A Business Process Review can take many forms; from full capacity planning and workload diagnostics to just looking at the new years’ personnel scheduling. But, in all events, you need to ensure that the systems that supports the business processes are correctly set up and fully optimised. In most instances a radical redesign is not sought, but a moderate modernisation, an improvement and an enhancement, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater!
There are some best practices we adopt, and our consultants follow our methodology; starting with the least expensive, easiest fixes first.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken – some processes may seem simplistic but if they work, leave well alone. Broken processes and complexities riddle some companies so if you find something that works, document it.
KPIs – key performance indicators are a useful start-point and used to measure change, so long as there is a marker in the sand from whence you started. Then you can measure the divergence, be that an improvement or not. So, if there are no KPI’s now is the time to set them, right at the start of the business process review. You don’t need to go “scorecard-tastic” but measure and document who uses what systems, for what purposes and to what end-goal. Then you will be able to measure who has seen an improvement – always a useful ROI tool.
Self-analysis and empower your users – provide your users with a documented template to which they can add their views and details. Enable them to share the processes they use, their personal business goals, the system support they need, the interactions they require and with all this, empower your users some leeway to build their own personal process review and their targeted improvements. Not only will this help with your workload, but it will help with getting their buy-in to the process of change. Today’s ERP solutions will allow users personalised views and potentially they will also have created minor customisations, with saved links and quick access short-cuts. Let them document these and share their wins as these might turn out to provide you with valuable insights into improvements which can be adopted across the business.
Let’s get Visual – a picture speaks a thousand words so make the most of visualisation tools as users will find these far more valuable than never ending spreadsheets. White board sessions, stick-it notes and even data visualisation tools all help the team see the big picture and where they fit.
Avoid multiple customisations – as these can result in multiple instances or customised support so that you become a slave to the consulting company or you have to unravel personalised systems. If you genuinely need more functionality that should be in the mix of the business process review to evaluate a new ERP or a full upgrade, rather than indulge the nuances of different footprints, multiple add-ons and a new instance for everyone. An ROI boost can be plotted when IT staff are diverted from customised reports, managing add-ons and personalised training.
Don’t fall for the “Not invented here” syndrome – this happens throughout the IT industry as IT departments reinvent the wheel each time rather than buy packaged solutions or 3rd party tools. Upgrading your ERP system to the latest version with a bolt on approach and self-service options will cut the cost of consulting, potentially cut the IT support headcount and decrease complexity within the business.
Always continue to improve and adopt best practise – just because you have implemented a new solution, the job is not yet done. New processes, data cleansing and how the system integrates with other solutions will need to be checked and re-checked to ensure they are optimised. Adopting change management principles here will see you through as it is a thought process not just a project process. A way of adjusting and improving continuously. To assist in this there should be a continuous learning and training path, a continuous business and process review and KPI’s that support the measuring which can be filtered to key stakeholders and management to evaluate the business.
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