Global Business Processes: the means to succeed in the 21st century.

What is a global process and what business benefit does it provide?

Companies with a worldwide presence face many challenges such as globalization, regional trading agreements and the uncertainty of the economic markets. These challenges require a coordinated approach which maximizes the benefits of a world-wide presence and at the same time provide a local focus. Global processes are the way to achieve this balance and include front end activities like customer acquisition or new business processing, support processes like information systems right the way through
to back end customer retention and financial management.

How does a company create, implement, and manage global processes?
Co-ordination. Teams need to develop a common process approach which regardless of culture speaks the same language i.e. what is the successful customer outcome (SCO)? Figuring out how work gets done and achieves the SCO is key to global process success. Implementation needs a pragmatic approach which acknowledges cultural perspectives.

Bringing a strategic multi disciplinary team together led by qualified process leaders familiar with cultural and economic challenge is a starting point.

Rolling out that discipline and process approach through geographic teams provides a means to learn and exchange and grow key processes to maturity.

What are the most common challenges associated with global processes?
Getting everyone on the same page. Even the way we think and speak of processes is different and so developing a common way of looking at work is critical to a successful operation. For instance the Œcollecting the money process¹ has a very specific objective however each location may have different custom and practice ­ how do you ensure a uniform and yet different approach? The underpinning technology that supports a global
process can be common, however the business rules that we operate to make sure our endeavor is successful often need to be different.

What is the relationship between global processes and performance

The relationship is absolute. In the 20th century we may have talked about standardization and conformity. Performance is now much more driven by the capability to act in the moment e.g. a US insurance company has the slogan Œthink global, act local¹ which provides both a degree of uniformity and empowers the people locally to act in the best interests of the business ­there and then.

Why should the average employee care about global processes?
It is the understanding that there is a framework and common structure torunning the business successfully that provides assurance that senior management knows what they are doing and are operating as a team. Process is the way we get work done. It is the way we deliver value to our customers.

It¹s the way we create profits for our shareholders. This can then be encapsulated in our rewards systems and provide a framework for success, both in process, people, systems and global strategy.

(From the desk of James Dodkins)