By Barton Goldenberg
Processes are those natural business activities that produce value, serve customers and generate income. All organizations have business processes.
What follows is ISM’s 10-step methodology for reviewing and enhancing business processes. These steps will help ensure process excellence as part of a customer strategy implementation. Possible customer strategies may include but are not limited to: Digital Transformation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Social Media Communities, Customer Engagement, Data & Analytics, & Emerging Technologies.
Step 1: Meet with the Business Process Participants to Plan an Initial Schedule
Select the business process review team from among stakeholders throughout the organization. Meet to determine overall strategy and direction for the project and agree upon a tentative timeline for completion of the 10-step review.
Step 2: Research Relevant Industry Best Practices
Identify relevant industry best practices. Include process flow documents where feasible. ISM can help with this task.
Step 3: Determine Current-State Business Processes
Set up interviews with process subject-matter experts (SMEs) to determine “as-is” processes for sales, marketing and customer service. During this step, also note any potential quick wins or other ideas that could impact ‘to-be’ process results.
Step 4: Document ‘As-Is’ Processes and Make Best-in-Class Comparisons
Based on the data collected in Step 3, map the ‘as-is’ process flows. If ‘best-in-class’ has been determined, compare ‘as-is’ process flows to industry benchmarks.
Step 5: Collect Feedback on ‘As-Is’ Process Flows
Send process flows and documentation to process SMEs with a list of ideas that have been culled from the research conducted in Step 2. Request that customer-facing personnel also review this material and provide feedback regarding needed enhancements.
Step 6: Hold Workshop(s) to Review Feedback
Meet with customer-facing personnel to discuss ‘ah-ha’ insights gathered from the review of ‘as-is’ processes. Collect and discuss missing process steps; clarify existing steps.
Step 7: Hold a Business Process Improvement Workshop
Set up a workshop with key stakeholders to review ‘as-is’ process flows and to develop preliminary ‘to-be’ processes.
Step 8: Draft ‘To-Be’ Process Flows
Based on the output of the workshop in Step 7, assign process SMEs to develop Level 1 and Level 2 ‘to-be’ process flows.
- Level 1 represents highest-level process steps and notes additional sub-processes that may be required.
- Level 2 process flows provide sub-process details for each key activity/step in Level 1.
- Leverage best-in-class industry practices wherever possible.
Step 9: Hold a Business Process ‘To-Be’ Workshop
Set up a workshop to review and enhance ‘to-be’ process flows. The workshop output is an agreed-on set of ‘to-be’ process flows and a list of key actions needed to complete documentation.
Step 10: Finalize Process Recommendations
Present ‘to-be’ processes back to customer-facing personnel as well as process SMEs for final approval. Next, prioritize these new processes for incorporation into the customer strategy initiative based on urgency, potential impact and available resources.
And finally create an action plan to operationalize prioritized ‘to-be’ processes.
One additional point: I am all in favor of inviting customers to participate throughout this process review. Most business processes ultimately impact customers in some way, and it is a good practice to include customer feedback wherever the organization’s comfort level permits.
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Barton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM , customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. Barton brings more than three decades of real-world expertise in helping companies gather, organize and leverage customer data. He was one of the first three inductees into the CRM Hall of Fame and has led the way in helping companies adapt to the digital revolution and transform customers into advocates. His clients include: Chase Bank, ExxonMobil, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Controls, Kraft Heinz, Marriott, Nike, Schlumberger, T. Rowe Price, U.S. Department of Defense, Zumba Fitness and others.
Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.