Transforming business processes to coordinate with new technology capabilities requires collaborative and strategic discussions within an organization, especially across functional areas. Process discussions across functional areas should involve IT personnel, business process subject matter experts, training and development personnel, and executive sponsors. The goal of these discussions is the identification of integration points and elimination of duplicate processes and applications.

Figure 1: Collaboration and Strategic Discussions Enable Transformation

Executives continue to approve budgetary spending for technology to reap the ROI that technology companies promise their products will yield as an outcome of operational efficiency gains. However, the most important thing executives must remember when faced with promised technology ROIs is that realizing gains does not occur with technology implementation; ROI occurs when business processes are reengineered to successfully integrate with the new technology. The integration of technology with business processes sets the stage for operational transformation, enabling the desired efficiency gains to be realized. In other words, integrating technology and business processes is the first step. The next step is for people to change their behavior to incorporate the newly integrated business processes and technology into their daily work habits. Widespread collaboration and strategic discussions are crucial to realizing an organization's desired ROI goals when planning a new technology deployment.

Achieving integration of technology with business processes requires a collaborative effort within a well-defined technology process reengineering team. Players assigned as team members to the technology process reengineering project should include executive sponsors as well as individual owners of the organization's business processes, technology, and training and development. Each individual plays an important role in realizing organizational business transformation.

  • Executive sponsors - Executives provide leadership, commitment, visibility and direction to the project. Their involvement establishes a sense of urgency crucial in motivating project teams and the organization as a whole.
  • Business process owners - Business process owners provide identification of impacted processes and visibility into process details. These individuals play a key role in identifying process integration points and duplicate processes across an organization.
  • Technology owners - Technology owners are the subject matter experts for the new technology. They provide the expertise in understanding how business processes can be automated or integrated with the new technology. They also assist with identifying duplicate technologies that may exist within the organization.
  • Training and development owners - Training and development activities are important to successfully managing organizational change. Training and development owners are responsible for keeping the end user in mind, defining communication requirements, and outlining requirements for education and training.

As the team is formed, they can pose initial questions to each other to start heading down the path of successfully integrating technology with business processes and achieving effective organizational change. Figure 2 provides example questions that will assist the team with focusing their efforts:

Figure 2: Questions for Project Teams to Focus Efforts

As the project team progresses through their process reengineering discussions, the level of content detail will continue to evolve. Ongoing discussion is critical to ensure that all process integration points are unearthed and appropriately dissected to identify duplicate processes and technologies. The larger the organization, the longer these collaborative discussions will take. Executive sponsors should emphasize the importance of being actively involved throughout the initiative to all team members. This involvement is the basis of a thorough understanding of all impacted processes and necessary for the accurate identification of process integration points and duplicate process activities.

Effective collaboration and strategic discussions by the project team provides the foundation for organizational transformation. Change management experts tell us that successful organizational transformation requires involvement by all individuals who will be impacted by the change. For individuals to incorporate new processes and use new technology effectively, they must change their individual work habits. Modifying these habits involves understanding and accepting the need for change and feeling a level of control over it. This does not mean that every individual has a seat at the meeting table. It means that there must be active communication between the project team and the individuals who will be impacted by the new technology and reengineered processes in order for change to occur and to ensure the organization's goals will be met. Through the combined dedicated efforts of an impacted organization, technology ROI is achieved.

Cheryl L. Strait is a principal consulting manager at Robbins-Gioia, LLC. She may be reached at cheryl.strait@robbinsgioia.com.

This article originally appeared on DMReview.com.

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