There seems to be much confusion around what the benefits of process optimization solutions are compared to off-the-shelf business intelligence (BI) tools. While there are several good BI solutions available in the market today, they all come with a certain set of drawbacks; You need to have a skilled IT person who has experience creating business reports, and that individual needs to have domain knowledge, be a subject matter expert, on the topic of the report or you run the risk of the numbers that get presented not truly reflecting the state of the business.
Even if you have found the unicorn on staff that can do these things, you are still left with a couple of hurdles:
- You are only seeing a small snapshot of the total picture
- They leave the business and you have no one to maintain the reports so you stop using them
Take an example of procurement, and imagine that you are looking to improve this area of your business. You could start by creating a report that shows your total spend by vendor. Now on the surface, this could be valuable and indicate that you should start an improvement project by focusing on the vendor you spend the most with. The reality is that there is a good possibility that this is not the best place to start, maybe that vendor always delivers what you need when you need it. Really what you want to understand is what vendors are causing your business issues that impact your customers and your ability to turn products into cash. To do this you need to understand more than just one number, you need to look at the business process end-to-end and truly analyze where the bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie. From there you can make informed decisions on what steps to take to have the largest impact.
This is where process optimization solutions come in. What they offer is a new way to look at data, a complete picture of your business workflow so you can make decisions with all of the information and truly understand what projects to take on or where to focus your resources.