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Courtesy of TPG's Elizabeth Turner below is a transcript of her speaking session on 'Connect the Dots with Business Process Documentation' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Summit in Financial Services Live.
Connect the Dots with Business Process Documentation
Do your stakeholders need to take it “back to basics” to see how process changes and strategic initiatives will change their ways of working? In this session, we’ll look at drawing the connective tissue between your functional processes and the application, control, and data layers that must work together to achieve results. This can be very empowering to your documentation efforts as well as enhancing understanding across functional teams. Give your project participants a common language and get stakeholders better engaged!
Guests, and I'm talking about Elizabeth Verner from TPG who is joining us.
Elizabeth is coming from Arlington, Texas. Not too far away from where I'm broadcasting, which is San Antonio, Texas. And Elizabeth is a three-time speaker at beetles and holds two Master's degrees in information systems in Library Science working at the intersection of IT and finance with a specialty in knowledge management.
She leads CPGs Productivity Services, which is a combined Project Management Office, Enterprise Enterprise Service Management function and business process library function for firm services.
When not working from home, she enjoys spending time with her husband and there are three rescue cats. Liz, what a pleasure to have you with us. I'm looking forward to your presentation. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom and your expertise with our global audience today.
Thank you so much, shows a. It is a pleasure to be back at Ito's. I'm so excited to be here. You know, third time's the charm, right? So this is going to be good. I hope you guys are just as excited about this process documentation as I am. If you're not.
I hope you leave my session with some inspiration and some ideas about how to make documentation more fulsome more comprehensive and more useful to your organization.
So, you probably have some form of documentation, hopefully, in your, in your organization already. Maybe that's very structured. Maybe it's very ad hoc. But at the end of the day, sometimes it's helpful just to take a step back and think about the purpose of your process, documentation, and, and really get back to the basics.
So, when we think about our stakeholders, what we're really wanting them to take away is to look at a process, See it as a picture, and have this understanding of What was before? And then what? What will my world look like after? What will change about the way that I do my job?
You know, that's a Beggary functional tactical question for most of the folks in your organization. So you'll want to be thinking about, you know, the tools that they work with, the procedures that they follow, the reporting that they produce. All of these steps along the way. Who's involved? What time these tasks need to occur? You know, it, it is probably impossible to go into too much detail, but we'll talk about ways that you can layer on this detail until you're actually starting with a foundational business process.
But we're adding layer over layer and lens over lens to help people understand that. There's some connective tissue between the work that we do, the systems that we depend on, to achieve those results.
The risks controls to draw us to make sure that we're aligning to our regulatory protocols.
And then, sometimes, we even want to take it down to the level of data, to understand how certain attributes, tea fields, calculations, you know, the secret sauce of your business, how that all comes together, and how that helps the team achieve results.
So, what I want you to do is to take away from my session, Just a really, just just kind of have this thought provoking question in your mind, hold this in your mind, and think about it.
What are you doing in your organization to really level up your documentation efforts, and how are you demonstrating that you are you are committed to bringing everyone around the table and helping everyone have the shared understanding?
Whether it's an existing process, whether it's a new project, whether it's a change introduced by regulatory action, whether it is, you know, due to the growth and scale of your business. It's so exciting to think about the ways you can empower all your stakeholders with consistent and understandable documentation.
So, let's dive into that a little bit further.
So, when I talk about Business Process Modeling, I prefer to use ..., which stands for Business Process Modeling Notation. ... is a worldwide standard Notation is recognized and use, across all types of industries. This is financial services vetos, I am in the Financial Services industry, but I've seen ...
work across logistics, manufacturing, retail, I mean, any any kind of industry.
The other thing I really like about ... is it's actually machine readable.
So, if you achieve a certain level of sophistication and have this comprehensive documentation, and you have the tools and the skillset and your organization, you can actually begin to automate some of this process activity by using a, like, a workflow system, or a platform such, as such as Appian such as ServiceNow. Me. There are several several on the market.
But that's, that's an exciting thing, I think, to just kind of keep in your back pocket about ..., is that you have a lot of runway with it, and it has a lot of potential.
So, just to kinda get the, you know, BPM and basics here, some 101, so we'll look at this example that I have up on the screen.
