“We started the project 3 months ago but it never really went anywhere”
“We just don’t have the resource to do it”
“SMT couldn’t see the point in making the changes we suggested”
Business process improvement is critical for any business, no matter what industry or size. However, it is incredible the number of projects that fail to finish, let alone deliver the results that are needed. According to the Advanced Institute of Management Research Paper, 63% of managers report that complexity is responsible for over 5% of productivity loss in their business and 10% of those managers estimate the proportion of the productivity loss due to complexity as high as 30%*.
In this article, we look at 5 of the most common reasons process improvement projects fail:
1. Forgetting the powers that be
Most people only get senior management involved AFTER they have put the business case together. Don’t wait that long! A huge amount of resources is needed before you even get that far especially during the process understanding and analysis phases. So if you haven’t got a sponsor in the upper echelons, it is more than likely that other priorities will overtake your process analysis efforts. Get them on board, explain the outline of what you are looking at doing and try to give them an idea of the benefits to be had.
2. Making decisions based on what you THINK you know
Whilst you know your business and job inside out, don’t make BPM decisions based on what you think you know. Back it up with facts. Say we take the example of a sales process, don’t assume that it is one particular step causing the issues without some analysis. Map the process flow, time it and then analyse it.
3. Feeding the scope monster
Before starting your process analysis, do an initial diagnosis and identify the areas to focus on first. Clearly define the scope for your process analysis and don’t let it creep outside of that. If it does need to be extended, make sure you discuss that with your project team and fully justify the reasons for doing so. Don’t feed the Scope Monster!
4. Focusing on technology
You may find it strange that as an ERP specialist, we are saying this but it is true. Technology can support change and deliver time savings but if your processes and people aren’t right then you are fighting an uphill battle. You should focus on change management as well; simply automating an overly complex process with technology is not the only ingredient for delivering real efficiency improvements.
5. Pushing on regardless
How BPI works for your business will be different from every other company, even those in the same industry. The effort, cost and time involved depends on the size of your business, the scale of the changes and the number of people involved. If at any point you feel you are losing direction or traction, scale it back and focus on one section. i.e. a particular task or report that is particularly time consuming to produce.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful! If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.
Interested in getting started with business process management? Download our Getting Started Guide on Process Improvement
As lead solution consultant at itas, an award winning Sage partner, Hannah has a real passion for data and process design. With an academic background in Mathematics and Operations Management, she has spent the last 5 years applying that knowledge to the project management, design and implementation of ERP and BI systems across a range of sectors and with organisations of varying sizes. She gets a real buzz out of seeing her clients grow and flourish as a result of her efforts. You can reach her on Twitter @hannahlincoln87 @itassolutions
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