Is ACM only applicable for large organisations with complex processes and a heavy intervention of knowledge workers or is it suited for small organisations with a limited number of processes, neither complex nor complicated, and only a small number of knowledge workers? ACM benefits must accrue to organisations of any size, even if it only alters their thinking away from flow charts and processes and more towards goals and activities. As is our habit we will look at IT service organisations. Such organisations have few business process and none of them are particularly complex or complicated. But, this does not obviate the need for considering ACM as another tool in the management arsenal for continuous improvement of organisational performance. This often times becomes a pressing issue as the organisation begins to increase in size; the organisation has a fixed cost centre to manage the rest of the revenue generators. Helping to automate the operational processes of the cost centre in managing the demands of the increasing client base and resource numbers becomes a priority. One way to approach this process automation is to use the ACM way of thinking and put a solution that will have greater flexibility and longevity.
Re-stating our understanding of the recruitment process as the most crucial in the organisation we will apply how ACM type thinking may help.
- Focus on activities: in this specific example, there are only two groups of activities, one group consists of a single activity that instigates a case in the system. The second group of activities are the core set of activities whose orchestration is performed by the knowledge worker (case owner), until the goal is achieved, in this specific example a resource is hired.
- Document driven: each activity in the case generates information/documents. These documents must be available through out the duration of the case. This makes for better decision making during the running of the case.
- The activities in the knowledge workers palette must be presented in a form where their execution is the knowledge workers (case owners) choice and not some process engine.
- The knowledge worker (case owner) will close the case when she recognizes that the number of resources required in the original request have been selected, and until this goal emerges she will continue with the activities of the case.
In our example we have considered a fixed set of activities, since this was considered to be sufficient here, but in true ACM way of doing, activities should be attachable/detachable from the case according to the knowledge workers understanding of the case. If operational excellence or building a learning organisation is a must then adapting to ACM for building better systems for knowledge workers cannot be ignored.