The Unsexy Side of Innovation Nobody is Talking About

In the fight to protect market share and grow bottom lines, business leaders are constantly searching for new ways to transform their organizations. Business process innovation is a keen place to start for profound impact, albeit a bit less sexy than product and service innovation. Consider these examples:
  • A U.S. film studio automated 91 percent of their manual deduction management processes, an initiative that led to 30 percent cost savings across the function, reducing day’s sales outstanding from 78 to 28.  
  • A large Nordic manufacturing company transformed their procure-to-pay process and generated savings of more than 21 million Euros by eliminating duplicate invoice checks.
  • A major U.S. electric utility reduced bad debt by 44 percent of revenue, shrunk delayed billings by 40 percent and ensured same-day payment posting 99.5 percent of the time.
With Capgemini assistance, these three firms leveraged our Global Enterprise Model (GEM) as we assessed each organizations’ maturity relative to best practices in key areas, including finance, accounting, supply chain management, human resources, procurement, payroll and customer operations. Together, we attacked inefficiencies. 
So, what does this have to do with innovation? 
Today, 65 percent of senior executives claim they feel growing pressure to innovate. The problem is, many organizations cannot pursue meaningful change if they lack insight into their own methods relative to industry best practices. 
If you don’t know how your current processes, teams or results stack up, how do you know where you’re going?
When it comes to business process improvement, awareness isn’t enough. Organizations must not only recognize hurdles to innovation, but also have a detailed roadmap that outlines how to mitigate them. Optimizing internal workflow can provide value greater than the sum of its parts, but real transformation is rarely achieved ad hoc. To set a precedent of enduring innovation, your firm needs both a vision and the means to accomplish it.

Shedding light on deficiencies

Even when it’s clear that your organization struggles with inefficient and outdated processes, it can be difficult to identify the culprits. When deeply embedded flaws or resource gaps hamstring an organization’s innovation efforts, it may be time to bring in an objective third party that can accurately assess the status quo. 
Before an investigation begins, clients and their partners must both commit to the process. Remediating subpar operations can’t be a top-down effort; every level of an organization must be on board for changes to yield success.
A business process analysis through our GEM is an exhaustive undertaking, and carefully considers both high-level and granular variables in order to detect what needs to be adjusted and how.

Creating a roadmap for success

Organizations are often surprised to discover how their own policies diverge from best practices, but a roadmap can get firms back on course. Roadmaps serve as living documents that lay out improvements over the next few months or even years – including the technology, processes, controls and metrics required for lasting transformation. While some initiatives, like adding a control to an existing policy, can be accomplished relatively quickly, others (i.e., an ERP overhaul) may demand long-term planning.
Streamlining obsolete processes has both immediate and lasting consequences, helping firms unlock cost savings, improve internal controls and direct insight into their day-to-day operations. By mitigating sources of inefficiency and risk, organizations have more flexibility to reinvest in critical functions and capitalize on growth opportunities. 
Business models, technology and consumer preferences evolve rapidly, and organizations must make an ongoing commitment to adapt accordingly. Those that are ahead of the curve today can quickly fall behind if they’re not vigilant in keeping their innovation roadmap alive. 
Even seemingly efficient, revenue-generating operations can be undermined by hidden deficiencies that sap time and resources. But with an expertly informed roadmap for innovation, businesses can better identify and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from realizing their competitive potential.

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