The DNA of a perfect process intelligence case
There are so many potential areas that can benefit from process intelligence and success stories from many different industries and processes. Because of this, it can be difficult to understand what the prerequisites are for a strong business case. In this article we try to dissect the ever-growing reference base and identify the core components required to reap the benefits of process intelligence in any scenario – the DNA of a great business case. If your process tick all these boxes, you are in an excellent position to improve performance and generate value through process intelligence.
Don’t miss: What is Process Intelligence
Process Intelligence is a data driven methodology, so data about the process to be analysed is of course vitally important. This means the process should be at least partially digitalised, in the sense that it is performed or reported in IT systems. There is however no need for the entire process to be digitalised or that all process data must be available from day one. It is common to start the analysis with an high level overview based on for example an ERP system, which will help circle the specific part of the process with the most improvement potential. With this knowledge in hand it is possible to complement the analysis with additional data regarding this specific part of the process, for example by gathering data from other systems.
The more transactions we manage in a given time frame, the more difficult it is to overview the process manually. In these situations, Process Intelligence is an excellent tool to gain oversight and, to use an old proverb, see the forest instead of the trees. A high transaction volume also leads to improved precision in the analysis phase, as we will have more observations backing up any conclusion regarding deviations or root causes.
If the process is entirely performed within a single room or facility, we have a decent chance to overview and understand the flow just through good old-fashioned manual observation. In for example a single centralized production plant we can follow the end-to-end process with our own eyes and qualitatively understand any bottlenecks and deviations, but few companies are structured this way anymore. When the process is asynchronous and distributed between different locations and time frames, it creates gaps that are very difficult to overview manually. This problem is compounded for each facility, office, store or site that is involved in the process flow, especially when they are geographically distant or even global. Process Intelligence is excellent solution in these situations, as it allows comparing and benchmarking process execution between any number of units to find gaps or bottlenecks between them and support in the definition of best practice processes.
To motivate the time and monetary cost for any improvement initiative it is, naturally, important that the potential gain is of high value for the organisation. In theory this is rarely a problem as you wouldn’t have bothered defining a processes that matches the previous criteria if it wasn’t valuable and important to the organisation. It can however be a problem if that value is not easily expressed in monetary terms. An example could be visitor actions on a website. The visits are clearly important for sales and marketing, but if there is no accepted way of measuring that value it will also be hard to get business case approval. It is usually easier to start with a process that has more C-level attention as either a cost or revenue driver.
Last but not least, realizing any value from an insight requires turning it into actual change. That is easier said than done in processes that are relatively locked, like a large-scale production line. A steel mill would for example be very expensive to reorganize, but a service process where the person performing the service delivery have a high degree of choice in how to execute can often be changed directly and with no capital expense at all. This means any insight gained from process analysis can be implemented almost immediately. If there as already a structured improvement methodology in place, this also reduces the time and effort required, further lowering the threshold.
If your process matches all the criteria above, we can all but guarantee that you have a lot to gain by working with Process Intelligence. If you would like our help straightening out the last question marks, don’t hesitate to reach out for an initial discussion about your potential business case!