The ROI On Process Visualisation

Two more client examples on the power of process visualization.  But first, some astounding data on the potential ROI of making collaboration more productive.

The Collaborative Organization

The MITSloan Management Review just re-published the winning essay of the 2012 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize on The Collaborative Organization. It summarises a six-year research study covering all major industries. And it includes some astonishing data on the everyday collaboration inefficiencies that we’ve come to think of as normal. Two examples:

“We were struck by the sheer volume of the collaborative demands on people’s time: Many individuals spent 25 to 35 hours per week preparing for and engaging in collaborations with others.”

“If the collaborative efficiency of only 20 of the less efficient project managers and organizational leaders improved from below-average to average, it would save the roughly 400 individuals who interacted regularly with them up to 1,500 hours per week.”

Clearly, there is a huge latent ROI in making collaboration more productive. So how do you achieve it?

Well, creating a simple common language, and a single source of truth, must surely be a critical enabler.  And the only serious candidate as the universal language for collaboration must be end-to-end process. But it has to be presented in way that is visual, intuitive and engaging.

This week’s two client examples powerfully illustrate this:

In the first case, a wholesale distribution business, the client adopted Nimbus to remedy a failing ERP implementation.  Visualization of the end-to-end processes revealed more than a thousand specific business requirements. Even more dramatically, it exposed the fact that inventory management had been overlooked – the Supply Chain team thought the CRM team was handling it, and the CRM team thought the Procurement team had it in scope.

In the other case, a business services provider, the client adopted Nimbus to breathe life into its Operating Framework, transforming it from a sleepy and neglected 200-page Word document into process content that is of equal rigor but visual, engaging and helpful. That visualization is creating a collaborative framework that can drive standardization, performance improvement and assured compliance across its European operations.

In today’s complex and real-time world, there are enormous benefits in making collaboration more productive. And effective process visualization has to be central to achieving it.

Related Posts

20 Jun 2012    Process: The Emerging Global Business Language

28 Nov 2011    Cracking Complexity in Novartis

© Text Michael Gammage 2012

The Power of Visualization: How Five Boxes Can Be A Good Day’s Work

My colleague Craig Willis has an interesting post today on the power of process visualization in enabling collaboration. In process discovery especially, a well-run workshop forces the process actors to let go lazy intuition and really understand what’s happening:

“The act of talking through and visualizing a process can often, in my experience, actually improve the effectiveness of that process without any attempt to change it.”

I’ve believed it ever since I saw it with my own eyes, many years ago, soon after I joined Nimbus. In a day-long workshop with the stakeholders on a core process for a major utility client, we established that the three functional silos involved each had a slightly different take on the process. These subtle differences meant that this organization employed 250 staff to deal with the (largely avoidable) process exceptions.

All process visualization tools are not the same of course. It’s quite possible (and still amazingly common) to create visualizations that are simply process fragments, often written in an arcane technical language, and with the complexity of a wiring diagram.

At the end of that extraordinary day with the utility client, that group of senior people had, as a group, drawn just five boxes on the screen. But it was the nuances in the top level of that core process that were the root cause of the process exceptions and the resulting costs. As ever, simplicity forced clarity, and that – together with a joined-up end-to-end perspective – is where the value so often lies.

Interestingly, the process visualization tool itself is only part of the answer. The methodology matters hugely. Nimbus is a superb process management platform – but it’s the simplicity and rigor of the Nimbus UPN methodology which enables it to deliver results like this.