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Driving global process transformation: Removing roadblocks

For an organization to work like a well-oiled machine, each function should dovetail into the next one. However, in practice, one function sees another through the tinted glass of local interests.

One universal desire: to operate as a unified global entity
As processes get increasingly complex at global enterprises, CIOs are anguishing over some fundamental questions around process transformation. The successful executive is the one who knows what the roadblocks are to process transformation, how to remove them and can really do it. But here's the catch. For the organization to work like a well-oiled machine, each function should dovetail into the next one. However, in practice, one function sees another through the tinted glass of local interests.

There is a short-sighted approach to running functions in organizations. This provides a spurt of performance in the shorter term; but it might go against the interests of the organization in the long term. By taking a "parallax view", an effective CIO can see the organization as a unified whole, binding people, process and technology together. If that is the case, what is holding people back from implementing such a harmonized vision at every global enterprise? There is agreement all around that enterprises must operate as single global entities in order to be more effective. Yet there are many hurdles to overcome.

Two big questions....
There are some very basic questions that keep haunting the C-suite. These invariably come up in conversations with them, like: 
1. How can we improve reliability and predictability of our business operations?
2. How can streamlining our global operations help us grow both in volumes and in profits, while creating a formidable competitive advantage for us?

Three areas where the value is at stake
Businesses must first resolve the local conflicts around functional processes before they can drive radical change to their global organization, which is the next level of performance. Their efforts at resolution should be directed at areas where much of the value is at stake. Cost is one such area. Organizational costs are hard hit where functions work in silos without an enterprise-wide view. Internal stakeholders very often suffer from myopia. Internal and external stakeholders represent another significant impact area. A functional silo is all too apparent among many of the internal stakeholders. This arises from the very fact that they have been recruited for a narrow function and therefore do not have the understanding around where their particular functions "sits" in the overall enterprise fabric. Interestingly teams can work in virtual isolation and still meet their key result area (KRAs) activity; however they will fail in matching the ever-rising expectations of external stakeholders.

What are enterprises hamstrung by: Four challenges that really hold companies back

  1. Defining optimum process structure: A rigid process structure might provide the company a handle on things like compliance and control. All the same, it is a roadblock to improving throughput and also leads to overall dissatisfaction. 
  2. Non-aligned function-focused performance measures
    More often than not, the focus of the business is on parameters that are function-centric and local in nature. What can be worse than having in place parameters that are in direct conflict with the way related processes are measured? 
  3. Resistance to change
    The way change is presented tends to organize resistance to it. Often times, organizations don't provide any understanding around the larger picture of change. 
  4. Multiple technologies and applications
    Many technology applications and tools work as islands and are not integrated through a common interface. This results in information residing at multiple locations, which prevents people and organization from taking a global view.

This point of view takes the reader inside the root causes of these conflicts and identifies the core transformation levers. For more insights, read this point of view.

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