People, Process and Technology still remains the success triad of modern-day business enterprise. Defect in any of the triad can lead to collateral damage in the overall outlook of the entity.
A company that aspires to embark on meaning digital transformation for example would struggle to achieve its corporate objectives in the area of digital transformation if any of the success triad leg is missing. The tips discussed in this article on integrating people, process and technology should be in conjunction with my previous article on business model integration.
In todays post on this accounting blog, I would be sharing my experience regarding the integration of People, Process and Technology for competitive advantage in the light of modern-day realities. Bear in mind that integrating these three components is not a off task, it is a gradual process that builds on the success or otherwise of each other.
How to integrate People, Process and Technology for competitive advantage
Successful integration of people, process and technology hinges on the ability of managers and business owners to strike a mutually beneficial balance on how these three key components of modern-day businesses interacts and collaborates.
I will be discussing these integrations by exploring the core components and steps needed to bring out the best from each member of the success triad.
People integration management
- Evaluate current skillsets: the first step in attempting to integrate people with process and technology is to firstly gain understanding of the current skillset’s assets of your workforce. You cannot possible meaningfully integrate components that you have no in-depth knowledge of. The benefits of knowing the stronghold of your employees abound but for the purpose of this mission of gainfully harnessing the power of integration, evaluation of current skillsets is done to identify skillsets gaps. Attention should be paid to those critical skillsets that are compulsory in our quest to meet our set objectives and goals.
- Training or retraining: based on the revelations from the evaluation of skills above, organize and implement relevant training to staff that are trainable – you may lay off those staff members that have proven beyond doubts that they are not trainable. Yes, you read that right, not everyone in your organization are destined to grow with your business.
- Delegation of responsibility: to be sure that the trained staff are ready for higher responsibilities, delegate responsibilities that are slightly outside their comfort zone. This is not just to train them but to build their responsibility handling muscles.
- Monitoring: this process of preparing staff members for integration will not be complete if some sorts of matrix are not collected for monitoring and improvement purposes.
Process integration management steps
- Gain understanding of existing process: it is not a very good idea to attempt to work on a process that you don’t have full understanding of. You must have working knowledge of the existing process so that you would be in a better position to make any integration move.
- Explore things that could possibly go wrong: with the knowledge of the existing process, you are now ready to ask questions about things that can possibly go wrong with the system as a whole. This is an integral part of risk-based approach of doing things including auditing and risk-based data analysis.
- Develop risk management and discuss same with those charged with governance: once you understand things that can possibly go wrong, the next thing to do is to have a round table discussion with the management to decide what needs to be done regarding the things that can possibly go wrong. There are three options here; assume the risk, transfer the risk or put internal control in place to mitigate against the identified risks.
- Shed processes that only act as bottleneck: this is the time to remove unnecessary bureaucracies from your system. Lean six sigma approach of doing things is highly recommended for optimal results
- Choose integration methodology: the most common integration methodology in recent time (highly recommended) is the iterative integration model – i.e agile methodology. You are free to go with any other method that you deem fit for your business like the waterfall methodology.
- Make selection of vendor to go with: standing procurement procedure is followed here in order to select the vendor that best meet the needs of the organization. It is also not a bad idea to decide to outsource the entire process if your organization’s procurement team does not have the right skill set to do the needful.
- Build integration time table: this is simply drawing up the schedule of activities and make sure that they are robust enough to take care of end-to-end implementation.
- Execute plan: its now time to go to work and realize all the expected outcomes. Care must be taken to ensure that timetable is strictly adhered to in order to avoid any form of project creep situations.
- Get feedback: it is standard practice to get feedback after every major project. This is necessary for learning and development purposes.
- Iterate: make adjustment if the obtained feedback suggests so. Most projects are generally not got right the first time they are done.
- Monitor: continuous monitoring and evaluation is very important at the end of every major activity.
Technology integration management
- Perform technology gap analysis: it is natural to start technology integration process by performing a relevant gap analysis that is aimed at understanding what can be reasonably done but not being done simply because the organization lacks the technology capacity to do so. Care should be taken when doing this to avoid falling into expectation gap trap – expectation gap in a simple term is when recipients of output from a process expects ‘A’ while the process is built and designed to output ‘B’. You can pick up say your management information system (MIS) or your accounting information system for this analysis.
- Gather end user requirements: with the result from the technology gap analysis performed above, consult with different process owners to get their take on what the real business needs are. As intuitive as this may sound, majority of entities in practice fail to gather end user’s requirement and that has costed businesses a lot in time, money and reputation. You may ask the individual managers to fill out end user requirement questionnaire clearly making their business case so that nobody would be in doubt of what needs to be done.
- Develop business requirement documentation: armed with feedback from the end user engagement exercise, the next natural thing to do would be to write a business requirement document where details of plausible relationships between functions, implementation and processes would be detailed.
- Test proposed actions / tasks for compatibility and scalability: testing, testing, and more testing ensures that things would work, would be compatible and would be scalable under varying conditions.
- Implement tasks: this is time to deploy the chosen business technology by doing things like configuration, and then more testing
Businesses that manage to get the trio of People, Process and Technology to work seamlessly tend to outperform their contemporaries. So, take it seriously!