Process Innovation and Management in the Acceleration Age

author: Susan J. Bird, President, Flying in Formation Inc
Published (Reprinted with permission from the Newlink Group newsletter, Vol. 12, Issue 2)

Are you struggling to redesign processes that have plagued your organization for many years?
Are you looking for a way to increase throughput, improve service quality and reduce costs?
Are you interested in understanding the impact of change before you inflict it on your people?

The tenets of survival for today�s organizations are simple: cope with unprecedented acceleration of change, rampant product obsolescence, epidemic downsizing of the whitecollar workforce, and the commoditization of information and computing technology. In this maelstrom of social and cultural upheaval, organizations must learn to compete with market cycles of days and weeks, constant organizational redesign, and processes that are outdated as soon as they are deployed.

Cheaper, better and faster is no longer good enough. Customers want not only just-in-time products, but also just-in-time processes. Because change is the only certainty, adaptability and flexibility need to be �built in� to our business processes. This means taking an innovative approach to rethinking mission critical business processes and applying process-enabling technologies, where appropriate. Business processes are how we work, and how we work with each other, and to ignore them or fail to improve them is to risk failure. While we are rethinking the way we want to do business, our customers, suppliers, and service providers are rethinking how they want to do business with us. In the “Acceleration Age” their thinking is likely to be even more radical than ours. The challenge will be for our organizations to create a dialogue with external business partners and customers in order to link them into the extended enterprise through an automated business process.

Business Process Management (BPM) software is a key enabler for the effective implementation of the new work processes. Through modeling of the business and its processes, and integration with existing application systems, organizations are able to implement new solutions to create a �knowledge desktop�. Information required for effective decision-making is then delivered to the desktop and made available to the people doing the work. Critical business processes can be measured and managed for ongoing improvement, as business needs change.

The objective of BPM is to apply technology to achieve optimum interaction between and among people and processes; that is to enable people�s work. To consolidate and sustain the benefits gained through process redesign and technology application, there is a critical need to change the way people view their work, and the way managers manage. Successful application of BPM technology alone is not enough; management concepts and models that enable the organization to unleash the power of staff and the new technology must be understood and put into practice. Implementation must be planned and managed for success, recognizing that there will be resistance, both
passive and active.

Successful implementation of change of this magnitude is dependent on solid project management and the strategic integration of people, process, organization and technology. Our approach combines innovation, a proven methodology for Business Process Excellence, knowledge transfer and change management to facilitate the achievement of business objectives. You can�t afford anything but unqualified success! Neither can we!

Susan J. Bird is founder and President of Flying in Formation Inc, a NewLink Group Alliance Partner. Like NewLink, Flying in Formation focuses on the Insurance and Wealth Management industry.

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