In this blog, I explain some of our latest thinking at Methods on how breaking down processes and technology into their constituent parts (capabilities) can help inform choices about technology.

In an ideal world when an organisation decides to do things differently it would simply stop doing something in the way it is currently done and switch overnight to the new way. By so doing they would provide a better service and save money. In reality, this never happens. In reality to implement change, changes in process, technology and personnel are all required. And, this is difficult to cost, prioritise and sell to stakeholders and customers.


In organisations where processes and technology are well-established, processes are not generally designed with technology in mind, and most technology is not designed around a specific process. At the same time technology is not being used in the way it was designed, and processes are being botched because technology does not provide what the processes require. One of our aims is to help our clients use technology to its maximum potential by resolving these issues.

In order to identify the right technology for a given process, we can break down processes and technology to give us capabilities. Capabilities are the constituent parts that usually represent some sort of data manipulation or movement of information from one place to another. By breaking down processes into these constituent capabilities (taking payments, storing data etc.), we can identify technologies that can do the job required.

By analysing multiple processes we can develop capability patterns. These are groups of capabilities laid out in a certain order to provide a specific outcome. By matching capability patterns across multiple processes, we can begin to replicate these patterns. We can then begin to identify technologies that can deliver patterns or parts of patterns.

When patterns begin to be replicated across different processes we can start to see some real benefits. Common patterns mean consistency, of both internal process and external service. This means better service for customers. Common patterns mean repetition. Repetition means efficiency, and efficiency means savings. By identifying common capability patterns that match technology to service processes we think there is potential to begin to automate things like process redesign and change roadmaps by targeting areas of an organisation that can re-use patterns that need only be designed once.

Although this process is in its infancy, we are testing it with our public-sector clients right now, using local government processes as our testing ground. In a sector struggling to meet the expectations of its customers in terms of technological change and service redesign, this could be a quick, efficient method for a sector that simply cannot afford to drag its heels much longer.

For more information on identifying technology choices please email: Tom Blackie