The EPPI Framework for Alignment of Enabling Systems to Their Process Architecture

Every Enterprise is Different

They have organized themselves in functions that may look similar to others, but they have probably organized, defined and perform their Processes differently.

Back in the 1980s the Quality gurus told everyone to organize by Processes rather than by Function. Lots of noise about Functional Silos and little forewarning about Process Silos. Most firms didn’t make that transition. But many got a bit more process-centric within their functional architectures.

The goal I think/have thought for quite a while – is to be more Process-centric in the Functional-centric structure of the Enterprise. For the Functional structure didn’t seem to be going away. I needed to treat it as a given.

For Profit or Non-Profit. For Governmental Agencies. A flexible framework, adaptable where needed and rigorous where needed.

Take your Organization Chart – and for each and every department (or whatever you call the equivalent) complete one of these.

Then you can begin to systematically derive the enablers.

And where those fall deficient look upstream to the enabling systems that I sort into two: Enabling Human Assets – and Enabling Environmental Assets. You won’t find yours in this configuration. Yours will vary. Use this next graphic as the framework to uncover “where it’s happenin'” in your world.

As I have written before – I started with the Ishikawa Diagram. Back at Motorola in 1981. And while working for about 18 months on projects with the late Geary Rummler. Where “his stuff” – licensed by Motorola – is the basis for Six Sigma – a way to organize the big picture down to the detail levels so various improvement tools and methods could be organized – a kind of VR on VR – Variability Reduction on Variable Reduction – not a novel concept, huh?

Practicing what we Teach. Walking your own talk.

Let me digress.

I recall my AT&T client asking me about Curriculum Architectures for our staff at SWI – Svenson & Wallace Inc. back in 1987. We had a semblance of one was my truthful answer. But it would have been inappropriate from an ROI perspective to invest in formal learning when informal learning could happen “well enough” – as we were team oriented and new people could be integrated into the flow of the projects of the moment will OJT. We had defined our own process-set back then.

And so with a knowledge that the functional organization structures weren’t going anywhere – I decided to use a departmental level as one key framing device for Processes – and just as both Financial Budget Roll Up and Down – and Sales Quotas Roll Up and Down – so would the data that my process was intended to capture – of data needed for the next downstream step and steps.

Here is one branch of that tree – of a Departmental to Function to Enterprise “Roll Up” – if EPPI data. EPPI being Enterprise Process Performance Improvement.

And I brought into the data capture/structure/architecture – an MRP influence (later an MRP II and then later an ERP extension) framework to my thinking – and combined all of that with a Rummler-like Process Orientation.

Which – Process data -at the Enterprise level – is simply a roll-up of all of the processes, and can capture/report out data about the enabler requirements for the humans performers as well as the enabler requirements for all of the non-human stuff, the Environmental supports/enablers. Taking the Ishikawa Diagram to only two key variable-sets. It’s because I came from that Human Improvement side – Training. And I understood that somewhere between 20% and 6% (Rummler and Deming) of Process Performance, System Performance – has problems that are attributable to the human element. The workers. The rest are systems issues and management is in control of that system. The System. THE SYSTEM.

Please note that I use “Systems” at varied levels to be more conversational than formulaic. Sorry.

The Big Picture…of EPPI.

If you started greenfield, with only a set of paper processes (processes only on paper) – and had to enable them, stand them up and then operate them – what would you need?

I think something like this – to capture your specifics. 1- The Processes. 2- The enabling Human Assets. 3- The enabling Environmental Assets.

Because Every Enterprise is Different

And this data enables all departments that design, install and enable the 3 types of Processes of their world:

1-Primary Processes, the Value Chain – to determine Follow the Money in a Backwards Chain sort of way.

2-Owned Processes, that we – the Department – control.

3-Supported Processes, that we – the Department – don’t own or control – but support.

This way we have something to use that’s the same framework, up and down and across the hierarchy and breadth of the Enterprise, however flat and narrow – or not. This is intended to provide the flexibility point to control maintenance to change with changes in the Enterprise. All linked to processes – of three types.

This allows you to create a common, shared understanding of The Processes – the Primary Value Chain processes, and all of the other enabling processes. Some (think Payroll) are important too. And while I believe that not every process is worthy of performance improvement investments – due to ROI perspective – every Enterprise needs a common framework for processes to capture their architecture.

To reflect the needs of their unique set of Stakeholders and their unique internal organizational structure of enabling organizations and sets of resources to meet the needs of the Primary processes and all of the Enabling Processes.

This EPPI framework and model-set allows you to better:

Focus on the Processes – and Enable Them 

More systematically and systemically. Using data.

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