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Unlocking business potential: 3 key strategies for transformational change


By Rich Berry

Before I started my own company, I worked at Microsoft, overseeing the company’s close process, financial systems, and reporting for the then-approximately 350 legal entities worldwide.

When I joined Microsoft in January 1997, the company's quarterly revenue stood at around $2.6 billion. At that time, our Corporate Accounting team, comprised of approximately 20 individuals, dedicated three or more weeks, often working six or seven days a week, to complete the financial close. The crazy workload led to a significant annual employee turnover.

Over the next nine years, Microsoft’s revenue grew to approximately $12.5 billion. Even with that remarkable growth, the Corporate Accounting team closed the books within three days instead of three weeks and, for three years, we had ZERO employee turnover in the department. What’s most surprising is that we accomplished this without adding a single additional headcount…we were still around 20 people!

How did we do it? By leveraging disciplined business processes, integrated systems, automated workflows, and business intelligence to eliminate the friction in our processes and get timely information in the hands of decision makers. As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder.

Any business can benefit significantly from projects to improve processes, systems, and business intelligence.

The following are three steps your business can take to drive meaningful change that will help achieve your goals.

1. Improving processes for streamlined operations

By analyzing the current processes and identifying areas for improvement, businesses can streamline operations, reduce waste, and save time and money. I suggest creating a process map for your organization's essential functions, showing what happens in each process, step by step.

Once you see how things ‘really’ work, you and your team will be able to clearly identify problems or risks, see areas that can be streamlined, and come up with new ways to accomplish the same outcomes more efficiently.

Some key benefits of process improvement projects include:

  • Efficiency: The key aim of process improvement is to identify and eliminate inefficiencies within a process. This may include removing unnecessary steps, streamlining tasks, and automating activities where possible. The result is often a significant reduction in the time and resources required to complete a process, which can increase overall productivity and effectiveness.
  • Cost Reduction: Along with increased efficiency often comes reduced costs. Less time spent on tasks means cost savings that can be invested in one of three ways:
    • Reduced labor costs – you need fewer hours to accomplish the same results.
    • Slower hiring – as your company grows, you don’t need to hire as many people to accomplish the same results for your larger organization.
    • Higher value activities – Many companies choose to invest their time savings into activities that had previously been ignored but add significant value.

All these investment choices have a direct positive impact on the company's bottom line.

  • Quality Improvement: Process improvement often results in better quality outputs. By examining a process closely, organizations can identify areas where mistakes are made, or quality is otherwise compromised. These can be addressed and corrected, leading to a more consistent and high-quality output.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: When processes improve, it often leads to enhanced customer satisfaction. If a product is produced more efficiently, at a higher quality, or is delivered faster due to process improvements, customers will notice and appreciate these changes. This can result in increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: When employees see that their input is valued and that their work is being made easier through process improvement, it can boost morale and engagement. Employees who are more engaged are generally more productive, innovative, and committed to the organization. Furthermore, efficient, streamlined processes can reduce job stress and frustration, leading to higher job satisfaction.

Finally, it is important to carefully document your improved processes and routinely monitor them to ensure compliance. However, it’s important to be open to further improvement opportunities. Frontline staff are usually the ones who figure out new and more efficient ways to accomplish tasks. If a new idea makes sense, document and include it in your ever-improving procedures.

2. Enhancing systems and communication

While examining your processes, it is also a good time to review your technology and consider implementing new software solutions.

Modern technology comes with a variety of benefits: task automation and workflow, improved communication between team members and customers, and integration between systems (to eliminate redundant data entry). All these benefits enhance your company’s overall efficiency and ultimately lead to cost savings and improved results.

  • Task automation and workflow: Every task that is automated results in additional available time for your staff to spend on higher-value activities. Automating workflows ensure your defined processes are working as designed and completed correctly. Additional benefits of automation and workflow include fewer emails, fewer mistakes, better control, simplification for onboarding new staff, better customer experiences, and less risk.
  • Improved communication: Implementing tools like project management software, online collaboration platforms, or video conferencing solutions enables seamless communication, regardless of location or time zones.
  • Integration between systems: When your systems are integrated, you eliminate redundant manual processes and streamline workflows. Errors are reduced and data is more accurate because machines don’t make ‘typos’. Integration can lead to improved customer experiences because you can have a unified view of their data and deliver personalized and consistent experiences. Also, integrated systems can scale (grow) to support your organization without having to add additional staff to support the growth.

3. Leveraging data-driven insights with Business Intelligence

Your business collects a wealth of information every day. But are you making the most of the data you’re already collecting?

Business intelligence (BI) platforms allow you to analyze your data and make timely strategic decisions. Think of the other steps (process and systems) as building a well-running engine and think of business intelligence as the tool that allows you to see the road, drive the car, and win the race.

The benefits of Business intelligence include:

  • Data-driven decision-making: Business intelligence empowers organizations to make decisions based on real data and insights rather than relying on gut feelings or intuition. By analyzing and visualizing data from various sources, BI tools enable businesses to identify patterns, trends, and opportunities, leading to more informed and effective decision-making.
  • Improved operational efficiency: BI helps streamline processes and workflows by providing a clear view of performance metrics and operational data. By identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies, businesses can optimize their operations, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.
  • Competitive advantage: BI enables businesses to gain a competitive edge by leveraging data to understand market trends, customer preferences, and competitor activities. This information allows companies to respond quickly to changes in the market and stay ahead of the competition.
  • Enhanced customer insights: BI tools allow businesses to analyze customer data, preferences, and behavior. By understanding customer needs and preferences, companies can tailor their products and services to better meet customer demands, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Forecasting and planning: With the ability to analyze historical data and current trends, BI facilitates better forecasting and strategic planning. Organizations can predict future market conditions, identify potential risks, and develop more accurate long-term strategies for growth and success.

Bottom line

Determining the first best project for your business depends on your organization’s specific needs and goals. However, a good starting point is conducting a comprehensive organizational assessment to identify and prioritize those areas of improvement that will have the largest impact.

Boyer & Ritter Operations and Technology Solutions is an interdisciplinary group of professionals that can help you identify and get past the roadblocks between you and your company’s goals.

If you are looking to use staff more efficiently, allow data to drive success, and streamline operational decision-making, please give us a call, and learn how we can help take you to the next level.

Rich Berry is the founder and managing partner of 425 Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping businesses grow and achieve their full potential through process and technology. Boyer & Ritter Operations and Technology Solutions (OTS) launched in 2023 and is a joint venture between 425 Consulting Group and Boyer & Ritter. Reach Rich at 717-761-7210 or


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