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Fostering Cohesive Change At The Lowest Common Denominator

by Brenton Harder & Donald Kuk, - Director & VP-Global Business Transformation, , BNY Mellon May-2018


As a former pilot, I laugh at the idea of really changing an engine in flight. It sounds like a good idea to change without slowing down, but you would hate to get it wrong. One of my Senior Architects reminds me that, 'Change is easy for anyone who doesn't have to do it', but sometimes change is hardest for those of us responsible for change! The idea of changing the way we change can really feel like changing an engine in flight.

The business improvement methodologies of the recent past (Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Improvement, Business Process Reengineering, Agile, Scrum, et al) lulled us into a sense that our enterprise transformations would be driven by an aggregation of incremental process improvements and technology application change outs whose scope and duration were expected to be limited and brief. The ever-increasing rate of change in the regulatory requirements of our industries and the rapidly evolving needs and values of our customers requires that we reexamine the efficacy of the incremental improvement methodologies of the past to respond to the complex global enterprise transformation demands of the future.

What is required, is that we must change continuously, even the way that we change, in order to remain regulatory compliant and competitive in our industries.

Integrated Multitiered Architecture as a Foundational Business Process Management Tool

Because these changes are accelerating, we must respond with more sophisticated business and change methodologies that include the conversion from brick and mortar to the hand held device, digitization, virtualization, globalization and robotic process automation. Our enterprise and line of business specific transformations must be driven by deep analytics, advanced outcome modeling and highly integrated process, technology and controls strategies, roadmaps and shared vision.

The deployment of integrated multi-tiered process, technology and controls architectures provides the perfect catalyst for Business Process Management in these complex product and services heterogeneous global enterprise transformations. The use of date and revision coded process, technology and controls maps, standardized metrics, and taxonomies provides the foundation for Business Process Governance and Management, and the integration and modeling of end-to-end processes highlights the opportunities for improvements both large and small.

The innovative use of these integrated architectures identifies capability gaps while scoping the impact of the proposed and modelled changes.

How Did We Get Here?

Most every major global corporation expanded its footprint through many cycles of greenfield product, services and market development, and through corporate acquisitions and mergers. It is the agglomeration of these many events and businesses that define the corporate culture and competitiveness of the enterprise.

Unfortunately, the expected efficiencies that were to result from the integration of the acquired companies and the elimination of redundant staff from shared services often do not materialize because the cultures do not integrate well one with the other.

Worse, the technologies that each of the companies deployed throughout their histories in order to maximize each of their efficiencies were never chosen for their ease of integration or some future undefined acquisition event so the opportunity for sharing work across the acquired business boundaries becomes a serious impediment for business absorption and integration, hence the expression agglomeration seems more appropriate than the expression integration.

First Things First

The innovative use of standardized process, workflow, technology and controls metrics and mapping in a structured integrated architecture immediately identifies the greatest opportunities for efficiency gains, which often result from enterprise and line of business virtualization, globalization and robotic process automation. It highlights the fact that new technology applied over an underperforming process or ineffective control is like paving over a broken bridge.

First, optimize the processes, and then see if the technology specific efficiency gains are still available when the process behavior is sustainably improved. The gains from the process improvements and end-to-end process redesign alone typically deliver 14 percent to 47 percent in efficiency improvement at a small fraction of the cost of a major technology changeout.

Management Tool

The process redesign can also typically be delivered in 4 to 16 weeks, which promotes the use of speed of change as an effective resistance to change management tool.

If the enterprise is moving deliberately and with good pace towards the identified and agreed transformational goals, then the teams tend to go with the program.

If the rate of change is ponderous and indecisive, individual team members may choose to attempt to arrest the improvements before the changes can affect their lives, roles and responsibilities.

Business Process Management as a Transformation Sustainability Method

Enterprises, cultures, and teams have different tolerances for willingness and rate of change. Some of the most successful transformation programs and initiatives have not sustained their early performance improved results because their corporate cultures inoculate individuals against changes, and reward their desire to return to the pre-improved status quo.

The best practices for improvement erosion mitigation include helping the teams to own the changes and to be responsible for them, and the installation of standardized metrics driven performance management. In this way, the team most responsible for managing the changes owns them and manages the processes, technology, and themselves to the new measurement standards. It is the conversion of the perception of enterprise transformation from them to us that provides the ownership of the changed processes and technology that ensures their long-term sustainability

The Secrets to Cultural Engagement and Business Process Management Success

Remembering my architect's favorite expression, it is impossible not to see change as both a transformational goal and the primary obstruction for its success. The secret for driving change into the enterprise, culture, and operational teams is to make change an act of genuine empowerment, instead of an impediment.

Living and working among the operational team members is a best practice for engaging the business where the employees make their everyday contributions to the company.

Encourage your transformation change agents to volunteer to perform every role and task in an end-to-end process in order to feel the pain of the less successful aspects of the work. If the technology breaks down or is ineffective, find out why. Hit each and every keystroke in the process. Are there redundant tasks? Don't just cycle time analyze them, or measure their frequency of occurrence, perform them! If data is transferred from one screen to another, transfer the data, ask why and map the less effective and redundant events.

The secret for driving change into the enterprise, culture, and operational teams is to make change an act of genuine empowerment

In this way, the metrics, maps, and architecture come alive for the teams and have deeper meaning. Additionally, the work teams will be happy provide their best practices and workaround strategies as a means of rapid sustainable improvement until the end to end redesign or incremental improvements are installed.

The Ultimate Goal

The goal is to foster cohesive change at the lowest common denominator. We need to change the way our teams change with a focus on corporate culture, working in an environment of rapid continuous improvement where each employee is fully engaged in ownership with his or her processes and workflows essentially changing engines inflight! We need to empower them to change them through a rigorous and disciplined method of sustainable Business Process Management supported by a foundation of Standardized Metrics, Analytical Methods, Taxonomy, Maps and highly Integrated Multitiered Process, Technology and Controls Architectures.

Fasten your seat belts!