Understanding the needs of new-age Process Consultants

|April 29, 2016 0

ThangaPrakash Kanagaraj

Organizations bleed in millions of dollars every year for inefficient and ineffective business processes. What does that mean? A lack of end-to-end visibility into business interactions cause delays, repeats, defects and has decision makers moving in circles before reaching the logical, definite end-point of any business process. Result: expensive wastage!

What makes it such an ordeal? The first reason for stumbling is in the attempt to solve problems in silos. When process consultants resolve snags in functional silos they take an inward approach to tackling the process designs and the application delivery programs.

If you are a Process Consultant, you are expected to be a torchbearer of improved business goals and processes. Words like Efficiency, Effectiveness and Compliance are almost synonymous to your name.

Of course, there are tools to help organizations transform their businesses cross-functionally. But these tools too seem to address problems in silos, thus restricting the solutions to a functional premise. Process Consultants stay deprived of a holistic view much needed for a business transformation that is truly effective.

Understanding process consultants’ needs
You need an end-to-end solution to simplify your responsibilities – save effort and enforce accuracy by reducing human intervention especially while switching tools.

Your ideal solution is one that has these features on a single platter:

  • Knowledge capture from multiple angles – Process, Roles, Data and System
    -Reduced conflicts of dependency
    -Reduced knowledge capture effort
  • Familiar modeling interface to create process models
    -Better process design capability
    -Increased adaptability to change
  • Object driven documentation for standardization
  • Multi-layer data at different levels of granularity
    -Operational, Strategic and Process level views of processes
    -Risk analysis, Gap analysis, Efficiency report, Effectiveness report
  • Project management for governance and control
    -Timely reporting of accountability and governance
  • Library management for searching and reusing knowledge
    -Reduced dependence on SMEs
    -Faster knowledge management
  • Version management and change control of artifacts
  • Best-in class processes for benchmarking operations
  • Automated documentation to save documentation efforts
  • Process gap analysis and comparison
    -Risk mitigation
  • Reporting capabilities such as SLA and FMEA reports
    -Visibility into SLAs agreement, Transformation commitment and Scoping agreements
    -Tracking and closing dependence with support teams
    -Avoid non-compliance and regulatory issues
  • Integrated dashboards for single actionable window
    -Centralized visibility into processes
  • Layers for Six Sigma and Lean Management
    -Proactive measures instead of reactive

The solution should offer layer-wise visibility to cover different perspectives.

Vertical view vs a horizontal view

A horizontal view across divisions of an organization tells you about the general functioning of the organization. It integrates upstream and downstream processes to highlight the impact on process in scope. You need to realize the dependencies in the value chain to identify inefficiencies across the organization.

Example: understanding of dependency between Account Payable process and Treasury process of an organization, will help you realize the benefits of the value chain. For Lean Management you need a view into quality, wastage, risks, costs and processing time across the value chain.

Stakeholder view, Data view, System view

Each process involves multiple stakeholders. An internal stakeholder worries about process details while an external stakeholder looks at the system as a black box (outcome based). You need different levels of abstraction in both these views.

Data view tells how the data is handled at different stages and the output that one can expect.
Example: open Invoice – > approved invoice -> paid invoice -> closed invoice

System view tells you the different systems that a process passes through, across the lifecycle. Stages of the process.
Example: Hard copy invoice -> scanned copy -> workflow tool picks the image from the scanning software and routes it for processing -> this input fed into the ERP -> approved invoices get batched within the ERP -> finally moves to payment gateway

Interplay between two views will get you the most desired, comprehensive view.

Strategic and Operational View

The same tool should get you a strategic and an operational view. A strategic view to help senior decision makers for long term planning of objectives and an operational view (bottom up view) for teams that actually execute the organization goals and plan out the working parts of it.

You should be able to slice and dice different views and keep complexities to a minimum.

The road ahead: Context based process modelling

We spoke about a lot of capabilities. And the truth of the matter is that, they may still not be sufficient in addressing the real world scenarios. A lot of decisions in real world are driven by context and behavioral aspects rather than static business rules.

The future is to extend the capability to capture human behavioral attributes into this world of automated process modelling.

Example: The flow of a Credit Analysis and Collections process depends on customer behavior. It could be that the customer’s behavior drives him to default on small payments but never the large amounts. The process for recovering larger payments can take a stringent path and accommodate frequent reminders to the customer.

So how do you better understand this context? What patterns must you look for? What are your data sources? When is the right time to capture this information – at selling point or beforehand? What is psychology of the seller or buyer? These are the questions to be addressed to understand the context under which a process is executed.

The interesting part will be to see how all of this gets baked into the dynamic process design tool! Until then, you know what credentials to look for in your process design tool, today.

The author is AVP, Business platforms, Wipro

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