The use of process frameworks doesn't necessarily have to be a corporate mandate. If developed and instituted the right way, they can be integral parts of managing a company's key processes and role responsibilities.
In an effort to cross the disconnect between process and real work, a new study reveals how these process frameworks and reference models can help organizations to better manage their businesses.
The study, Best Practices for Using Process Frameworks and Reference Models to Get Real Work Done, by benchmarking and best practices research firm, APQC, with sponsorship help from Accenture and software vendor Nimbus, compares how organizations access, adapt and adopt process frameworks, while identifying the real impact of using these systems.
"Organizations can achieve great results through the use of process frameworks to increase productivity, assign clear accountability and governance, manage content and employee collaboration, and more successfully align processes and performance improvement with corporate strategy," said John Tesmer, APQC's manager of Open Standards Research.
Among APQC's findings is that benchmarking and process measurement activities are generally too costly to perform without the use of process framework or reference models. They play the role of a Rosetta stone for organizations, providing a common language from the state, and reducing the effort required to begin benchmarking activities.
One key misconception the study finds is a belief that process frameworks need to be enterprise wide. On the contrary, APQC finds that a framework at any level of an organization, even localized implementations, yields value.
No matter where the framework or reference model is deployed, though, centralized ownership and management is essential. Governance structures need to be in place to foster consistent adoption.
One of the common errors organizations make is choosing a framework and soon after making minor changes to its system. These changes, the study says, reduce the inherent value of the framework and can severely limit the organization's ability to use benchmarking in an objective manner.
Another misconceptions highlighted by APQC was the idea that process framework adoption requires companies to pony up heavy dollars on software investment. Not so, suggests the study. Most of the surveyed organizations began their exercises with simple tools already available to them.
To read the full report, click here.