TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Too many organizations believe that
technology cures all business problems, according to consultants at Tribridge,
provider of business consulting services for middle market companies.
"If there are problems with your business processes and all you do is
automate the processes, you'll simply have the same problems -- but even
faster," says Brian Deming, Tribridge president and COO. "Technology is a
tool, not a cure-all. If you view technology as a panacea for business
problems, you will inevitably spend a lot of time and money, only to be
disappointed in the results."
Although managers may conceptually understand the importance of business
process review, they are often reluctant to make the effort they think it
takes to accomplish it. Following are the steps Tribridge recommends:
* Simplification: The first step is to focus on business process
simplification and improvement, including front office, back office and
operations functions. Far from being a cumbersome process, this should
be a practical approach to eliminate redundancies and identify better
ways to accomplish mission-critical functions. The challenge is to look
beyond the "we've always done it this way" mentality to determine how
the business should work. Once this has been accomplished, the business
can use the new processes to drive requirements in selecting new
* Automation and integration: Using the new functional business
requirements identified during the simplification process, the business
is now ready to select the appropriate technology. Deming suggests
looking first for existing software that can be implemented and
configured without costly customization. Then, once the company enters
the implementation phase, they can identify which business processes
need to be tweaked to achieve the optimal results within the new
Deming notes that it's far more common for businesses to select software
without adequate consideration of the underlying business issues. In these
cases, Tribridge often recommends a concurrent process that is a two-way
assessment. It provides smaller-scale business process redesign,
accommodating the capabilities of the technology that has already been
selected. "The two efforts actually meet in the middle to yield more
effective business processes, within the confines of the technology, but
without costly customization," he says.
He offers the example of a client that requested major business process
redesign of its order processing flow, from quoting through shipment, after
they had already begun to implement new technology. The keys to success were
that the client had selected their software well and that both the process and
technology implementation teams worked closely together. By creating linkages
and establishing an atmosphere of give and take, the two teams found the
optimal fits on both sides. That's where the real skill lies, notes Deming.
"Installing technology may be a science," he says. "But implementing
technology so that it can support good business processes is an art."
If a company rushes to select its software without considering its
business processes, all too often they will spend time and money without
realizing the benefits they had hoped for. "Even though they may blame the
complexity of the software for the ultimate failure, the truth is often as
simple as the fact that they didn't consider changes to the business before
changing the technology," concludes Deming.
Tribridge (www.tribridge.com), provides business consulting services,
ranging from assessment through implementation, to middle market companies.
Services are focused in the areas of customer solutions, operations,
technology and healthcare. Based in Tampa, Fla., Tribridge also has offices
in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Atlanta.
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