Interview with Ric Merrifield – A Focus on Core Processes (Part 1 of 3)
- November 2, 2010
Recently, CiviCore Partner Charles Naumer had an opportunity to sit down and talk with business analyst and author Ric Merrifield. Ric is Microsoft’s official “Business Architect,” focusing on helping companies to rethink their operating models and get out of the “how” trap. In his latest book Re-Think, he challenges readers to think about “what” we’re doing and “why” we’re doing it. He suggests that we need to move beyond focusing on how we do things to think about what activities are critical to success. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Ric is engaged and interested in the social sector. Below is part one of a three-part series covering their conversation.
“Ric and I discussed some of his experiences with nonprofit organizations and ways in which his business process work is applicable to social sector organization. Ric has done a lot of work to better understand the role of technology within organizations. One area that is particularly interesting to CiviCore is his view on ways that social sector organizations can capitalize on technological innovation. He encourages organizations to identify which of their processes are unique to their organization and which are similar to other organizations. Once an organization identifies what they do differently they can begin to focus on where they add the most value as an organization. For example, if an organization does accounting like everyone else then this isn’t a key value added aspect of their organization. For these areas, they should move to adopt the same accounting software and products used by others. They should take advantage of low-cost, mass marketed “off-the-shelf” solutions or even open-source solutions designed for that specific function.
Once an organization identifies the value producing aspects of their organization they should dedicate resources to further developing systems and processes to support these aspects of their organization. For example, if an organization has a specialized method of delivering services to their clients, they should focus on developing systems to support their organization in delivering these services. They should continue to evolve, develop, and improve this aspect of their business and the systems that support it. In doing so, they should choose technology that will grow and can be adapted to their processes.
For us at CiviCore, this message has been refreshing and right on target. We work very hard to understand and tailor our software to specific focus organizational types such as volunteer organizations, mentoring programs, youth centered organizations, and many others. We then work hard to understand each organization’s individual requirements and further customize our software to meet each organization’s needs. In this way, our clients not only benefit from the work already done to understand their service area but also benefit from software tailored to meet their specific needs. In a nutshell, this is the CiviCore value proposition that we continue to develop in order to best serve our customers and to follow our mission of making the largest possible impact in the social sector.”
Note: For more on Ric Merrifield’s work visit – http://www.rethinkbook.com. Stay tuned next week for part 2 of this interview.