In more than 10 years, driving process maturity strategies, the most common question I am asked is why do I need to look at my organisation’s process maturity? What are the benefits?
Not many organisations understand the value or advantages of a process vision, but there is no better way to create an overarching understanding of your day-to-day operations, as well as a view of future operations. A process maturity strategy assists you in answering the following questions:
1. How you want your actual operations in your business managed. For example, do you with certainty understand the cost of your business?
2. Where do you want to take your daily operations as well as future operations in terms of maturity? Do you have a clear view of what the level of maturity in your organisation is?
3. Howto create flexibility in your processes. When building new operations in your environment, or re-looking at your operations, do you need to consider the possibilities of creating workflows that could handle more than one product at a time? For example, should a customer request a Home Loan, how flexible are your processes to automatically create a personal loan application at the same time – to assist in paying legal fees.
4. What will you use your processes for and how does it assist you to produce a highly competitive organisation
It is imperative to ensure that your process vision is not created in isolation of your organisation´s strategic vision and objectives. Here are five steps for creating a successful process maturity strategy:
Step 1: Understand the vision of your organisation:
If you are the CEO, are you clear on where are you driving your organisation and how/ where it will impact the process maturity vision. If your company is on a cost cutting exercise, drive the process maturity strategy towards optimisation. However, if you are embarking on a journey to fully understand how your operation´s impact your risks in your organisation – this will cost money and the benefits of understanding your risks, will then need to outweigh any possible cost cutting efforts.
Step 2: Have the correct ownership and sponsorship – know what you want to do with your processes on an operational level.
Understanding what you want you want to achieve operationally ensures you have the correct sponsors for this drive, without which, you will have no support and this maturity drive will inevitably fail or take a really long time to build.
Being strategically aligned assists in receiving the correct Executive Sponsor.
Below are some questions you may want to ask yourself, and your process team, to assist in clarifying and understanding the process maturity direction. These questions are also guidelines towards ensuring that your process maturity strategy drives the right difference in your organisation, and supports the organisational strategy.
Does your organisation require:
a) Processes mapped for audit purposes, for risk and/or for compliance?
b) Decrease of manual processes which require automation / optimisation / streamlining?
c) Processes that need to be made measurable for accurate costing?
d) Adequately documented processes for training and performance management purposes?
e) Silos and miscommunication combated in the organisation?
Step 3: Select your organisation´s current level of process maturity
Level 1: Initial – Processes are unpredictable, poorly controlled and reactive
Level 2: Managed – Process is often reactive
Level 3: Defined – Process characterised for organisation and is proactive
Level 4: Measurable – Process measured and controlled
Level 5: Optimised – Focus on process improvement
Step 4: Determine your organisation´s level of people maturity
Because business processes illustrate and describe how a business reaches their objectives, it is imperative that the process maps are documented as accurately and simple to understand as possible. The more mature your processes are, the more mature your operations will become and the more mature your staff will be more mature in their daily approach.
Step 5: Create an executable plan for process maturity in your organisation
To get a process maturity vision correct in your organisation, you need to understand where your organisation is in the process and people maturity curve, and where you want to take the organisation in terms of your strategic and process vision.
Driving a process maturity strategy has to be a top down with a bottom up approach. Your approach needs to be smart, you need to consider completing quick wins in areas that have the complete buy in with your approach. These areas become your poster children to enable to show to the rest of the organisation how your strategy and vision will aid the organisation.
A business process maturity vision comes down to a few elements that will assist your organisation in succeeding. You need to identify where the organisation will best benefit with a process maturity vision, implement the vision and move to the next level of process maturity until your organisation hits a level 5 process maturity.:
· Providing management with a tool to effectively manage their people and operations
· Assisting with Governance
· Creating accurate training and development opportunities
· Allowing for effective Performance Management
· Providing finance with adequate costing analysis
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