Being adaptive to what’s happening in the market, connecting everything inside the operation, driving cost out of the business—these things are challenging enough in a static environment, but what happens when companies find themselves needing to deliver all this and more while planning for an M&A event?Read More
Change is hard. Have you ever heard the following objections to innovation from your organization? “My department is unique.” “That sounds great in theory, but it wouldn't work in our environment.” “An outsider doesn’t understand the way we operate.”
Business Process Management (BPM) consultants hear these objections at the beginning of virtually every project we undertake. It’s true that we’re not experts in every field, but we are experts in process improvement, efficiency, and helping organizations deliver value to their customers as quickly as possible. We understand that every business is different and that most organizations are, at best, minimally resistant to change.
By partnering closely with your team’s stakeholders, listening to their needs, and understanding their positions, consultants prove that fresh tools and strategies can be implemented in harmony with existing structures and organizational cultures to produce incredible results.
Here are five reasons why organizations should make external BPM consultants an integral part of a continuous improvement culture:
The Capability Model and the Value Stream are important tools to an organization for different reasons. The Capability Model, a model of an organization’s ability to successfully perform a business activity, helps an organization understand the capabilities developed through the execution of the business model and makes the executive decision-making process more seamless. Likewise, Value Stream Mapping, a Lean tool for capturing an organization’s process to create a product, helps management visualize the processes that add value directly to the customer and those that do not. However, the effort to capture an organization’s Capability Model and Value Stream can be quite daunting. It requires significant time commitment from staff, dollar commitment of external consultants, or a combination of both.Read More
After you’ve spent months preparing for the launch of a large-scale initiative, the last thing you want to experience is a deployment debacle due to untested systems and unprepared users.
I recently attended a project management training class that referenced one of the airline industry’s worst. It’s a textbook example of what can happen at deployment with any system when certain, seemingly mundane, operational functions are dismissed during testing.
It happened on March 27, 2008, opening day for Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport, which today is hailed as British Airways’ most technologically advanced and lavish terminals in the world. On launch day, however, Terminal 5 suffered debilitating operational glitches like a malfunctioning car park system and its baggage software being left in test mode. These operational software glitches caused a cascade of issues, including 23,000 misplaced bags, 500 canceled flights, and a 5-day recovery from the debacle.
The pains felt by employees and travelers of Terminal 5 could have been avoided with focus on a few key areas that are often forgotten due to inexperienced project leads or lack of resources to support these operational readiness efforts.
Here are three steps to ensure a smooth takeoff for any new system:Read More
Throughout my project management career, one of the areas I consistently strive for excellence in is communications. I feel it is critical to the success of any project—big or small—so I wanted to share five ways that I effectively manage communications for my projects.Read More
In Business Process Management, Lean methodology is centered on the idea of eliminating waste. This process sounds simple in theory – “Get rid of defects, cut out steps that add no value” – but actually implementing these ideas requires strategic planning. The 5S methodology presents an organized way of eliminating physical waste and standardizing the use of equipment and processes across an entire functional unit. 5S stresses that cleanliness, organization, and standardization are key in creating the most efficient and effective work processes. The method originated from five Japanese words which have been translated into English.
Here’s how you can implement the steps:Read More
We call this the “Process Experience.” It’s putting the goal of the digital product in context with the business process it will be supporting; or, Newton’s reaction to any given digital activity. The Process Experience is arguably the most important determinant of success for your digital projects. But it’s often overlooked amidst the hype and speed of implementing exciting new applications, websites, and features.
Despite the best intentions and ever-evolving methodologies, at the end of the day many digital/IT projects still are not successful. Several different studies over the past five years put the industry success rate below 60%.Read More
The recent cybersecurity breach at Anthem, Inc. has been classified as one of the largest breaches ever of customer information. Despite Anthem’s status as a healthcare powerhouse with over $2.6 billion in revenue last year, it only took one privileged account to introduce a security breach that affected 80 million customers.
My team and I recently started a 15-month Business Process Management (BPM) engagement for a Fortune 500 financial services firm. The project focuses on transitioning over 7MM charged off credit card accounts from one system of record to another as part of a recent acquisition. As the project was kicking off, it became obvious that the project scope and deliverables were unclear. We also felt as if we didn’t have the right people engaged.
