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December 8, 2022 Business Technologies

Do Low-Code Solutions Still Need Process Governance?

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By Liz Saville

Ever watched a software demo and been wowed by the breadth of capabilities? The sleek user interface? The easy-to-use features? As you’re watching, you imagine all the ways this could help your organization. It could be a game-changer if the right process governance is in place.

So, you’re floating on cloud nine, buy the software and… voila! Your organizational pain points vanish.

Okay, I admittedly got ahead of myself here. All the organizational pain points don’t vanish at the click of a button. (If they do, please share the mystical software solution you have been using!)

Purchasing the technology doesn’t result in organizational success. Despite those captivating sales demos, this is even true with recent advances like low-code and self-service tools.

That’s not to say technology is to blame. Each year, we see improvements in low-code technology contenders. CRM, ERP, analytics, middleware… the list of tools that can enable organizational success goes on and on.

So, what’s missing? Robust, well-designed processes, for one. Then governance to support and align those processes to the critical corporate strategies. Most businesses overlook these two components, which often cause implementation challenges. We have found that, after thousands of implementations, these challenges are rarely due to technical limitations. Often, they are due to process misalignment. Ultimately, automation of a flawed process is not a recipe for success.

Are you tempted to roll your eyes, mutter “but I hate rules…,” or think, but my team needs autonomy to approach their work in their own way? These are some common objections that give process governance a bad name. It isn’t a strict list of dos and don’ts but a secret component that aligns strategy and process to enable success. The connection between strategy and execution. The unsung hero of technology implementation success.

Let me step off my “process-nerd” soapbox and state that process governance is critical to all organizational change and technology implementations.

If you’ve experienced any of the following, you’ve experienced the pain of a lack of process governance:

  1. Searching through several systems or emails to find basic information while covering for a colleague when they are out of the office.
  2. Navigating between entirely different places within a CRM (or outside of one) to find where sales reps store the same information.
  3. Knowing a colleague (or *gasp, perhaps yourself) who does things outside of the intended system because “they prefer it” or “they find it easier.”
  4. Having multiple systems across teams or departments that serve the same function.
  5. Gathering and reporting on the same data points looks like a completely different process depending upon which individual or team you ask.
  6. Having automated processes bump into each other and produce conflicting outcomes.

I could write a book listing the endless signs of a lack of process governance, but you get the picture. Almost all companies could benefit from additional process governance.

How do you go about putting internal process governance in place?

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start with the end in mind – Consider your goals first. What are you trying to accomplish strategically? The process is what will get you there. Process governance is the set of best practices that will get you there consistently and most efficiently.
  2. Plan for continuous improvement– Give time for the process governance to be tested and then iterate as needed to fine-tune the alignment between strategy and execution. It’s easier to begin with more governance and loosen over time.
  3. Document, document, document – Did I mention documentation? Putting process governance in place is not the time for relying on word of mouth. Make expectations on how to honor processes clear by making them easily accessible to all.

Once process governance is in place, it doesn’t mean you won’t need to trial, test, and adjust those processes over time. But you should test it before altering the guidelines. This will prevent change management whiplash and increase user adoption.

If you also have experience with process governance being a game changer in change management, share in the comments or reach out. I’m happy to talk through your internal process and how it can enable your organization to scale.



This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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Author Bio

Liz Saville

Liz Saville joined BrainSell in 2022 as a Senior Solutions Consultant with a background in the SaaS technology industry and experience in Data & Systems Operations and Leadership Development. Liz works closely with clients to consult on strategy, people, processes, data, and tech to fuel scale.

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