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An aggressive competitive landscape is compelling organizations to move beyond automation and invest in value adding front end processes that drive superior customer experience and growth. This is forcing organizations to shift to process based operational models, wherein process owners play a key role in improving process efficiency through innovation. They do this by working collaboratively with other process owners to drive meaningful change, aligned with larger goals.
There is no doubt that organizations are continually trying to build new competencies and capabilities by adopting practices such as Lean principles to align and improve processes. However, most of these initiatives are paralyzed due to limited ability to innovate and create game changing solutions. According to Albert Einstein, “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
Empowering processes through innovation requires businesses to leverage emerging technologies such as mobility, social networks, and cloud-based applications. This, in turn, necessitates the support of robust information infrastructure and document processes. It also needs the support of a task force with requisite skills for driving innovation. Such skills can be coached and bolstered through training programs. These skills can be categorized and imparted at three levels – basic, expert, and executive levels. While basic skills can be targeted at employees across the organization, expert skills such as training in process methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma can be aimed at process owners to drive operational expertise and performance. Executives and senior leaders can then adopt a practical approach aligned with business objectives to embed innovation, drive improvement, and create value across the enterprise.
In addition, utilizing recognized process improvement methodologies such as business process improvement (BPMs), Six Sigma, and Lean along with analytical tools and techniques can help innovate and design new and improved processes. TELUS International Europe’s initiatives in driving performance through business process intelligence are a case in point. After identifying top pain points and analyzing the root cause the company implemented the following innovative ideas to energize their processes:
- Analyzing voice of the customer to ensure expected key process outputs
- Empowering customer service agents to actively participate in sharing ideas and improving processes
- Facilitating automation to provide timely alerts and updates
- Defining newer key performance indicators to better measure productivity and drive superior performance
As a result of these initiatives, the company was able to improve service level agreements (SLA) to 91%, improve customer satisfaction significantly, and save annual cost to the tune of more than USD 79000.
Organizations that nurture a culture of innovation typically encourage diverse and inclusive leadership teams, and have well-defined and transparent platforms for the same. Embedding a culture of continuous process improvement, re-visiting processes, and charting an improvement roadmap that aligns innovation with operational and business goals can help stimulate processes across the enterprise for superior results. This, in turn, promotes business agility and responsiveness, creating incremental business value and driving competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.
Organizations are becoming increasingly digital and Artificial Intelligence is being deployed in many of them. Often small tech-savvy start-ups and large firms with huge funds, like those in technology and finance businesses, are deploying sophisticated forms of AI.