Technology and Operational Excellence


Andrew discusses technology’s role in the quest for operational excellence.

Operational Excellence and Technology

Technology has sometimes been considered the saviour for many organizations. And it can be a great way to improve the performance of an organization. But technology in and of itself is not always going to improve that performance. Organizations need to make technology decisions strategically and those technology purchases need to align with the direction of the organization.

Here are some questions to consider when looking to bring new technology into your organization:

  • What are the results you want to achieve and can technology help you achieve them faster and more effectively?
  • What impact will the technology have on the rest of the organization? Will structures need to change? New skill sets required? Increased volumes to support?
  • What is the investment required and what is the return on that investment?

Too many organizations just implement new technology without considering how it will improve performance, which is why most technology projects can’t provide a clear return on investment. Remember this, automating a bad process only allows you to make bad decisions faster.

How does technology support operational excellence?

My view of technology is that it should support and enable your strategy, not drive it. As it pertains to operational excellence, here are some questions you should be considering:

  • How can technology help us attract and retain the best people?
  • How can technology help drive innovation and collaboration?
  • How can we use technology to engage with our customers better and increase retention?
  • How can technology help us align our success measures and tactics with the overall strategy?
  • How can technology help us optimize speed?

These are only a few questions you should consider and I will provide some insights into these questions over the next few days and weeks.

Aligning technology with how employees use it away from work

In an earlier post, I talked about how technology is used in the workplace is not aligned with the way employees use technology away from the workplace.

What I mean doesn’t relate to updating hardware and software or getting the latest version of something, but more about how people communicate and making sure organizations align how they use technology to achieve specific outcomes.

Outside of work people use mobile phones and tablets and other technology to stay in constant contact with one another, share information, gather information, search for resources, etc. They expect immediate results. Yet in many organizations, technology is not used for collaborating or communicating quickly and effectively. In fact, it’s the opposite and can act as a hindrance to performance because the objectives for using the technology were not considered appropriately before it was implemented . Hence the reason you see many people with two mobile devices, one for work and one for personal use, which makes little sense to me.

If technology is not supporting employees to do their job as quickly and effectively as possible, then there will be lost opportunities, hence the impact on profit.

I’m not suggesting that organizations always determine technology decisions based on how employees are using it away from the office. I do think however, that technology adoption would be higher inside organizations if it was used in a way that was better aligned with the way people are using it outside of the office.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – April 15, 2013
I have just spent the last few days in New York City with a group of world class consultants. We not only discussed our businesses, but also business trends, personal growth, and we spent time at some amazing cultural events and ate at some great restaurants. We spent a great deal of time discussing important themes that will help us deliver even better results for our clients. Here are four that you can’t ignore: 
  • Many organizations don’t allow their employees to use technology at work the way those employees are used to using it outside of work. Unless technology infrastructures get updated, this gap will continue to widen and profitability will suffer.
  • Most organizations have the desire to change. Some organizations have the ability to change. And very few organizations have the capability to sustain a change. It is sustainability that matters most when making any organizational change.
  • It is very difficult for an organization to grow without an outside perspective. Fresh perspectives from new employees, new business partners, and yes, even consultants, can help tackle opportunities and challenges in new ways.
  • Organizations need to look at their past successes, determine the cause of those successes and then try to replicate those successes wherever possible.
Spending time with some of the best consultants and advisers in the world proved to me that there is so much opportunity for our clients to grow,” says Andrew Miller, President of ACM Consulting. “There are some common challenges to be overcome, but once they are overcome, the opportunity for successful growth is infinite.
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
Andrew Miller
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.

More lessons from the best

As a follow-up to my previous post, here are some additional observations from spending a wonderful three days with some of the best consultants in the world:

  • Many organizations don’t have the infrastructure to support the ways that their employees are used to using technology away from the workplace.
  • There is a difference between having the desire to change, the ability to change and the capability to sustain the change. You need all of these to be successful.
  • When you are THE expert, you are good enough to tell people what they need to do.
  • People with power don’t need to spend a lot of time talking.
  • The greatest asset you have is your talent.
  • You can offer more value when you are passionate about what you do.

It’s been a great week in New York City and look for more of these integrated learnings to come.