Are your organization’s processes smooth, agile, and add value to customers? Or have you noticed hassle, unexpected extra costs, information disconnections, or key employee overload? If your organization doesn’t suffer from any of these, you do not need to read this article.

The right process produces the right results.

In many organizations, processes have been described over time in the context of either information system projects, operations, or service development projects. However, we at Innotiimi-ICG rarely encounter genuine up-to-date process management. People change jobs, or the business conditions change. When was the last time you assessed the business processes in your organization? Isn’t it high time for an update?

All the money comes from the customer, making it possible to create wealth, pay dividends and salaries. But without process management, managers are rarely able to systematically lead improvement or unique value creation for customers. While this is easy to say, it is often difficult to put into practice.

Chronic problems can appear in many ways:

  • costs rise uncontrollably and there is too much waste in the organization,
  • service capability does not meet customer needs,
  • profit expectations are not met (margin erosion),
  • key employees are overloaded and there is a constant shortage of resources in the organization,
  • the need for harmonization before starting information system projects (e.g., an ERP project coming up and too many different ways of working have been identified),
  • the competitive situation has changed – the old business model is no longer successful.

Corona, digitalization and environmental protection bring the challenges of adaptation, but at the same time they also offer opportunities for success. It pays to act before more agile competitors scoop up your best customers.

Process management requires process thinking

The bad news is that management thinking needs to change; otherwise, the business continues as usual. By leading and acting in the same way, we get similar results. So, it’s worth looking up at the horizon and seeing what the outlook is in five years. Ask yourself, “What could destroy our business?”

The good news is that process thinking is relatively easy to learn compared to many other leadership skills. This is because process thinking is highly logical and pragmatic. In process thinking, we focus on operations and perceive that all results in an organization are the results of collaboration.

It is the job of the leader to create the conditions for success

In a small organization (less than 50-100 people), a leader can rely on personal goal-oriented interaction. If a manager operates in this way in a large organization (e.g., departments or teams), the result is sub-optimization, hassle, and competition for resources. At its worst, management and work are fragmented into individual performances. As a result, instead of improving performance, we look for culprits. At the same time, we wonder how we could get people excited about development and harness their creative potential. What is the situation in your organization?

Operations in the organization are increasingly driven by information systems and automation. Everything that can be digitized is digitized. A significant redistribution of work is underway. Physical labor has often been replaced by “machines,” and the same is happening for expert work. No organization can escape this. Deming has stated, “Survival is not mandatory.” Business management or everyday work can not be simplified to the use of information systems. All activities are based on competence, human interaction and cooperation. If people don’t know, no system will help.

Perform process control acid test

  1. Do you know the customer’s process, related technical and emotional needs?
  2. Do you have the customer’s feedback on the process?
  3. Do you make immediate corrective or remedial actions to restore customer confidence based on critical feedback?
  4. Are the core business processes known at all (often not obvious in the service business)?
  5. Do you understand what brings value to the customer (vs. the internal operations of functions)?
  6. Is there an understanding of the ‘magic moment’ and the fact that the core business processes prepare those crucial situations to satisfy the customers?
  7. Do you know process key performance indicators (KPIs), can performance be benchmarked against industry best practices, or can the best practices of one’s own organization be utilized?
  8. Is it ensured that the flow of information is smooth and that individuals have up-to-date information to perform their tasks?
  9. Is the role of support processes in creating the conditions for the success of core processes recognized?
  10. Is process management effective in organizing according to the value stream?
  11. Are key roles, their responsibilities and decision-making powers defined, incl. the role of the process owner in relation to the line manager’s role?
  12. Have the tasks been formulated meaningfully, and has the need for cooperation been identified?
  13. Is it ensured that all people involved in the process know their tasks and have the necessary skills, tools, and other resources to perform their tasks?
  14. Does day-to-day management support the effective implementation of the process?
  15. Do you know what process management is?
  16. How is Lean implemented in processes, e.g., how to reduce waste and losses in processes and how to streamline processes?

If you answered “I don’t know” to several points, now is a good time to start a renewal in management.

Most important is what kind of value creation we focus on

When the “business domain” is wisely chosen, the result is determined by how we organize operations (= management) and, on the other hand, how organizational systems support day-to-day management, the success of everyday work, and value-creating customer “magic moments.” Process management is by far the easiest and most effective way to succeed in generating business results with resources available. Interested in hearing more?


Image source: krakenimages,