I like writing blogs about process-oriented work because I am sure this topic will influence the business agenda in the next decade. However, I deduce from customer reactions that many find it difficult to give process-oriented work the attention it deserves.
In my blogs I want to eliminate misunderstandings by discussing the topic from different perspectives.
This time my subject is the possible assumption that process-focused working has little appeal for the new generation of workers, knowledge workers, officials 2.0+, employees 2.0+.
I belong to the generation X, the baby boom generation. I grew up with the adage that there is a best practice for every in- or external problem and that it is possible to class and structure all issues from the outside in. As a matter of fact I still believe that this often can and should be done. Unfortunately, many of us have pushed it too far. We have made processes needlessly complex by adding activities for incidental cases to standard processes. As a result processes have become expensive for customers and boring for employees.
Often we don’t wonder what the meaning of a control activity is, whether an activity in our process adds value for the customer, let alone whether customers are willing to pay for certain activities.
With the advent of new technology and the rise of the generations Y (the millennium generation) and Z (the internet generation) processes cast in concrete are no challenge for enterprising knowledge workers and no answer to any problems customers might have.
Therefore, we should get back to basics and only work with structured processes when it is really possible and generates profit, for instance by using straight-through processing. But it is still more important to separate business rules and systems. This, however, requires willingness to invest in BPM solutions and the courage to question the current process logic. Which is something the generations Y and Z have learned to do: putting the question why we are still working the way we do.
In recent years I have known the pleasure of learning much from ideas of workers on the shop floor. Thanks to new insights into process-focused working, almost any organization can benefit from simplifying work processes and making them more flexible. With the 5-S method, for example, it is possible to improve much with small effort. After all, processes from the past offer no guarantee for the future. Time for action!