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Illuminative Strategies, Inc.: A Balanced Change Approach across People, Process, and Technology

Geralyn Anastos, President & CEO, Illuminative Strategies, Inc.Geralyn Anastos, President & CEO
Managing change continues to be a daunting task with many tactical challenges. Included in these challenges are staff change fatigue, organizational change success history, varying customer expectations, undocumented processes surviving by tribal knowledge, lack of key opinion leader awareness, extensive process cycle times, and under-realization of technology return on investment. According to Kent James, Executive Director and COO, Illuminative Strategies Inc. (ISI), the recipe for successful change management entails aligning the Change Trinity of People, Process and Technology. “Change Management should be purposefully timed across People, Process, and Technology. None of these will be successful without tight integration ofall three,” he begins. When orchestrating truly effective organizational change, he believes none of these aspects stand alone; they are interconnected and should be treated as such. To bring these elements together, Kent and his ISI team utilize their unique approach to Lean to deliver successful business process optimization initiatives and related organizational change management.

Unfortunately, many of the projects undertaken by ISI are retroactive versus proactive; typically, an organization’s “call for help” comes after technology customization and implementation rather than before. The calls are often triggered by an under achievement of expected benefits and the desire to understand why and then remedy.

To achieve truly successful change initiatives, the ISI team guides its clients through business processes optimization and managing the people side of the change before a technology implementation. “We find many organizations default to significant amounts of software customization versus fully leveraging out-of-the-box capabilities. Often, these customizations will not leverage the available best practices inherent in most out-of-the-box solutions, which significantly increases the total cost of technology ownership over time,” stresses Kent.

For ISI, change management starts with the proactive involvement of the end-to-end process stakeholders in open and transparent dialogue eliminating process knowledge silos.
Kent James, Executive Director & COO
ISI guides clients through the development of a detailed understanding of their Current State business processes. Once a detailed current-state understanding exists, a Lean assessment will identify improvement opportunities. ISI develops and explains the pros and cons of each improvement opportunity to organizations. “We recommend piloting the improvement opportunities while tuning processes incrementally during implementation. This is the fundamental concept of continuous improvement,” explains Kent. What makes ISI unique in the industry is its focus on not just solution identification, but tactical, facilitated implementation.

ISI facilitates active learning, which involves guiding clients through iterative pilots and tuning the process at every step based on iterative lessons learned. As Kent puts it, “Beyond just training, we believe in encouraging dynamic invention and staff empowerment to challenge the norms and continuously improve processes.” ISI commonly achieves efficiency improvements above 50 percent using its highly facilitated approach to business process optimization and change management across People, Process, and Technology.

ISI recently completed a hiring pilot for a state agency. In the beginning, the process involved an underutilized HRIS system, almost 95 percent manual and paper-based processes, and the average hiring cycle time was over ten months. Additionally, the agency practiced broad skill categorization rather than focusing on position-specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) during the hiring process. Utilizing their unique approach to guiding change across People, Process, and Technology, the ISI Team achieved an 85 percent reduction in the overall hiring cycle time and over 95 percent reduction in paper used. As a final step, ISI developed Standard Operating Procedures empowering the agency with the ability to continue its optimized hiring process.

With an annual growth rate of more than 50 percent, ISI continues to partner with technology solution providers to optimize the business processes of their clients before IT solution implementation. “We encourage organizations to become proactive in optimizing their business processes prior to investing in technology,” concludes Geralyn.