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Better Process Improvement Starts with Consistent Definitions

Better Process Improvement Starts with Consistent Definitions

Kristen works at a large global organization, where she’s in charge of the Accounts Payable (AP) process. Like many other managers of key business processes, Kristen consults with Miguel, a process management professional when she wants to map one of her main processes. Miguel’s role is to walk Kristen through the process, ensure it’s well documented, including inputs, process steps, outputs and understanding technology interfaces as well as helping capture any handoffs that are required.

On the surface, this seems simple enough, mundane even. But in dynamic, fast-paced workplaces, processes are seldom straightforward. And a standard, manual process management walkthrough invariably leaves unresolved gaps. Soon enough, by looking at the AP Process in isolation, Kristen and Miguel are left asking: Did we capture everything? Did we start and stop the process in the right place? Did we use consistent definitions? Does it overlap with anything else we’re documenting around here?

Does it capture all the interfaces to the AP process? 

The result: Inevitable additional work and rework, more interviews, more documentation, more meetings, and of course, lowered efficiency. So, what happened?

At APQC, we understand the challenges you face when defining processes. We also know how these challenges can impede your business growth and agility. So, we built the perfect solution: APQC’s Process Classification Framework (PCF)®  that can serve as your go-to tool to streamline your process management capabilities.

APQC’S PCF: One Tool for All your Processes

APQC’s PCF is a comprehensive list of 13 categories of cross-industry best practice processes followed by most organizations. It covers everything from Vision and Strategy, to all of your back-office processes such as Managing Financial Resources 9.0, which is where you will find Process Accounts Payable 9.6.1 and Approve Payments (which would be helpful for Miguel and Kristen’s process improvement efforts). In other words, it’s a table of contents outlining exactly what most organizations are doing to manage these important functions.  
Designed as a global framework, the PCF lets you view and customize your business processes through clearly segregated process definitions. And since APQC is the world’s foremost authority on benchmark data, when you build your own process framework using APQC’s PCF as a guide, you can compare your organization’s processes against a collective open standards benchmark, from both, within and outside your industry. 

At its core, the PCF provides managers like Kristen, with a universal language to understand the various functions of a business. And because the PCF is highly customizable, managers can use this language to deconstruct complex problems into simple, easy-to-analyze elements. By simply adding and replacing information within the PCF, process owners can change definitions to suit their unique business purposes. 

In summary, organizations turn to APQC’s PCF for:
•    Technology implementation
•    Performance improvement
•    Process discovery and standardization
•    Content management
•    Benchmarking

Inspired by the vision to improve collaboration and coordination around the Process and Performance Improvement, APQC created MosaiQ®.

MosaiQ: Taking the PCF to the Next Level

If the PCF is the blueprint for building your own process framework, then MosaiQ is the hardware store with all the necessary tools to help you build it out. While customizing the PCF to suit their own needs, process owners often adopt irrelevant or inaccurate components, rendering the framework ineffective in the long run. MosaiQ will help process architects and Process Owners avoid these common pitfalls. 

MosaiQ is entirely a cloud-based software tool that enables process workers to select processes from the PCF and house them to build a framework that is unique to their organization. MosaiQ is where the PCF meets functional flow diagrams and other important artifacts that spell out how work gets done. By giving them a simple way to manage the definition of business processes and govern the process framework, MosaiQ not only prevents any inaccuracies but maximizes the potential of the PCF.

Consider the case of ProUnitas, a non-profit technology provider that develops the infrastructure used by school districts to coordinate with each other. ProUnitas needed to scale their operations and expand their reach. To do this, they first had to discover and standardize processes within their dynamic operational model. ProUnitas turned to APQC’s PCF to standardize and clearly define process within operations as well as back-office functions such as finance, procurement, and HR.

Powered by MosaiQ, the PCF helped them improve and automate select components of the framework. By using the PCF to clearly articulate the work that needs to be done, ProUnitas scaled from six schools in 2017 to over 160 schools in 2019, at an optimal cost.
Since it is cloud-based, MosaiQ gives organizations a secure and collaborative way to store, measure, manage, and learn about their business processes. It ensures complete visibility by tracking changes and alerting all stakeholders involved in the process.

MosaiQ allows you to review a baseline set of activities and incorporate the ones that apply to your process, into your own framework. This way you can ensure you’ve captured all the relevant activities and that they are linked to the right definitions. MosaiQ also lets you integrate all of your process documents like SIPOC diagrams, functional flow diagrams, metrics, documents and templates, and RACI charts.

Armed with MosaiQ and the PCF, Kristen would simply open MosaiQ to view the baseline adopted framework for her organization. She and Miguel would then quickly peruse the scope of the process and, by looking at the activity areas, identify critical components of the process as well the respective key stakeholders. A productive discussion would follow, articulated by clear definitions and a robust process framework, and Miguel and Kristen can conclude their meeting, confident of a job well done. 

Check out MosaiQ today! Visit https://www.apqc.org/mosaiq for more information, or sign up for upcoming office hours to ask our experts directly.