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The rocky road from data to improvement (NPRS case study part I)

How do you use data to improve processes structurally? Collecting data or structuring alone is not enough. The biggest challenge is using data to really learn and improve. Interweaving (big) data with daily learning through PDCA cycles leads to the greatest value. The case study of the National Program Rotterdam South (NPRS) shows how employees used data to continuously improve. Through topics like process thinking, different learning levels, and their effects on decision-making we will show you how to develop an intelligent organization, where continuous improvement using data is the key.

How to translate processes into KPIs

This article describes a practical method for BI professionals, business and information analysts, and controllers, to systematically develop proper KPIs. Our method of defining KPIs, the SMART KPI Toolbox, is well-documented and also makes them technically implementable. One of the advantages of good business intelligence is that every user can effortlessly see the information relevant to them on the screen. Besides descriptive reports and analysis possibilities, that means relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that provide quick insight into the performance of the team, department, or segment of the business. KPIs are a part of performance management.

What is the scrum approach exactly?

The increasingly dynamic world and growing mountain of data impacts the way in which intelligent organizations develop their products, services, and IT. They have to be agile by working and thinking in short cycles: agile working through scrum. Traditional project management and product development according to the waterfall method has had its day. In many cases, it's too sluggish and unresponsive. The difference is not unlike repairing clothes with needle and thread instead of a sewing machine.

The importance of agile working

The world around us is changing faster than ever. But most organizations aren’t agile enough to keep up. In China they can make a new car faster than you can make a PowerPoint presentation. The agile organization requires agile employees, autonomous, self-steering teams, a decision-making layer in the organization, and excellent information provision. Here are some reasons why agile working is a necessity:

How KPIs directly affect profitability and satisfaction

The difference between genuine key performance indicators (KPIs) and no KPIs (or false KPIs) is night and day. Genuine KPIs directly impact the three most important result areas of the organization: profit, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction. Normal (performance) indicators like revenue or profit margins don't directly impact all three of these, or only do so with a greatly delayed effect.

Define KPI requirements using processes

Earlier, we covered the strategy-driven approach to determining KPI requirements. Today we'll cover the process-driven approach. Closely examining your business processes in the framework of the process-driven approach will give you insight into how your organization adds value, and how you can measure the performance of its activities. The business processes are a crucial starting point for defining the information needs and improving the performance of the organization (Kerklaan, 2009; Van Leeuwen, 1997; Tideman, 1993). This approach gives “certainty” that the required information is also relevant for the user. “Every company on earth consists of processes. Processes are what companies do” (Hammer, 1995).

The strategy-driven approach to using KPIs

There are various approaches you can use when identifying, defining, loading, benchmarking, visualizing, and operationalizing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This article will discuss the strategy-driven approach, a top-down method where the mission, strategy, and goals of the organization are the starting point. To start off, we’ll answer the question of how to derive a strategy from the organization’s mission, and how to derive indicators from goals.

The long and winding road to lasting change

Change is a fact of life. New software, processes, and system updates cause minor upheavals on a daily basis. And that's to say nothing of the digital transformation. Without learning about the psychology behind change processes, without clear communication, and without investing in human, "warm", contacts, such projects are doomed to fail. Those are the steadfast beliefs of Ericka Petrignani, associate partner with Passionned Group. With her refined stakeholder approach, she's helped many organizations out of a tight spot. What's the "secret sauce" she uses in change projects?

Using Strategy Maps for Scenario Planning

Strategy maps are an excellent way to visualize and communicate the company strategy and its management. In the public sector we usually talk about policy instead of strategy. Passionned Group believes that a strategy map isn't only useful in the context of performance management, but also as an instrument for scenario planning, organizational development, and making investment decisions. A strategy map can consist of several different parts. Firstly there is the organization's mission, which communicates (as concretely as possible) what the organization wants to be, where and for whom. It's essentially a short text describing the essence of the organization. Secondly, there are the blocks, which display the most critical processes of the organization. Thirdly, there are the arrows. These arrows display the dependencies between the blocks. This is displayed in the image below.

Change is not easy

Change is hard. This goes double for organizations which do all kinds of different things, like the government. Given society's pressure on them to perform better, many governments are betting big on digital services. What can be done through the internet, what has to be done in person? According to the plans, at least 65% of government services should be provided through the internet. Citizens and entrepreneurs can do business with the government using the internet in many cases. At first glance, that's not a bad result.

