Innovation and agility are lofty goals that sound so good in annual reports but so often fail to materialize in the real world. That is because they must be pursued in the dirty and hazardous work of process optimization -- and that's a scary thought for many.
Before the dot-com period of "technology for technology's sake," there was an equally manic time when corporations tackled "process for process's sake." This phase, known as the business process reengineering (BPR) era, called for the radical reinvention of all processes across the enterprise.
BPR promised quantum gains in operational efficiency and competitive advantage. However, it often wreaked havoc on organizations, leaving them to wonder what value they had received in return for the millions they spent. It's no wonder that, when you even utter the phrase "process model" now, some executives and managers go weak in the knees, envisioning a return to the bad old days. So I want to be clear that, when I say "process optimization," I do not mean revisiting BPR.
What I do mean is the analysis and design of processes to show the link between business objectives and the supporting technology for a given initiative. It does not entail the wholesale revamping of processes or their application or utilization. Instead, process optimization focuses on improving the specific processes that support each proposed business-scenario model envisioned.
It is here that the organization can be viewed through the lenses of innovation and agility.
Read the rest of this article here: Keeping the Business Ahead of the Application.
This was first published in May 2012