Rule 5: Relevance III

The Relevance Rule – Part III:  Align Business Processes and Enabling Technologies

In the same way workforce members determine which of the priorities, processes, and procedures are Relevant or Irrelevant to Success, so too do they respond to new technologies.

This is seen in many enterprises today where the workforce is overtly ignoring the full use of newly acquired time management, e-mail, workflow, CRM and Sales Force Automation software, even at great expense to the organization.

The reason is that the technology is not aligned with the priorities, processes, and procedures of the enterprise: the “How” is not synchronized with the “What”.  Or, more importantly, the workforce doesn’t think it is.

A central truth of human enterprise, from farming to banking to brain surgery to nuclear power, is: the technology will fail unless facilitated by well-conceived integrated process, the process will fail unless enabled by integrated relevant technology (whatever the “tool” might be).

The process of preparing a steak dinner will have a decidedly different outcome if you don’t have a grill or stove, or for that matter, heat.  Owning a brand new sports car is useless for transportation to someone who doesn’t know how to drive, or actually assemble it first.

Modern engineering, manufacturing, banking, and other business processes would be impossible without specific computer-enabled automation systems, yet those systems exist only to facilitate a very unique set of respective business processes and procedures.

The workforce considers technologies Irrelevant when those tools delay, complicate, or confuse the implementation of what they believe (correctly or not) to be the key priorities and processes of the organization.  Use of the technology will be resisted.

If the workforce is correct in its interpretation of these priorities and processes, and the technology is genuinely an obstacle, the technology will be deemed Irrelevant to the workforce, and not used.

If the technology actually does accelerate and simplify business process execution, but the workforce has misguided or misinformed perceptions of key priorities, the technology will be blamed (even if it represents a dramatic improvement in “How” things are done).

Success happens when the workforce is doing the right things (Priorities), the right ways (Processes), with the right tools (Technologies).  If priorities, processes and technologies are not Relevant to the employee’s definition of “How To Succeed”, employees won’t accept them and won’t use them.

Relevance depends on both the internal alignment of all workforce-impacting priorities and processes (Rules #3 and #4), and that supporting technologies must then fully align and enable those priorities and processes (Rule #5).  Creating and sustaining these alignments, and thus their Relevance, is critical to successful Enterprise Performance Management, CRM, and other enterprise objectives.

# # #

>>> Rule 6