Transformation implies big changes but does it really deliver?

The word transformation implies big changes. To achieve them businesses invest considerable time, effort and money. You are justified in expecting a sizeable return for all that effort.

However most businesses finish a transformation program having only achieved minor performance improvements or nothing at all.

Aims v Outcomes

It’s a sad fact that the word transformation often symbolises the amount of pain and effort a business goes through. It is rarely about the benefits intended. 

Businesses often plan to carry on working in the same way as before whilst transformation focus tends to be technology driven. This doesn’t work because new technology might make things faster but if you’re NOT doing the right thing in the first place, you end up doing the wrong things faster.

It’s a common problem we see when working with customers on their own projects. Their focus is on changing the tools the business is using, not enough on testing their original processes and changing the fundamental ways of working. 

What does this mean to you?

If your business is pinning hopes of survival on the outcomes of your major transformation project.. If they plan on carrying on doing what they’ve always done…If they just want  faster tools… They’ll just go out of business even faster.

What it means is that, once the dust has settled, all your team can hope for are marginal gains. Some of the steps in your processes are now automated, or you’ve pushed some tasks out to other employees. Simply you’ve moved the effort to another part of the business rather than truly transforming anything.

The original vision for the program got lost and instead of a 25% cost saving or a 37% revenue increase, it became focused on “we need to get the system implemented and working”.  

It’s all too easy to focus on the tangible aspects of the technology you are implementing and ignore the need for less tangible changes on how the business gets stuff done.

Those opportunities for genuine transformation haven’t gone away. You just didn’t go far enough with the change process.

How do you prevent this?

Time for discovery

Allocating ample time at the start of the project to undertake a thorough discovery exercise is vital. In order to understand the potential barriers, there must be a deep understanding of the current situation. This stage is not just about gathering detail about your current state and processes. It’s about engaging with people early, understanding their role, listening to their individual hopes and fears and learning what they know about ways to make your business better.

Image taken from Skore’s Digital Discovery Platform

Understand your ways of working and identify what’s holding you back.

Crucially, you need to understand what’s preventing it from being better and is holding you back. It might be the technology you use but more often it will be because things are done the way they’ve always been done with little consideration to how they could be done differently.

Work with the vendors to design your future

Armed with the knowledge of what slows things down you can start to design your future state processes to tackle these issues. If possible, do this with the vendor(s) of the platform being implemented. Alternatively, make sure your implementation partner has expertise in the technology and will follow these critical steps.

This is the point where you take what you think will make things better and marry it up with the capabilities of the new system. Without this you’ll simply be automating what you have always done.

Support your team in the new ways of working

When your new system is launched it should be in tandem with your new ways of working. Train your team on the ways of working and then on how the system supports them. Include the ‘why’ in the training so that your team have answers to the questions: 

Why are we doing it this way?

What are the outcomes I am expected to produce? 

Your training should show clearly how the new ways of working and technology achieve these outcomes.

Image taken from Skore’s Digital Discovery Platform

Conclusion

Transformation means just that. Transforming the way you and your business works. If you aren’t investing in the initial discovery and investigations, if you don’t know your own business processes; how can you expect to make successful changes? All too often the investment is in the final technology solution but if you don’t invest in your people and their processes you’ll never achieve it. Its all too easy to blame the term Transformation but change starts with you and your approach. 

The Skore Digital Discovery platform enables you to gather all the information you need during the discovery phase. Simply and quickly create a model of processes, people, systems and data in a single place that can be accessed and understood by everyone.

Skore’s simple approach means anyone can understand how the business works and how the new systems support it. It engages people in live workshops and interviews and allows your company to find the solutions that work for them.  

Why not request a free trial and demo to see how you could deliver transformation right first time with Skore

Where should I start with RPA?

Those of us who have been working in the RPA space for a while are used to spotting good opportunities for applying robots. However this comes through experience and it’s not as easy as it looks.

Working with a couple of organisations recently on Digital Discovery projects, we’ve identified potential opportunities for RPA. The client’s response?… “oh we’ve tried that before but it didn’t really deliver the return we’d hoped for.”

On closer investigation it turned out that the process in question was complicated. It was selected for a number of reasons; a lot of back and forth between multiple systems, numerous copy and paste activities, repetition and high levels of human interaction. Most importantly it was considered low risk in case anything went wrong.

