Continuous Improvement: Are Your Tools So Last Season?


Do you ever look back at photos of yourself, a decade or more ago, and think to yourself, “Man, I’m so happy that the times have changed and that the neon sweater I was so fond of is no longer a staple item of my wardrobe?” I think most of us can relate.

Change and progress, for the most part, is good. (Especially when it comes to some of those styles that were popular and now thankfully are not. 80’s hairstyles, I’m talking about you.)

Now think about your company’s operations and its continuous improvement efforts. Has the same change and progress that you’ve seen in your personal life translated to the way you run your organization?

Business leaders today know that their organizations must be agile and equipped to rapidly iterate in order to thrive in an increasingly complicated and complex business climate. As such, many leading companies have looked to continuous improvement efforts as a way to ensure a viable and fruitful future for their organizations.

Yet despite the importance placed on these efforts, more than half of today’s companies struggle to successfully implement continuous improvement initiatives. So what gives?

Our friends at Aberdeen (and admittedly us too) think it might have something to do with the tools we use to manage the data and workflows that make up our operations. Yes, we are talking about the spreadsheets that you love to hate. Or the overreliance we all have on clipboards, sticky notes, and paper-based tracking.

Or perhaps you have legacy systems in place, that not unlike your old neon sweater, simply are not flexible or adaptable enough to fit your current operational needs? And when you try to partner with IT to update these systems, you find that it’s a time-consuming and expensive process for everyone involved. You’re also left with that same neon sweater that’s been stretched, pulled, disassembled and heavily altered in an effort to make it fit today’s need. But at the end of the day, it’s still that same old neon sweater that sat in the back of your closet for a reason.

Do any of these common scenarios sound familiar? And if so, how can you go about overcoming these challenges?

Modernize Continuous Improvement Efforts

In order to make continuous improvement initiatives more successful, Aberdeen research indicates that Best-in-Class organizations are removing the rigid constraints and requirements and/or an over-reliance on manual tools that have traditionally been applied to managing their critical and complex workflows. To be successful, these leading organizations provide workflow tools and capabilities that enable business users, and commonly IT stakeholders, to easily create and alter workflows that can then be executed. This ensures they are provided with the enterprise visibility and control they need to continuously drive their businesses forward, as well as the ability to make iterative changes to their data tracking, processes and systems in tandem as their operations evolve. The resulting improvements in efficiency, the lowered operational costs, and the ability to better react to business events in an agile manner don’t hurt either.

Doesn’t sound half bad, right? So how might you go about putting this into practice at your organization? Glad you asked! We are sponsoring a webinar, Taking Control of Critical Business Processes and Workflows, with the Aberdeen group on May 24th at 1:00 p.m. ET to answer that very question.

Register today to learn more!

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