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Systems Alliance Blog

Opinion, advice and commentary on IT and business issues from SAI
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SAI's Josh Crone, Vice President and CTO, Software Productsand Mark Dabrowski, Vice President, SAI Digital Practice will be giving a workshop at PEX Week 2016. In “Transformation that Sticks: Using Mobile-Optimized Tools to Accelerate Business Transformation,” they’ll be talking about:

  • Accelerating process improvement and ROI with on the spot/any device access to best practices, procedures and work instructions
  • Achieving better performance by identifying, creating and conveying optimized processes—and ensuring that employees understand and execute those processes
  • Measuring the impact of process improvement efforts by identifying gaps and making needed adjustments​
  • Enabling efficient employee feedback to foster continuous process improvement​
  • Measuring employee interaction with expert content and correlating it to business results​

PEX Week is a cross-industry showcase of the most forward thinking programs and case studies in Business Transformation, BPM, Lean, Six Sigma, Operational Excellence and Change Management for information sharing, networking and benchmarking. The conference is taking place January 18-20 in Orlando. In their Biennial State of the Industry report, a survey of more than 500 process and operational excellence practitioners, the Process Excellence (PEX) Network editors revealed that the biggest pain points for organizations in 2016 will be cost/budget limitations, overcoming resistance, sustaining change, linking process with strategy and, topping the list: securing and maintaining buy-in.

Cost/Budget Limitations. Organizations are expected to do more for less, which is pushing operational excellence programs higher up the corporate agenda to-do list. Budget limitations are heavily linked with attaining executive buy-in and ensuring that changes are aligned to the business strategy, in order to attain investment.

Overcoming Resistance. Any change in any organization will be met with a certain amount of resistance and skepticism. Overcoming barriers when fostering a new program, transformation or culture is a natural core challenge that all organizations face.

Sustaining Change. Change management and continuous improvement techniques, such as encouragement and ownership of programs, and learning how to monitor maturity should come into play.

Linking Process with Strategy. Organizations and top-level executives are placing more importance on driving business performance though operational excellence and strategy.

Securing and Maintaining Buy-In. Maintaining buy-in was highlighted in the report as slightly more critical than securing buy-in will be in 2016, underscoring the fact that organizations have already started to drive forward but need to stay on course.

Has your organization looked at ways to accelerate and measure the impact of process improvement? Do you have a feedback loop in place to gather suggestions for improving documentation or procedures? Are you able to measure the effectiveness of your training? Gauging what’s working and not working in your organization—and gaining the participation of employees at all levels—is critical to delivering sustained growth and remaining competitive. After all, front-line employees, whether in manufacturing, retail, healthcare or IT are where your best ideas come from. Supporting them with information when, where and how they need it, and providing a way for them to communicate in real time means that they will be more effective partners in organizational success. Stay tuned to the SAI blog for more on how you can create lasting transformation in your organization.

We hope to see you in sunny Orlando—our workshop is scheduled at 11 a.m. on January 18!

So, you’ve just spent several months, a significant slice of budget dollars and plenty of staff hours on a major Website redesign or transformation effort. The site looks great, the project team gets well-deserved kudos and the executives are pleased. But, how do you know if your effort was successful? And then how successful? Do the benefits of the redesign offset the investment of time and money? How do you know?

In many cases we find there is too little emphasis placed on measuring the success of a Web transformation effort. It tends to be a substantial investment of resources, yet many organizations have no sense of the return on that investment – whether that return is even positive. Why is this important? 

The days of the “about us” brochure Website are long gone. Your site is a strategic sales, marketing and operational resource. It supports key business objectives, or at least it should. While the specific objectives will vary by organization and industry, at a high level, your public-facing Website should drive revenue, decrease costs (usually by optimizing or automating operational processes)  and / or increase customer satisfaction or engagement. Ideally you want to measure the effectiveness of any change to sales/marketing efforts or operational processes. If the change yields positive results, then great! If not, figure out why and make adjustments. Of course it’s difficult to make adjustments if you don’t know whether or not you’ve made a positive change, and why.

So, how do you measure the effectiveness of a Web transformation effort? It’s much more than “we’re getting more visitor traffic” or “the site looks better now than it did before.” This brings to mind the infamous “putting lipstick on a pig” analogy.  If the site looks good or attracts more visitors, that’s nice, but is that really having a positive impact on your key performance indicators (KPIs)?

The goal is to determine if the Website is doing a better job of achieving those key business objectives after the transformation effort. To do this, we first need to define appropriate KPIs. You’ll want to do this before the transformation so you can establish a baseline for comparing before and after results.

Ideally this measurement process should be an ongoing activity, part of the overall Website management process which enables continuous incremental improvement. After all, your site is not static, hence there’s an ongoing need to evaluate objectives and adjust course accordingly. At minimum you should review metrics before and after the transformation and then once a month, looking at year-over-year and month-over-month comparisons to factor out seasonal trends.

In my next post we'll look at three ways you can measure success.

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