Whilst low risk it was clearly considered of low importance too. Only a vague scope was agreed and the team went to work building a robot.

Initially the team were pleased that the amount of copy and paste they had previously done had been greatly reduced. The volume of items they could handle had increased. However, the number of exceptions increased too, at a higher rate than the volume increase. In addition, there was an increase in rework… items that hadn’t made it successfully to the end of the process and needed to be redone, often manually.

In other words they’d fixed one problem but created new ones. On balance there was only a small return on investment and the whole RPA initiative had run out of steam before it had even begun.

Understanding which processes are right for automation is essential for success. There is much to consider and every organisation will have a different view of what’s important. Time and cost savings are obvious benefits but consider the impact on customer and employee experience. You may be reducing risk through reduction in errors or by securing data.

Therefore the first thing you should do is start to capture and analyse your end-to-end business processes. You need to get people aligned and identify everything that needs to be improved before applying automation. This drives out the requirements and other improvement opportunities.

Remember capturing business processes doesn’t have to be time consuming, using Digital Discovery it can be achieved rapidly, with high levels of engagement and immediately outputs a report of what to automate and when. Skore’s Robotic Assess module sits on top of the Digital Discovery platform and will also produce a robust business case for each process. This helps you prioritise them into a pipeline of work.

If you want to get the most out of RPA you need to pick processes that are easy to automate and return high value benefits in the shortest time. At least until you’ve established your RPA capability and are able to scale it. Using Digital Discovery will help you identify those processes rapidly and prioritise them efficiently.

Craig Willis is one of the founders of Skore, the Digital Discovery Software platform that enables you to align your processes, people and tools with ease. Skore have launched Robotic Assess, a module that allows you to easily assess and understand which of your processes are ready for automation. Click here to find out more.

Is RPA Just A Band Aid?

My early interactions, with the technology now widely known as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), were not totally positive.

When applying RPA to a manual interface, between an old legacy system and a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, my instinct was to rip out the legacy system. To replace it with something more modern and efficient with the ability to integrate directly. With RPA it felt we were just postponing the inevitable, storing up problems for the future. We were putting a sticking plaster over a serious wound that was likely to fester.

In fact, we shouldn’t use human analogy where business is concerned. Business issues do not always follow a linear trajectory and the issue is not always a wound that needs to be treated and healed over time.

What is an issue today may be an advantage or opportunity tomorrow and vice versa. In other words, businesses need to be more agile so they can understand the nature of problems they face today and adapt and change for the problems they face tomorrow.

But making businesses agile is where RPA, and tools such as Skore’s Digital Discovery platform, really come into their own. With Digital Discovery tools, an organisation can rapidly understand the current situation, align teams and get everyone onboard. It’s a completely different approach to traditional methods of discovery.

Image taken from Skore’s Robotic Assess Software Platform

Undertaking a major systems implementation may seem like the right solution today, for example, replacing a legacy system. However if it takes 12 – 18 months how can we be sure that it will be the right solution?

This is where Digital Discovery and RPA are so effective. Process capture workshops are fast, engaging and result in an agreed set of processes in a digital and shareable format.

Furthermore, Digital Discovery is more than just processes. While process acts as a framework for understanding how the organisation works, a Digital Discovery tool should allow you to augment the process with other information such as; roles, systems, data, duration and costs etc.

 It allows you to create a more complete picture of how the organisation works. Enabling you to focus on what’s important right now.

This is why Digital Discovery fits so neatly with RPA. Robotic Process Automation allows you to quickly implement changes to, and vastly improve the performance of, how work gets done. There’s no need to run an 18 month implementation programme before you start seeing benefits. Benefits identified during Digital Discovery can be implemented and realised with RPA within weeks or even days.

We recognise that many organisations are still using traditional methods of discovery to feed their RPA initiatives. But don’t be surprised when there’s a collective groan from your colleagues. If you really want to become truly agile you’ll need to abandon the old ways and marry your RPA programme with Digital Discovery.

Skore has developed Robotic Assess, a Saas software solution that enables you and your organisation to rapidly discover and agree business processes, identify RPA opportunities and create a robust business case with clear ROI analysis. Find our more about what our Digital Discovery tool can do for you.

Are You Getting Value For Money From RPA?

