85% of the reasons for failure to meet customer expectations are related to deficiencies in systems and process… rather than the employee. The role of management is to change the process rather than badgering individuals to do better.”
– Dr E W Deming
What is business process management?
First, let’s understand what a process means.
A process is a series of repeatable steps or tasks performed by stakeholders systematically to achieve an organizational goal. For example, consider employee onboarding. It involves activities like:
- Completing paperwork
- Verification of documents
- Assigning IT assets
- Setting up workstation
- Introduction to the team and other departments
Every activity is repeatable, irrespective of the number of employees you hire. The processes are “interrelated” where the result of one task influences the other.
But how do you know whether these processes are efficient? In fact, industry studies state, 88% of the new hires feel that their organization does not do a great job of onboarding employees and there is room for improvement. To improve, you must first understand the current situation, then look at how it could be improved, streamlined and completed more quickly.
This is where you need BPM or Business process management. BPM is the organization’s approach to analyse the existing processes in the current state and determine the areas of improvement and modify them to make them more efficient.
When processes are inefficient, an organization’s productivity could be at the mercy of the individuals. And what else?
Challenges in BPM
- In-depth analysis of current processes
- Identify areas of improvement
- Monitor business outcomes
- Modify workflows
- Data redundancy and erros
According to an IDC Survey, over 80% of business leaders from several departments stated that problems arise because they have different internal applications that don’t really “talk” to each other. 43% stated that they often have to copy/paste or rekey information.
Consider the above example, employee onboarding, again. It is a process that involves players of different functions like recruitment, HR, finance, IT and administration. It is time-consuming, and requires a great deal of effort in collaboration. A BPM solution can help in managing the complete lifecycle where every task is automated with appropriate handoffs.
Business process management solution involves automation, monitoring and optimization, and helps overcome the challenges.
Six steps to implementing strategic business process management
- Process Discovery
- Process Analysis
- Process Designing and Modelling
- Process Implementation
- Process Monitoring
- Process Optimization
As a first step towards BPM, you need to understand the primary goal and the strategy of the BPM initiative, and details of your current processes. There are three types of business process:
These are the primary or core processes that play a direct role in output, which could either be a product/service or customer satisfaction.
These secondary processes work behind the scenes without directly making an impact. For example, departments/teams such as HR, payroll, facilities management, technology development, etc.
These are the processes that involve ensuring whether the teams meet the targets, the financial goals are achieved, the guidelines and compliance requirements are met in the primary and secondary processes, the workplace is safe.
Are the business processes aligned with the objectiveS? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they impact the performance of the organization? You will unlock such potential information through a Qualitative and Quantitative analysis that analyse the existing processes and identify the opportunities for improvement.
Qualitative analysis: You identify the redundancies, wastage and understand all the issues with a qualitative analysis. The commonly used techniques are:
Value stream mapping: Applicable to all industries, it inspects all the steps in a process to nominate each step as value-adding and non-value adding from a customer’s standpoint.
Root-cause analysis: This is a structured investigation that aims to discover the root cause of an event, understand how to fix it, learn from the mistakes, and apply the learnings to avoid future mistakes.
Pareto analysis: With the help of pareto bar diagrams, in this technique the problems in a business process are mapped, ranked from most frequent to the least. It helps assess the impact of the problems.
Quantitative analysis: As the name suggests, this is all about figures. You evaluate the measurable data like number of customers, number of repeat customers, customer complaints, profit margins, sales revenue, return on assets, etc. for insights.
The commonly used techniques are:
Flow analysis: It is used to identify and measure the cost of non-value adding activities, the cycle time of each activity, the resource capacity, and the process performance with respect to time, cost and quality.
Queuing theory: Waiting time is an important factor for an effective workflow. For example, consider a pizza takeaway joint. Measuring a customer’s wait time, the service delivery level, delays, resource availability, etc. is done through this method.
Process Designing & Modelling
This step is about taking a structured approach to understand whether you need to design new process workflows from scratch or redesign the existing ones. A graphical representation of the processes in their “as-is” stage is made, and mapped to the processes in their “to-be” or future state with improvements. Flow charts, data flow diagrams and other visually interactive formats are used to learn more about the processes.
Now that you are all set with the (re) designed process, the next big thing is to get it up and running without any mayhem. Depending on the nature of your process and the industry you can opt in for a low-code BPM solution that automates the workflow, and is easy to use even for non-technical users. Keep in mind some pointers:
- Go for pilot test or test small processes
- Choose the process owners who would be accountable for a smooth functioning
- Involve the stakeholders
- Diagram the workflow
- Set achievable goals for BPM platform
Once the processes are implemented, it is time for a health check. To achieve success, business process monitoring is a crucial step wherein you review the process to:
- Detect anomalies in process execution
- Detect problems within the system
- Compare the performance
- Gain transparency in the workflow, end-to-end
- Identify technical issues that may impact the process performance
Process optimization is adjusting or modifying the process to make it more efficient, and minimize the costs. For example, consider the employee onboarding instance. Whenever someone joins and signs on the appointment letter, the HR department sends an email to the IT support to grant access to important assets. This takes a lot of time, especially when there are several joinees. A better way would be to set up an automated email trigger to the IT team whenever the employee sends the signed papers.
There is no denying that developing an enterprise BPM strategy is complex and requires some efforts and individuals. But not so much so when you have the right experts with you! At Vuram, our team leverages extensive domain expertise to build scalable solutions that transform your critical and non-core processes. We can streamline your workflows and processes, build custom applications and help you get more done for less! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details.