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Better processes equal cost savings

Across your desk and scattered in your inbox are at least a half dozen innovative concepts and ideas that you know will add significant value and reduce cost to your organization.  The problem is your budget isn’t growing and the cost reductions aren’t hard cost reductions in hardware and software.

No the benefits are clearly in process improvement, team and end user satisfaction and risk reduction. You’re facing the common and difficult challenge of proving soft cost savings when introducing innovation to your organization.

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In the past you tried getting estimates of time saved through process improvements or the cost of team turnover and even estimating the cost of brand damage for a security issue. 

Unfortunately your boss had a difficult time signing off.   The costs of your new initiative was very real and hit the budget immediately while the potential cost savings were, well,  “potential” and as far as your boss was concerned might only exist in your imagination.


“So how do you make an argument for future savings that is realistic, tangible and compelling?  One way is pictorially using a process flowchart with swimlanes”.

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“Do you have a process change you want to make?  First, build a flowchart of how it is now.  Then, a Rummler-Brache diagram* or swim lane flowchart is an excellent way to graphically display a simplification and improvement in process.  On the left hand side you list the different groups, departments within your organization.  You plot the various processes at the appropriate stage and in the appropriate swimlane and you have a quick visual of how streamlined or inefficient a particular process is.

Simplify workflows in 4 steps:

  1. Select a key, routine process within the IT department. Capture as a flowchart on paper.
  2. Then, build a future state flowchart.
  3. Assign costs or time to each step that you are eliminating.
  4. The end result will be your new ROI presentation.

If your innovation simplifies process by decreasing steps and touches within your organization the cost savings are more easily understood and acknowledged with a swim lane flowchart.


Read other articles on life cycle management here.