You can see right away that there is an opening event. That opening event happens when we receive a message that the working group is active and online. We see every Friday, at 6 0 PM, there's a time based event where we want to check to see who's online, and, and make sure that the working group is available. We see that there's a decision that's going to be the diamond with the X inside, and then we see that there is activity happening based on that event, that yes or no decision.
We see that our invitation in the form of an issue list, and we see that that documentation is shared by e-mail.
So, already, with a simple picture, we've broken down all sorts of details about this very high level example, right, It seems pretty basic. Are folks online ready to respond? Yes or no?
OK, let's get them no ready saddled up ready to write. Look, we're going to send them the, the issue list, or they can start working through that punch list.
That seems very simple, But what happens if, you know, it is Friday, at 7 0 PM Pacific time, and there's been, you know, a problem with folks getting online. Now, we have the ability to kind of start handling exception, And to start explaining, kind of, that, what if for that contingency strategy? If Things don't go according to plan, and sometimes that's a key Aspect of your documentation that gets overlooked, so I would encourage you to think about that. Think about in my, my roots, right, and project management. We call that the happy path or, Or, you know, it may be the list of critical activities that you need to achieve a goal. But, we're all living in this reality, And we all know that things, things don't always go as smoothly as we like. So, having just a little bit of thought about your contingency, It can be very helpful. Some other things that you can capture in business process. Modeling notation is routine work, and I think this example on the page is a great example of that.
These folks are coming in every week. The team is engaged, ready to action. Were routinely going to send them the issue list and they're going to pick up and and start going?
Knowledge work can also be depicted.
If it gets a little, I won't say esoteric, but it does get a little conceptual right because now you are starting with an input. You're accounting for the knowledge base process. That has to happen and you're going to have some kind of key result or output.
You can absolutely document that with Business Process Modeling.
The other thing you can document is resource constraints. So, if you want to account for, you know, multiple people on a team that have the ability to perform a task, you know that it takes a certain amount of hours.
We'll get into some examples, and I'll show you how you can add constraints in terms of costs, in terms of man hours, in terms of team members, there's all sorts of different ways that you can depict some of these constraints in your work.
Now, there may be a couple of areas where BPM is probably not ideal. I would say your organizational structure, or your hierarchy, your org chart.
Not not going to be as, you know, just just plugin play as some of these other process examples that we're going to look at.
And again, we are going to talk today about using data attributes and the elements of your data to create some visual understanding of your data flow, however, BPM and does not account for, say, some of the concepts of a relational database, for example. So it won't look exactly like maybe those ... of Dataflow diagrams that you've seen in, in maybe engineering. But, it can, we can kind of ... a little bit of our, of our modeling.
And I actually have a home-grown example that I'm excited to show you guys, but this is just a level set, making sure that we're on the same page about Business Process Modeling notation.
So, now that we're aligned, let's get into, kind of where we want to take this.
So, when we talk about using a common language with your project participants, that could very well mean that we're gathering them all around the page. We're gonna look at a picture of our basic process, and we're going to, you know, kinda start poking at that process, asking questions. Is this really the direction that we need to go?
So, what you need to be prepared for is that everybody's going to come gather around this page. Look at this.
Look at this picture, look at this concept, but everybody's going to have a little bit different motivation, sense of urgency, or just even their personal understanding and experience that gives them that ability to relate to what they see on the screen.
I like to call that the .... that just means what's in it for me, right?
When I look at this, what is it that I need to add to generate more value in this process? Or, What is it that I need to take away, so that I can help others understand what we're trying to achieve? So some some examples of this: I like to start with the foundational steps in the process now, I know that sounds very simple, but this can actually trip you up. Sometimes people struggle with what's the right amount of detail, and where, where do we need to begin, right. And so I, I will show you two examples of this.
one, is to create kind of a value chain, where you line your business most valuable.
Processes, like, you're your revenue generating function. Right?
Maybe it's your cost cutting function, if not a revenue generating department.
Or you can look at nested processes with an idea that they are a parental process and that we have children underneath. I'll show you an example of each of those in a second.
Another item that, I didn't, I don't know about you guys, but we're, Hey, it's Financial services. It's September. It's busy season for our accountants, you know, People to get getting ready for filings for external reporting, its audit season. So, risk and controls are absolutely at the forefront.
