by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 5 minutes  |  in Business Agility, Business Technology, Digital Transformation, Strategy   |  tagged , ,

Business excellence is about achieving more with less by doing the right thing, the right way at the right time.  This is the first blog in a four-part series which sets out the core platform from which your business excellence journey can accelerate, by using techniques from the worlds of Finance, HCM and Strategy, and it all starts with one word.  Process.

Blood from a stone!

Business excellence

Efficiency squeeze

We have all been in one of those budget meetings where the Finance team has announced the requirement for you to increase the output while they reduce the input!  “I know you asked for 100, but you will only get 90, you will just have to be more efficient, cut out the non-value added activities and reduce the wastage”.

Easier said than done, but if you follow the tips in this short series you may well be able to squeeze the blood from the stone and deliver more with less on a journey towards business excellence.


Where does it all go?

Business excellence

Resource management

Be it time, effort, money or all three, it is often the case that we sit back at the end of the month and wonder where all these resources have gone.  That is not accusing you of a slovenly approach, it is just that time progresses in a linear fashion, whereas resource utilization does not.

The platform for business excellence is to understand, predict and manage resources in a way that takes us from where we need to start, to where we need to finish in the most efficient way possible.

The best way to start this is to identify activities performed in the following categories;

  1. We currently do it, and we need to continue doing it.
  2. We currently do it and we would like to stop doing it.
  3. We don’t currently do it and we need to start doing it.

Once this has been accomplished, we can manage the activities in these three categories;

Map out the processes – identify costs, resources and benefits at each stage with a view to making them as efficient as possible.  Each stage should have inputs, actions, resources and outputs.  Technology is a very useful partner here as automation can enhance productivity.  Take a look at a previous blog series (Set IoT free) which gives some ideas on using technology to enhance processes.

Root cause analysis – identify why you are having to perform these activities and tackle it there.  If they are just being performed because they have always been performed, then stop doing it.  If they are being performed because of a deficiency in a previous process, then improve the output from the previous process.

Develop new processes – outline how you would like these activities to be performed.  Use the same method as ‘map out the process’ with costs, resources and benefits added, and consider how technology could make the process more efficient.

Preparing for business excellence

Business excellence

Scenario plan

As with anything worthwhile and sustainable, preparation is essential, which is why the first mapping stage is so important.  Automating ineffective processes could actually lead to worsening performance, or at best will not provide your expected return on investment.  This is nicely explained in a recent article by Thomas Davenport and David Brain entitled “Before automating your company’s processes, find ways to improve them”.

Process mapping can be complex, so consider using a digitally linked graphical interface to show each process, each stage and all the relevant information.  When digitized, scenarios can be run to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the process, taking into consideration all inputs, resources and outputs for the entire process chain.

With processes digitized and streamlined, work can commence to change the ‘as-is’ to the ‘to be’ and start the journey towards business excellence.

What’s next – I want more!

Business excellence

Achieve more

So now you are running your business based on identified, digitized and streamlined processes we can entertain three more areas for consideration and management;

Strategy to operations – Moving from Powerpoint to reality to realize the benefits of strategic adoption while accommodating our need to act in a modern agile way.

Corporate performance management – Visualizing, managing, and reporting corporate performance to take advantage of fast paced change at the same time maintaining measured auditable control.

Talent management – Predicting, sourcing and developing the skills and qualifications required by the business both now and in the future to perform the required activities, whilst keeping the workforce engaged and the innovative juices flowing.

Each of these areas will be explored more in the upcoming blogs in the series.  Stay tuned!

OK I’m interested, where do I start?

Business excellence

Work together

At IFS we provide solutions and expertise to help your organization map its key processes onto a visual, digital platform to assist in scenario planning, efficiency and effectiveness planning, and risk and opportunity planning.  Go onto the IFS website to find out more, or email me on


I welcome comments on this or any other topic concerning Finance, HCM, CSR & business strategy

Connect, discuss, and explore using any of the following means:

  Twitter: @stevetreagust

  IFS website:




 IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. The industry expertise of our people and solutions, together with commitment to our customers, has made us a recognized leader and the most recommended supplier in our sector. Our team of 3,300 employees supports more than one million users worldwide from a network of local offices and through our growing ecosystem of partners. For more information, visit:

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