Digital transformation involves a lot of change. Retaining a business process consultant with hands-on experience in multiple areas of business operations is a valuable asset. He or she should possess a deep understanding and appreciation for the connections and relationships between systems and processes. Every business is unique, but regardless of industry similar systems, processes and functions will exist in some shape or form.
Business process consulting requires real effort to evaluate and document your current state business flows. You should plan for and expect the initial week(s) to include a good deal of discovery. This includes mapping customer journeys and experiences as well as the internal processes taking place behind the scenes. We know that transformation is the most successful when solid benchmarks are established early on. Once those benchmarks are in place it becomes clear where the biggest issues exist and makes it easier to measure progress.
Business process mapping allows us to identify opportunities and quick wins, as well as gaps in technology, people, and processes. Most leaders are aware of the what and the why behind each function, but less so with how things are being done. Humans will find the easiest way to achieve results even though it may not always be the best path. It’s common to believe people are wired to find the most efficient route from point A to point B, but this is rarely true. Each team member’s personalities and preferences create an infinite variety of paths. This can create a web of dysfunction rooted in the best of intentions. An experienced business process consultant will help flush this out and keep everyone aligned throughout the process.
When we perform business process optimization exercises we begin by evaluating the current-state. This is crucial to ensuring there is no negative disruptions to existing customers. This is especially important with digital transformations as there is almost always a current user community. A Customer Experience (CX) map is one example of process documentation which will be provided for review. CX maps allow us to interview subject matter experts and view customer journeys through multiple perspectives. The result is a blueprint we can work from when engineering the future state.
CX maps direct the business process consulting engagement by ensuring business process optimization enhances customer experience. It also serves as a diagnostic tool to quickly determine the functional areas within your business that need attention first.
Business process management consulting involves a great deal of managing and inspiring people. While the CEO owns the vision and trajectory for the company, we execute on that vision and serve to reinforce the mission coming from the C-suite. We elicit feedback on historical issues, operational challenges and pain points that may have existed in the past. The highest level of emotional intelligence is always employed in order to ensure effective change management.
Business process optimization can cause people to feel threatened, unsafe in their jobs or uncertain about the future. In order to manage change and foster trust, a business process improvement consultant must inspire others to see a new, better future. As an example, we observe a common mistake of using words like “cut” and “optimize” too loosely. We use terms like “pruning”. Pruning a tree at the right time and in the right place almost always results in greater fruit production. This allows energy to flow back to the root system of the plant, resulting in a healthier and hardier plant! The language we use makes all the difference in our ability to connect with the valued employees who will make the program a success..
Business process improvement consultants bear the burden of overseeing effective change management in all its many forms. This requires anticipating that each individual is going to perceive change differently. To further build upon trust and understanding, we promote and facilitate perception checking as part of the change management process. This involves not only validating the perceptions of those with whom we interact directly, but also training managers and supervisors to take the time to understand their employees’ perceptions at regular intervals. Communication alone will not guarantee success.
Active listening during workshops, discovery sessions or focus groups is also important. This applies not only to customers, but also to the employees or suppliers that keep your business running. This also supports later phases of the program by informing product managers of the most urgent problems needing attention. It can also help your project management team better understand the current cultural challenges. Most importantly, it is a very effective way to lift the veil that can sometimes exist between the C-suite and frontline employees.
It doesn’t matter if you have been in business for a year or twenty, there is always opportunity to optimize and improve. Without a roadmap; however, teams can become siloed and fail to select the highest value projects. Without proper leadership and analysis, synergies between initiatives are overlooked. Building out a roadmap that ties multiple projects is worth the time investment because it forces stakeholders to evaluate the business as a whole and see the role they play. When we perform business process optimization, we do so in a holistic way that ensures the organization as a whole is evolving towards a more mature digital enterprise. Business process improvement through digital technologies is what digital transformation is all about!