Part 2: You are the Problem, Not Your Systems!

How do you know what’s your fault, and what’s the system’s fault?

In part 1 of this series, I challenged you to look at your users and your processes. The reason I am challenging you is because many of you work for companies who are throwing money at the wrong problems, or at the wrong “things” to solve the problems. With all this “digital transformation”, “call to disruption”, “Internet of Things”, “Cloud Computing” and on and on…, I say it’s time to get back to the basics, your people and your processes, in order to find the fault. It’s worth repeating, get back to the basics; you really need to know your native ABC’s before you can start speaking another language.

Follow me on this series journey into how you can do this without spending much money, or maybe even no money! WHAT??? Is this really true? I expect there will be plenty of you that have insights to add to this ;).

So let’s start small.

  1. Pick a process, or rather a sub-process.  Don’t start with something as huge as order-to-cash. Let’s just start small, something you can prove out the point. Pick AP processing, or goods receipt processing. You can always ask around to identify a sub-process that multiple people believe is problematic. But just know that sometimes no one is complaining because they gave that up a long time ago! You know what I mean, right?
  2. Do a walk-through of that sub-process with the people who actually do the work.  Get a real day-in-the-life walk-through. This is a much more revealing activity if you don’t know a thing about that sub-process!
  3. Document each step with a) step name, b) manual Y/N, b) automated Y/N, c) system used, d) instructions documented Y/N, e) instructions clear Y/N, f) job role(s) that work this step.

It might look like this:


Now I know there are process purists who have just flung themselves onto the floor! HavingaFit.PNGWailing, “You can’t do it like this!!!” So let me clear the air. I’m not talking about boiling the ocean or solving world hunger. The call to action here is to discover what is really happening in your day to day processes. Discover how your users are really using, or not using, the systems in which you have so heavily invested. You don’t need someone to do this for you, you can do this! If you, the leaders, begin listening to the front line, you may find yourself rethinking what and how you invest. You might also find through this process, that the users don’t “hate” the systems as much. Maybe they really just hated, “Not being heard!”

Those of you who know me know that I will now plug in Super Users. Trust me, this is the army you will want on your side going down this discovery journey called, get back to the basics.

Until next post, sing it with me, “A B C D E F G, H I J K elemenopeeee…”

Be sure to check out Part 3 of this series: Will the real TCO, please stand up! where we explore what is included in TCO (total cost of ownership), the hidden (or ignored) costs.

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