Putting Process Before Platform
5 minute read
Q: What is a business process? Is it a string of tech-enabled operations? A series of collaborative events, people working together to get things done? Maybe, like Gartner, you see it as the steps you take to satisfy a customer? Or is it an organizational asset that creates business value?
A: All of the above. But the purpose of this pop quiz is to gain insight into how you perceive the concept, because that’s dictating how you currently manage your own business processes.
For better or for worse, richer or poorer, your business processes are uniquely yours. So you better make sure you understand them, improve them, and leverage technology to support them.
Processes Channel Energy
Your processes give people direction. They orchestrate daily activities. Without them, workers would just flail away hoping for a win.
Think of business processes as channels for your work force. No, not your “workforce” like the generic term for your stable of employees. We’re talking about your Work Force, the people power and energy your company runs on. The raw potential, vigor and vital impetus humans bring to their work every day. Your processes should direct that energy along the most effective paths to achieving company goals.
Documenting the Who, What, and How
Every change initiative begins with assessment, defining where and how you need to change to get where you want to go. Consult daily users and brainstorm ways to improve what is being done, design more efficient and profitable processes. But at some point you are going to have to get into the weeds to uncover problematic workflows. Where are your channels clogged?
Once you understand your business processes, you can begin configuring systems to best support them. To do that, examine how your employees are really running your processes on the ground. Trouble spots will become glaringly obvious.
For example, in your trip through the weeds, you’ll probably discover a “Sally.” To manage her part of the business process, poor Sally has to access five different data sources and mesh a lot of things together to then input data into yet another system. How are you going to make Sally’s life easier? How will you free her from manual integration duty and channel her cognitive abilities to be a force for positive process change?
Process Over Platform
Yes, we know change can be grueling, but you can’t let horror stories of past migrations trap you in an untenable present. Free your thinking from current tech constraints. Conceive of your business processes outside the platform you think they will live on. Unshackle them!
In our new white paper, Tech Platform Architecture: A Human-Centric Approach to Finding & Fixing Stress Fractures, we include a case study of a company that did exactly that. They came to us as a rescue client after multiple vendors failed to meet their demand. Turns out, the demand – “Fix our legacy system!” – was the problem. For their business processes to thrive, they had to let the dinosaur go extinct.
“True consultants hear and assess your issues, including what you think the solution might be. But then they use their expertise to determine and configure the technology that best serves your processes and people,” explains Mind Over Machines Solution Architecture Manager Frank Shin.
Tech Supports People Processes
Your business runs technology, not the other way around. Companies need to move from an application-centric to a process-centric mindset. The end goal here is not a platform comprised of applications that dictate processes. It’s a platform that enhances processes, giving them room to scale and evolve as needed. A platform that empowers people to do their jobs better, to work smarter. When each employee’s contribution is effectively channeled, the collective force is a marketplace power to be reckoned with.
Don’t settle for a structurally unsound platform. If your technology isn’t adequately supporting your business, help is available. You can start by downloading Tech Platform Architecture: A Human-Centric Approach to Finding & Fixing Stress Fractures. Whether you’re struggling with amorphous processes, disparate systems, dirty data, or disgruntled users, our white paper has solid strategies to get your tech house in order.