Process is a key element of achieving company objectives.
A company needs a strategy that is specific, measurable, and time constrained. It needs capable and motivated people who willingly embrace the disciplines of the business. These people need to execute efficient and effective business processes. And those processes need to be embedded and controlled by appropriately procured and implemented systems. Without technology, you cannot hope to align the business to the strategy.
However, technology is never the source of a process problem. Indeed, implementing technology without addressing a process problem just speeds up the time it takes to experience the problem. Fix your processes and apply them with technology. Of course, total process excellence is an unattainable goal. Every time you improve something in a process, you expose the next weakest link in the chain.
Process excellence is a continuous journey.
The challenge for most organisations is that they have invested heavily in their curent business applications, like BI, ERP, CRM, and timesheets, and are still recovering their return on investment. Few have the budget nor the appetite to throw out the old for the new. Luckily, there is an alternative. Applications exist that act as ‘wrappers’ extending the life span of older legacy applications and improving the day-to-day efficiency. These can be implemented without the significant change management challenges that come with changing the underlying transaction system.
Here’s an example…
Opening the ERP and selecting ‘new supplier’ is not the first task of on-boarding a supplier into the business. Long before you do that, a myriad of things have been done, usually by people outside of finance. However, most ERPs assume the ‘new supplier’ function is where that process starts. In reality, someone out there in the business has said they want to source a new item or service. Someone has shopped around to see what potential suppliers exist. Perhaps a tender or RFP assessment and due diligence process has been done. A suitable vendor has been selected and all the necessary information has been assembled to be able to trade with them: commercial details, catalogues, service levels, sales, support, and financial contacts. Only now are we ready to login to the ERP and do the ‘new supplier’ form.
Imagine if all of that pre-work and selectoin could be automated, trafficked, and orchestrated so that the final new supplier record could be automatically created in the ERP, straight-through processing if you like. Even better, as well as creating the supplier record in the ERP, do it in the asset management system, the purchasing system, and anywhere else it needs to be.