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e2e Processes Overrated, Don’t Think So

February 11, 2011

A colleague posted a comment to our blog on End–to-End Processes Challenge the Best of Us pointing out to two things: (1) our “examples display the domain goggles each specialist wears” and (2) he thought our definition “is fuzzy and open to high interpretation.” His opinion on e2e ; it is overrated, “each business unit should have the autonomy to develop its own strategy plan and process improvements, keeping within the scope of the overarching corporate plan; analyzing an entire arbitrarily end pointed process seems counterproductive for the dynamic organization.” Ok…

Starting with point 2, our response to e2e being overrated was and is; we disagree. When there is a need for change it begins with communicating the need for change; then identifying the what, how and the risk associated with the change and the impact to the enterprise. To effectively manage change and risk begins with understanding the beginning and ending of processes and all the activities in the middle as they move through the organization.

Listening to a presentation on change management processes, the presenter was right on with identifying Notification as one of the key processes in managing change. This is an ideal example for end-to-end. Without going into detail, Notification involves informing all business units that a change is required. In response to Notification each unit assess their activities as part of the value flow, identifying process changes they need to make and noting the risk and cost associated with the change. In organizations where the focus is sustainability, such a strategy brings representation from each unit to the table for collaboration on change and an understanding about how each unit’s e2e processes impact the processes of other units, as an aggregate. In this way we can agree with our colleague on strategic planning at the business unit level.

Here is a remark from Akio Toyoda of Toyota Motor Corporation that gives value to end-to-end processes. It is taken from the transcript he made to Congress regarding Toyota’s Quality Control incident of 2010. “We pursued growth over the speed at which we were able to develop our people and our organization, and we should sincerely be mindful of that.”

For point 1…unfortunately this is the way many business units operate, as silos. This is one of the main reasons Business Process Management and all its flavors have had the challenge of getting a solid footing in corporate operational culture, along with the lack of understanding of what BPM is and the importance of cross functional team collaboration. We touch on this in one of our blogs, BPM, A Learning Curve with Clients. I think addressing point 2 touches on point 1.

BTW, we did reply to our colleague prior to this blog.

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