Business Process Optimization

Dotan Sagi

I. The Challenge 

Recent years have enhanced our understanding of the complexity and dynamism of our world. Considering the case of the COVID-19 pandemic exclusively, we realize how quickly the world has changed in terms of the global economy and e-commerce, tourism and air transportation, and education systems and workplace arrangements. People have adapted; they have changed their behaviors and decisions according to rationalized risk assessments and considerations. One example of such adaptation is the massive job resignation in the United States and other countries, which underscores alignment with the shifting social, technological, and economic environments, but also highlights the inability to lean on pre-pandemic social, organizational, or operational arrangements. 

Organizations, of course, do not operate in sterile, isolated, stable, or even distinct environments. This reality has an enormous impact on organizations’ abilities to effectively manage themselves in both the short and long terms. The recent period has definitively been characterized as being “VUCA” – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Rapid, frequent, and simultaneous changes in virtually every organization’s operative environment have led to a singular conclusion: linear management has become obsolete. Too many variables are changing too quickly and 'S' does not necessarily directly lead to 'Y'  (though “x” may have led to “y” an hour ago…). With this in mind, the major question that arises is about how organizations can manage, under such uncertain conditions, to achieve their organizational goals. 

In the organizational system, such linear thinking is inherent: we expect that input will lead to a certain output through a certain process. However, given the complexity and VUCA conditions, we assert that processes are the organizational domains that should be monitored in order to continuously examine their alignment with the changing conditions.

II. The Core of Organizational Process Management 

Processes are the intersections between people, technologies, knowledge, and markets, and therefore are subject to constant changes. Moreover, by defining the KPIs – the Key Performance Indicators (which serve as the desired outcome) -  we will be able to monitor the processes that are in place which purportedly achieve them. 

In general, Garvin (1998) discusses three main organizational process categories: 1) work processes, 2) behavioral processes, and 3) change processes. Work processes deal with the fulfillment of tasks (operational of administrative, as Garvin described). Behavioral processes involve interactions and relationships between workers and managers, as well as communication, collaboration, and organizational learning. Change processes focus on dynamic changes that are created over time, given that people are engaging in different groups and tasks during daily operations. Such change processes might include changes due to growth, layoffs, or other organizational externally-induced change. Therefore, focusing on processes and management is key to a better understanding of how organizations truly function. This will also bridge the gap between conceptual plans and procedures and the way they are actually implemented into practice during daily routines (or even without routines).

III. The Solution

We suggest that a focus on processes management, rather than on measuring outcomes, could add great value to organizations’ management in complex VUCA environments. This should be done by monitoring processes through several criteria: operational (what is being done?), behavioral (who does what? With whom?), and change (does this lead to achieving the KPI?). The idea is to create the appropriate procedure or process according to the organizational history, culture, and routines, but - at the same time - to monitor its activities and examine whether they are appropriate in terms of quality, quantity, and timing, and to analyze individual actions as well as interactions between the team members to understand if they lead to positive results or to potential "bottle-necks". Such monitoring will enable real organizational change in real-time.

Be-Strategic Solutions has developed BeST - a unique algorithm-based software that provides insights into organizations’ process execution and real-time performance.  The software takes process management to a new level by recognizing the organization’s position at any given point in time and making adjustments in the face of changing conditions. 

Such an approach to process management means that organizations’ plans and procedures can now become living, “breathing” processes that will change and adapt continuously based on simulated events and actual real-time events and according to the scenarios, performance, and actions taken by the involved decision-makers and their desired outcomes. The product will become a virtual “rehearsal stage” ecosystem in which managers will be able to tweak their processes, practices, and behaviors (within the self-contained, failsafe environment) and to understand how specific changes would impact the larger departmental and organizational management schemes, before attempting such changes in reality. 

The product will enable organizations to understand, for the first time, how their plans and procedures look and work- visually- and what this means for their teams and operations; it will allow organizations to practice managing various projects and contingencies using customized simulations based on their own procedures. 

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