Business Processes: A Growing Corporate Priority

From a Robert Half Management survey of CFO’s in 2007.

Today’s global climate demands a constant drive to out-perform and out-innovate the competition.  Leaders from government, nonprofits, small businesses and enterprises are asking the tough questions:

  • How can our organization improve customer service levels and enhance productivity without incurring costs?
  • How can we manage risk and compliance without losing business advantage?
  • How can we empower every employee to innovate – to discover new products, find new markets or develop more-efficient ways to execute?

This quest is not unique to our time – performance management initiatives such as total quality management and business process re-engineering date from the 1950’s.

For many CFO’s the value of process improvement is likely seen in reduced costs – less redundant work leads to more efficiency, which then provides greater profits.

A recent Economist article sums it up best – they state that competition and innovation [not information technology alone] led to the extraordinary productivity gains seen in the 1990’s.  Those innovations in technology, products and business processes boosted productivity.  As productivity rose, competition intensified bringing fresh waves of innovation.

My Thoughts…

I have been making the case that a company is a collection of processes.  I have provided many examples not the least of which is the ‘Quote to Cash’ process.  If you are with me so far, then it is not difficult to see that managing your business processes should be a priority.

The tough questions listed above all deal with processes. 

  • Customer service is a process and improving customer relationships is key to improving profits.  Enhanced productivity is a direct result of process improvement. 
  •  Compliance is all about process.  Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO and Aegis require audits that prove you have a process and that you follow that process.
  • Innovation isn’t just about new product development; it can also be about the processes within your company.  Remember the 80/20 rule – 20% of your processes provide 80% of the value to your company.  These processes should be your target – improving these will provide the biggest bang.

It is all about Process. 

Your Processes can be your competitive advantage…

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