In a time of crisis, cost transformation plays an important role in enabling organizations to become nimbler, cost effective, and resilient. While they all should strive to embody these characteristics, the process of implementing or improving on them can be precarious.
Given the current economic climate, many executives are shying away from large investments - both dollar and time - that distract the workforce from revenue. With the existing stress on sustaining operations, any additional investment should focus on increasing efficiency, capacity, and cost management.
Here, we describe three considerations to help your organization to continue to emerge stronger while also reducing costs.
1. Improve a Singular Process
Many organizations will hesitate to undergo a significant functional transformation, especially when budgets are tight. However, with a solid understanding of the operating model, they can pinpoint specific process improvements that will yield benefit in terms of time and efficiency. When looking for a place to start, consider processes that:
- Include multiple manual and repetitive tasks;
- Must provide accurate and timely information to support decision-making; and/ or
- Produce deliverables required by Service Level Agreements (SLAs), investor agreements, or other contractual obligations.
By leveraging a targeted approach to process improvement, the time and cost investment will be minimal, allowing resources to primarily focus on mission critical objectives while continuing to streamline processes.
2. Implement Intelligent Automation
Process improvements can take the shape of manual process alignment and streamlined hand-offs. In order to elevate a process, consider implementing intelligent automation, especially for those that are extremely manual and repetitive. This will not only increase the speed and accuracy throughout; it will also increase your team’s capacity to focus their time and attention to pressing needs.
3. Enhance Transparency and Oversight
Often, executives are unable to access real-time data that provides clarity around spend and budget, which may result in a lack of spend control and the inability to make informed investment decisions. Implementing a spend management tool such as Coupa, or data visualization tools such as Tableau or PowerBI, enables real-time transparency and insights into cost performance. In conjunction with an effective governance framework, an analytics dashboard will increase visibility over budget allocations and actual spend. In turn, leadership will have quick and easy access to information to make informed decisions about current and future investments.
In addition to these options, one critical consideration for an organization that would like to invest in operations or technology is the need for internal communications. Given current apprehensions about job security, it is important to clearly articulate the necessity and benefit the investment will provide the organization as a whole. Providing transparency around upcoming changes will ease the workforce into understanding and accepting new and improved ways of working.
The decision to invest in projects during economic uncertainty proves to be difficult. Before initiating a new project, leaders must evaluate the full impact of the investment on their organization in terms of short and long-term benefit. It is possible to identify strategic opportunities that successfully improve effectiveness and increase capacity even during uncertain times.