Don’t leave your RPA Business Case until its too late.

We’ve all been there…

It’s so easy to get carried away with a new toy, tearing open the box and emptying the contents all over the floor. Start sticking the lego blocks together before you’ve even unwrapped the instructions. Plugging in the new TV without opening the manual.

Disruptive new business technologies like Robotic Process Automation are just as exciting. Unlike the old Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems of the past, with RPA tools you can start implementing from day one.

However unlike the TV in your living room, RPA could have a profound effect on your business….. Or, it could not…… 

If it’s not positioned correctly, if it doesn’t align with the organisation’s objectives, if it disrupts in a negative way or if it simply doesn’t deliver the expected benefits… It will be packed away in the cupboard to collect dust like all the broken toys and missing parts.

With RPA it’s essential you start thinking about the wider business case right from the get go. With the hype around the technology it won’t be long before you’re having to answer board level questions about that business case. You must be ready with the right answers as early as possible.

Starting to build the business case isn’t difficult

You don’t need to get hung up on a detailed business case at this point but putting a simple framework together now will provide a solid foundation. Skore recommends starting to build the foundation with the 4 Ps of Robotic Process Automation.

P is for Process

Which processes are most likely to benefit from RPA? There’s a lot to choose from and the challenge will be selecting those that make a significant difference.

Are you simply pushing process inefficiencies downstream? Processes need to be considered end-to-end. If you apply RPA at one point in a process, what’s the impact on other areas?

Are there areas of the process that need to be improved before applying the technology? Automating a bad process means you’re just speeding up a bad process.

Take the time to make an inventory of possible candidate processes. Performing a high level review of those processes will quickly identify what can and should be automated. Document the volumes and costs of those processes today so you can start thinking about the benefits of automation immediately. With Skore’s Digital Discovery Platform you can rapidly capture and analyse key business processes and start building a business case straight away.

P is for Performance

What sort of performance improvement can you expect from implementing RPA? If you’ve followed the previous step you’ll already have a list of candidates and their current performance. Start to evaluate them to understand the scale of the improvement.

What improvements are you measuring? Improvements are not just about time savings you should also be considering speed, quality, volume, cost and customer or employee experience.

It needn’t be detailed but understanding the magnitude of the improvement will help when discussing the potential benefits of the technology.

P is for Prioritisation

Where do you start when you get the go ahead for the investment? Once you have catalogued the processes most suitable for RPA and understood the potential performance improvements this should be fairly straight forward.

Which strategic priorities will give you the largest gain for the smallest investment of time and money? Consider the organisation today and which performance improvements best align with those priorities. Priorities can change but having a good argument for why you have selected them with supporting evidence is essential.

P is for Plan

What is the impact on the existing human workforce? Applying RPA isn’t just about implementing robots and moving on to the next thing. Robotic Process Automation can have a significant impact on the way work happens in the organisation. RPA is an extension of your workforce so must be considered as such.

Are they ready for the change? How is work going to be reassigned? What new opportunities does this generate and how is that going to be exploited?

A lot of these questions can lead to unexpected benefits above and beyond simple cost and time saving. These will help strengthen the investment case and help with communications.

Finally, consider what happens 6 or 12 months from now? How do the robots you implement today stay relevant tomorrow? How are the processes maintained and improved over time?

Conclusion

RPA is an exciting technology with the potential to have a huge impact on modern organisations. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the technology and not consider the bigger picture. RPA is a strategic investment and needs to be considered as such as early as possible.

The Skore Robotic Assess module on the Skore Digital Discovery platform quickly identifies and documents end-to-end processes, assesses them for RPA suitability, calculates potential benefits and prioritise candidates. The platform has a user friendly interface with simple dashboards and clear analysis that can be presented as part of your business case.

Craig Willis is the Customer Success Director and one of the founders at Skore.

The Number 1 Reason RPA Projects Fail

Up to 50% of RPA projects fail during or after the initial implementation according to a recent Ernst and Young’s report. Unsurprisingly for many,  the main reason is that projects are IT led rather than by the business.

However this is not an IT problem, it’s a business problem. It is the business who has failed to engage with, or properly understand, the project and it is the business who has misaligned their strategy and processes.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology with strategic implications. Absolutely IT must play a significant part in any implementation but to achieve a truly transformational change to your bottom line, profits and customer experience the business must be in the driving seat.

