I used that phrase’s logic for our first company System Design Consultants in 1997, and it has lived on in our methods and in our companies to this day. What exactly do we mean, with technology being thrown at us in every walk of life?
We still believe the building blocks of all companies are people, process, and then technology. There is usually someone driving the technology and it is at that point where technology can break down. To help people interface not only with each other but with the technology, we believe in process. All effective technology is structured and uses processes to make it work. Interaction with technology in business should be as structured as possible.
When looking at an organization it is important to understand who, when, and why there is an interaction with people, process, and technology. Business Process Mapping is not new to the world of big business, but how many small business people actually take the time to understand the business processes within their organizations. Many times small business owners look for a quick fix for seemingly big problems by buying the latest and greatest gadgets, only to find out they do not meet their expectations or needs. This is where buying Technology for Technology’s Sake begins to break down.
When looking for a solution to a problem in your business, try and rise above the issue and look at the problem from as high a level as you can. Remove yourself from the details and ask, “How are my actions or those of my peers affecting the other people we deal with?” Similarly, look at any technology being used and understand how it helps or hinders the progress of what is being looked at. Flow charting the process is a great tool and does not require any special software or experience; draw a box and inside that box label the process being done and the people who do it. If that process creates any type of information or product for the same person or another, draw a line to that and start again until you reach the end of the process your reviewing.
Decision points can also be charted in the same manner. If the user has a choice when making decisions in the flow chart, identify what the end result will be with each choice and continue the flow chart until you reach the end of that series of processes.
The bottom line is that you do not have to be a big business to utilize simple Business Process Engineering tools to help you solve your small business issues. Do not rely on technology to resolve your business issues without first understanding the overall process and how it affects the people in and out of the organization. Once you have mapped your area of interest you will be educated enough to choose a technology that will aid in the process, and not break down as technology does when it is implemented for its own sake.
Have you ever used a great piece of technology only to find that it was unnecessary? Tell us about it!