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Getting fit for process – the road to gold…

The most common element that most people who have run a marathon race have put in is time, and this is also true of changing processes, says Craig Leppan, Business Development Director of Ovations.

Athletes need to put in the time to train for a big event, and the same is true for changing processes, says Ovations.

Athletes need to put in the time to train for a big event, and the same is true for changing processes, says Ovations.

How do you train for an endurance event like the Comrades Marathon, the Cape Epic or the Iron Man? Well, most of the people who have been through this personal achievement will probably give you their own regime and how they prepared, but the common element that all of them will have put in is time! That is there are just no short cuts to the training itself. The time that it takes to participate in these events is much longer than the event itself, and normally can start up to a year in advance, says Craig Leppan, Business Development Director of Ovations.

So what’s this got to do with process?

Changing most things is hard, and changing processes is even harder. People resist it, because it’s hard to see the benefit, until you’ve done some of the training, invested the effort and actually seen some results. A bit like the regular smoker who is trying to quit and go to gym in the new year… It takes a lot of discipline to get out there and just form new habits to get the mind and body to change the regular activities that get us through the day.

If new technology or new systems are like a new carbon race bike or running shoes designed to “ASSIST” when training for the big event, then I would put to you that the people who will be getting on that bike / putting on those shoes also need to put in the time / train themselves for process thinking because it’s hard.

Business Process Management and Enterprise Content Management that form a core part of our consultancy offering are often strongly associated with technology and large enterprise vendors because when process or content “race” fit, an organisation can leverage that powerful technology to business benefits like faster customer onboarding, service delivery and so on.

So if new process technology is like a new carbon race bike or running shoes designed to “ASSIST” you run/race and train for the big event, then I would put to you that the people who will be getting on that bike / putting on those shoes also need to put in the time themselves for the change that’s coming to their working day.

So be careful of buying that shiny new carbon bike (think $$$$ enterprise software tools) and having it hang in the garage like so many do, with the impression that it’s going to pedal itself over the finish line. Getting a business ready for process maturity and a mature content approach over the chaos of fax, paper or even e-mail / attachments is not something that can happen magically as the technology project closes out and the staff are trained.

So how do you get your business ready for new processes or content management behaviour? Well just like you should probably get a check up from your doctor (before doing a marathon) if you are really starting at the beginning, we would advise the same assessement or check up on your business to measure where you are at.

We often talk of maturity in terms of process or content in a business, but health would be just as good an analogy. Getting fit starts best with knowing where you are in order to work out what remains to get to where you want to be. Knowing what race you want to run and by when also helps. Many of the top levels of process and content maturities are extremely hard to reach for most current orgnisations. Aiming for the middle tier levels still represent a huge advancement from where most are.

We can’t all shoot for the olympic gold in our businesses, we may not have the time or the resources to invest in the training and technology required. But most businesses would do well to aim for a better level of fitness around process and content that at least allows them to get on that road to gold.

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