So, how does the business become, and stay, engaged in such an important initiative?

Business benefits

RPA, in its simplest form, takes on many manual and repetitive tasks currently performed by humans.

More sophisticated RPA implementations can start to pick up more value adding work, often between multiple systems, where humans are performing manual interface activities such as moving data from one system to another. This is especially true when augmented with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Typically RPA should only be applied to parts of the process, significantly speeding it up and reducing errors. Very few full end-to-end processes are suitable for implementation of RPA.

Not investigating and entirely understanding your processes means potentially you are pushing the problem further along. The bottom line is that while RPA may have improved one part of the process, the rest continues to consume as much time and resources leading to little or no business benefit.

It is essential that the business leads the effort to understand the end-to-end business process. They must identify the parts most suitable for RPA and understand the impact on the rest of the process. Only this will ensure that a real and measurable improvement can be produced.

Business priorities

The old adage “when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” is common when any new and disruptive technology comes along and RPA is no exception. Once you start to look at your business through the RPA lense you’ll quickly identify many potential opportunities.

The key is, as above, to try and identify the true business benefits. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. The days of long discovery and analysis phases are coming to an end with the advent of new tools such as Skore’s Digital Discovery platform. This capture and analysis of end-to-end processes takes a fraction of the time compared to traditional methodologies.

This means the business can quickly understand the potential business benefits across multiple processes allowing a comparison and prioritisation of opportunities.

Once benefits are understood in terms of time and cost savings they can be compared to strategic business priorities to ensure that your RPA initiatives are clearly aligned to your business strategy.

Support for IT

IT will play a critical role in the success of any project.

To support IT ensure they have the necessary budget to deliver the expected benefits. Essentially however, they must also have access to the business expertise to ensure they can build the right solution.

Any work carried out to understand the processes and quantify the benefits should include representatives from IT. This means they are engaged early and fully understand the context of what you are asking them to provide. It will go a long way to preventing unexpected problems cropping up later in the project or after going live.

Conclusion

RPA promises to transform many businesses with rapid deployment, speed of operation and quality of output. However applied in the wrong place with the wrong motives it can quickly turn into an expensive project with no tangible benefits.

To ensure you get RPA right first time:

  • RPA projects should be led by the business to deliver tangible business benefits aligned with strategic priorities
  • Processes need to be understood holistically and the impact on non-automated parts properly understood – investment in this stage is vital
  • Keep IT engaged throughout to ensure everyone is fully aligned

Find out more about how Skore’s Digital Discovery platform and the Skore Robotic Assess module could help your business identify the right processes for automation. Skore’s software platform builds a prioritised portfolio of RPA opportunities based on robust ROI analysis.

Find Out More About Robotic Assess

Statistics taken from Ernst and Young’s recent report ‘Get Ready for Robots’ available here  https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Get_ready_for_robots/$FILE/ey-get-ready-for-robots.pdf

Go ahead and ask the obvious questions

You’ll probably save your business a significant amount of money!

This weekend we suffered a rare power outage at home. After checking the electricity, making sure all the switches were still on and no fuses had tripped us out, I concluded it must be a power cut. With candles and torches at the ready in case we were still powerless by nightfall, we settled down with the kids to play board games!

After an hour or two, I decided to check with our immediate neighbours, an older couple, they too were out of power. However, as the sun went down we spotted that one of the other neighbours had their lights on. Time to investigate!

It tuned out that only a handful of houses in the street were affected by the power cut. What’s more, nobody had actually called the electricity company to report it! Once we realised this, the call was made, an engineer was onsite within an hour and a temporary fix got us up and running.

The point being, as a collective, we all assumed that someone else would have reported the outage – but no one actually had!

How often does this sort of thing happen in your business?

Think of your IT team as the electricity company in our power outage. Everyone in your business expects them to come and fix problems when they occur. But what if nobody has told them there is a problem to fix?

On a recent project, the client complained that their IT system couldn’t record vital information. Instead they were documenting it manually in a spreadsheet which was then attached to a record. As you can imagine, this took a lot of extra time and made accurately reporting that data, really quite tedious.