Now, when we talk about risks and controls, there's a couple of ways that we can show them, and I'm excited to show you a little bit about how you can visualize not just your matching a risk with the appropriate control. That's very important, but also, sometimes you may have unintended risk, and that could be because you had to make a choice, right? And so it's helpful, I think, especially when you're engaging with leadership, to show them, Hey, we had to make tough decisions.
These are the risks that we've mitigated. These are the controls and then over here is where, you know, the fires still burning, right? We've got this risk. It's unaddressed.
We, maybe we need resources, or time and attention to fix that, and having the ability to visualize that and show it to leadership is so helpful.
I talked a little bit about application systems and tools. These are just par for the course. I would absolutely expect that if you're, you're modeling your, your business processes, that you'll want to start engaging, hopefully, from, from a repetitive source, like a, like a stage dictionary of your systems, and your, your key applications, especially if they're mission critical. It's nice to show where they're in use, over and over again by your, by your, your firm's most valuable processes. Because then, we can start to step back and see, Oh, wow. Across my landscape of, you know, 17 different processes, they're all reliant on this one particular system. Maybe it's our ERP, right.
So, what can we do to ensure that that ERP has no downtime so that these 17 different business processes are unaffected?
So, it starts helping create those kind of key factors for decision making, for priority alignment, resource planning, and just think about these basic building blocks. You just, you gotta show folks what's going on so that you can address it.
I spoke a moment ago about cost and resource hours and then I like this idea of elapsed time. So we'll look at that in a minute. But I have seven different examples before we get into them. I want to the this is two fold, this gives me a chance to not only show my age, but it's kind of like a pop quiz. So if you guys remember this seminal film, from the, from the 19 nineties. So this is a, this is a couple Screenshots from Jurassic Park.
The reason I love this is because the, the character here, that the young lady, you know, they, they are at this abandoned dinosaur apart trying to survive.
And what she realizes is that she sits down at this con. Oh, great example of one of the first terminals that I, that I experienced in my career. But she sits down at this, this, this terminal and realizes that the park is operating on a Unix system.
Well, first of all, this is not actually Unix that you're seeing on the screen. But, that's OK. That's just the movie, Magic. But, the reason I want to show this example, apart from me just finding it really humorous and that just boost my mood. Is that it just gives you, this idea that you may be speaking to different functional roles, you may be trying to bridge the gap between technology and the business. You may be trying to communicate with external contractors or parties who are not vendors, right? Folks who are not part of your day-to-day organization, and the point is, you don't necessarily have to speak their jargon to bring them on board. But you do have to know how to traverse your own organization.
And if you can get those basic building blocks in place, then you can, you can take this so much further. So, let us get into that.
This picture is really scary. This is a bowl of spaghetti.
It is attempting to kill some of the core accounting functions right across. This is a service organization.
I've changed most of the names so that there, you know, pretty generic, so you can kind of see what's happening here, but it's not very easy to follow. There's just a whole spaghetti mess of what is happening or these jobs that are running, or the is this information that's being pushed from system to system? I can see that several things from our deal system are being pushed to different EHR systems that have to eat into our ERP. From there, right, there's some kind of the link function that kicks off and all of these things are touching each other, but it's really hard to understand the who, what, where, right? Like, what is going on? When do these processes take place?
You know, and even better differentiation between the actual teams that are involved, and the functions that perform this work, against the, the, the tasks that are performed, and the systems that we use to complete those tasks.
So, please keep this in your mind and think about how much better we can make something like this, look. And now, let's jump into you.
A few different examples. So, the first thing I want to talk about is the foundational steps in the process.
So we talked about this upfront, it's important to get, think of it as a rough draft, right? Think of it as a first first attempt and it's always the hardest, hardest thing to make that first attempt. It is always so difficult to be confronted with just this blank canvas, and you've got to create something from nothing.
So, so, kudos, right? If you're taking a stab at that, because that there's, there's, I think, some amount of bravery in that. Um, but just quickly, right, so I can see right here, this is, this is the value chain. So, coming across the top, I have the key components for my business, right?
Building relationships with our clients, raising funds, helping our clients make, make smart investments, managing those investments to completion, helping close deals, and helping to support the, the clients and investors. And then, underneath that.
