If a tech-savvy colleague asked you to explain the basics of business process improvement (BPI) and its supporting technologies, could you do it? If your CEO wanted to understand more about how technology can support process improvement but did not understand technical language very well, could you tell the story using an engaging analogy? When you’re done reading this article, you’ll be able to answer “yes” to both of these challenges. In the analogy used throughout this article, the combination of Formula One race car and driver represents a hypothetical business or organization. Both can be seen as complex systems made up of manual and automated processes. Just as racing teams must bring all the process elements together in order to cross the finish line first, businesses must perfect their processes in order to beat the competition. The fundamentals of auto racing success have not changed much over time. The team that does the best job of executing and optimizing its processes will win the race. The fundamentals of business success have not changed much over time, either. Companies with better processes and better execution spend less, sell more and avoid regulatory penalties. In the Formula One analogy, BPI initiatives are represented by the driver himself. But the driver needs help to win the race – he cannot do it alone. He first needs the help of a skilled pit crew, the process center of excellence (PCOE), to direct and oversee all of the organization’s process improvement efforts. Then the driver needs a combination of technologies – the Formula One car – to carry him across the finish line. Here’s what it takes to reach that finish line:

To win consistently, teams and organizations need to go beyond simply executing their processes consistently. They must make their business processes better and better, because that’s what the competition is doing. The formal approach to making processes better is to launch BPI initiatives. BPI is represented as the driver in this analogy because BPI initiatives are human endeavors. Technology is available to assist, but people drive BPI. 

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