Another example, for a different client, found a one team using a HR system which didn’t afford them the necessary access rights to record key information. As a result, they had devised an elaborate (and time consuming) workaround. Personal information was typed into a notes field, a screen shot was taken of the record and the information was deleted from the notes field. The screenshot was added to a password protected file that was, eventually, uploaded against the employee’s record. A lengthy, frustrating, not to mention costly, exercise which staff completed with a sigh of…

“If only the system did this in a better way”.

(As an aside I bet you’ve either heard that said in your organisation or said it yourself!).

What both these scenarios have in common is that the affected teams assumed that the IT team knew there was a problem and couldn’t do anything to help.

In actual fact, further investigations revealed that, in the first case nobody had asked for the additional fields to be added to the system. In the second case, again, no ticket had ever been raised requesting a change to access rights for the specific record type.

It was during the Skore discovery exercise, that these issues were quickly identified. And because the Skore approach is so effective at communicating across different domains, for example between the operational part of the business and the IT team, the IT team quickly recognised what the problem was AND the pain it was causing for users.

What’s more, in both cases the IT Teams were surprised, and almost apologetic, that the users had been putting up with the issues for so long. Cases were raised, fixes implemented relatively quickly, and life was made easier for everyone.

Based on these example, I have a challenge for you. Think about how many issues you deal with, on a daily basis, that are just SO obvious you assume either someone else will fix it, or that there is no fix? Then find out, what is being done to fix them.

The chances are the right people haven’t even been told about it. No wonder nothing has happened!

What is Digital Discovery?

What is Digital Discovery

Have you ever been a buyer of software technology in your company? Or been on the receiving end of a software implementation? The chances are that the first time you interacted with the delivery team was stood around a whiteboard, or worse still, brown paper stuck to the wall with a handful of sticky notes. It was discovery, but not digital discovery.

For vendors of the latest technology it is still surprising that so many start their hitech delivery with such a low tech introduction. As an approach to requirements gathering, using pen and paper is vigorously defended. It is somewhat reminiscent of the music industry at the advent of streaming, or the camera film industry at the development of the digital camera.

At the very beginning of a tech implementation hopes are high, there is plenty of enthusiasm and a desire to get going. And then comes the implementation. Timescales over run, people forget the original goal, goodwill dwindles and by the time the solution is delivered it no longer fits the requirements, or it completely missed them.

The solution to this is not just speed but a better understanding of the client’s business and how it works. This all starts right at the beginning, with those initial digital discovery sessions.

The need for Digital Discovery

There are a number of key factors for getting discovery right; speed, engagement and accuracy. Speed is important as those taking part typically have a day job to get back to. They are prepared to take time out to support the initiative but they need to feel they were able to contribute as much as possible. Furthermore, they expect to see results quickly. The longer it takes between interactions the less engaged participants feel.

Engagement is essential to getting teams to buy into any change. While everyone may be aligned at the start it is important to keep them engaged throughout the program. Engagement is as much about contribution as it is to do with speed. Participants need to feel they have had their say. In fact it is essential that everyone does have their say as this is where some of the most important insights will come from.

Accuracy of the information gathered is, again, essential for ensuring the right requirements are delivered in the solution. But also for ensuring the team remain engaged, a participant will quickly realise if something they have shared is misrepresented in some way. They may not always point that out and engagement is damaged as a result.

Successful discovery is a balancing act between these three factors and yet traditional, manual, discovery work typically consists of long workshops writing, moving, rewriting and moving sticky notes around a board. At the end of the workshop photos are taken and scribed into a digital format and shared with the team days, or even weeks later, if at all. There follows several rounds of review and finalisation, taking more time out of people’s busy calendars.

Digital discovery involves capturing the information directly into a digital tool such as Skore. Participants describe their ways of working and these are transcribed there and then. Digital Discovery provides a number of benefits here; firstly the approach is structured so that it is standardised across all workshops regardless of the facilitator. Secondly, the tool makes it much faster to change things allowing participants to focus on the flow of work and reduces distractions and loss of concentration. Finally, the information captured can be agreed in the workshop and shared instantly with wider audiences as required.

The added benefits of the Skore Digital Discovery approach

One of the key benefits of using a digital discovery approach is how it helps uncover hidden issues and unexpected benefits. While the Skore approach is fast it also provides a framework that allows users to zoom in and out of the detail.