So, we have the, we have the process that's creating value for our organization, AKA breathing revenue. And then underneath that, we have the supporting. And there's even more, I mean, this goes from finance to management, but there's even more, I mean, IT infrastructure is not even, I didn't have enough room on the page, but you can get a sense, right?
That there's, you're going to have kind of the value driven functions, or the revenue generating functions, or the functions that are saving lives, if you're in the healthcare industry.
And then you've got those key support pillars that helped those value creating functions, operate.
So think about where you are in the organization.
Most of us in the back office, like myself, or the middle office, we're kind of hovering either in that.
that base, that foundational layer, or where we've got a foot in in either pot, and that can be, that can be an interesting place to be.
Let's look at a different example.
This one still theory foundational steps. Do you really believe there's only four steps in the hiring process? I don't think so. So, this is a collapse process where I've used sub blows.
So, if I were to hover, you know, and drill, in, you can see that my workday process, and my ServiceNow process, or both collapse, so I can expand them.
What I like about this, is it helps you keep your process end to end, Like, you want to start at that very high level.
Because, what if I'm talking to you, no, an auditor, right, Or someone's come in, and they have zero knowledge of our process.
I want to start at a very high level, so that I can start taking them down one layer at a time, build on the foundational knowledge, give them another piece, give them the next piece, They start connecting the pieces, and now we have a pretty comprehensive story.
So, let's dive deeper and see what one of these Collapse processes is hiding, OK, So, we're looking at the Workday process, so now we can see the underlying systems. I've got a couple of orange arrows here.
You're looking at are HRAS and you're looking at a system that can perform background checks or facilitate background checks.
So, now, you see, not only are the systems visible to us, but now we can also see the specific tasks that are performed in each of those systems.
So that immediately, but, you know, so much more helpful, right, We see where this process began, where the offer was accepted, and now it's kicked off this next sequence of work.
We have another collapse sub process here, the compensation and Organization review.
I am I'm not gonna dive too deep into that one, but I just wanted to show you that This is starting to create the layers upon layers of your flows.
Am on my team we like to refer to this as a flow of flows, right It is 1 1 flow to rule them all. You can make your own jokes on your own time, but just just understand, right, that having that, think of it as like a like a like a little Russian babushka doll, you know? You're just opening this doll.
And you you've got a different a different, more detailed version of the process inside each layer and just just a remark, this process that we're looking at.
This onboarding process at my organization actually goes 20 layers deep.
So believe it It can It doesn't have to be that messy. You can absolutely make things a little bit cleaner and a little more organized, so let's take a look at the next example.
Risks and Controls, So, bear with me.
I have used some highly advanced opaque ovals to cover up some just some sensitive information that we've we've blocked out from your view and so now system agnostic, right? You can just see that we have four different systems and play.
You can see that our, kind of opening event, right, the Kickoff event, is that having an expense approved in our ... system, we're gonna load that.
And notice that hover, if I hover just above each of the each of the tasks here, that there's a little shield, and what that actually means in the system that I'm using for process documentation which is ..., what that actually means is that a risk in this area exists, but we have mitigated it with a control.
And so, this allows you to dive deeper. If I only want to see all the risks and controls with this process, I can drill in. I can see that list, I could print that list, I could share it with someone else.
But the idea here is that we're showing the work uninterrupted and then just a layer on top of the work is going to be the idea that we have risks and controls associated with the work, and some of these risks are already mitigated by controls, so that's awesome.
Now, let's look at the other scenario I was talking about a moment ago, which is: We have risks that are I think it's an unintended that's terrible. It gives you the idea that somebody just hanging out waiting for this rest of occur. These are unaddressed breaths.
Basically, that just means that these are risks that don't have a control in place to mitigate that risk. And so, this could be a key area, right? Especially if you're doing a doc review with leadership.
You may want to hover on, just those unaddressed risks. So, you can start to prioritize. Where do we want to? Where do we need to spend time and resources to make sure that we're, we're running a clean shop here?
So, these are great examples of risks and controls. Let's dive into Oh, this is my favorite. So let me talk about this for awhile. Data elements as attribute layers.
This is an example of an internal process.
I've obscured just kinda just just some sensitive information here.
But what I've highlighted in orange is several data attributes.
Primary Barry, foundational information about this higher that is needed to provision services to the higher, too.
