Every business leader wants the same three things: to reduce risk, increase revenue, and decrease expenses. Often, there is a general assumption that technology is the only way to accomplish these goals using IT. I’ve seen it time and time again. An organization will invest in a technology, thinking it is the silver bullet for success.
Instead of first paying a huge sum of money for technology, I suggest looking at one thing if you want to be an IT organization that reduces risk and contributes to the bottom line: your workflows.
Fixing ineffective or inefficient workflows is the way to work smarter, not harder — and without an added expense. So many organizations overlook the impact of their workflows on the overall business. But with tightened budgets and a remote workforce, your workflows are more important than ever.
Workflows Deliver Value
Value is the most important thing a CIO and the IT organization need to understand if they want to reduce risk, decrease expenses, and contribute to the bottom line of the business. You cannot accomplish anything without robust, effective, and efficient workflows. And when I mention value, I mean how the business delivers value to a customer — the business value that is realized by the end user.
This is something that a tool cannot do for you. Technology, no matter how new or fancy, cannot understand business value and structure itself to deliver that value as effectively and efficiently as possible. However, if the people using the technology understand how value flows through the organization and is delivered to the customer, they can ensure that the technology is used effectively.
That’s why the power lies in your workflows. When you improve your workflows, you get more out of your tools and technology, increasing the ROI on those investments.
Why Bad Workflows Happen to Good Organizations
Unfortunately, bad workflows are extremely common. They happen within many organizations and often for a variety of reasons. Currently, bad workflows are happening because with most organizations, value streams have evolved and changed, but the workflows supporting those value streams did not.
Right now we’re seeing this because of the pandemic. Most organizations are working remotely and some are working with a smaller, leaner team due to layoffs. But, the workflows that were in place before COVID-19 were likely designed for a different situation.
While the pandemic is a huge example of how much workflows can shift, there are other smaller, more common changes that happen in organizations that can turn a good workflow into a bad one. Small changes in how a product is delivered, the way a piece of software is used, or even changes in how organizations communicate throughout the value stream can negatively impact workflows. If these small changes aren’t reflected in associated workflows, value leakage occurs.
TaUB Solutions says value leakage is the greatest threat to value realization. Value leakage can occur throughout the value stream, as solutions move from conception to customer implementation. One small change can become a big one overtime and when that happens, value leakage can cause major problems.
You have to regularly audit your workflows to ensure they deliver value and if those workflows are the most efficient and effective way to support a value stream.
Fixing Your Broken Workflows
To fix your broken workflows, you first have to start with understanding the most important thing: value. If you haven’t mapped your value streams or your value stream map is from pre-pandemic, now is the time to give it an update.
Mapping value streams must be a collaborative, cross-departmental project. Because this is a detailed, step-by-step process that breaks down every step of the value stream and the workflows that contribute to them, you’ll have the opportunity to see how your workflows are contributing value, where any gaps exist, and what can be fixed or changed.
This process of mapping value streams may not sound like the most exciting initiative for people to spend their time on. But when it’s done correctly, it will save you needless expenses and improve efficiency which can contribute to a better bottom line and a happier customer.
But the job isn’t finished! It is very important that revisiting value stream maps becomes a regular practice. There’s a balance to scheduling your reviews. You don’t need to review it every week. On the other hand, if you only review once a year, you might not be doing it frequently enough. I recommend you start reviewing your value streams monthly and if you find after a few months that no changes are being made, you can move to reviewing them quarterly. Whatever the timing is, book it on your calendar and make it recurring so you never have an excuse to not review these.
In this time of higher user expectations, tightened budgets, and distributed teams, you have to leverage every advantage you can. Instead of looking outside of your organization for the next best thing or the next best hire, examine and optimize what you’re doing now. Taking these steps will strengthen your organization for the future, ensuring that when you do invest in something new, it’ll have the impact you’re looking for.
If you need support cleaning up your workflows, book a free consultation call. This is one of my specialties!Share