Setting Better Expectation For Process Improvements

The current tide of global economics has placed considerable pressure on businesses to cut costs and perform more efficiently.  This situation isn’t more apparent than in IT concerns of the business, where the focus has been shifted to strategic leadership.  Several companies have reported that their CIOs are now reporting directly to the CEO, instead of the COO or CFO, indicating the executive focus on the IT strategy.

The pressure to save costs are encouraging companies to invest into innovative technologies to streamline processes, replace expensive IT, and find better ways to provide the same, if not better services than before.  According to a 2008 online survey by TechWeb (http://www.transformationenablers.com/research/state-of-business2.jhtml;jsessionid=X0NUAY5LITVUGQSNDLPSKHSCJUNN2JVN), nearly a quarter of the companies interviewed are  allocating 16-35% of the IT budget to supporting innovation.  Over three-fourths of the companies expected an increase in their budgets for innovation change.  The top four areas for this money are business process management (BPM), promoting collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM) and project management.

The push for outsourcing support for it or business processes is one of the key strategies for many companies to handle the economic pressure.  Most pursuing this route are doing it to save money, while  large contingencies are moving to external providers to free up personnel for internal innovation of the companies’ product line or as a way to optimize the processes of the business.

The bottom line to business has been communicated.  Save the cost of doing business or expected harder times.

Now that the process has been implemented, it’s time to refine the process through improvements.  But has expectations been set for making those improvements.  The point is, the work has just begun.  All the work that was done with planning, designing, and implementing the process has to be repeated with each improvement.

Business is always changing, but if the organization is unwilling to keep up with that change, your efforts will fail along with the process.  The first thing to do is keep promoting the process at every opportunity, especially getting reactions to the process from people involved.  Make sure that the team is aware of the importance improving the process is to the business.  Use metrics to identify how the process is performing and where it may be weak.  If it is performing as expected, set goals for increasing the baseline.  Be proactive, not reactive to change.

Make sure the requirements to the process reflect the changing environment.  To help the organization get used to change, make initial improvements small in scope and effort.  Incremental changes that take no more than ninety days to implement are easier to handle.  To build confidence, create some realistic milestones to measure progress and make them.

Process management begins and ends with understanding the current and future needs of the environment:  management, employees, and customers.  Stay on top of the business and make improvements to move your organization into the future.

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