Business Process Assessments – The Hidden Secret to Software Selection Success
Often times, software selection is viewed as a prime responsibility of the CIO / IT organization. But the real secret to Software Selection success must involve the whole organization to fully document current processes, identify improvement opportunities and capture requirements for your software decision. The best way to lay the groundwork for selecting the right software tools is to start with a Business Process Assessment that includes:
- Current State Process Flow diagrams – define the foundations upon which your business process is currently built
- Disconnect Analysis – identify the processes and activities that are broken and need to be improved to build a stronger foundation
- High Level Business Requirements – collect requirements that you need addressed by your software in order to deliver the best tools for your business
Define Current State Processes
Any business can appear to be a “patchwork” of business processes. Few work perfectly and most need improvement. Employees who are closest to the day-in, day-out activities are your “subject matter experts” and can most-effectively describe your Current State business processes. They will know what works well and what is broken and they will provide future business requirements needed to evaluate your software selection. Diagram each business process in a visual picture by using tools such as value-stream, SIPOC or Swim Lane diagrams.
Uncover Improvement Opportunities
As your teams walk through each process, there will be an open discussion about how well your process steps work. Users instinctively know when they are engaged in non-productive activities and will speak up about how to improve the work they do. All of these issues and opportunities must be captured, catalogued and verified in a “Disconnect List” which is a wealth of knowledge about where improvement opportunities can be found. From this list you can generate sustainable and positive outcomes for operational improvement and ROI.
Develop Business and Technical Requirements
In every software selection, the main objective is to develop a clear understanding of what’s needed in your new or upgraded software tools. Throughout the process mapping workshops, the participants will identify their “musts” and “wants” for a new system. Business team members must be open to process changes while IT team members will view the requirements from a fit/gap perspective. The combination of these activities will deliver the best information to help make the right software selection decision.
Assessment Drives Success
Business Process Assessment provides you with a good picture of the current landscape, builds team ownership and positions you to make great decisions in your software selection. But just as importantly, this methodology can show you the way to obtain savings that can offset your software implementation costs. With a better understanding of what you need in new software and a good return on your investment, you deliver a strong Win-Win result for your organization. We’ll walk through the steps of Software Selection in our next Blog.