Establishing Operational Excellence

By Peter McInally

Change is hard.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.  Think about New Year’s resolutions for a moment.  How many even survive January?  You know the routine… You promise yourself you’ll get fit and join a gym.  You stick at it for a couple of weeks – and then your initial euphoria meets the cold, hard reality of trying to incorporate the new behaviors into the pressures and priorities of your day-to-day life.  You tell yourself you’ll get back to it when you’re less busy but… Unsurprisingly, what’s difficult for individuals is even more so for organizations.

Change is hard – but hard isn’t the same thing as impossible and failure isn’t inevitable.  Sometimes it helps to know what you’re about to attempt is hard, Perversely, knowing something is hard is a good thing because you’re more likely to put in place a support system that maximizes your chances of success.  You’re unlikely to attempt an ultra-marathon without having prepared for it – and again, that’s as true of organizations as it is of individuals.

The Recipe for Success

The most important thing to have and hold onto is a reason for change.  You’re more likely to get fit if you’re doing it to play ball with your kids or run for charity.  In our previous blog, Your Path to Operational Excellence, we explained why operational excellence is an imperative in today’s constantly changing, increasingly competitive business environment.  It makes you more agile and more able to meet (and exceed) your customers’ expectations.  It increases employee engagement, reduces operational risks and costs, and increases productivity, revenue and profit.  Basically, if you don’t do it, you’ll be running a poor second to your competitors who do.

Unfortunately, as with becoming fitter, resolve alone isn’t enough to achieve business excellence.  You need to understand the gap between where you are and where you need to be, you need a plan to bridge that gap, and you need a way to track your progress and manage risks and issues.  In Your Path to Operational Excellence, we explained the importance of insight and systems thinking in designing your future state and developing your plan to achieve it.  We also discussed the vital role of collaboration – up, down and across your business – because organizational transformation is very much a team game.

Tools help but they must make your task easier, rather than adding complexity.  They need to give you the right information and enable you to make smart decisions.  They need to help you set goals, track progress, and avoid pitfalls.  Most importantly, they need to make your task easier, not harder.  BusinessOptix provides you with the support system you need and delivers the building blocks of a successful operational excellence program.  It does this in five specific areas:

  • Discovery – Our process mining and rapid process capture tools give you an accurate and objective understanding of how your people, processes and technology currently work together to run your business. Using our platform’s mapping and modeling capabilities you can then use this information to identify issues and bottlenecks within your current processes.
  • Modeling – Try / fail / learn / retry is an inefficient, disruptive, and potentially fatal way to transform your business. A better approach is to build a digital twin of your organization and use that to evaluate the end-to-end impact of potential changes before they are rolled out.  Our platform’s intelligent tooling takes metrics such as time, FTEs, costs, and SLAs and enables you to model and compare alternative change scenarios.  Because it gives you a holistic view, this digital sandbox minimizes the risk of unintended consequences and enables you to transform faster.
  • Planning and analysis – An effective program office is a prerequisite for an effective program. Our platform allows you to create transformation maps and dashboards to evaluate progress, timelines and expected outcomes.  They’ll help you define, communicate and track goals, priorities, milestones, and key metrics.
  • Compliance and risk management – Effective transformation is about changing things not breaking things, so we’ve provided tools which enable you to proactively manage reputational, financial, and operational risk across global regulations and internal policies. They help you identify GRC requirements, deploy controls and link them to operational processes, manage incidents, and report to internal teams and third parties.
  • Collaboration – It’s impossible to over-emphasize the need to work together on a transformation initiative, especially one involving culture change. You need to build employee buy-in, maximize two-way communication and break down internal silos.  The changing nature of work, with distributed teams working in a hybrid environment, only increases the challenge.  That’s why we’ve built a unified cloud-based enterprise-scale platform which empowers stakeholders from across your ecosystem to provide input, and powerful documentation and work instruction tools to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Future Proofing Your Business

The final point we made in our previous blog is that achieving operational excellence isn’t a one-off activity, it’s a process of continuous improvement because “good” is defined by your customers’ expectations.  Those expectations are constantly being redefined, not only by your current competitors and new entrants to your market, but also by their experience in other aspects of their lives – Amazon redefined the on-line service experience across the board, not just for buying books and CDs, and the on-demand model has extended beyond streaming movies and music to encompass even car ownership.  The digital process models and dashboards you create during your initial transformation will become the way in which you monitor, manage, and constantly evolve your organization going forward.

The best tools are the ones designed by people who intimately understand the nature of the challenge you’re facing and what you need to give you the best chance of success.  At BusinessOptix, we understand exactly what it takes to create and maintain a culture of organizational excellence and we’ve built a platform that puts those capabilities at your fingertips.

Find out more today!

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