Situational Analysis - Transformations

3/31/2013

This post is part of a series on IT consulting.

A transformation transforms inputs into outputs. Transformations can be on-going, such as paying insurance claims; or one-offs, such as automating a manual insurance claim validation process.

Transformation

Transformations are expressed as a process. Understanding of a transformation is developed by identifying the people it benefits, the activities it consists of, the resources it uses, and the metrics used to measure it.

Customers

The customer is the beneficiary of the transformation. Try to determine:

  • Who they are (your client is usually also the customer).
  • What they think.
  • What they feel.
  • What success means to them.

Activities

The activities of a transformation are the steps that must be taken for it to occur.

  • Identifiy the key activities that make up the transformation.
  • Create a process map (a diagram) of the transformation.
  • Evaluate the process.

In the diagram below, the input is an insurance claim form, the activities are validation, payment calculation and payment processing; and the output is a paid insurance claim. This diagram is interesting in that it portrays a very high-level view of the transformation. A logical next step would be to analyse and map the quantitative and qualitative assessment activities, and the rejection path an invalid claim might take.

High level process map

People often think they understand processes, when in fact they don't. Processes are easier to validate and verify with a diagram, so expect to do lots of them. Also remember that there are three versions of every process: what you think it is, what it really is, and what you'd like it to be.

Resources

Resources are the assets required to make the transformation happen. These could include people, purchased services, raw materials, equipment, and comuter systems.

  • Identify the direct resources that a transformation requires.
  • Identify the indrect resources that a transformation requires, such as office locations and space, and management attention.

Metrics

Metrics are used to measure the performance of a transformation. It determines whether a transformation is working, and whether an intervention improves or degrades performance. Consider the following three types of metrics:

  • Efficacy - Measure whether the transformation does what it is intended to do.
  • Efficiency - Determine whether the transformation uses the least amount to resources it can.
  • Effectivenes - Determine whether the transformation doing the right thing. Is it satisfying it's customers?

The following example is trite, but illustrates the point.

Process evaluation

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