Where does one start when thinking about leveraging technology to improve business process, customer experience, or to gain a competitive advantage? Most business executives tend to start with the tool, the thing they have read and heard about: the CRM system, the ERP system, HRIS system etc. They start with the thing they know least about, the technology. Let’s call this approach the tool approach. I just read a great article about the boom in the CRM and Business Process Management (BPM) markets on CIO Today. It talks about the tools and how they work best if integrated. Business professionals know their business model, their business operation, their processes, and their process owners. In these tool approach business initiatives, business executives “empower a group to go investigate one of these tools, choose one and get a return on investment driven into the organization.” That approach happens every day, and some percentage of those investments deliver an eventual RIO. But that is just one approach. Consider a different course of action. An option that starts with stated measurable business benefits, using the process owners to define the current and proposed future processes. A step that builds in measurable accountability in newly proposed processes. We will call this approach the holistic approach. In the holistic approach, the business process owners develop the overall system design. They do so by defining and interlinking the operational processes of the business. The team then works with a senior IT professional that understands Enterprise Architecture Planning to design a solution that is fitted to the requirements developed by the process owners. The EAP architect selects technologies (yes tools) to conform to the set of interlinking process and deliver the stated measurable business benefit outcomes. The Holistic approach follows one of Stephen Covey’s principals, “Do the end to end design, begin with the end in mind.” It has buy-in from the organization because it was designed by the people that run the organization, the process owners. Projects that take the holistic approach tend to take a bit longer, but they also have a higher success rate and realize a ROI quicker, with business outcomes that last longer and take fewer dramatic turns in the process. So said simply, what seems to be the best approach for your organization? Pick a tool and make it fit your processes or define the organizational processes and let experts select the technology that is in the best position to deliver stated business benefit outcomes. To learn more about the holistic approach, call Tricension at (866) 682-3021.