Make sure that the hire receives a proper entitlement to make sure that expenses associated with the higher are coded to the appropriate cost center.
To make sure that location based things, you know, arrived to them at the proper place.
But what we've done, it's we've actually added some attributes and then for the tasks where the attributes are pertinent, we've added them as an as a layer that you can toggle on and off. So if this is too much information, this is obscuring the point for maybe a higher level reviewer. That's fine, we can turn it off.
But when we need to go back a year from now and understand, OK, we're about to make a change to, I don't know, employee ID. Right? That is a hugely valuable field that's used over and over again by many, many different source system.
So having the ability to see how many processes employee ID actually surfaces, whether that data, that data point is being created, whether that data point is being modified, whether that data point is being passed to another system.
It's it's very important to understand because these are these are small details that can get lost in the fray.
Another thing We did, I don't think I have a visual to show you, but another thing we did that was very helpful was we created another layer, So, you have one for the attribute itself to show you which piece of data we're looking at. And, then we have another layer that was called, I think it was called.
like Data Manipulation or something, that that sounds.
That sounds pretty intense, but, but it just was meant to show us, OK, not only is this attribute in play, but Something's happening.
I think we had create, modify, or, like, transform, or something like that. And so we were able to see, like, what's happening to this data as it moves through the process?
Love it, Super helpful, especially to your data governance team, to your reporting team, might not be super useful or helpful to the accounting teams, But they live and breathe this data all the time. So we want to make sure that those support functions have what they need to keep them rocking and rolling.
OK, let's look at some of those other examples of constraints.
So, in this example, we're looking at, you know, basically, asset management, right, just, do we need to procure stock. How are we going to do that? We need to get over the procurement department, create that purchase rack.
Notice, though, hovering here we have several different kind of new, little icons that we haven't seen before. So one is the dollar sign.
So you can see that we're grading, kind of on a scale of, like, looks like 0 to 3.
If this is a very costly task, if this is involving, know, basically if it's siphoning money from it from the farm.
The other thing we can see, is how many individuals are involved and start to look at the actual timings. So I really like that and I liked also how they've color coded.
This is not an example for my organization but I just love it. So, that's why I chose it.
But I also love how we're using color coding to kind of signal, where things are going great, where things might need attention, so using goods from stock, Looks like we've got you know, five bodies attached to that task.
That looks to be getting a little high.
Then, um, no, I'm not sure this is the precise example, but it looks really interesting. Like we have like six people creating a purchase requisition, or maybe this has meant to tell us that it took six man hours to create a purchase requisition.
That seems a little expensive. So maybe that's an area where we might have a bottleneck. We might have some inefficiencies.
We might need to optimize, but, um, getting that familiarity with your process and running it over and over again.
And adding the additional contacts, as you gain more insight about the process is so helpful, especially as a lot of financial orgs, like, like, TPG, right?
Are kind of moving out of that, you know, we've implemented all of our systems. We have this great toolkit, now, we want to drive it forward and optimize.
So so think about flavoring, right layering your business process documentation, to help tell that story and help visualize the exact point where you need to key and focus to prevent risk.
The other thing that I I wanted to call out here is that we tied, it seems execution time, too.
To the chart itself.
So in this instance, instead of six bodies or six man hours, what we're actually seeing is that this took six minutes to execute, which looks like it's moved beyond some elapsed time boundaries that we have in place. So maybe we have a five minute limit.
And that could be very interesting, because you see, use goods from stock is hovering right at five minutes, and that's a warning. That's telling us we're getting close to threshold.
But create purchase rack is taking six minutes.
Not too long. Now we probably are at risk of missing our SLA, so just think of all the detail and all the data that this story starts to tell.
And, and all, all from a simple picture. Right.
So let's think here.
I think I just have a few more minutes with you and then, and then we'll move into Q and A So I wanted to share just a few, kind of food, like some food, that you can take with you.
So, we had a very interesting session at the top of the morning, um, Devin and Jesse, we're talking about, you know, these value driven processes and engaging your executive stakeholders. And the and the importance, right, a really resonating with your senior, most executive because if it's common sense, right, they're calling the shots, they're holding the purse strings that are, driving the priorities of your organization or department.
