No Other Corporate Asset Is Wasted So Spectacularly

Another week, another client struggling with process amnesia.

I’m looking at an RFP from a household name with “no process documentation available” with respect to its core financial system and the business processes it enables. Last week, I was involved with a global organisation that had thrown out a well-known SI after wasting (their word, not mine) a considerable sum trying to capture their core processes. Next week, I’m working with a client in the energy sector with a complex and ageing system in urgent need of upgrading, but with almost no understanding of how the system works or how it connects with their business processes (which seem to be largely anecdotal anyway).

Ignition of match, with smoke on blackMany organizations – and we’re talking big and global, oftentimes – are repeat offenders. Their binge cultures make them ATMs for the Big 4. They spend millions on a mapping project but the processes are never adopted, and the organizations have only the most feeble mechanisms to maintain them, and so, two years later, a new mapping project kicks off.

It’s true that Nimbus clients generally migrate out of any other process format or tool, which also waste of a sort. One client ditched man-years of process capture of its European finance operations undertaken by one of the Big 4 – but it pays off in adoption and sustainability.

Put to one side the missed opportunities from not taking process excellence more seriously –  minor things like, er, avoiding IT project failures or success in multisourcing – just at the very simplest level of avoiding unnecessary costs: Is there any other corporate asset where waste on the scale that is considered normal in ‘process management’ would be tolerated?

Things are changing but, really, how did ‘process’ get such a bad rap? It’s the DNA of the organization, for goodness sake. How did we get to a situation where it’s considered unremarkable that an organization cannot describe its business processes, or how they are supported by its systems?

There’s a doctoral thesis for someone in all this. Not sure whether it’s a tragedy or a comedy.

Related Posts

05 Sep 2012    Translating An Operating Model Into Real Work

28 Aug 2012    The ROI On Process Visualization

© Text Michael Gammage 2012

Translating An Operating Model Into Real Work

Bringing in a Big 4 firm to create a new target operating model (TOM) has become de rigeur. But how many operating models are ever put to work? Not many. Some are just displayed reverentially on a pedestal in the C-Suite.  Most are ‘executed’ by an expensive army of consultants – but with very mixed results.

It’s a big issue. Social, mobile and cloud technologies are driving ever more rapid business model innovation and associated process change. But many organizations are locked into ‘a tragic pattern’ (as Brad Power has discussed on his HBR Blog): The CEO launches a new change program with great fanfare, only to shelve it a few years later with little to show for great expenditures of time and consulting fees.

Strategy to Reality - 1The capability to execute well must be one of the keys to breaking out of this cycle.

Why are so few grand plans well executed?  The swirling fog between the TOM vision and the operational realities, for a start. There is no line of sight between the TOM as a ppt deck and the real business.

The primary mechanism for translating strategy into reality – integrated, holistic perspectives and end-to-end processes – doesn’t exist. Instead there are a myriad process fragments, in multiple tools and formats, ‘managed’ in functional silos within a feeble governance framework.

So the exec team has a TOM roadmap, steering wheel and dashboard – but only tenuous linkages to the engine, transmission and brakes.

A process management platform provides the multi-dimensional matrix within which an operating model can be executed – reliably, efficiently and, in compliance terms, safely.

It’s the ability to execute that really matters. It’s what underlies sustainable improvement. In a complex and fast-moving world, that just can’t be done efficiently any more with ppt and email…

Related Posts

20 Jun 2012    Process: The Emerging Global Business Language

© Text Michael Gammage 2012