We have been working in business process improvement for over 15 years in both public and private sectors. Common practice has included: conducting workshops with paper and Post-It® notes; writing up the findings afterwards to include in a report to share back with stakeholders, and creating SWOT’s with flipcharts and Post-It® notes which needed to be documented electronically. Following meetings we frequently queried items/elements of the process that were missed and asked for clarification over things that needed further information at the workshop.

All of this means that the average 1 day As Is process workshop takes on average 1.5 days to write up (effort) and probably more like a week in elapsed time to deliver (if I view this with rose tinted spectacles). The end result is that maybe we get a process map in Visio, an As Is report in Word and a potential business case calculation in Excel created manually with no real link to the mapped processes.

When we come to do the To Be process we start all over again and follow the same process. 1 day workshop and 1.5 days write up. Then we need to create a report and a business case based on the outcome of the As Is and To Be workshops and an options appraisal for the various options available for the To Be implementation.

It got me to thinking there must be a better way. In the same time as we have been mapping processes technology has moved on in leaps and bounds.

  • 2001 Apple iPod
  • 2002 Camera Phones
  • 2003 iTunes
  • 2005 YouTube
  • 2007 iPhone
  • 2008 Kindle
  • 2010 iPad
  • 2012 Google Glass
  • 2013 Commercially available 3-D printers
  • 2014 Real life Hover board
  • 2015 Apple Pay
  • 2016 ???

In the same time process workshops have evolved through a similar sharp enhancement curve!

2001-2015 Post-It® notes and Paper

Recently I was working with the leading CMS provider to the Public Sector within the UK, delivering transactional process improvement workshops for our customers. As a Lean and Agile organisation it was essential that not only did our product deliver the best functionality, but our consultancy was delivered in the most efficient and cost effective way to enable customers to generate a business case for their change projects. In order to deliver cost effective projects to our customers it was essential to deliver an efficient and effective process design consultancy. To continue to deliver this in the traditional time served method this was proving cost prohibitive to our customers.

What we did?

We looked at what was available. We talked to our stakeholders. We evaluated the options. We identified a preferred solution.

Funnily enough we followed the exact steps we advised our customers to do.

We followed the same channel shift mentality to our own processes that we applied to customers. What were the opportunities to exploit new technologies to deliver BPR/BPM in the most cost effective way using the most cost effective technologies? How could that give us a competitive advantage to deliver more for less?

The answer was obvious once we found it, and the business case was clear. We needed to change the way we did things. The status quo was no longer good enough to deliver in the age of austerity. Post-It® notes and paper had had their day (and that was a long time ago) it was time to do things differently.

We found and tested a product that enabled real time mapping of processes in a workshop environment. It enabled instant sharing and feedback on those processes with stakeholders.

Processes could now be mapped and costed in the workshops with instant sharing back to the stakeholders. Accurate costings and analysis of As Is processes helped deliver better analysed solutions. Options appraisals were made easier by having bench-marked As Is costs available to compare the new process options with. Do we integrate or just improve? Do we offer e billing or just an online account? We can now use real data to inform our decisions captured at the workshops with the process stakeholders.

The solution is not rocket science but is the biggest leap forward in process mapping and analysis software since Arthur Fry invented Post-It® notes. This cloud hosted software pays for itself (a year’s subscription) within a couple of process workshops in time saved to your BA’s and better outcomes for your business.

For those of you old enough to quote Victor Kiam (of Remington fame) “I liked it so much I bought the company”. I have not bought the company but I am the UK distributor for the No 1 European Lean Process Modeler. In Holland this product is used by half the public sector municipalities (authorities) as well as being used by Blue Chip companies such as Ikea, Bavaria Beer and the Dutch Post Office.

Believe me as someone who has been working in process improvement for over 15 years there is nothing in the market that can match this product.

Andrew Sandford
Andrew Sandford Director
Agile guru and process evangelist

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