When it comes to managing processes, the paths to success are many. Every organization, and when you drill down deep enough, every individual, has a specific way of achieving their process goals. Organizational needs vary greatly, and so, it comes as no surprise that organizations prefer developing and managing a process framework that is customized to suit their unique needs.
Most, if not all, process frameworks require some adjustments to be most effective to the end user. Organizations need to tune their frameworks to align with the various factors that contribute to the success of their business. This could be adapting to industry differences and regulatory restrictions or revising terminology and activities to reflect the organization’s work.
In a previous blog, we explored how APQC’s Process Classification Framework (PCF)® is designed to serve this exact purpose. The PCF is instrumental in adjusting your framework and defining processes that are sustainable and functional in your organization’s working environment. The impacts of such a framework are seemingly infinite, depending on how extensively you are willing to use them, and many organizations have benefited from using the PCF to create a bespoke process framework.
So, what does it mean to manage a customized framework? How can organizations go about it? And what are organizations that make it work, doing right?
The management of customized process frameworks can be classified into three broad models:
• Fully manual
• A combination of manual and automated (or manually automated)
• Fully automated
Each of these models can help organizations achieve different objectives, and each model has its benefits and shortcomings.
#1 A Fully Manual Customized Framework
A fully manual approach to managing customized frameworks involves using generalized software like spreadsheets and shared drives. This model is common, mostly with organizations that lack knowledge about or remain skeptical of the ecosystem of products and services that can support and enhance the long-term adoption and use of the framework.
In its essence, this approach to customizing frameworks limits the extent of possible collaboration. In most cases, updates to the framework are made directly onto the excel spreadsheet that contain process definitions and activities. And, these changes are typically made by the same individual that initially adopted the framework, who is usually the process owner. Since this model depends on generic tools, collaboration is also impeded by non-standard channels like mail and chat. Integrating with other documents is limited to additional columns in the spreadsheet or a series of hyperlinks to file repositories, which further limits collaboration and collective problem solving.
It is obvious that such a model is largely unorganized. As a result, stakeholders involved in the processes have limited or no visibility into how the framework is customized. This brings down the efficacy of the entire exercise. Moreover, a non-collaborative, non-standard approach to customization often tends to be cumbersome and leads to errors that negatively impact the organization in the long run.
#2 A Manually Automated Customized Framework
Organizations that realize the inherent inadequacies and flaws of a fully manual approach, move to the next level of maturity in managing customized process frameworks: a manually automated model. This model can be adopted only once an organization has implemented some form of modeling or a document management tool. The PCF is then manually integrated with this tool to enhance its features and create value for the underlying process framework.
One organization that has been able to successfully establish a customized process framework by leveraging APQC’s PCF is Colorado-based credit union – Elevations Credit Union. The organization, despite being a successful financial firm with fifty-years of operational experience, lacked a structured process framework. As a result, the firm had largely relied on manual channels of collaboration.
“We relied on random acts of goodwill to solve even daily problems.”— Carla Wolfe, Senior Business Analyst, Elevations Credit Union
In 2009, the organization was exposed to APQC’s PCF. By 2013, it had mapped more than 261 processes at granular levels. By customizing APQC’s industry-specific, Banking PCF to suit its unique business needs, the organization was able to remove process redundancies, triple their earnings, and raise their equity by 97%.
As demonstrated by Elevations, the possibilities of success using this model are high, and restricted only by the functional extent of the tool being used. While this model is capable of delivering on the required objectives, it still may be short of facilitating seamless, efficient collaboration. In cases where the legacy tool provides limited scope on collaboration, this could extend to the lack of visibility when adjusting the framework. Other limitations could impact effective document management or version control.
#3 Fully Automated Customized Framework
Model #3 is the final and most sophisticated method of managing a customized process framework and APQC’s MosaiQ® lies at the heart of it. MosaiQ offers users a way to quickly adopt process frameworks on an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. So, rather than downloading and trying to manage frameworks in an Excel file, you can effortlessly import template frameworks from APQC’s PCF and customize them to suit your unique operational requirements right in MosaiQ.
Key benefits of using MosaiQ:
1. Process Management – MosaiQ was designed to automate the adoption of the APQC PCF. Use MosaiQ to better manage, share and collaborate your chosen process frameworks
2. Knowledge Management – Capture and share assets such as process flows, RACI Charts, Hyper Links, Training and other necessary items associated with your processes.
3. Process Benchmarking – MosaiQ offers you direct access to 1000’s of best practice case studies and
APQC’s world-class benchmarking data often linked directly to your chosen process definitions.
Let us, once more, take the instance of Elevations Credit Union. While the firm did benefit from the PCF using a partially automated system, by centralizing their customized process framework using MosaiQ, Elevations could have enhanced the process management experience by enabling team members to effortlessly share and collaborate on a constantly evolving process framework.
MosaiQ empowers organizations with the ability to measure, manage, and learn about their business processes in a completely secure and collaborative environment. Users can quickly upload assets like hyperlinks or documents from a wide range of sources, which fuels collaboration. Further, each stakeholder can subscribe to receive instant notifications when items relevant to them are updated. MosaiQ can link outward to ensure consistency in modeling, and it accepts inbound links as well, which helps ensure that process definitions are consistent across enterprise systems.