In a landmark case last week, the U.S. Justice Department charged five Chinese officials with hacking into the networks of the U.S. Steel Corporation and Westinghouse Electric. Unfortunately, the theft of corporate secretsfrom what is estimated to be more than 3,000 American companies in one report circulated last yearis nothing new. Intellectual property (IP), which contains proprietary information such as treasured trade secrets, research, or publications that are pending copyright, is one of the most prominent targets of hacker attacksand yet, it’s one of the most weakly guarded.
Ok, so you survived the Heartbleed bug, a critical vulnerability that affected all internet applications using OpenSSL. But Heartbleed isn’t the last you’ll hear of widespread internet risk—just last week, Homeland Security issued an advisory against using Internet Explorer due to a flaw in the browser that puts it at serious risk.
While it'd be ideal to encrypt all internet communication, we all know that won’t happen any time soon. So in addition to frantic patching and changing passwords, what are other remedies that can help stop the bleeding instead of relying on a band-aid solution?
As a Black Belt (BB), I've observed on many occasions how crucial it is to position Lean Six Sigma (LSS) trainees and candidates for success at the start of their journey. When LSS capability is not effectively created from the getgo, the organization wastes time and resources, and may miss key market opportunities when planned productivity and performance improvements do not materialize. In some cases, the LSS program implodes all together. For organizations building LSS programs, insufficient engagement and coaching by the LSS experts (i.e., Black Belts) are primary reasons for the failure of LSS projects to generate savings and improvement in an organization.
Data center transitions are a complex undertaking usually requiring intense planning, a large budget, new infrastructure, and the ability to work across multiple departments and vendors. Most data centers are used for local resiliency or disaster recovery capabilities in support of production operations. Based on my recent project experiences, organizations should consider the following when conducting analysis and building out new data center capabilities:Read More
As we demand more access to data to improve decision-making and optimize business performance, super-sized data stores and large data sets are becoming more and more common—and vulnerable. Business leaders should liken this practice to stowing all of their treasures in a bank vault—they want to keep that data secure, since any loss can potentially be catastrophic to a business.Read More
Any good executive knows the value of a successful cross-sell program. Cross-selling is the practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer, and it’s one of the simplest strategies an organization can undertake to substantially increase revenue. Not only does cross-selling allow an organization to take advantage of the known risk associated with a current customer (versus taking on the unknown risk of a new customer), it allows the organization to gain valuable customer information such as buying patterns, preferences and willingness to try suggested products and services. Some organizations report as high as 35% of their revenue comes from cross-selling activities.Read More
A workforce that includes employees, contractors, vendors and partners can be an organization’s most valued asset in generating revenue—but can also be its biggest threat. A 2013 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute reveals that 69% of data security breaches are a result of insider-related actions such as negligence or mishandling, while only 16% of major data leaks are associated with hackers or outside perpetrators. Human error and omission are often at the root of these data breaches. For example, industry research reports that the most popular stolen passwords posted by hackers are "password.” In many cases there is no technical defense that would have prevented the breaches.Read More
In 2013, our financial services clients have faced many new and different Business Process Management (BPM) challenges, revolving around a common set of topics. BPM is becoming ever more important as our customers face business challenges stemming from new and increasing regulation, greater industry consolidation and technology trends (mobile, cloud, big data). These changes are forcing organizations to not only change how they work but also to increase the efficiency and controls of their operations.Read More
We work at an insane pace. Each day we go from meeting to meeting, read and answer a ton of e-mails, and attempt to digest large amounts of information to make the best decisions possible. We tackle tough assignments with the time we have left, and we can’t move fast enough. As a result, we often don’t spend enough time building relationships.
Social media has connected us in ways like never before, but leveraging social media alone is not a substitute for building relationships. Neither is attending all of those meetings or periodically interacting with colleagues in the hallway.Read More
You’ve decided your business processes need to be automated and you’re ready to move forward with a Business Process Management System or Suite (BPMS). Your first step will be to conduct an exhaustive review of BPMS vendors to determine which one is right for your organization.
A key consideration in your vendor selection process will likely be the option of the BPMS vendor providing a hosted solution. Today, there’s a lot of buzz and excitement around the cloud, and a BPMS cloud solution can alleviate many of your hosting headaches. But before you get hooked on the cloud, you’ll want to ask your vendors critical questions about data security, redundancy, connectivity and scalability provided. These key questions will help you determine if you’re really ready for a cloud-hosted BPMS solution.