This blog series will cover the top 12 steps to ensure successful software implementation. The first step, Planning, was discussed in my previous blog post.
This post is about process design, which I describe as, the time spent to design the processes to be delivered within the new software.
Process design is determining what steps are involved in running your business. Most software applications include some form of pre-defined process. For example, if you are implementing a Customer Management system you will find a lead to sale process and a case initiation to resolution process built in. If you are implementing a financial system, you will find an order to cash or procure to pay process already available in the system.
These built in processes can be extremely helpful in implementing software. However, you need ensure that the solution addresses your requirements – which may not be exactly what the software provides. Defining your processes early on in the project and ensuring that the whole team understands them is important to success.
So how do you define your processes? The most common method is to run process workshops with a qualified business analyst who has experience with your type of business. If you have a business analyst on your staff, you can have this person run workshops to review processes and then shadow team members to document their steps. They should then be able to create process flow documentation that illustrates each step. If you do not have a staff member with the necessary skill set you can hire a contract business analyst or have your Software Vendor work with you through process definition.
Just like planning, the most important point to make about process design is to actually do it! The risks of not knowing your own processes can be great. You could end up with a software solution that is based on the ideas of others or the standards of the software itself. For success, the software needs to operate around your needs.
Please check out my next blog post, where I will talk about Solution Design!