So, if you're not sure where to begin, if you're fired up and you're ready to go, start capturing business process documentation, I would suggest that you start with a sense of value. And you can look at your organization's mission and vision. You can look at, maybe recent town halls are all here and you can look at material. You know, that's shared by, you know, the top leaders of your organization.
If you're not sure, just start working your way up the chain. Talk to your boss. Talk to their boss.
Find what's important to driving the vision and goals of your organization, and start with capturing that.
You can start with the basics, just like we showed.
We know that we have a higher coming in. We know that a couple of systems need to provision them.
Then we know that there in the door, right? It, it really could start that simply and then we can start adding. If you guys remember the very, very complex detail underneath that. But it all rolls up into a nice little package.
I really recommend that you keep you're working document in a in a place where everyone can see and contribute, or even better, you can add comments. ... has this great feature called the collaboration hub. And we've, we've really embraced that, because it allows us to be very transparent about the work that we're doing.
But it also helps give folks who want to participate, but not necessarily model on their own. It gives them that ability to kind of see, weigh in, and ask questions, leave comments, and it's just, it's just another way to work out loud.
I do recommend that, you know, you can, you can, you can lead on executive water, right? But, it's also important to actually have some structured reviews, especially if you're about to leave up phase of our project.
You can make sure everybody's aligned the flow and aligned to the priorities that you called out, maybe unaddressed risk, maybe sensitive data that's being manipulated.
And then have that in mind before making key decisions. We talked about toggling the layers on and off.
If you're speaking too, an auditor, you want to show risks and controls. If you're speeding speaking to the data government team, show the data governance team, the data.
Then, finally, not all of your processes are going to need every single layer. Every single attribute, every single element kind of stacked on top.
Use your intuition.
Choose, choose the attributes that are most meaningful and important to your organization. And I promise you, if you keep practicing nest, you will find it so helpful. And I just really appreciate the chance to share this with you guys. It's something I'm very passionate about. So, it's been awesome.
I think I have some time or questions, so shows. Hey, let me, let me stop my share, and let's do some Q and A That sounds fun.
Fantastic, Liz, Fantastic! What a great reveal. And the, and the insights for the importance of business documentation and the process.
So, listen, a number of the questions had to do with the theme of, of a hood, you get involved, who do you engage in this journey to make it successful? You know, from, and this as a bit like solving world hunger type of question, Let's go by segments. The first segment is from a more holistic standpoint. You talked a little bit about this.
Identifying the processes that create the most value for the organization.
At the and for which, the importance of business process documentation, maybe elevated? How do you go about doing that and really, who are the key stakeholders and influencers That should be part of that.
Yeah, so I love that question because my I have kind of a like a humorous answer and that's everybody right. Like everybody needs to be looking at this but there are absolutely should be some rhyme or reason around who you engage in when?
So I would say when you're at the very start of going going off to capture or finding what you need to capture, I would start extremely high level, right?
I would try to engage leadership let them um Let them whiteboard with you know, let them give them a cocktail napkin, right? Because they've got in their head. They've got some idea, right. And then what you can do is you can take kind of that seed that thought and then start applying it.
Now, I don't I don't typically have my business stakeholders modeling all on their own. You know, I leave. I leave the PMO. So I'm very fortunate to have either a project manager, or a business analyst, or maybe a technical lead, functional lead, But somebody who's going to carry the charge to like keep the model updated over the life of the project. Right.
And then it's important to just kind of pass the torch when the project is done, and say, you own this process. If something changes, you know, this is how we're going to keep it up to date.
And whether that's, you know, we're gonna do a quarterly review of what's out there, or this, this model comes do once a year, and we sit down and we look at it, We refresh it. But thinking about who to engage, I think, I think, at first, if you don't have a lot of detail, start very high level.
If you do have a lot of detail, start trying to distill that, and kind of strip it down to its basic building blocks, so that you can have this conversation with folks at different levels of understanding. Because it can be very hard to, like, come out of an interview with this me. And then, and then you've got all sorts of detail about how they do their day-to-day operations. But how does that translate for somebody who, maybe is only concerned about the reporting layer, right, or, or some, some particular aspect of that operation?
Yeah, absolutely. And, and what, what suggestions do you have for people who are struggling with business process documentation?
