Your System – Not Guilty As Charged

Just another weblog

The Radical Viewpoint – Aiming at the Right Target

Posted by Joel Schipper on December 13, 2010

The first step in getting to a system that will not be “guilty as charged” is to aim at the right target opportunity.

That target will become clear only when you’ve done these four radical steps:

  • Simplify
    • Reviewed what is happening in your business processes, and simplified the number of steps in each process that will be handled by the new system.
    • For example, are you doing extra steps?  Steps without a “value-add?”  Steps that are overly complex or difficult to accomplish?
  • Standardize
    • Review how a particular  business function is being handled, e.g, Accounts Payable, in different divisions, regions, or lines of business (before you implement ‘shared services’).
    • Have each group handle this function with as much commonality and common standard procedure as possible.
    • Minimize the exceptions.
  • Centralize
    • Are you doing a function in different regions, regions, or lines of business with separate business groups?  If so, what is the compelling reason (perhaps a legal issue with joint ventures or governments)?
    • If there is no compelling reason, start to plan on using technology to consolidate those functions in what are commonly called “shared service” organizations.  Why have multiple A/P departments if not absolutely necessary?
  • Automate
    • Now that you’ve simplified the business process, you’ve standardized it, and you’ve centralized it, you’re ready to apply state of the art information technology to it.

With this new understanding of how you’re about to utilize the new system, you still need to have a clear and understandable Return on Investment (ROI) from that system, an ROI that you can not only calculate, but about which you can answer these questions:

  • Who exactly is getting this ROI?
    • What organizations and/or persons will experience this ROI?
  • How are they getting it?
    • What will change?
    • How will this be done and measured?
  • When should they expect it?
    • You need to know dates when the ROI will appear so that you can be ready to measure and record it’s arrival

Finally, get ready to measure your progress during and after implementation.  You know what you’re automating, and who’s getting the benefit – now be ready to hold those persons and that organization accountable for achieving the ROI.

More about each of these points in coming posts….


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