The Walter Mitty in all of us

I recently watched the remake of the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with my wife.

As you may recall, Walter Mitty was constantly fantasizing about what his life could be in various situations with him saving the day, grabbing the perfect picture, being on the cover of Look Magazine etc.

When the movie concluded, I had to admit that I had also experienced many “Mitty” moments in my life, such as playing in a band to thousands of screaming adoring fans, saving the plane and passengers after the pilots were incapacitated, or even enabling our customers with the most fantastic software programs such that their lives were filled with joy and happiness.

Ok, that last one was a stretch. But it did get me thinking about how this movie and what I do for a living could have some “Mittyesque” benefits to those I work with in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) world.

The key to the movie, as well as the ECM connection, did have one common element: To reap the rewards, you have to be willing jump in and make things happen.  In other words, you can dream all you want about the idyllic life, but until you actually act upon it nothing is going to happen.

This is really not an earth shattering revelation but rather a reminder that that knowing what it is we really want to happen requires an input on our part to start the chain of events to take place.

This action is also the key component of an ECM system called Business Process Management (BPM).  That is, BPM is the set of rules we put in place that when followed allow magical things to happen, such as automating a lending process, streamlining a new customer onboarding task, or something as mundane as managing the automation of the accounts payable process.  You get the idea.

As mentioned above, however, the common element to making all these things happen is simply to start the process. Act on it!

So what is the process? The following simplified steps will help you begin aligning your business processes with your ECM objectives.

  1. Identify what it is you want to accomplish. What is your end goal?
  2. Identify the players and processes involved.
  3. Identify the resources required.
  4. Bring the stakeholders together and determine the commonalities and differences and reconcile them.
  5. Begin the process of diagramming out the desired flow of events (a.k.a. workflow)
  6. Test the process to see if there are any breakpoints that will stop it from moving forward.
  7. Refine, retest, and review each step to ensure it is consistent across all identified variables.
  8. Roll it out in a segregated test environment and see how it works.
  9. Standardize and train everyone involved in the new process and confirm everyone has a clear understanding of the objectives and benefits as well as the “why” of what you are doing.
  10. Turn it loose!

In reality, you will probably go through several rollouts before all the kinks and variables are worked out in your process flow. But that’s Ok because it is progress.

Finally, go back and review it after a few months and make sure it is doing exactly what you hoped it would. And where necessary refine it further.

The end goal of course to is gain the efficiencies desired and improve people’s lives in and with the business processes.

If you follow these ideas and simply get to work, like Walter Mitty, you will finally reach your goal. Your credit union will be saved and you will reap the rewards and be loved by all!

Well at least that how it ends in my daydream.

Scott Cowan

Scott Cowan

Over the past 25 years, Mr. Cowan has held Executive Technical Sales and Management positions with several Fortune 500 companies including: Fiserv, Qwest Communications and Nokia Internet Communications, Network Security ... Web: Details