And the themes, and some of the scenarios that have been presented here as your present and as you're presenting, people are talking about this have to do with there are kind of a couple of approaches for identifying and documenting key processes.
That's kind of the bottom-up. And the top down right, told him up, is that, you know, we have this process when each document and everybody starts doing that. Yeah, avid sibley.
If you start doing that across entire organization, organizations are complex, and that it can be quiet a task and a lot of resources necessary. And it's it is like boiling the ocean, and it can be, and people can change roles. And then kind of guises load that over time. People started with grading, tensions, and just kinda dies as low deaf overtime.
The top-down approach seems to be a better approach.
But on the top-down approach, a lot of times, senior leaders will be questioning, you know, if it's worth doing this, how do you go about selecting the right processes to document the ones that will create the most value? What, what, what does that process look like from your perspective?
I love this question, because this is something that I've pondered myself many times, and there's a few tools, kind of tricks of the trade. The first one that I'm going to recommend to you, is, like a capability maturity model. That's an excellent tool.
If you're unsure, you know, some organizations have a very structured, like, this is our value chain. This is how we drive our business. This is how we make our money.
And that's great because that kinda gives you that that blueprint right away but if you're working in an organization where that seems opaque or complex.
Something that can be helpful is to start by capturing capabilities and understanding where those are constrained.
Just to give you an even, even more practical example, I'll talk about this financial services. It's that time of year, I'll talk about the accounting close process.
If you're going through, You know, function of function, group to group, journal entry to journal entry, journal entry to trial balance, you know, all the way through the closed process.
Inevitably, you're going to have things that take more time than others. And so, if you want to offer, if our goal is to close the books as quickly and efficiently as possible, what we need to do is lay this end to end, and then we're gonna start running some timing's. Let's just look at what was last quarter versus this quarter. Or if you do a monthly close month to month, that's actually even better because now you're seeing this with a lot of frequency, and you can start capturing timings. But you can also start doing some stakeholder interviews and find out where people are crunched if your teams are consistently working nights and weekends to get things over the line before pencils down.
Something is amiss. and it doesn't take, you know, a research team to discover that for you your leadership will be on board because that's helping you diminish burnout.
It's helping move the needle and get things closed in a quicker amount of time. So I would say, even if you are going from a top-down approach and trying to align to that, what's most valuable to the organizational leadership. At the end of the day, we're all trying to do the same thing with fewer resources. So I think, I think the power is just getting it on paper. It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. And it also doesn't have to be consistent for ever. You talked about things dying on the Vine Josey. That's sad to hear.
Frankly, it's kind of the nature of our business. You know? We do pivot our priorities And we do pick up new strategic initiatives. Sometimes year over year. Sometimes quarter over quarter.
Maybe if you're in an industry like mine and PE can seem like hour to hour, the fact is, you need to account for this as a living body of documentation and it's going to evolve. It's going to grow and change. Some areas might take off. Some areas, might kind of weather for awhile.
But that's OK. That's just part of the reality that we live in.
The point is to keep doing it.
Excellent, excellent sites list. Let me, let me, let me pivot into some direct questions from the audience here. ... is broadcast is coming in from Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil And the asking on this question, you know processes change in a very fast fashion. How do you keep them updated? What are the approaches for to keep them up to date?
Yup. So the first thing I recommend is that one, you actually have an established tool for documenting in your organization. If you're struggling with all kinds of different tools. I've got somebody that only wants to draw in PowerPoint and I've got somebody, you know, that just draws things, you know, very detailed. If you can get everybody on the same page using the same notation, that's extremely helpful. The other thing is, if you're looking at these flows in a live setting, you can operate at the pace of change. You just have to have a little bit of discipline and consistency, collect the feedback frequently, and then make sure that there's somebody dedicated to just, hey, your job is a bird dog. All these document changes. Make sure that when we have feedback, that we've created that update, and then we've got it published so everybody can see and validate it.
And so, it really becomes kind of a team effort.
I'm Joseph Lackey has a question here, I'm trying to make the, census was kind of a long statement, that, he made about ERP systems, losing all, the documentation attached to their engineering systems. He worked on a project, where your soupy systems loss, you know, the, the, the links between the documentation attach their engineer in duct Systems, his question, I'm trying to get to his actual question, How do you vet this so that an ERP company can't do this.
