Top 5 Takeaways from our 'Drive Strategic Performance' Report

Process professionals are under ever greater pressure to ensure that the work they’re doing shows up in the bottom line of their companies and contributes to business performance. As a result, it’s not surprising that linking process improvement with top level business strategy ranks as the number one priority for the second year running with 23.1% of process professionals citing it as their biggest challenge, according to research surveys we’ve undertaken with the market.

PEX Network’s latest research report looks in greater detail at this topic: what are the challenges? What are the opportunities? And what can process professionals do to gain greater support for and traction for process improvement?

Take a long term view of operational excellence

Here are 5 takeaways from the report:

#1: Lack of executive buy in

One of the biggest things people are struggling with is lack of executive buy in. Many companies (nearly 50%) have identified process excellence one of the top priorities in the year ahead but a significant proportion of companies (32.2%) find it difficult to commit adequate resources and investment for process improvement. You need to get real commitment from executives rather than just empty words.

#2: Process Professionals have increasing influence

Process professionals can help influence their senior leaders and get them on board with process improvement by focusing on business outcomes rather than being focused on the methodologies. Many practitioners we spoke to said that they were no longer doing just Six Sigma or Lean but taking a pragmatic view and incorporating the best of different process improvement methodologies and technologies to achieve results.

#3: Technology investment is on the rise

On the technology front, investment in all categories of technology is up year on year within process improvement programs, with "Big Data" and Analytics emerging as the number one investment area for the year ahead. 33.2% of process professionals in our recent survey stated that big data and analytics is a key investment area. It’s an indication that businesses are starting to realize that data and process go hand in hand together and further proof that the industry is starting to look at how both methodologies and technology can improve processes to support underlying business performance.

#4: The language of 'process' differs across industries

One of the big challenges in the industry is the lack of a coherent "brand" for process excellence. It goes by many different names within different organizations. While this isn’t a problem for individual organizations – it doesn’t really matter what you call it as long as everyone understands what it means - some of our telephone interviewees felt that this lack of coherent naming meant that it’s harder for the industry as a whole to gain recognition as a truly critical business capability and leads to confusion among top level business executives about what process excellence actually is.

#5: Responsibility is everyone's responsibility

Process practitioners and executives both need to take responsibility for ensuring process improvement links to strategy. Process practitioners need to look at what they can do to influence leadership, both to take a proactive role in process improvement but also in coming up with the vision, targets and objectives that define success for the business (and will ultimately guide the process improvement team on where the most important opportunities are).

To read the report in full, download for free here.

Learn more about these themes at PEX Week USA:

At PEX Week USA, the theme this year is "The Drive to Performance Excellence", reflecting the move of the industry to ensure that process improvement is supporting and enabling business strategy and performance.

Industry experts and practitioners will be sharing practical and hands on advice on linking process improvement to strategy as well as looking at how you can get the executive buy in that is so critical to success. Finally, the event takes a "tool agnostic" approach.

Process Excellence and driving business performance is about taking the best practices and approaches from different methodologies and technologies and fusing them into something that inspires true excellence within your business.