First Things First -- Process BEFORE Technology
Here's a brief story I encountered while leaving Newark International Airport following a recent business trip. Hard to believe, but true.
After a long flight home from the West Coast, I took a short train ride to the long term parking facility, located my car (which is becoming more difficult with age it seems), and proceeded to the parking exit. Note that it's been a while since I've used the long term parking facility, as I normally use a car or taxi service, so I was largely unfamiliar with their new "high tech" customer solutions.
As I pulled up to the pay station (expecting the attendant to inform me of my charge), she immediately looked at me with the gaze of a very frustrated woman who's obviously done this before. In a short tone, she barked out an instruction suggesting that I had passed an automated ticket booth, from which I should have inserted my ticket and noted the charge. I complied with the instruction, quietly wondering why this woman was in the booth at all, given the fact that the machine and I pretty much had this thing licked. I concluded of course that she must be there to collect the money, so I proceeded to pay her. Not a good assumption as she pointed me back to the machine to insert my payment. OK, I get it, I interact with the machine for this too...no problem, thinking that this is a pretty good solution. I wait for the machine to give me my receipt, an obvious assumption given how the first two steps went. Nope...wrong again. This time she wants me to drive to her and pick up my receipt, at which point she presses a button, lifts the gate, and I'm on my merry way.
I can't help thinking about all the time and money went into implementing this slick new solution, that probably cost an arm and a leg, had little to no impact on cost savings, destroyed customer satisfaction, and obviously put the employee in a perpetual stae of 'grumpy'. No...what this was, is yet another example of "technology for technology's sake".
When I work with organizations on business impovement, one of the most important themes I try to drill home is PROCESS FIRST, then technology. You don't implement technology on top of a broken process. Nor do you attempt to fix a broken brocess with technology only.
The right path is to measure the effectiveness of the process before you begin. Establish a baseline. Understand how the process works today ('As Is' State). Look for places to improve the process. Define changes. Examine the effect of each potential change on overall performance. Then, and only then, define the technology, systems, skills, and organization needed to support the new process. Develop cost benefits and business cases. Re-examine the degree to which performance will be improved over baseline. And then your almost ready for implementation.
It's a simple principle, but one that often get overlooked. Try to pay some attention to this in your everyday life and you'll probably see many similar examples. Then, use these as lessons learned, and start living by the mantra- "First Things First"- process first, technology later.
For the past 18 years, Bob has served in a variety of capacities, ranging from Internal Auditing and operations management, to business process consulting and executive change management. He has worked for over 50 clients across numerous functional areas and process disciplines. His clients cover multiple industries spanning North America, South Africa, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.
Bob currently serves as Chairman and CEO of e Performance Group International, LLC, a company that delivers a unique web based platform for online benchmarking and best practice sharing for business professionals and executives.
In addition to his role at ePGI, he continues to provide private consulting, executive workshops, and selective speaking engagements to industry leaders worldwide in the area of benchmarking, business improvement and best practice adoption.
Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling directly @ 908-656-1179.
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The Power of the Contract in Performance Management
An essential step in managing the performance of salespeople is that of establishing a sound and agreed contract between manager and the salesperson. A contract in this context is simply an agreement between the manager and the salesperson as to how best they are going to work together.
The Power of Positive Communication
Communication is the key to your success at work, at play, and at home. Here are six tips that will make a difference in your life:1) People judge others by their actions.
Bar Charts Brought to Life: Index of Interactive Information for HTML and PDF
Bar Charts and the Information ChallengeWhether one is an unknown entrepreneur or Donald Trump, an elementary school teacher or a university president, a 6th grader researching other countries or a government leader visiting them, each person in any capacity has at least one thing in common: information.Let me explain why I use bar charts as an example.
The Higher You Go
The higher you go, the cooler it becomes. Really? Let us begin from first principles.
Good Idea Generation - A Process
It seems incongruous that good idea generation can be a process or that a process may lead to insight. However, if you examine the behaviour of people who regularly generate good ideas - such as creatives in advertising - you will find that common patterns of behaviour do emerge and it is possible to make insight more likely.
Towards Intercultural Understanding
An individual's ability to forge effective relationships across cultures is influenced by a very personal and highly complex mixture of emotional and cognitive processes. Anyone contemplating an overseas posting feels apprehensive about stepping into the unknown.
Internal Communication: 12 Essential Elements
There are 12 essential elements of a successful internal communications strategy:1. Effective employee-directed communications must be led from the top Effective communications require the active commitment and endorsement of senior managers.
Sarbanes Oxley 404 Compliance - How Nov. 15, 2004 Deadline Affects You
Fast Relief for Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 ComplianceSection 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires management to confirm the effectiveness of their IT and financial controls in an "internal control report", which is contained within the annual report (10-K) issued to the public. But what exactly is an internal control report, and why is it important to you?The Section 404 Internal Control ReportFirst, the internal control report must affirm management's responsibility for controls and procedure, and second, it must contain an assessment of the effectiveness of the internal controls and procedures for financial reporting.
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