Computer World UK last week reported IKEA's great success in moving from to a web-based Business Process Management System (BPMS). The move has enabled the company to create internal business cases in less than half the time it previously took them and honestly, we're not surprised considering the array of issues with text or paper based standard operating procedures. (SOPs). Ikea noted that where a business case used to take approximately 24 days to create, it's now done in an average of nine days. That's a whopping difference and a valuable insight to many companies considering a move from paper to digital for processes.
What was perhaps an interesting note in the story was that the staff themselves were so frustrated and unhappy with the previous system, that they requested a new tool. Often one of the biggest challenges for implementing a new system is a reluctancy for change and the difficulties change on such a wide scale can bring up. Perhaps one way to overcome that issue is to actually allow things get so bad that the staff want change! Speaking at the Gartner Business Process Management Summit in London, Bodil Ahl from IKEA IT noted the success of their fast change over (just two months) was also down to a lot of change management. Agile Change Management was also a crucial factor in the creation of TPSoP®, Torque Mangement's solution for developing and improving process-centric procedures and SOPs.
Ahl said other significant benefits included having a central database with information that now enables them to do more data mining, eradicating paper documents and improved information security.
One step further down the road in IT and process developement this week we're also seeing further moves in robotic process automation or RPA.
“At its core, RPA is “robotic” software that organizations configure to capture and interpret the actions of existing applications employed in various business processes. Once RPA software has been trained to understand specific processes, it can then automatically process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses, and communicate with other systems as necessary. The technology is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for people to perform high-volume IT support, workflow, remote infrastructure, and back-office processes, such as those found in finance, accounting, supply chain management, customer service, and human resources.” - InfoWorld.
And it's already being used in some organisations. Early in 2014, health care provider Ascension Health deployed an RPA system called Blue Prism as a way to avoid time-consuming manual processes associated with its move to a new ERP platform.
While some view it as a way for companies to be able to slash jobs, we're looking at is as a positive, something that will surely enable staff more time for more fulfilling tasks, creativity and innovation within their companies, allowing further growth, as opposed to hindering it.
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