C-Suite executives hear it every day in the news “digital transformation”, “workflow”, “robotic process automation”, “e-signature”, and “hyper-automation”. Sure it sounds great, but what is the cost/benefit, and where should your organization focus?
After conducting hundreds of enterprise, department, workgroup, and process-level studies, for organizations ranging in size from 25 to 250,000 employees, across all industries, I have a couple of ideas for you.
What not to do. Try to find a home for the technology, let individual users or groups drive organization implementation, rely on vendor pitches, see how it goes and budget later, and look only at one technology set at a time. Why? Without a well throughout plan digital transformation projects tend to not show or be able to show a return on investment, become fragmented in terms of impact, fall short as to benefit, not have sustainable budgets, create sprawl, and can fail.
What to do. Develop a comprehensive enterprise/department “business process improvement” technology plan. This plan starts with an inventory of current processes, and scores each process on description, FTE cost, need for improvement (cost, efficiency, quality, service, friction), volumes, type (individual, repeatable, cross-functional), and innovation potential. The plan also identifies what type of technologies (i.e. capture, machine learning, recognition, electronic forms, workflow, AI, RPA, e-signatures, ECM, ERM, etc) will produce the greatest cost/benefit. From the plan, a roadmap of projects can be identified, budgeted, and focused on in terms of staffing.
It is important that this plan is developed with a flexible framework so it can be adjusted “at anytime” for changes in organizational/process goals, customer needs, budgets, ROI requirements, and new technologies.
For the top projects, baseline the process (steps, issues, ideas, dependencies, flow) and apply process improvement methods such as continuous process improvement, BPM, Re-engineering, LEAN, and Six Sigma to “clean up” and improve the process before automation. Next, develop a “technology level” redesign. This two-step approach will help affirm the return on investment for each improvement cycle (procedural, technology), develop requirements to hold the vendor accountable, and help plan for rollout. If desired, both steps can be rolled out at the same time.
It is important to utilize the right process improvement methods, or combination of methods, as each can produce a different result (e.g. continuous, reduce waste, decrease errors, and radical).
What is the next step? Contact us at CRE8 Independent Consultants, we are happy to discuss your needs and goals, and how our enterprise/department process improvement and technology planning studies can be of assistance. As independent consultants, we provide an objective voice regarding process improvement plans, vendor ability, return on investment, and vendor selection. To schedule a free consultation. Look forward to speaking with you. Best George Dunn, President CRE8 Independent Consultants www.cre8inc.com