In a week or two I'm kindly invited to yet another very interesting firm, very big this time, and definitely not in the media business - and yet again I have a rough outline to start with:
They're in technology, supplying other industries all over the world with what could be termed as some technical backbone.
The "business area / task" in question is to deliver support and advice before, under and after implementation of said backbones, and they're neatly organised in some sort of matrix (nah, not the film type of green numbers flowing) of countries and business areas.
The state of things is as always a need for better process... (can never ever be good enough!)
First reaction as always - forget process first, think "what's their value", or rather what value do they deliver?
Knowledge and execution I guess.
So, thingamy being a VCS (Value Creation System - a bit of tongue in cheek that...) I immediately start thinking: How to enhance their asset value - knowledge - and let execution follow. Simple plan.
[Totally irrelevant picture of flower from my garden yesterday]
Value here - just like the last example - should be an approximate combination of:
- Technology knowledge.
- Client knowledge.
- Constraints knowledge (culture, laws, regulations).
- Practical solutions knowledge.
- Easy matching of the above.
- Seamless execution.
Now, the following will probably be "in" already - fully or to a certain extent - the task would be to enhance the process of building and focus on value even more along the lines of:
* Forget about the hierarchical constraints (reintroduce later if they insists... and they can get past me ;) - really no issue if web based that a gal sits in Singapore or in Bern. Blast the department barriers until later, pool all their experience.
(Example: Take 10 experts, 9 with 1 year experience, 1 with 10 experience and no communication between them -> 19 man-years of experience available. Now let all knowledge be transparent, given no overlap it means 10 people each with 19 years of accumulated experience -> 190 man-years of experience available.)
* Every time they solve a problem or give advice, that should be captured = knowledge building.
* Make it easier to add useful knowledge among the above criteria. More intellectual property accumulation to enhance their value proposition.
* Simplify creative matching of objects from the different knowledge pools - did I mention tags-at-play here? Grow away from "documents" and iffy search to knowledge giving tag clouds (namespace) :)
* A proper allencompassing process of capturing incoming requests, matching it and moving it to next step (pricing and resource allocation included in process of course).
Then, and only then:
* Add execution workflows as they originate from well matched knowledge and issue at hand. "Ah, here's a good solution, what now?". First "this" then "that" and so forth... seamless execution the goal and above knowledge-objects a natural part of the flow.
* And lastly - some neat report templates to show off the results from the execution of their support and advice (objects captures all "that happens to them" in the workflow) so process flows can be promptly tweaked and only get better from real-time feed-back.
* Ah, and of course, let clients into the flows and whatnot - offer transparency and ownership to ideas.
Voila, time to roll up sleeves for me and SI to build a 15 minutes demo in 45 minutes, good fun indeed... :)
Will they throw us out laughing loud, will they frown upon the lack of age old "business rules", or will they say "hmpf, we have all that in place already"?
Watch this space in a couple of week's time!