Process Knowledge Is An Asset

Have you ever watched a talented coworker walk out the door on their last day at your company and felt like a lot of knowledge was walking out with them?  That’s the feeling I had recently when a key employee at one of our clients finished her last day.  She was bright, talented, connected inside and outside of the business, and integral to a complex and critical part of our client’s organization.  The queasy feeling that came over me as we said goodbye was that nobody knew exactly how she did what she did.  They knew the work product that she produced and the benefits of her good work, but if anyone had to pick up where she left off, they would be redefining the “how”, effectively starting over.

That’s a problem I see in every business, regardless of job title, and it’s one that companies often don’t pay attention to until it is too late.  Even if there was a turnover document and a transition plan that had been executed, the full scope and expertise that she represented to the company was lost.  Years of processes, developed through trial and error with great expense to the company, evaporated and the impact couldn’t be quantified.

Why?  Because the incredibly valuable process the company had paid this key employee to develop had been left inside her head rather than treated like the asset that it was.  An asset that could be leveraged to not only understand the current state of a critical business process, but to understand the impact of changing it.  If you had such an asset, one worth potentially tens of thousands of dollars, would you just let employees carry it around with them without a way of getting it back should they leave?  Of course not, so why do it with valuable business processes?

A Better Approach to Process Modeling

That’s where process modeling comes in.  Being a developer for two decades, I’ve done some form of process modeling with everything from pen and paper, PowerPoint, Visio and beyond.  It wasn’t until I discovered Business Optix, or BOx as we call it, that I had my “aha” moment and process modeling became more interesting.  To that point, process modeling had been a thing I could do with other tools, but it wasn’t what they did.  They made rigid pictures of the process without allowing me to put the actual details of the process into the diagram.  When I say details, I mean things like the cost, time, profit, and affected roles of each step in the process.  With BOx I’m able to define the process and then let it do things like report on the total cost of a process in terms that make sense to my client’s business.  Stuff like the cost of onboarding a customer.  In addition to that, BOx gives me the ability to simulate the affect of changes to a process so I can see the impact of a business process change without having to do a bunch of leg work, generate reports, etc.  BOx does that for me.  I just define the process, make changes, and generate reports right from the model. This is something I can do in real time with my clients as a way of working through potential process changes with the outcome being data!  What a revelation!  That kind of productivity around something that used to just be a cost is a huge win for both me and the client.