The dynamic marketplace promises continual pressure on businesses to stay competitive and relevant. As process excellence is key to build agility, there are many areas where businesses can focus their investment for 2017. The following is a list of 10 areas for accelerating process excellence.
- Process mapping and modelling
To fully appreciate the operational challenges a business faces, there needs to be a thorough understanding of how the business operates today. Process mapping provides a visual presentation that is easy to comprehend and to identify choke points. The exercise also works well for modelling future state. This inventory of process knowledge is an important asset for process excellence.
In many businesses, departmental leaders tend to focus on their own areas, leaving cross departmental challenges in limbo. A business can establish clear process leadership in a formal way by forming a process excellence group or assign accountability as an added responsibility. The resource commitment is worthwhile because when there is clarity on process leadership, people know where to share their concerns. Issues will be dealt with promptly.
- Culture for process excellence
Culture has a direct impact on the appetite for process excellence. It is difficult to convince people to pay attention to things that they believe carry little value and effects on them. It takes time to build culture. With proper resources assigned to take leadership on process excellence, the continual reinforcement would build traction and support. Over time, they foster a mindset and culture for process excellence. A positive culture has a domino effect on actions alignment.
- Business process management application (BPM)
These applications are built to make the process modelling effort more efficient. They offer capabilities to automate workflow, monitor process performance in real time, and capture the relevant data for performance assessment. The integrated functions displace the adhoc approaches that stitch process tasks together. The measurements provide data at critical process steps for rapid diagnosis.
- Customer experience
Constantly bombarded with abundant choices, customer interaction has become more crucial in building a business’ brand and customer loyalty. Customer experience includes touch points via in-store contact, service delivery, online information search and query, and call centre support. A process-centric approach to enhance these customer experiences would streamline the front-end and back-end operations.
- Customer relationship management application (CRM)
CRM has become an integral component to many operational processes. Despite its humble start as a master repository for prospect/customer information and interactions, CRM is an essential tool for fine-tuning marketing campaigns, providing relevant data for tailoring offers and messages to the different customer segments. A well implemented CRM allows users across the business access consistent customer intelligence, enabling coherent actions to meet customer needs.
- Data management
In most businesses, there are many data sources for the same data. The duplication often leads to conflicts arising from contradicting results. Instead of working collaboratively, employees become protective of their data and end up in a tug-of-war, jockeying for support and trust. Data management includes acquiring, validating, storing, protecting, and processing of data. Users want ease of access to reliable and timely data. Without proper data management, it is futile to amass data, let alone leveraging data for informed decision making.
- Data analytics
Drawing meaningful and insightful information from data helps to customize offerings, personalize customer experience, streamline cumbersome procedures, and optimize investment. When a business is cognizant of the questions that it needs to address, applying rigor to analyze data and distill pertinent insight lead to strategic actions.
- Digital expertise
Talent with digital knowledge and expertise are hard to find. For a business to leap from basic automation to transformation, it is necessary to have someone champion the adoption of technology in an innovative manner. There are myriads of possibilities in adopting technology for different aspects of operations. Though outsourcing is an appealing option, it remains an important asset to have in-house expertise. Invest in people who have a knack for technology.
- Technology infrastructure
The disparate technologies deployed over the years are ripe for an overhaul. The need for rapid data access and sharing is paramount for process excellence. From lead generation to accounts payable, a tightly integrated technology platform affords applications to dip into each other’s data for expedient execution.