Standard processes are the embodiment of best practices that cover the majority of situations that have presented themselves to date. Organizations have also leveraged standard processes for many a merger and acquisition. So why question standard processes?
The problem with standard processes is that they must apply to all process instances or cases, so they do not handle exceptions very well. One must stop and incorporate exceptions. When you have complicated and emergent work, this kind of approach tends to create more problems. Emerging better practices are much more appealing that having a super brain plan all the exceptions that might ever happen over time.
Customers do not want to be treated as a widget; they want to feel special and appreciated, so this runs into the teeth of standard processes. With the kind of customization that clients want, standard processes just do not hack it in today's world where attracting and keeping clients happy is the goal. The key to revenue generation, the big goal for 2014 and beyond, is around customers, so processes will have to change to at least become faster to outcome or change.
Standard processes give an organization a consistency that reduces costs and errors. Standard processes allows for quicker training of resources supporting the "end to end" process. In addition standard processes give one a way to compare to other processes.
In a world that demands better performance, optimization becomes more important. Standard processes are fairly easy to measure and optimize while staying within governance goals and tolerances.
We should not throw out the standard processes per see, but incorporate them in smaller pieces that can be leveraged and surrounded for optimal outcomes that gain the cost and consistency while bending to changing business conditions and new customer focuses. Like gears and sub-assemblies in transmissions that have learning logic around drivers habits, processes should utilize the best of standard processes while supporting emergent behavior.