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Business process improvements - in to action

In previous blogs, I have talked a lot about reviewing processes, how to go about it and what outcomes have been identified by customers. This time I am focussing on the tools that support you when undertaking a service or process review. These are the tools that enable things to happen in a timely way whilst maintaining interest of those that are a part of the review.

Brown Paper and Post Its

by Nicola Ratcliffe, Transformation Consultant at GOSS Interactive

In a previous life, I have seen reviews that lasted 3 months, involved 3 full-time staff, I dread to think how many post-it notes and metres of sticky tape, and came up with very little transformational change. I repeated the review about a year later, two workshop sessions were held, half a day each involving 6 staff members. The outcomes were considerable: identification of quick wins which had an immediate impact, combined with a longer term plan that improved the service for staff, customers and stakeholders.

Brown Paper and Post ItsWe have all seen those process reviews where a team takes over a room, covering a wall in brown paper and then plaster on post-it notes (which, in my experience, always fall off at the most inconvenient moment!). I know that this is a great approach to get people together to build a shared understanding of the process or service. Just don't forget a step in the process as moving all those post-its to slot in a forgotten step or two is a real pain! For those in the room, the discussion as the process is developed builds relationships and understanding of other people's issues and ideas. This creates a visualisation of the process so that the team can really see and understand what happens at each step. What it does not achieve is the ability to easily share this wider with staff engaged in delivery and with key stakeholders. To understand how long the process takes, in terms of actual processing time and elapsed time, it is well-nigh impossible, even if you capture the time it takes for each step in the process.

Once the process is agreed, it is often then recreated using a flow chart tool, such as Visio. This enables a version to be developed that is more portable. From my experience, recreating the process from the original can take quite a time. The more complex processes can be difficult to view and follow the flow, especially where they are spread over a number of pages. Once again, analytics are manual and difficult to obtain robust times and costs. Personally, I would not use a flow chart/diagramming tool in a workshop session, they can be too fiddly and can interrupt the flow of the session.

Process Modelling Tool So, what do I use? I use a powerful process modelling tool which I have used on and off for over 10 years. As with the post-it notes approach, I gather together a team of representatives who are actively involved in delivering the process. During a workshop session, it's just like using electronic post-it notes but better! I can capture all the information that I need (and probably some that I don't need!) about every step in the process. Formally, this includes the name, who does it, how long it takes, any delays, and if it adds value. In addition, I can record notes about the step, such as any IT that is used, any issues with the process, reminders about additional information I require or more detail about what happens. As its electronic, I can easily add in forgotten steps and flag steps that we need to check on later. But this is just the tip of the iceberg that is a process modeller.

Following the workshop, I can share the process with those who were there or others who need to review the process. They can review it, check that it is correct and provide feedback, all within the modeller. If they want to, the viewers can look at the process in swim lanes using roles or other items that have been recorded. They can create a report or a spreadsheet showing some or all of the data as well as creating an image of the process.

Process analysis results comparisonOnce it is correct, we can evaluate the process and understand the costs in terms of time and money, we can see how much time a given role is spending delivering the process, we can understand the cost of waste in the process and so much more. All this at the press of a couple of buttons! If you then map your proposed process, you can evaluate this and run comparisons to see the difference that you could make, what savings are possible and where they will be achieved.

Once you have captured and implemented your process, the modeller in viewing mode can be used as an online training resource, showing each step in the process and what needs to happen. You can attach documents to the process, to further explain or to provide examples

There is so much more that the modeller can do for you and I could honestly wax lyrical for hours about what it can do and what the benefits are.

So, what are you waiting for?

Contact us now for a demonstration of this amazing modeller. It will save you hours when you are improving your services and help you to confidently identify improvements in service delivery and in efficiency savings.

If you would like to run a pilot review to see the modeller in action and see what savings you could be making, get in touch now by completing the form below.

Capture > Analyse > Re-engineer > Evaluate

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About the author:

Nicola developed the process review approach adopted by GOSS and has delivered many process reviews for a range of different organisations.

Nicola's background is in local government where she has managed, been involved in the day to day delivery and/or undertaken reviews of almost all services provided by a local authority. She has led corporate programmes and projects which developed a range of organisation-wide strategies (corporate strategy, customer strategy, ICT strategy and so on), implemented corporate change, and redesigned services.  A key area here is the implementation of corporate customer services in both district and county councils including the implementation of CRM and the development of processes to be implemented on them.

Since joining GOSS, Nicola has been part of the Transformation team, working in the areas of engagement, customer and channel insight, customer strategy and process improvements.