Home > Uncategorized > Business Process Reverse Engineering…Where Do I Start?

Business Process Reverse Engineering…Where Do I Start?


I recently had the pleasure (yesterday as a matter of fact) to sit down with a new colleague of mine, Paul Riecks, that I respect greatly.  As Paul and I enjoyed a lunch of excellent sushi, we discussed many things.  But one thing stuck out to me, and I wanted to share it.  It’s something that, while not completely new to me, was a new way to look at and explain how and why to increase performance in the workplace, and not necessarily in the ways that most people think.  Thanks to Paul for the inspiration for this article!

Before we talk about the reverse engineering, we have to give a starting point.  Every company has service objectives.  That is to say that, internally and externally, there are certain objectives or goals that are established for how customers (employees count as internal customers) should be treated.  When was the last time that you looked at your own Service Objectives?  Have you ever created a Service Agreement?  Any time that you put a Service Agreement together (including employment agreements) you have Service Objectives that make up that agreement.  In Wikipedia (you can find the referenced article here) it states Service Level Objectives must be:

  • Attainable
  • Repeatable
  • Measurable
  • Understandable
  • Meaningful
  • Controllable
  • Affordable
  • Mutually Acceptable

This is where you want to start when thinking about how to improve your business.  As a Performance Consultant, this is one of the major components that I have to remember as well.  While your business may be running well today, how close would your customers say that you are to achieving your expected Service Objectives?  They may be happy with the customer service that they are getting and may even love your product/service, but how much of an advantage would you have if you were to be consistently meeting and exceeding your Service Objectives, not only from your perspective, but from your customer’s perspective as well?

So where does this start?  Ultimately, you need to find out what your customers think about your company, customer service, and product/service.  You may even want to specifically add in your documented Service Objectives to your research to determine if your customers believe that you are meeting them, and where there is room to improve.  Once you determine where you are in relation to where you want to be…you guessed it, you have discovered a gap.  Everything you do is for your customers, because without them you have no business, so with that in mind you can begin to move through your entire organization and assess and analyze each area and determine if what is being done adds value and moves the organization towards meeting those service objectives.  What you will probably find is that as you begin to “peel the onion” you will find layer upon layer where there is room for improvement, and one improvement will in some cases take care of or spark another.

So is this process only for customer service scenarios?  Absolutely not!  IT organizations can utilize this ideology (and many do) while working on IT projects.  You can check out ITtoolkit.com for an example of a scorecard that shows some of the Service Objectives commonly used in the IT world.  If you have ever wondered if your vision for the workplace is matching reality, this process can be used there as well to find out from the employees.  In the macro view if in any of these scenarios the Service Objectives are not being met then there are promises being made that are being broken and that will lead to unhappy customers, unhappy employees, and will ultimately hinder your business from reaching to exceed the boundaries of success.

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  1. June 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    This is an excellent article and is absolutely spot on. Why are we in business? To create value for our clients in ways that enable us to sustain and grow our companies. To do that we have to continuously provide value and improve our products and services in ways that are important to the people we serve. Chris has got the recipe to help you improve you company’s performance in productive and sustainable ways.

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