The Consultant’s Role in “Process Enterprises”

Consulting companies offer many services such as management, audit, tax, technology, and strategy consulting. However, Business Process Management (BPM) consulting might come from any one of these management, technology, or strategy firms. By engaging a consulting firm, you get access to a group of professionals that have numerous skills like process design, process improvement, leadership and accreditation ranging from Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, Project Management Professional certifications, licenses, and more. These highly specialized people would be expensive to hire full time, but thanks to consultants, companies can bring in these specialists on demand.

Planning, mapping, and maintaining quality process improvements are crucial to the success of businesses today. Businesses have been focusing on reshaping processes for many years now. The ones who succeed find great reward through better efficiency in employees in their functional areas and in workflows. Process management and continuous process improvement allows organizations to continue to find improvement areas and develop more efficient employee workflows and process improvements. Partnering with process focused consultants can help organizations solve their process problems and get great ROI in improving inefficiencies within their organizations.

While many organizations seek the assistance of experts and/or consultants to help them in planning and mapping new efficient processes. Michael Hammer has developed a process tool that allows businesses to implement process changes themselves without having to seek these outside consultants. The Process and Enterprise Maturity Model (PEMM) is Hammer’s corporate road map and bench marking tool for organizations embarking on the path to becoming a what he calls a ‘Process Enterprise’. “The model’s simplicity allows people to apply it themselves rather than rely on consultants from outside the organization” (Hammer, 2007). Hammer’s model allows businesses and organization to quickly uncover areas in which they are lagging and offers a tool that can get them quickly improving processes. Check it out, it might work for you too!

Alan Mendelssohn, a retired process improvement consultant from Resources Global Professionals, with over 20 years of experience in a variety of cost engineering, project management, and continuous improvement positions, makes the business process management discipline and implementation seem very simple. He summarizes the discipline as controlling a process along with its outcome, identifying critical processes, validating customer requirements, documenting processes, developing measures, and managing and improving processes. Business process management can be implemented through a simple check list, however as processes become more complex and developed it takes skill and intricate attention to detail to change organizational processes. Business process management can of course be “simple”, but would probably never be as easy as Mendelssohn summarizes it. It is critical for all parts of the organization to continually improve.

The discipline of business process management allows organizations to improve workflow and become more efficient through planning, executing, and monitoring processes. A well-planned BPM discipline allows organization to be more capable of adapting to an ever-changing business environment. In BPM solutions are almost always based on a workflow or set of workflows that are built from a framework such as Dr. Hammer’s. These tools can be used for automating, measuring and optimizing business processes. When BPM is implemented properly, these tools allow business leaders to change and improve the process whenever possible to find and explore better execution of business processes.

Imagine you want to improve your most costly, most inefficient process, would you know where to start? How would you know what these processes were without manually digging through thousands of individual cases? A Process Intelligence tool will easily highlight which process are completed efficiently, where the organization spends time on repeated steps or idle operations, how much each process variation costs, and allow for root cause analysis to identify problem areas. Process Intelligence removes the guesswork and allows full transparency of the process’ as-is state, showing the processes end to end. Process Intelligence eliminates the need for your analysts or consultants to walk around with a clip board and stop watch observing employees’ tasks. But why is this important? For starters, this observation takes time, and time means money. The longer your bad processes continue happening, the more your organization is losing on the bottom line. This old method of time and motion studies, observing and documenting is tedious and unnecessary. When you send a person to look over your employee’s shoulders, they get distracted and know they’re being watched, where they intentionally or unintentionally perform different than they normally would when someone wasn’t looking over their shoulder. This means the data being collected is unrepresentative of the true state of your process.

Going one step further than Dr. Hammer’s idea the model of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) comes to the forefront of people’s minds. Typically organizations invest $10 in consulting to every $1 they invest in RPA so that the consultants can identify the business processes that would be the best RPA candidates and offer the most ROI. If consultants can eliminate the time consuming tasks like time studies and identifying every process variation manually, they can then focus their time on better programming software robots that will automate the best RPA candidates and costly processes. Aside from the improvement in time and efficiency in implementing RPA, consultants will have a complete understanding of the processes and will be able to address every variation in the robot’s programming, never missing a thing.

It’s not that consultants are bad, and they are well worth the expense, heck I’ve done numerous projects as an outside consultant with organizations both small and large. You may still want to work with a consultant for your project needs. You know how sometimes when you’re dealing with an issue in your life, you turn to friends and family for their opinions and reassurance you’re making the right decisions? Well that’s what a consultant can help your organization with when it comes to making tough decisions. Consultants often work with lots of different companies and could have some experiences where they have seen or worked out a problem similar to your organizations with another company. They can give great advice from their experiences and hopefully have a toolbox with process mining or process intelligence capability ready to work on your company’s important projects and quickly identify the best RPA candidates. If your consultant shows up with a clip board and stop watch, throw them to the curb and call someone in who is using Process Intelligence.

About the author

Ryan Raiker is an accomplished business consultant with experience working with small and medium enterprises. Ryan has worked in project management in State, and Local government. He studied Business Analytics and later earned his MBA from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. Currently Ryan is focusing on Brand Management and Product Development for TimelinePI.

January 23, 2018