This puts the work the team are doing, and therefore their requirements, into the wider context of the business. It allows participants to easily explore other contributing, or receiving, areas of the business. It opens up new possibilities and highlights further requirements that typically get missed in traditional discovery sessions.

Understanding this wider context ensures that the business considers how appropriate these processes are for the technology that’s coming. It shines a light on changes, both process and organisational, that need to be made in order to make the implementation successful.

For the implementation partner it allows them to build a more complete solution and deliver more value to the customer. They understand the customer’s business at a much deeper level and therefore develop a longer and more meaningful relationship as trusted advisors.

Win win

Using a digital discovery approach is a win-win for both tech implementers and the receiving customers. For the implementers it allows them to grow with their customer over the long term and become a real value adding partner. For the customer it helps ensure they realise their return on investment quicker and grow their business faster.

If you would like to try Skore Digital Discovery request your free trial here.

Digital Transformation in Construction – Keep it Simple

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is on the mind of every leadership team across all industries, not just construction. But what is digital transformation? A search online will return mountains of articles, research, opinion pieces and many more all describing wildly different descriptions.

You’ll hear about the customer journey, digital first interactions, reducing friction etc. A lot of what you read about will be from the retail industry or finance, disruptive business models and so on.

From a construction perspective how do you make sense of this all?

Digital transformation in construction

Today digital transformation is relative and depend on your industry as a whole and where it sits in relation to digital. It is about where you are today, your starting point, where you are trying to get to and how you can use digital technology to get there. In essence it’s about improving productivity, profitability, experience, automation and, perhaps most importantly, innovation.

In that sense it’s no different from any sort of industrial improvement technique that has come before. Except now the pace of change in digital technologies is so high that you need a new capability in your business that can keep on top of it and continuously implement the latest innovations.

Back to basics

For construction it will come as little surprise to most in the industry that things still tend to happen largely on spreadsheets. Even basic task automation found in other industries will be completed on spreadsheets and shared via email in construction. Files are still stored on shared drives and approvals are made with wet signatures.

Given this starting point I’d urge anyone considering digital transformation in the construction industry to not get carried away and take advantage of the enormous opportunities for improvement right in front of them.

Tools for creating simple workflows, with approvals, controlled document storage and mobile friendly are readily available and easy to use. More traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools are easier to use and easier to configure than ever before. Most tools nowadays include some sort of Application Programming Interface (API) that allows it to connect to a variety of other tools so you can reduce data entry and emails.

However, given how easy to use and accessible these tools are it’s very easy to implement the wrong thing in the wrong way. And that’s where this new capability comes in.
Digital Discovery for digital transformation

Creating, or configuring, automated workflows may seem easy, but to do so in a scalable and future proof way requires a bit more skill. It’s important to consider the wider business to understand how this new workflow fits in. What are the inputs required, what outputs are expected, who will do it, what is the escalation path when something goes wrong, what is the data model required, who else needs to know?

Using a digital discovery tool such as Skore will make this much easier. It will allow you to rapidly build a model that describes how your business works, where the gaps are and answer the questions above. You can use this model to build and test your new automated workflows before you roll them out to your team.

Infact digital discovery is best started before you’ve even selected a technology for your transformation. The model produced will form the requirements for that system and can be used in the vendor selection process. Simply take the model to the different vendors and ask them to show you how they would deliver it.

Successful digital transformation

In construction, successful digital transformation is all about being aware of your starting point. Don’t try to over think things, or build something that no one would recognise. Keep it simple, identify the things that can be easily automated today that will have the largest impact on the business.

There is a lot you can do right now to reduce risk and increase productivity, simply by getting rid of those spreadsheets.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you on your digital transformation journey please get in touch.

My top 3 tips for awesome Digital Discovery workshops

Workshops haven’t moved on in the last 20 years

When you mention workshops to most people they’ll think of standing around brown paper with pens & post-it notes, talking about the same thing over and over and over. Tough sessions. The more arguments there are, the better the workshop.

Of course, this is a generalisation and as Digital Discovery Tools are growing in popularity, I’m going to share my top tips to make the most of this new breed of software.

Why use Digital tools?

People love post-it notes right? You don’t get the same engagement looking at a screen?

