Innovation and Competition: Start with Your Business Processes
Most companies recognize that innovation is key to keeping your organization competitive, and that successful innovation plays a fundamental role in increasing productivity and growth.
However, many fail to realize the important role that information flow plays in fostering this innovation—and the need to optimize business processes in order to make effective use of that information.
In a global study of more than 1,700 board-level executives, PwC found that two-thirds of the more innovative companies identify innovation as a competitive necessity. Ninety-three percent of these executives say the greater proportion of their future revenue will be driven by “organic growth through innovation.”
Building an Innovative Culture
There are many factors that contribute to building an innovation-based culture, but I’d like to focus for a moment on one: making good business decisions.
In a series of interviews about how larger companies can continue to innovate and grow, Intuit co-founder Scott Cook cited a change in how the company made decisions as the top reason for his success at fostering innovation at Intuit:
“If I had to point to one thing that’s made the biggest difference at Intuit—and there’s a package of things—it was to change how we make decisions, whenever possible, from decision by bureaucracy, decision by PowerPoint, persuasion, position, power, to decision by experiment.”
In order to take the learnings from your innovation experiments and make better, more productive business decisions, you must capture and have ready access to all the relevant information. For example, how successful was your experiment? Did you really improve your product or service? Ultimately, are your customers more satisfied?
Let’s say manufacturing comes up with a new production process that shaves material costs by 5 percent. Even if you test the material and experiment by putting this into limited production, without complete, up-to-date information from customer service and sales as to how this is playing out in the field, you may be unpleasantly surprised. That 5 percent you are saving in new material may be costing you far more in returns, customer service complaints or brand damage. That is information that you need to know. Unfortunately, actually getting that information can sometimes be a challenge.
Breaking Through Silos
Getting the right information to the right people is paramount when it comes to making the right business decisions.
Getting the right information to the right people is paramount when it comes to making the right business decisions. But often, information can become siloed within a department as a result of poor information processes—and without this agility, the business will struggle to innovate and thrive. Optimized business processes improve the flow of information throughout an organization and enable you to make better decisions resulting from such experiments in innovation. And ready access to information can even improve your success rates with innovation experiments.
For help re-engineering their processes, many organizations are turning to managed service providers with whom they’ve already outsourced part or all of a specific business process. One reason for this is that it can be difficult for managers in operational roles to carve out the time needed to effectively re-engineer business processes, while service providers are focused entirely on these challenges.
Service providers also have experience with the flow of information throughout an organization, and can examine how information flows across functional areas, or if that information is being siloed and kept away from key decision-makers. These providers bring a broader perspective and the expertise to improve the flow of information that is critical for good decision-making. And sometimes, this independent, expert perspective can help move initiatives forward, as service providers can give an outside, impartial view of an organization, the challenges it faces, and the solutions that can help solve them.
Working with top-notch partners, more and more companies are seeing the business benefits from innovation within processes themselves. Two examples:
A service provider for a healthcare company deployed analytics to predict claims more likely to result in rework, saving the client $25 to $50 in administrative costs per single overpaid claim.
An aerospace manufacturer working with its provider added new key performance indicators and processes to manage third-party vendors. Customer-order fill rates for new parts went from 60 percent to 85 percent and turnaround times for delivering parts to grounded vehicles from 21 hours to 17 hours.
It’s important to be always looking to understand and implement what it takes to nurture innovation—the strategies, behaviors, best practices, investments and business outcomes that characterize the most innovative companies around the globe.
And that’s where we can help. Learn more at www.stratixsystems.com or call us toll-free 1-800-444-2943
About Stratix Systems
With offices in Reading, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia and Central and Northern New Jersey, Stratix Systems is one of the region’s leading technology solutions partners —with the people, resources and experience to deliver the IT, content/document management and imaging support you need: where, when and how you need it. In fact, very few providers in the region can match the vast array of total business solutions and responsive service available from Stratix Systems. It’s no wonder why we are the partner-of-choice for over 4,500 organizations throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Have a question? Get an answer. Our experienced systems experts would be happy to answer your questions, help you explore your options and develop a customized plan for you. Learn more at www.stratixsystems.com or call us toll-free 1-800-444-2943.
This post originally appeared on WorkIntelligent.ly, authored by Ricoh USA’s Joyce Ouellette.