The Value of Process Improvement: Corporate Voices [video]

min read

Four higher ed business consultants address the question: How can institutions best demonstrate the value of business process management to devote resources to their "highest use", improve how they do business, and better align their efforts with institutional strategies, goals and objectives?

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Clint Davies, Principal, BerryDunn
Kate Hazen, Higher Ed Practice Director, M&S Consulting
David Hemingson, Partner, ISG
Rebecca Weaver, President and CEO, Fox & Weaver Consulting Inc.

Kate Hazen: The best way I feel for institutions to demonstrate Business Process Management is through the development of an analytic and data sharing program. What this allows the institution to do is to instead look at their line, instead of looking down at their lines of business and concentrating on this individual lines of business. It allows them to look up and now they start to look across the institution. When you look across the institution about how data moves through its life cycle that enables you to attack and deal with business process issues without saying it. And thus bringing that value to the institution through enablement of data sharing.

Clint Davies: So the value in business process improvements really gets demonstrated when you can show a changed process, you can eliminate tasks that are not adding value and you can provide better service. It goes back to better, faster and cheaper. And the more you can find a specific project or specific area that has those benefits. The better sort of pilot effort that is to demonstrate and I think it's really important to be able to identify it and then to be able to execute on it and communicate that to the campus community. And as you find success, that gains success elsewhere. It's important to be thinking about your business processes in line with what you're trying to do as an institution. Strategy suggests broad strokes that you're trying to undertake in directions you're going in and business process is very focused on specific areas that need to be improved. So blending specific business process improvements with strategic direction is really important and that's something that is determined by the vision that you set. And that's probably the place to start is in setting vision for where the organization is going.

Rebecca Weaver: The bottom line in that question is value proposition. How do you show that? And it is all about the metrics. So one of the things that we have noticed over many many years of doing this is that, reporting tends to be the last thing anybody thinks about in any project, any process improvement, Software Uprooting whatever it is. It's the last thing anybody thinks about and yet it is key to the success of the project, the successful use of the tool, the successful implementation of the process, getting folks to adopt process change and new technology. So you really have to start with the end in mind you know it's trite but it's true. You need to start out with what are the metrics that you need to design to show whoever it is you need to show that there's value at the end of the yellow brick road right? The other thing is the tangential value proposition. So you'll always get out of a process improvement, this thing takes less time it has less errors but that means that you're feeding resource time back into your day. Which means there are other things that you're able to tackle because they're not having to spend time doing this other stuff over here. So you also need to look for those opportunities and measurements and be able to show that hey, before we did this process improvement we didn't have this thing that we've now accomplished as a result.

David Hemingson: It's really a comparison of the level of effort and that goes into a process as you think about it from end to end or from origination to disposition of whatever the transaction might be both before and after. And by contrasting those I think you get a really good sense of what the what the value might be of that. To do that, it's not easy but it is often worthwhile. particularly in those situations where you have very distributed processes that may be originating in academic department, in an institute but understanding who all is involved and what the level of effort is they're applying to that is a significant factor. So you really have to gather this information almost originally through surveys or whatever other means you might have. And that through that process identify how much effort and you combine that with cost. How much costs are involved in that business process? When those are distributed and when they vary across the academic units or the distributed units. Those costs can be astoundingly high and to go about improving their process and making changes where it is more a cost effective can result in significant either savings or reallocation of that effort to those things that are more critical to the mission of the institution instruction, research, service, patient care in some cases. So I think that's a way to demonstrate value is do the before and after, really do your homework in terms of what those costs might be.