Business process improvement requires good business process visibility, or the ability to accurately and completely view the processes, transactions and other activities operating within an enterprise.
In particular, it ensures that the business has a complete and accurate picture of IT operations, and vice versa. Organizations can also quickly identify process problems and get processes that don’t map to overall business objectives back on track – increasing value and efficiency.
But business process visibility is not just a nice-to-have, it’s essential in order to improve business processes and overall operational efficiency. Here are eight unfortunate things that happen when visibility isn’t up to par.
Silos and Manual Solutions
When information isn’t stored and shared in a central location, each team must develop its own process and solution. Obviously, these are inconsistent and unreliable, and “reinventing the wheel” always takes longer that sticking with a single plan that everyone knows works. Also, while project managers may share schedules with sponsors and other leaders at the start of a project, executives may lose the trail if documents are updated but not shared in real time, or worse, via emails and spreadsheets.
When leaders can’t see individual tasks and team capacity, they are likely to assume that their people can do more with less and may go overboard with project planning and assignment. Project managers may be aware that team members are overloaded, but without process visibility, they lack the means to prove it to executives. And with no reprieve in sight, top talent is likely to seek other opportunities.
Email is the biggest culprit here. This resource is frequently used to communicate about projects, but what happens when a new team member joins and doesn’t have access to the project’s documented history, and what happens if a team member forgets to cc another on an important piece of communication? And what about the common scenario of the executive who feels kept in the dark because he or she isn’t receiving regular updates? Then, you have team members wasting time frantically searching their inboxes.
Lower Quality Outputs
Fragmented processes lead to poor project quality because it’s easy for details to be missed during handoffs and things to slip through the cracks. A small problem may easily become a larger one. The result? Anything from a cost overrun to a defective product.
Even when businesses have the right business intelligence information available to them, it may be inaccessible or erroneously reported due to lack of process visibility. Leaders who don’t have the most relevant insights at their fingertips are less likely to make smart choices.
Poor Decision Making
If a leader or sponsor doesn’t know exactly how a project is proceeding (for example, how many status meetings took place, how many actions were completed, whether the timeline is being adhered to, or whether a project is in the red or the black), it’s difficult to competently decide if efforts need to be redirected or canceled, or if one initiative needs to be prioritized over another.
Less Effective CRM
While it’s true that customers buy based on individual, personal relationships, sales is still a team effort and successful selling cannot rely on one team member holding information close to the vest. Yet without process visibility, this is precisely what happens. Few in the organization are clear on who had meetings with who, whether VIP clients are being properly taken care of, and the appropriate means of follow up.
Decreased Financial Performance
Without a complete understanding of all components of the business, executives lose the ability to forecast accurately. They can’t plan for disruptions in advance and mitigate the complexities of running a business in a global economy. Ultimately, a lack of process visibility leads to the assumption of greater risk, a loss of stakeholder trust, and less positive growth.
Want to avoid these pitfalls? Get your free Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace.