Strategic Process Alignment  

Achieving Strategic Alignment

The key to execution is that all the constituents of your business are aligned to your strategy, and are working in the same direction along with the same priorities. The constituents include monies, shareholders, people, processes and external partners.

Strategic Process Alignment

Business process alignment is driven by the top priority processes identified during planning phase, SLAs and Measures, skill alignment and process capability.

Business process are the methods and procedures for actions done within an organization. Business processes need to be aligned to our strategic focus. We will not be covering the subject of business process redesign here, but focusing on how to ensure the business process alignment. Business processes are essentially our way of working, which should be aligned to our strategy.

Few examples of misalignment are:

example 1- Your strategy has a focus on customer satisfaction index, where as your business processes like contact centre processes, customer service management processes are not customer-friendly.

example 2- Your strategy talks of setting up 100 new offices in next two years, which is more than what you did in last five years. You business processes are not tuned to meet this high speed of setting-up new offices. This will call for more outsourcing, more modularity and standardization etc.

Business Process Alignment can be done along the following factors:

Enterprise driven- Top 10-15 business processes to be aligned to strategy

To keep it simple, one needs to define at an enterprise level top 10-15 processes which need to be re-designed to deliver to the strategy. Alignment of processes beyond this list can be left to the functional heads. Typically these top 10-15 processes will be cross-functional and will be needing multiple areas of support to make it happen. For example- You could list product development, risk management and customer satisfaction management as key processes, which need to be on CEO's radar.

Measure and SLA driven alignment

Apart from the enterprise level top-priority processes, the alignment happens at all levels. Every business process has some measurements attached to it. The strategic business plan will provide unit and team level goals along with measures of success. These expectations at granular level will drive the process alignment at lower levels and sub-processes within an organization.

For example, the business process of setting up a new office could be having a timeline of 3 months from start to finish. If we change the measure to 2 (say) months, the business process has to be redefined.

Another example- if your goal says that you have to reduce the sales compensation payment TAT (turn-around time) from 3 days to 1 day, you will work on redesigning your process and systems to deliver to the expectations.

Skill Alignment

This is already covered in the people alignment (previous topic). Essentially the jobs and roles which are responsible for re-designing and execution the business process, need to be fit with the demands of the process. A process may be handled by many roles and a role could be handling many processes. As you define a process, you will also need to define the key expectations from different roles involved in the process.

For example- If you are working on product development process, you may place an expectation on financial analyst, to have 2 day TAT to calculate the product price impact on ROI. The skill expectation behind this TAT is an ability of financial analyst to work on excel ROI tool and also to be a master in financial analysis.

Business Process Alignment enablement considers Business process design and its change management among top 5 capabilities an organization needs to have, to deliver to their strategy. An organization needs to train its people extensively on this front. The business process design and change management capability will include:

  • Business process design and re-engineering methodology
  • Business process change management (training, communication, culture, stakeholder management)
  • Project Management
  • Small business process improvements.
  • IT to be able to have effective work-flow and business process management tools.
  • Establishment of business process design practice group which can support functions to build capabilities within their teams.