Practical steps to future ready- REFM
Each one of us is rightly thinking about how we can make our function future ready? It is essential and need of the hour that we make our process and systems to take care of the current & future needs. With the abundance of technology available in market,there is phenomenal change to the way we do things.It is fast changing every day. Based on my work experience about 35 years in REFM/CRES, through this paper provided few practical steps REFM/CRES function needs to follow in preparing it for future ready.
One need to focus on
- Transition: First step starts with understanding the need for change management. Change is inevitable for growth which no one can dispute, but in real life scenario everyone resists change. Make people understand this phenomenon & try to answer the question “What is in it for me?”
Understand the requirements both from employees and service provider. What is expected to be done by employee and what are the services/products to be delivered by vendor. In case of people selection, follow the recruitment process to select the best suited one. In case of services/product follow the RFP (Request for Proposal) process.First list down the service requirements/ product specifications and seek the proposal to provide the services/ deliver the products. Then carryout a structured vendor evaluation process, due diligence followed by detailed technical discussions to finalize the SLAs, contractual terms and conditions before actually negotiating the commercials. This provides an opportunity for organization to get the best vendor to provide services and vendor also gets to understand fully the requirements and quote the right commercials to deliver the expected services. The final steps in the transition is inducting the vendor into the system, monitoring the deliverables as per agreed contractual terms and ensure it is delivered. This is achieved through periodic review meetings and follow through to achieve the pending deliverables.
- Transformation:Start this with first understanding the as is process/systems. How the current process is helping the function and employees and what are the new requirements. Identify the gaps by benchmarking with best in class peer industry and determineyour organization’s position. The next steps are standardization of service deliverables. The most essential step is auto piloting it and ensuring the deliverables irrespective of who requests for it. This happens only when you have a well-defined process and systems in place. We also need to take stock of existing skills inventory and identify the new skills required or upgrading of existing skill set to align to the goal.
Some other transformation initiatives which organizations could think of are …
- Process improvement
- Adoption of Kaizen
- LEAN or Six Sigma
- Appropriate ISO Certifications
In this step the organization/function puts all round effort to ensure a sustainable process are in place for all the activities carried out by them.
- Technology: If any organization starts this step without going through transition and transformation there is high probability the digitization efforts will go through many iterations/changes before it stabilizes. Which is waste of time, effort and cost. If organizations have gone through the above two steps then the efforts put on this will help creating a sustainable digitization.
Where to start the digitization efforts? This is common question across, when the digitization journey begins. Suggest, discuss with the team, leadership, carryout employee satisfaction survey then identify the pain area which gives sleepless nights to you. If you start the process with the pain area, then there will be an all-round commitment to achieve better results. As this resolves the issue on hand will instill confidence to the team and users. Modular approach is recommended in digitization efforts, once the team experiences the better results with couple of pilot projects, which gives the required confidence to the team take it further. The efforts can continue digitizing the process which needs immediate attention to requires least attention. If anyone thinks in one attempt you can perfect the digitization to sustainable level, this will be difficult. Once you put into use the tools, you should be willing to listen to feedback from users and ground level operations personnel and ready to make certain adjustment/changes if required to make them better. Like in sports people say play one game/ball at a time. In digitization it is important take a step by step approach as it involves huge change management. Stabilize one process before you take up another.
Pilot run is very important before each module introduction. Deploy people who can critically evaluate the module from user point of view, admin point of view, IT security point of view. These inputs will help build a sustainable digitization.
These practical steps will help organization preparing themselves for future ready in a systematic way and deliver sustainable digitization.