eProcesses Consulting helps clients implement strategic change. Since my start as a consultant in 1983, and full time since 1985, I have seen a range of approaches used by consulting firms to begin a client relationship. I have seen firms that basically had one tool or solution set and sold that tool as the appropriate solution for a client, even when it was not. As a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), I comply with the Code of Ethics of the Institute of Management Consultants (USA), which states that I will only recommend solutions appropriate to the needs of my clients. So, how does eProcesses Consulting determine a client’s needs?
The simple way for eProcesses Consulting to determine a client’s needs is for the client to tell us. Client disclosure has risks and benefits. The benefit is the saving of time and the client has emotional ownership of the scope of a potential consulting project. The risk is that the client’s perceived need may not address the root problems and opportunities.
Generically, an eProcesses consulting relationship, strategic change implementation, begins with what many firms call the analysis, assessment, or discovery phase. Having participated in many of these, the deliverable most firms leave with the client is a list of findings with a proposal to fix some of the identified deficiencies. The eProcesses approach is different from most. Because eProcesses wants to leave the client with something of enduring value that, candidly, we hope will set the stage for a longer term client relationship, we call the initial phase the Preparation phase and we expect to leave you with three valuable deliverables beyond a “to do” list and a proposal.
The Prepare phase deliverables are up-to-date process documentation, a high-level, balanced scorecard-like dashboard, and aligned organizational goals. Goal alignment and a scorecard are foundational to any sustainable operational and financial performance improvement. Aligned goals tell the organization where it is going. The organization’s processes are how it will reach those goals. The dashboard allows the organization to keep score and know when you reach or fall short of the goals. The combination reveals improvement opportunities. As part of the Prepare phase, eProcesses also analyzes historic operational and financial performance to identify performance gaps and bottlenecks that inform the goals and the dashboard and emerge from the process documentation and analysis. A plan to close the gaps and bottlenecks associated with the goals forms the basis for the next, the Provide, phase.
This is the Provide phase because it provides tools for sustainable change and improvement. These tools include process change and deployment of techniques under the headings of Lean, Six Sigma, and Reengineering. The Provide phase would normally include an expansion of the dashboard deployed in the Prepare phase; the expansion provides drill-down and additional analytical capability that will be useful in tracking progress on reaching the aligned goals and objectives, toward the closing of performance gaps, and for the identification of new performance gaps.
For the changes that begin in the Provide phase to be sustainable, the new tools, processes, and behaviors need to begin to be part of the organizational culture. During this phase, the culture observed at the beginning of the Prepare phase starts to change. True cultural change in organizations may take several years, but eProcesses can help the client team develop new habits and disciplines and shed old habits during this phase of continued, but less intense, involvement by the eProcesses team. This involvement includes working with the client’s technical team to support the dashboard application, working with the management team to increase the value of the new tools introduced in the Provide phase, and preparing the organization to sustain the cycle of change internally.