McKinsey Quarterly Covers Automation of Service Operations

Scott Francis
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A colleague of mine pointed me to an interesting McKinsey Quarterly article, which relates the tale of a service automation effort gone awry.  As I started to read it, I was sure that the author would take the tactic of implying workflow and automation were a waste of money.  Surprisingly, the article takes a turn midway through to show how, in this case, the company turned around their project by getting back to basics:
  1. Don’t allow limitations of paper- and manual-based processes to continue into an automated world
  2. Test drive process changes before cementing them in software.
  3. Field test for important success factors
  4. Build a minimalistic solution
  5. Work on changing culture at the same time that you work on the Information Technology.
These are good tenets for any BPM project to incorporate – but Items 1, 2, 4, and 5 run against the grain for many organizations.  If the project team “goes with the flow”, they’re likely not to challenge assumptions in these four key tenets, and failure for the whole project is a likely result.

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