What I loved about Align is that it provided an easy to use status reporting tool that accommodated leadership's goal of having instant visibility into daily activities and priorities, how well they tied to weekly/monthly/quarterly and annual goals. Align is a very easy to use (both in data entry and retrieval) which was helpful for those of us working in high complexity problem solving capacities 24/7. When you live in complexity, you don't want to work with complex tools for standard reporting and management activities that are required daily. It was always nice to start the day with a straightforward tool like Align.
What do you dislike?
There is not much that I really dislike per se, the only concern I would note is that the version of Align we used as part of organizational strategy allowed a great deal of free text entries (as opposed to pre-set categorized drop down entries). I understand the intent was for management to review the raw inputs so they could have meaningful insight into the truth of daily operational activities - specifically, to identify misaligned activities that were causing kinks in the production flow. The only problem with free text entry is that it can quickly become so non-uniform that the ability to pull data and trending/analytics, etc. is diluted with the presence of so many non-standard entries that require individual deciphering to glean the actual trend.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Because free text entry is an option in Align, it would be good to identify prior to release to the company, what categories and tracking attributes are most valuable to the organization; you want to make sure the free text entry option is defined enough to ensure you don't get very long narratives that require constant deciphering; similarly, you want to ensure you don't get too simplistic entries that don't give the real insights you're looking for (basically, the free text entries allow very long entries, or allow people to kind of skip through it without putting much of anything in the tool. Neither extreme serves the purpose of the tool, and the goal of collecting meaningful insights into the tool). To ensure ROI on the Align software, determine KPI's on the front end, and work with managers to ensure consistency in daily entry on behalf of all users entering data.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
The company invested in Align to assess where the gaps in alignment existed across the organization; the company had exponential growth in a very short time, growth they weren't really prepared for from an infrastructure/organizational strategy perspective. Also, portfolio focused (global minded) strategic management did not arrive until after the growth explosion; so we had a lot of skilled folks in the production floor that had tons of insight into the tactical aspects of the day to day business, but were so focused on tactical that the strategic goals and oversight of strategic goals were getting lost in the mix. Align was purchased to provide a simple tool for ALL employees to enter daily tasks, so management could analyze the inputs and identify opportunities for compression, gaps, workload redundancies, overages, etc. and make strategic level recommendations to help better align the organization long term.
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