When it comes to providing successful app advisory services, understanding a business's processes is absolutely vital.
“You wouldn't advise a client on changing their prices without understanding their profit, so don't advise on software without understanding their process.”
In part one of our educational Process Advisory series we take a look at what process mapping is, and how it applies to App Advisory work, with help from our partners at Skore.
Firstly, what is process mapping?
The basic concept of process mapping is actually very simple. It is the activity of looking at the triggers, actions, and outcomes of a process and making note of them.
These may occur daily, monthly or annually. In any case your organisation needs to understand what should happen and who is responsible.
At every action stage of the process you’re asking:
- What is happening?
- Why is it happening?
- Who is doing it?
- How long is it taking?
There are 3 types of process map that you might do when undertaking an app advisory project:
- An ‘as-is’ process - detailing what happens now
- An ‘ideal’ process - detailing what you would like to happen
- An ‘updated’ process - detailing what is happening following process change
Process Mapping for App Advisory
Let’s look at the typical stages of app advisory work and identify the benefits of process mapping at each stage. Remember the overall objective here is to give really good quality advice that the client will pay for.
Pre-implementation - Fact Finding / Research & Evaluation
Invariably the starting point in the app advisory process will be a client or prospect either coming to you with a problem they have, or you identifying that they have a problem.
The first step for you is to get an initial understanding of that problem. You might do that through a discussion or a form, but however you do it, ensure you have a record to refer back to and share with anyone else that might be involved later.
Some of the problems that you’re presented with will be familiar because you’ve resolved them before with other clients, or because they relate to financial processes which you understand, for instance a scenario relating to recording keeping and purchasing processes.
If you’ve already developed an ‘out of the box solution’ to these common problems and can present these visually through a process map, that can help to convince a prospect or client of the value in adopting that solution, because for a lot of people seeing is understanding.
For problems that you don’t understand well, process mapping will help you to understand the process in detail. This is absolutely crucial in establishing the essential and desirable functional requirements for software that might be introduced to solve problems and improve processes. Without this there could be a lot of wasted effort and budget in the research and evaluation phase, or even the implementation phase.
Using Skore’s custom fields these requirements can be labelled on a stage in the process, with a grouping, and a comment, then a report can be generated for use in directing research.
When done properly an ‘as-is’ process map with roles and quantification (time/cost) provides a baseline from which to measure success. Quantification can also help the business to understand the extent of the problem so that they can make better informed decisions when allocating resources for change.
When implementing change in a business it’s key that everyone understands what the new process is, so having a clear visual of what is happening will assist in training staff to ensure that they understand the new process and it is followed.
At the end of process change you can then compare your new process map to see what has improved. This can be really useful data to prove return on investment to your client, and use in case-studies to win prospects.
Once the business has a process mapped they are able to share it with everyone. The process map then becomes a living resource that is continuously evolving. However this will only be the case if it is coupled with a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation, and you can build in regular process reviews as part of your overall service to the business to assist with this.
It also becomes an excellent tool for training new staff on processes, or where staff move roles within the organisation.
Read part 2: Delivering Process Discovery for Clients