Wrong. Paper-based approaches aren’t slick, moving dozens of post-it’s around because you’ve suddenly remembered a step is a daunting task. Plus, rolling up the paper and spending days translating them into a digital format results in two major problems:

  1. Workshop output has a half-life. The longer between the workshop and the delivery of the output, the less impact it has
  2. It’s very difficult for one person to successfully translate what was captured into an accurate representation. Couple this with the time it’s taken, you lose engagement as people don’t relate to the output

My Top Tips

Over the years, and countless workshops, I’ve learnt the hard way. Here are my top tips:

  Use a common language

Even if you’re clever enough to have learnt BPMN, no one is going to be impressed with your use of connector symbols, diamond, squares, etc… Keep it simple, people don’t want to have to learn a whole new language to engage in the workshop. Learn more

  Don’t jump into the detail

It’s all too tempting to spend hours focussing on one part of the problem. You’ll get a far better picture if you start at a higher level, then break it down into the detail as needed. It also means you can get the right people in the room at the right time.

  Share it instantly

If you’re doing it right, the content should be shareable by the time the attendees are back at their desk. You want them to be able to review it whilst it’s still fresh in their minds, make that comment, ask that question. Also, they’re more likely to share it with people that didn’t make the workshop, gaining a wider level of feedback. Learn more

Using a Digital Discovery Tool, and my tips, will help you engage on a whole new level. You’ll be able to get to answers quicker, demonstrate instant value and move the audience onto the next stage sooner, be it future process improvements, system implementation, or something else.

 

Want to learn more about using Skore for Digital Discovery? Request a free trial

Historian or Visionary… Which are you?

Anyone who has ever bought their own home can testify that it can be exciting, often frustrating, more than a little scary but, ultimately, immensely satisfying. Of course, that assumes everything goes according to plan. In simple terms, it’s something of an emotional rollercoaster.

The Retail sector is raising customer expectations of Housebuilders

If you’re in the business of selling new homes, you will be acutely aware of how changes in consumer expectations within the retail sector, are now reflected in the expectations of homebuyers. Consumers are no longer willing to ‘hope’ for a good experience, it is expected – whether the purchase is a mobile phone or a new build home. And if we don’t get it, there are plenty of communication channels, such as social media, where our displeasure with your brand can, and will, be amplified many times over!

When you consider these facts, it amazes me that sales teams still rely on backward looking metrics to measure their success, or lack thereof. By that, I mean focusing on things that have already happened, or gone wrong!

Number of completions, revenue and profit are all important measures, but they can only be measured AFTER the event.

At the other end of the sales process is the opportunity pipeline. The part where potential buyers that have shown a real interest and ‘qualify’ as your company’s definition of an opportunity. Some of those will drop out and some you’ll win. There’s probably a percentage calculation based on historical sales data that is used to set your sales targets.

Reflect on the past but FIX the future

What neither of these actually do, is measure anything which might predict if something is about to go wrong during the sales cycle. The first indication is typically when the buyer raises an objection, or it becomes clear the build won’t be delivered on time. You are now in a position where the damage has been done, it’s too late to mitigate the issue and your only option is to try and appease your buyer.

Revolutionise your processes to transform your customer experience

So how can you move from Historian to Visionary and identify measures that will tell you when something might go wrong before it does? How can your organisation sense and respond to potential issues, address them early and provide a better customer experience throughout the process?

The build process is complex and, typically, out of control of the sales team. However, having an integrated, end-to-end view of the whole process allows everyone, including your sales team, to see the key stages along the way. The Skore approach enables your organisation to build such an integrated model in a way that is easy for everyone to follow and understand.

By bringing different, but related teams together, the Skore approach clarifies who does what, and when key handovers of responsibility occur. The whole process becomes transparent and teams can identify points of critical, mutual communication. These are the points where potential issues in the build process should be communicated to the sales team early enough for them to do something about it, before the customer experience fails.

Measure what matters

Another unique feature of the Skore approach is in the way it makes you focus on the value added by each step of a process. These are the steps which often make great performance measurement points as they occur throughout the process, not just at the end.

Identifying and measuring indicators of success throughout the process means that you look to the future outcomes much sooner.

Using this approach, when certain parts of the process aren’t delivering as expected, these measures will act as an early warning of a potential problem that can be investigated and resolved and gives the sales team a heads up to communicate with the customer and manage their expectations.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can use Skore to build a sense and respond organisation and deliver a better customer experience, get in touch.