Process Health in Your Organization: Preparing for Excellence

Written by Lucas de Boer | 5 min read
Published on: April 24th 2019 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020
Process health - runner tying shoes

Before starting a new physical activity, a health check is always a good idea, to see if you are in good shape to meet your goals. It is the same for your organization and your operational excellence initiative. A check-up of your process health is essential, but just like exercising, it can be tough to get started. Here are a few suggestions on how to proceed!

A process health check for your organization

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, spring is setting in, the first rays of sunshine are here and greenery is once again part of the scenery. People start to stretch their legs and turn their attention to outdoor activities, but physically, it can be difficult to get back into the rhythm of warmer weather, as muscles and joints shake off the winter blues. Why not take inspiration from this annual change to focus on the process health of your organization and make it more flexible, agile and healthy? Let's put your organization's "summer body" program together and walk, run, ride, or skate on the road to operational excellence!

To begin with, you will need to establish the baseline level of process health within your organization. If you already have a comprehensive business process management (BPM) framework, this may be straightforward. If not, or if you're seeking to move beyond BPM into an operational excellence initiative, there are a couple of easy ways to get started:

Set up a round table discussion with the experts

An operational excellence initiative (OpEx) aims to optimize the current state of your business, in a similar way to exercise shaping your body and mind. In order to target and work on the areas that need to be corrected, strengthened and optimized, you need to bring together your company's process experts to assess the current state of your organization's operations:

  • What processes are in place?
  • How are they executed?
  • Who is responsible for it?
  • What is automated and what is not?
  • What needs to be improved?

The answers to these questions will provide an overview of your current process landscape, and serve as the basis for your OpEx initiative.

Automated discovery of your processes

To dive deeper into your processes and how they actually work, you can rely on process discovery, which can reveal the optimization potential hidden in your own data files. Process discovery also makes it possible to identify existing process variants, how and why they are used, and how often. This information, combined with further context provided by the people who actually use those processes, will give you a global vision of how your process landscape works and in which areas the work needs to be done.

Define your fitness program

Having carried out a process health check of your company, and used process discovery to build a picture of your current process landscape, you will be able to move slowly but surely towards optimizing your processes. The objective is to maintain a global view of how your business processes interact, while also having the ability to drill down into a specific process and have a precise vision of how the process works.

Of course, the results of a session at the gym on your body are not apparent the second you put down the weights or step off the treadmill. The same goes for any operational excellence initiative: It is an approach which shows improvements only over time.

That means it’s necessary to be patient, precise, and focused on a specific process or service. It’s best to start with small objectives to measure progress quickly, celebrate these accomplishments, and then extend the initiative to other more complex processes. Don’t run before you can walk!

Become a team player

To make process optimization possible, information must be disclosed, and in any operational excellence initiative, transparency is the keyword. Therefore, engaging process users and other employees is vital to an effective refinement and optimization plan that will improve your process health and allow you to gain in speed, efficiency and performance.

In practice, this means you should:

  • Define a team in charge of the optimization project Having a defined team that leads the initiative is essential in order to manage the project, and provides a contact point other employees can turn to with suggestions or questions.
  • Offer your employees the opportunity to express themselves and share their opinions, ideas and experiences. Your employees are confronted on a daily basis with your organization's processes. They often have new, interesting, or unexpected ideas for improvement.
  • Share the progress of the initiative with your teams To keep your teams motivated and involved, you must share with them the progress of your initiative.
  • Celebrate the final version as a team An OpEx initiative is a collective initiative. Each of your employees has been involved at different levels and it is essential to celebrate these results together, as a team, in order to reward the collective effort and stay on course for future opportunities to improve the process health within your organization.

As in any sporting discipline, this program requires rigor, commitment, effort and perseverance on your part and on that of your teams. The important thing is to keep up the effort, stay constant and stay on course for operational excellence!

Signavio takes the field

Engaging in this type of initiative takes time and mobilizes many resources to achieve results. To support you in the field of operational excellence, Signavio is the additional team member you need to ensure reliable and fast results. Equipping yourself with the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite and its four components allows you to cover all the fields of action of an OpEx initiative, for optimal efficiency and sustainable results.

  • Equipment #1: Process Manager to model and capture your processes Here you can collect and gather all your processes within your process portfolio. The goal is to group all your processes in one place in order to facilitate access to information for your employees. SAP Signavio Process Manager also allows you to simply model and rework your processes to deliver better performance.
  • Equipment #2: Collaboration Hub to promote collaborative work and transparency A platform for exchange and transparency, SAP Signavio Collaboration Hub allows your entire organization to access a range of information about how your company operates in order to make the same information available to everyone and to promote process standardization. It is also a space for exchange, sharing and suggestion.
  • Equipment #3: Process Governance to automate your processes and increase speed As part of an OpEx initiative, time spent on tasks is counted. Signavio Process Governance allows you to automate your processes and reassign tasks automatically if the people involved are not present. This makes the workflow more fluid, meaning bottlenecks are left on the sidelines where they belong!
  • Equipment #4: Process Intelligence to reveal your process data and behavior If the objective of your OpEx initiative is to focus on one or a series of processes used frequently within your organization, then process mining via SAP Signavio Process Intelligence can allow you to reveal the data hidden in your processes. In a few minutes, you will discover the different variants of your processes in order to work out the optimal version, and save important costs.

Having these four elements in your organization’s locker means you’ll have the right equipment to put your operational excellence program into practice, execute it correctly, and take advantage of the initiative. Step onto the field of operational excellence, and make your company’s process health stronger than ever—just in time for summer.

Fit and ready?

Download the Signavio 7 Step Guide to Operational Excellence for more information on the subject, and perfect your knowledge. If you're ready to go already, sign up for your free 30-day trial of the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite, and see how it can help ensure your organization reaches peak performance.

Published on: April 24th 2019 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020