We’ve explored what we see as the first two critical steps in a strategic cloud journey; engage and enable. At the core of this approach is the reason why we do what we do. We believe that our clients should have the best of available cloud technologies and that their Infrastructure as a Service should deliver them far greater business value than simply “keeping the lights on”.
The third step in our cloud strategy is all about empowerment. It’s about empowering organisations to use technology in ways that make the most of their core assets; people, time, knowledge and relationships.
This phase specifically focuses on business process optimisation. If you’ve made the right decisions in the engagement and enablement phases, you should have a framework that enables you to evaluate the relationships between people, information and process and identify opportunities to automate or improve those relationships.
A business process is essentially a set of inputs that are passed through a mechanism, to result in a set of outputs. Those mechanisms differ from one organisation to the next. A real estate agency is going to have very different processes to a manufacturing facility. Regardless of industry, the methodology for process optimisation is the same. It involves:
- Workshopping with key team members involved to clearly understand the process
- Streamlining the way information is passed between people in the process
- Looking for ways to shorten the time it takes to get from one step or activity in the process to the next.
- Providing clarity on exactly who is accountable for next steps
- Greatly reducing the margin for error or lapses
Let’s use the real estate agency as an example. Larry has been selling houses for years. He goes to visit Frank and Gill, who want to sell their home. Larry interviews the couple, handwriting notes on a standard form that his agency uses to gather details for the listing. At the end of the meeting, Frank and Larry shake hands and Larry gets the go-ahead to proceed.
Back at the office, Larry hands the interview form to Ruby, one of the Listings administrative members. Ruby has a “manila folder system” that she uses to track the progress of the listing. She places the interview form into a manila folder and staples another form to the front of the folder. This form contains a list of tasks that need to occur; order the sign, arrange a photographer, create the brochure, list an advert online, arrange commercials and so on.
Ruby spends a good chunk of her morning emailing or calling the various team members responsible for each task and over the next few weeks, as Frank and Gill’s listing moves through the sale process, Larry spends time checking in with Ruby on where things are at. Ruby in turn, needs to constantly refer to her manila folders to see what has or hasn’t been completed and follow up other team members to find out where they are at with their particular tasks.
Larry, Ruby and the other team members (who all have their own “systems”) could save time and have much more visibility into how their listings are progressing with an optimised process. Larry would fill out his interview form on a tablet PC or an iPad. This would fire off a workflow and notify the respective team members the moment he hits the submit button. He doesn’t even need to be in the office to get things rolling.
As each task in the process is completed, updates are automatically communicated to Larry. Frank and Gill are also automatically kept in the loop. There is now a single Portal where Larry and the other team members can check on the progress of each listing. Further, because all of the information is being centrally managed, Larry and the other agents can start getting some solid metrics to track the performance of their listings.
“But wait”, we hear you saying. “What does all of this have to do with cloud strategy??”
Well, that’s the point. A good cloud strategy actually has far less to do with Infrastructure than it does with empowering your business to improve the way it uses technology. Freshmethod can show you how. If you would like a free discover session on how to develop your cloud strategy, give us a call on 1300 766 554 to find out if your business is a good fit.
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