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As infants develop, they typically crawl before they walk or run. In developing business process improvements for your company, you’ll want to utilize a similar growth pattern and allow for development. Organizational improvements simply do not happen overnight; they need time to grow and mature.

With an infant, first they learn to lift their head. Later, they sit up. Then, they crawl, walk, and run as they mature and develop. Your business processes also need time to develop from the simple to the more complex and powerful as the knowledge and understanding within your organization increases. As young people develop, they mature in a variety of ways: physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll want your business to mature also. Just as infants look around before they start to crawl, you’ll want to look around to research and analyze your existing “as is” business processes before you begin to move forward into improved business processes.

An ERP system is like the brain or central nervous system of your organization. ERP systems put important business information at your fingertips. Just as your body contains multiple systems (circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, digestive, etc.) that work together, so do ERP systems. They provide a platform that enable different parts of your company to work together. ERP systems maintain the lifeblood of up-to-date business information for marketing, operations, finance, and more. ERP systems enable reporting on the vital signs of your business and when they present information that demands an immediate response, ERP systems enable management to flex its muscles and respond.

You want your company to be as effectively smart as it can be. Being smart helps your organization to plan better and to perform better. Companies that survive and thrive are thoughtful, innovative, and creative. Like an infant, progress comes in steps.

Your business processes can be simple or sophisticated. Simple processes are easy to perform and often they are all that you need. Sophisticated processes may be more powerful and more of a strategic differentiator, but they can also be more complex.

The best business practices are not always the easiest business practices and may require more of a learning curve. The best business processes for your organization may not be the industry-standard best practice, but a unique business process that has been custom-designed as a best fit for your company.

In general, systems that have more simplicity may not be as powerful. Systems that are more powerful may not be as simple. Greater power often comes with greater complexity and greater cost. You will want systems and processes that are effective but that maintain elegance and avoid awkwardness and unnecessary cost.

It has been said that you can accomplish anything if you break down the tasks into small, manageable pieces. More complex and powerful business processes become more achievable as your organization grows and learns to make progress with small, digestible bites. Let the baby steps come first and then let the sprints and marathons come later. Business Process improvements are a journey with hopefully many milestone achievements along the way. Getting the best functioning business processes that you can have is essential. Great business processes lead to great business results.

Learning and doing are connected. The more you do a business process, the more you learn about the business process. That is why you may not reach the top in a single leap. Each step that you reach provides a platform for climbing to the next, higher level.

Crawl to figure out what’s going on. Once you have got the situation figured out, start walking. After you have established that the walking is going well, it is time to break into a run to go fast and far.

Blog post written by Greg Griffith, a business analyst at Panorama Consulting Group.

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