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

How To Break Out Of A Process Binge Culture

iStock_000004581445SmallWe’re about to start another process documentation binge” said the prospective client I was talking with, a shared services director.

“It’s across the business, driven from the center” he went on. “The trouble is that we define the processes but nobody seems to bother about following them.  They’re too difficult to understand. So we have a lot of compliance issues.”

Dear Reader, I’m not making this up.  This is a major European energy group.  [I’m even resisting naming and shaming the process tool mandated by this shared services centre because this malaise is not unique to this tool – it could any one of the technical process tools.]

I share the story as a brilliant example of the dysfunctional state of so many organizations when it comes to process management.  Stuck in a wasteful and dispiriting ‘binge’ culture.

At the other end of the spectrum, leaders are joining up the dots.  They see process as an enterprise asset which underpins risk management and provides one of the keys to sustainable change. They want an enterprise-wide process management platform that gets everyone collaborating effectively on continuous improvement. They aspire to be fluent in end-to-end process.

Which isn’t just good for their stockholders: it makes for a much more inspiring place to work.

© Text Michael Gammage 2013