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Issue No:05/03/1

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In business context 'process' may be defined as a logical series of actions taken by organizations with an intention of getting a desired result.

Organizations need to be process-oriented to

  • Respond effectively in a dynamic environment
  • Formalize learning from past experience
  • Optimize costs by increasing efficiencies
  • Set priorities and align tasks towards business goals
  • Track source of problems and find solutions to them quickly
  • Enhance accountability of activities and tasks by defining 'process owners'
  • Allocate tasks as per skill set of employees, while ensuring their individual career growth
  • Adopt appropriate technologies and realize maximum benefit from investments in them

and unlock latent potential among existing resources to deliver higher quality products and services.

The goal of a process initiative however depends on the nature of organization, the kind of business it is in, and its competitive advantage. Therefore an organization needs to define its core and non-core business processes.

Core business processes are the tasks, activities, etc. that define the fundamental purpose of existence of the organization. Core processes should stimulate creativity and innovation, emphasize on sense and response, and where knowledge creation is a by-product. Non-core processes should chiefly extend support to the core processes and help in standardization, cutting costs, and control mechanisms.

Some key considerations while implementing processes are

  1. Cultural orientation and people mindsets: processes should be people friendly and help people do their jobs more efficiently rather than force them to work in a particular way.

    Unfortunately, this aspect is often ignored when process implementation strategies are rolled out. Certain societies are more tuned to an "informal" relationship and work culture that implies that the process implementation strategies would have to be different, though the end goals would be the same.

  2. Clear metrics for success for such initiatives need to be defined

  3. Organization-wide awareness of such initiative relevant to each level. Further, such initiatives should not act as rigid blocks and restrict communication or form organizational layers and bureaucracy.

With increased pressure to cut costs and increase value to customers, organizations are aggressively looking at forging alliances and building global relationships. Process alignment between such organizations, is the key to achieving desired objectives of the relationship.

Role of the Manager

Management plays the most important and challenging role in setting up and ensuring the adherence to processes. Managers need to continuously take decisions to ensure the alignment of internal processes towards customer satisfaction. Managers also play a crucial role in enforcing organizational change and building ownership of activities while aligning processes with business goals.

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