The Standardization imperative

Posted on March 20, 2009

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fractale_1This is a common belief within corporations that standardization is limiting the potential for innovation. Being true or not, companies need to recognize this, and integrate it in their effort to implement standardization. Here is an interesting paradox, more we standardize, and more the people are claiming their differences. What creates this perception from people that are most of the time feeling apart of the game, or does not want to be part of it. Standardization often means in the mind of people, not be recognized as individual contributor, being part of a broader community that they did not choose. Is standardization really the problem or is it more related to the initiative itself that challenges the true identity of a person, a group of person or an organization as the whole.

What is driving standardization effort?

  • Analyze global performance
  • Unique service to our customer (one face)
  • Acceleration of changes – Enterprise agility – implementing changes
  • Foster global innovation by increasing collaboration & developing a common language.
  • Transfer of competencies across the organization
  • Improve compliance efficiency
  • Optimize cost and provide opportunity for economy of scale
  • Reduce cost of enterprise project that required important consultant assessment
  • Reduce risk of company memory loss and of employee replacement or transfer
  • Ease back office consolidation
  • Improve decision-making process by better understanding the impact of changes on organization.

Typical arguments against standardization
Senior management

  • It takes too long
  • Leadership turnover

Line of business management

  • We are different, our market is different
  • We have specific statutory requirements
  • Feel a loss of control on driving their business
  • Feel they are watched

What does it takes to implement process standardization?

  • Strong & continuous senior management leadership & adhesion of line of Business management
  • A strong communication management program
  • A proper supporting structure to develop
  • A proper supporting structure to maintain in the long run
  • Accept that it will take time and a phased approach is probably the most reasonable. Start small… & use continuous process improvement.
  • Forget about “one size fits all”
  • Approach the standardization with a cross enterprise process modeling – avoid the silos effect of functional department and have a focus on which process is delivering value.