Jury Report of Dutch BI Award 2015

On December 3, the 9th selection of the 'Smartest Organization of the Netherlands' along with the corresponding awarding of the Dutch Business Intelligence Award 2015 was conducted. Noord-Holland-Noord (North Holland) Safety Region was named as the winner. They took home both the public award and the jury award. The jury reports and justifies their choices. An intelligent, agile organization The field of Business Intelligence (BI) has developed significantly in recent years. It is increasingly used both as a tool to incrementally implement improvements and to innovate. Ten years ago the emphasis was on the use of smart technology to unlock data, especially in terms understanding the organization better. Today, the emphasis is on the advanced combination of smart management and the structural use of business analytics in supply chain processes. The major drivers of this new emphasis are the ever increasing turbulence and uncertainty that affect organizational operations today. This makes it increasingly complicated for future developments to be noted. The time remaining for the organization to react is short, often too short. Adequately implemented Business Intelligence helps the organization to be properly informed as soon as possible; the smart organizing and re-designing of processes are mandatory prerequisites to respond quickly. Timely informing and short reaction times are the two key conditions for a smart, agile organization.

A smart organization is populated by courageous people

You can't live without it. What information do you use? There are profound differences between Dutch companies and institutions. Various rounds of Dutch BI Award proved this to be true. Some organizations adhere primarily to Performance Management; that is, how well do certain departments or employees groups perform? We can see this approach even in healthcare, where they look at outcomes of a particular treatment methods. However, such an approach has been generally a retrospective one. Fortunately, there are organizations that are trying to look forward.

A smarter organization with a customer-oriented business

Customer focus is a well-worn term and it seems so obvious. Especially in light of the fact that customers generally have numerous options to choose from. Customers can endlessly collect information on the internet and, so they mostly know exactly what they want and how they want it. Yet it still seems difficult for businesses to be customer-oriented. Not that they don't think it's important: every year, in the Netherlands alone, tens of millions of Euros are spent on change management, staff training, CRM systems, and processes.

A frustrating profile of dumb organizations

This article looks at dumb organizations, what characterizes them, and how their business intelligence can be improved. A breakthrough is needed, but first let's have a look at a brief profile of the smartest organizations in the Netherlands. How do the smartest organizations behave? Organizations in our study (266 organizations) that managed to achieve excellent results thanks to business intelligence – the brainiacs – know that they must use information consistently for analysis and action.

'It's almost science fiction what we do with BI'

"It's almost science fiction what we do with BI." Elie van Strien is commander of the Amsterdam-Amstelland Fire Department. Two years ago, his fire department was chosen as the Smartest Organization in the Netherlands, thanks to a revolutionary BI innovation: Fire Department Intelligence. This year, Van Strien is a member of the jury for the selection of the Smartest Organization in the Netherlands 2015, organized by Passionned Group. Commander Van Strien feels like a little boy in the BI toy store.

The structure of the adaptive organization

Dividing the organization up into effectors can increase the speed at which the organization responds and adapts. Effectors are flexible, autonomous and market-oriented teams that act as a unit. In their purest form such effectors can be seen as small organizations within the large organization, often responsible for one or more processes. However, they frequently use the organization’s common infrastructure and its standards and values. These people are very motivated and collaborative.

The three stages of the Intelligent Organization

What we see in practice is that successful organizations do not normally develop the sensors, processors and effectors simultaneously but often progress in a logical sequence. In most cases, attention is given first to developing and improving sensitivity, for example by defining relevant KPIs. The actual development and usage of processors and effectors follows later. These organizations realize that wanting everything at once, is the same as wanting and ending up with nothing. The three stages and the four ambition levels of Business Intelligence are closely related. This is depicted in the following figure.

Everything changes and few things are predictable

In our present society and economy, change has become a constant factor. Everything changes and few things are predictable. The only certainty we have is the knowledge that uncertainty is an increasingly important phenomenon. Company executives need to realize that in these uncertain times and environments, managing an organization necessitates different ways of thinking, doing business, organizing, informing and reporting.

Essential developments for organizations to behave intelligent

Some essential social and economic developments accentuate the necessity to stimulate intelligent behavior within organizations and more specifically, within enterprises (Schnabel, 2000): individualization; informalization (hierarchies and boundaries are fading); information technology and computerization; internationalization, globalization and liberalization; intensification of the increasing influence and market dynamics.

The architecture of the intelligent organization

The Intelligent Organization observes well. It transforms incoming signals into information and knowledge and responds adequately. This is only possible when the different processes within the Business Intelligence cycle are supported by a good architecture. The architecture ensures that the processes run smoothly and that they are properly aligned. The Business Intelligence architecture forms the link between the processes we described earlier and the applications and Business Intelligence tools. Without a well thought out architecture, we cannot properly organize the processes of the Intelligent Organization and consequently, we cannot apply information and knowledge in the way we should.

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