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  • Mike Donoghue

Operational Integrity on a Dime

Many organizations struggle to find the right software to match their processes. In my experience, I have found that most large software packages do not fit the way we work, they are often too complex or inflexible for our needs. As a result, we spend more time trying to make the software work for us than actually using it to its full potential; resorting to spreadsheets for workarounds. In this post, I will discuss some of the problems with big software and how we can overcome them. We hope you find it helpful!

We all want standardization. We want to know that when we go to a restaurant, the food is going to taste the same as it did last time. We want to be able to travel and know that the accommodation will meet our expectations. We want things to be consistent so that our lives are easier. It's the same in business, though a more important requirement is that we have processes and ways of sustaining so that the business is efficient, effective and repeatable. This in turn ensures that important tasks are complied with, that the outcomes are consistent, and our needs and expectations are met.

In many organizations, the operations management systems (OMS) are typically caught between two ends of an awkward spectrum; they are still using rigidly structured applications installed years ago which are either becoming obsolete or too expensive to replace. The problem of relying on spreadsheets include: no protection, are subject to uncontrolled changes and are stored in a myriad of folder structures that only the individuals responsible for authoring or maintaining the spreadsheet know where to locate them. These old applications and spreadsheets not only make it challenging to manage current operations but also limit our ability to improve performance and competitiveness.

"Standardization is great ... as long as it's my standard!"

Whether it's in the workplace, at home or out with friends, it can be really irritating when somebody insists that their way is the only way. And yet, ironically, we often do this ourselves - particularly when it comes to things that are important to us. We like to think that our way of doing things is the best, and we can be quite rigid in our thinking. But is this really a good thing?

At Helios, we approach standardization from a slightly different angle. After many years of seeing business operations improvement initiatives fail, decades of studies that have shown that up to 70% of improvement initiatives fail; alongside, the excuse, "It was a good idea and we needed it, but it didn't match how we do things here." Typically the reason for this is the workforce is not consulted and the individuals responsible for the execution are "put" through a "change process" to get them to change or adapt to new ways of thinking. What do you think could be possible if their knowledge and experience were captured and converted into an approach that encourages repeatability and helps them to feel ownership of the processes? What if the tools that are used to capture information and drive compliance could be developed to reflect "your way of doing things" without having to compromise which in turn would lead to tailor-made solutions.

How do you do it?!

Agreeing on the process and how it should be done is one aspect of achieving an operating management system that needs to hold up to the stress test; however, the equally important aspect is how that process is encoded into the organization in a way that can grow or adapt as both internal and external factors change. Wouldn't it be great if there was some form of technology that didn't drive complexity into the organization? One that allowed cost-effective change to take place without forcing company employees to find a work-around and build spreadsheets to achieve the required outcomes?

As technology has infiltrated every part of our lives, we have seen the adoption of web-based and mobile apps that allow us to use our time more efficiently (at least most of the time). We can now order food to our door, book a hotel room, or purchase a plane ticket with the touch of a button. While there are many ways to improve productivity and streamline processes with technology, few tools are as transformative as power apps - these tools can help you speed up operations, and provide more efficient ways to work or ensure that critical processes are adhered to. This can be done by placing processes on a platform that provides users with a Graphic User Interface (GUI); this is a structured, compliant data repository and provides state of the art reporting. They're easy to use and is opening the future to citizen developers, who have the capability to use low/no code development solutions such as Power Apps or SAP Low-Code/No-Code Applications and Automations to create encoded processes that replicate the nuanced ways that companies actually do business.

Over the last three years, Helios Consulting has developed the necessary capabilities to facilitate and build operating management system software solutions that interface seamlessly with your company's software environment placing improvement initiatives in the successful implementation category. The clients that we've served in this space have appreciated the simplicity, yet elegance of our solutions.

The bottom line is that change is inevitable, and as a leader, it's your responsibility to help your team navigate through disruptions. By being proactive and addressing challenges with innovative solutions, you can set your team up for success in the face of any change.

Curious to learn more about our capabilities in Power Apps or discuss your team engagement model? Reach out, a call doesn't cost a thing!

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