In any given department or office, surely, we can identify certain tasks that take up employee time but unfortunately cannot be avoided due to company internal processes. During the Joint Finance and IT committee, held on 19th of January, together with our members we tried to find and name obstacles companies usually deal with, as well as ways to improve internal processes in order to build highly efficient organizations.
A frequent problem, especially in larger organizations, is an excess of company internal routines which, paradoxically, make the working process less smooth and slow it down. This is caused by many different factors or combinations of them – e.g. a wrong choice of communication tools and technologies; a lack of knowledge sharing and collaboration, a need to increase transparency and complexity; etc.
With a larger implementation of new information technologies into a business sphere, there is a significant need of a better connection between the IT department and the rest of the company – as mentioned by Mr. Petr Svoboda (Tesco Stores ČR): “The important matter in the corporate world is how IT professionals talks to their colleagues in the other business departments. That´s why we have now decided to adopt agile methodology for delivering IT projects, as that allows much faster feedback and better cooperation comparing to traditional “waterfall” project methodology.”
During the committee, a good example of a purposeful collaboration between IT department and the rest of employees was presented by Mr. Miroslav Staněk (Mondelez, Czech Republic): “In order to identify what the business needs, it´s important for people to speak freely. That´s why we are bringing together departments (such as IT and others), in order to start a discussion to make processes more efficient. We have tried multiple ways how to do it (spend as much time as we had with IT; go straight to them when a problem occurs than to wait for tickets to be solved; created virtual session with direct subject matter demonstration, etc.). Now, IT is trying to explain the technologies to the rest of the company in more understandable way. This approach has more benefits than it may seem – business (including also back office departments like marketing, HR, customer service, etc.) are more open to us for all technology cases. We can effectively discuss, decide and deliver the technologies tailored to business needs and to ITS requirements (budget, people, time demand). My advice is: Let them speak freely and actively listen. Not always are the important information shared in words.”
Read further on this topic: Tips to improve workplace communication have been included in our last Best Office publication in the article What questions shall every CEO ask his or her IT manager? by Mr. Martin Půlpán and Mr. Lukáš Mužík (net.pointers s.r.o)
As we can see from the above - a collaboration, when performed properly, can positively affect all areas in the company. There is no doubt that effective knowledge sharing leads to return on investment for businesses.
Another problem companies face is a growth of complexity. As organizations get larger, it becomes more difficult for employees to stay in contact with the management. Guidelines get more difficult to be followed through and there is a gap in understanding between employees and the company.
Mr. Viktor Fiala (Y SOFT Corporation) adds to this topic: “It´s necessary to communicate the relevant information in right time about company processes, objectives and personal contribution of each and every employee, thus making the whole organization more effective and employees more engaged. That´s why our corporation now focuses on bringing a solution that bridges the communication gap within a company.”
Collaboration and communication both have the potential to drive businesses forward, but they need a strategy to support them in order to build a productivity.
Finally, a bad choice of communication tools can also cause your company difficulties. For example, all kind of documents are traditionally sent back and forth among members of an organization by email. Due to this there is a high risk of people working with different versions of the document. To avoid document inconsistency many companies often use a centralised system for storing and updating their working materials, so everyone has the information they need. But what about other communication tools such as Microsoft Yammer, Sharepoint, Skype for business etc.
Mr. Shane Crawford-Lann (redtoo s.r.o.): “People are used to using email, because there is a lack of trust towards new communication technologies where a conversation often disappears.”
If we consider email an old-school technology, is there any good replacement? Which communication tools are you using in your companies and are they better? If so, how you communicate changes to your employees? Join us for the next IT Committee / Business & Finance Committee to carry on the discussion on Company Internal Processes or other issues relevant to your areas of business - register here.