So how does that manifest itself in business? I argued in my previous blogpost that customers rather stay away from processes if they have a choice. They are more tuned into services that satisfy needs and expectations, presented in an enticing and compelling manner. They have greater flexibility when selecting channels (web, mobile apps) and delivery mechanisms (click-and-collect, packaging, presentation, etc). Business users - who are consumers in the same omni-channel world - now expect similar forms of engagement from their suppliers and colleagues. They have experienced significant progress in the online world (better user interface, simple offering, ease of use, immediacy, portability) and therefore now increasingly demand a similar experience in the workplace, void of redundancy and complexity. This spans the entire business lifecycle, from market research to serving customers
My contention is that:
- There is no place for process design in business planning and marketing, unless you deal with regulatory and finance functions - formal reporting and resource management systems still require the rigidity and audit trail that ERP and GRC systems offer;
- There is little value in applying process modelling in product and service development as advances in service design, agile development and prototyping provide better, more holistic and more flexible approaches to productivity - again where regulatory compliance and oversight is necessary, more formal processes may be required;
- Supply chain and manufacturing still lend themselves better to process-based approaches as standardisation, consistency and a predictable quality of output is key to successful execution; however when engagements with suppliers and customers are required, especially at the start (procurement) and end (fulfilment) of these cycles, there is more to be gained from a service design approach that addresses the varying needs and expectations of those stakeholders;
- Post sales and customer service activities should have a well-balanced mix of process and service design. The primacy, however, should be service-orientation, supported by streamlined and lean processes. This is where outside-in thinking is particularly helpful: looking at your own operations from a key stakeholder perspective: how do these stakeholders interact with the service and when and where is value created;
- Other staff activities in organisations, such as HR, Finance, IT and Facilities tend to lean towards a process based approach as they focus on cost reduction more than revenue generation. In regulated industries, these functions experience more oversight and scrutiny - so processes are essential to be able to demonstrate compliance.