So, you can understand the Rabb reliability of your assists ERP systems for system reliability of maintaining of maintaining documentation. So the scenario that he's bringing up here is one where Europe ... system existed and there was attached to documentation of engineering systems and the ERP system loss. All of that, so, yeah. Yeah, and then, you know, it costs a lot of money to react. Yeah, Things like your rent that, because you're trying to connect, what, Oh my God.
Joseph, by the way, what a nightmare when something like that, you imagine all the tools we've made for you was coming back to the.
Then you lost at all, I, I can only imagine the Heartburn, all that. But I think you're proposing here a fundamentally different approach where this is actually not attach. The documentation is not attached.
Junior abuse system is is really sitting here on the, on the VPN then BPM system that could, and that really depends on the documentation strategy of your firm. So for example, we have cybersecurity restrictions where our documents are only allowed to be stored in our, you know, approved cloud storage provider.
So whether that's, you know, Box or, or there's many, many different tools, right? Where you can kind of upload your files. and keep them safe. Dropbox, is another one.
So don't forget about using persistent links. And don't forget that your documentation layer is just that, right? These are these are, these are maps of, of where, where things reside, right? And if they're residing in a certain system, but we're passing to another system, we're making a note of that. But we want to have that traced back to where they originally lived. And something that we've used to kind of help us, is, we'll actually embed links to the documentation in, like comments, or descriptors on the flow. So that we can, actually, just kinda, if we're in there looking, we can just drill down. and like, oh, here's where, you know, last month's investor statement report was was created.
And so we want to be able to link back and just recognize, you know, that everything has a place and it lives in its home. And we're just going to refer back to where it lists, right? Where it's, It is.
definitely, you know, an order of magnitude deeper to start building that actual glue where you're pushing. I mean, that's like a whole. That's an ETL project, you know, where you're just kind of pushing content from system to system. So that does get very involved.
But Josie, I would say the power of having this captured in a visual setting is so helpful.
because then you're not, no, you're not lost. Trying to connect the dots in the event that you do have some kind of catastrophic loss, like what Joseph experience, and so sorry to hear that, Joe better. Better days, I had, Yup, yup.
Elizabeth, our time is up. It's been fantastic to get into this journey of the importance and the how Choose the business process documentation. Thank you for sharing those best practices with our global audience today. We all have learned quite a bit, so we appreciate that.
Always a pleasure. So they, thank you so much. I'll see you next time.
You, cheers. Ladies and Gentlemen, Elizabeth Thorner, Senior Leader at TPG, Productivity, Productivity services and the, and of course, you know, the, the, the, the tools and the applications that, that she is using there. And the demonstrations that you share with us are our power by Cigna View who does a tremendous job on, on the setting up the systems for business process documentation. So again, thank you for sigma of you for making that available and showing how it can be done and a world-class stage.
We're going to wrap up the session. Take a break and join us back at the top of the hour when we come back with the Executive Vice President of Strategic Accounts for Thien there. That's Cliff to Roni.
And Cliff is going to talk to us about Augmented Intelligence, IOT, and Human Insight, combining, he's going to talk about technology. He's going to talk about the human side of organizations and that interaction with technology. It's a must attend session. And the cliff always brings great energy and great insights to all of us, so, I will see you back at the top of the hour. Thank you.
Senior Manager Technology,
Elizabeth Turner is a senior technology manager utilizing Knowledge Management (KM) capabilities at global alternative assets firm in Fort Worth, Texas. She employs a three-tier approach of program management and process consulting, product/service management, and the power of human connection to bridge technology and business.
Elizabeth is the Smithsonian Libraries’ appointee to the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) KM Section Standing Committee and chaired its 2017 Open Session in Wroclaw, Poland. In 2019 she co-presented an AI software demonstration for libraries at the IFLA KM Satellite Meeting at the Ionian University of Corfu, Greece. She is a 2020 Co-chair for the KM Satellite meeting at Trinity College, Dublin and serves as Information Coordinator to the Section.
Recognized in 2018 as speaker of the year by the DFW Knowledge Management Community of Practice, she has given KM-focused presentations around the US and internationally to audiences of hundreds.
She is also a classically trained ballet dancer and performed 2011-2018 in contemporary works by the nonprofit Momentum Dance Company based in Irving, Texas.
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