroll system, not an entire re-architecture of your organization. Brainstorming is great – we love it – but there are times when you know what you want and we just need to help get you there through smart business process design.

Our approach is to solve the problem that is right in front of us, with an eye on the horizon.

Is there a time and place for applying Lean or Six Sigma principles to your initiative? Absolutely. When you need it, we know rigor like nobody’s business. Our solutions architects are highly skilled thinkers who can analyze the current and future state of your business.

Sometimes you may be looking to build a new capability. Maybe you have an outdated process that needs to be better. The good news is that we aren’t going to tell you we have to come in and conduct a study or observe your current state or any of that other consulting matter. If you tell us a process is broken, we won’t waste time, we’ll develop and deliver a better one. To use that overused phrase, at the end of the day, we are looking for the same thing that you are – results.

Process and Technology:  The Chicken or the Egg?

Used to be that business process design was mapped to existing technology. Today, customers are capable of designing technology to map to exactly how you want things to get done. There isn’t a need to figure out exactly what every step in your business process is or needs to be before selecting and implementing technology. In shared services like HR, systems are highly configurable and can be as nimble as you are. Savvy leaders can find thousands of options to support the change they need to implement.

Even so, the process improvement part has to be part of the conversation. There is a difference between writing software code and understanding business. We do need to take into account the impact of the change. There are nuances to your workflow and your team members have to have conversations about how things work and what impact any change will have to the company.  Technology planned in tandem with business process will change the way you do business.

Process Makes Perfect vs. Progress Makes Perfect

Some process people want to get things perfect. The reality is that designing exact steps isn’t feasible and sometimes isn’t worth the incremental investment. We want to get things perfectly right, so we focus finding solutions. We’ve seen people process things “to death” so to speak. You don’t have time for that, so we will harness your abilities and guide you toward your vision, ensuring you don’t lose your compass as to why you are processing things. We believe that progress makes perfect.

Of course when we are talking about compliance and regulatory issues, you must have precision. We understand that too.

BusinessForward consulting fits in the critical juncture between technology and business process. This is the “just right” partnership customers are looking for. We understand that your actions are rooted in motivation and that you will never be satisfied. Continuous improvement is a way of life that can be achieved by always asking “why?”

Perfection is a tall order. But great processes will certainly get you close to real success.

The Triggers for Better Processes

Better processes improve efficiency by allowing your team to focus on the right tasks, with less time and less technology. This means less money.  It allows them to do different work. This means happier people.  While you may know this inherently, it often takes a trigger event to get process improvement underway.

Trigger Events

Leadership

This is always the perfect time to look for things to shake up. You can be sure the appointment of a new COO, CFO or CEO is going to have an impact on your organization. They will be looking at technology, and if it’s a system that hasn’t been upgraded in 10 years and is going out of support, start thinking of how to bring in new and better ways to do your work. Don’t wait to be told there is a problem. Identify any process or technology that needs to be improved and get solutions underway.

Rapid Growth

We hear all of the time that rapid growth is a trigger for doing process work. In retail for example, what if you go from opening 50 new stores a year to 500? Certainly this puts an end to “business as usual” and finding the “new normal” becomes front and center. Working with us provides more than solutions and improved processes to support rapid growth. It provides the ability to take your people out of the weeds and get them working on tactical items so that you and your team can focus on the change that comes with success.

Market Expansion

The very nature of the world presents the opportunity to compete for business and to reach new and different customers. These customers will demand a higher level of service. Whether you are in manufacturing or financial services you must be able to turn around customer requests, which means you must have effective processes in place. This goes for internal and external customers. For example, we know that increasingly HR and IT are collaborating. These organizations are rapidly moving from reactive, administrative departments, to critical, strategic business partners. They must find ways to integrate technology and business processes to better serve each other. Market expansion will not be achieved working in siloed environments where employees struggle to access the information they need to serve each other and customers.

Business Reality

The reality of business is that most of us work in reactive mode, putting out fires and moving from project to project. Or maybe people are using what they know to be a less-than-effective process or system, but they keep at it because it at least functions. For example, plenty of people over-use spreadsheets, fully knowing their data could and should be automated.

The perception is that change is too costly, too time consuming or frankly too daunting to even think about. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can absolutely solve your biggest challenges with business process improvement. You can have a voice in the change that your organization is seeking.

Whether you are an IT organization wrangling huge amounts of data, a business leader looking to get your product to market faster or simply looking to unlock the potential of your people through technology, our solutions and consulting with empathy will transform the way you do business.

Our proven process design methodologies uncover opportunities and provide leaders with the confidence to make decisions, saving customers millions of dollars and improving how people work.

Are you ready to get started?

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Posted By
BusinessForward Team

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