What is a Business Process? How Business Processes Reduce Waste and Improve Profits (Plus Downloadable Guide)
Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Owen McGab Enaohwo
James is the owner of a website development company. His company just won a major new contract, and he needs to determine if it would pay off to add an additional team member. Currently, he spends a lot of time in his project management system double-checking for mistakes and missed details. He wonders whether assigning a new team member these tasks would free him and his designers to take on more big contracts.
The current contract is for a simple website design project. If James could get his business processes under control so each employee could have an organized set of instructions, they would save time, decrease frustration, and be able to cross-train employees.
Not having formally documented business processes is costing James time and money. Is it costing you?
Chapter 1: Business Process Defined
If you are working in business, the term “business process” is probably not new to you. But what exactly is it?
A process is a series of steps that are followed to achieve an objective. Processes can be used in many different ways, such as for manufacturing, management, and computer operation.
Processes can also be applied to other areas, like education or healthcare. For example, when you go through the medical school application process, it starts with filling out an application form and ends with receiving your acceptance letter from the university. The key point is that processes have a beginning and endpoint, which makes them easier to follow than just trying to do something on your own without any guidance at all.
Processes are important because they provide a framework for performing tasks and achieving goals. Processes can be applied to personal, professional, and organizational progress. A process specifies the steps needed to get from point A to point B, making it clear how you need to do something—which makes it much less likely that you’ll get lost along the way or just give up on your goal altogether without finishing what you started.
Processes can also help improve performance by clearly defining work activities. For example, process mapping is a technique used in business management to identify all of the different steps needed to complete a task and how they work together to get the outcome. By following a process, employees become more efficient in their work because doing one step correctly will set the stage for doing the next step correctly.
What is a Business Process?
A process can be defined as a structured set of activities aimed at achieving an objective or result. The objective may vary depending on the situation, but common ones include increasing revenue, reducing costs, and improving customer experience.
In a business setting, a process is a sequence of activities that starts with one or more inputs and transforms them into outputs. In simple words, it can be described as “a road map” from where you are currently to your goals.
Although the term “business process” may sound imperialistic, it’s not meant to take over your job. It’s a tool to streamline your activities and share them with the rest of the company.
It’s not necessarily about automating everything. In many cases, a process is a well-defined manual path you follow to accomplish something. The only difference between a business process and the usual ones is that business processes are more structured and have been optimized for repeatability.
A business process is a set of activities that helps the organization achieve its objectives and strategic initiatives. A successful business process can help change or improve an organization’s performance in achieving its goals and contribute to organizational learning and flexibility.
Business processes are like a race, with the mission objective being to get from the starting line (the beginning) all of the way through until achievement time. There may be different parts of the process that need more attention than others, depending on what’s important in achieving success for a particular business endeavor.
The Difference Between Processes, Procedures, and Policies
A process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end. The business process is different from procedures in that it could be related to the client, the team, or even be cross-functional. The project manager should understand these three terms because they are all part of the project management life cycle.
The procedure is a documented, step-by-step process for performing specific tasks. Procedures are typically documents that ensure consistency in how something is done. Procedures cue in employees on what steps to take and what is expected of them. They usually do not include decision points, as these are best captured in policies.
Policies are documents that set out the principles that guide decision-making. It is a course or principle of action adopted by a business. They are clear statements of how an organization sets out to operate its business in order to manage risks inherent in its operations.
History of Business Process
The concept of a business process has been around for centuries. The first documented business process was by Adam Smith in the 1700s. He outlined the stages of production and how to improve them. Smith realized that when the division of labor is employed, the output of an individual can be increased by 240-fold. In Smith’s example, before his time, each man was performing all activities during the production process, which slowed down production. After the introduction of the division of labor, productivity increased. With just the application of existing knowledge, and no change in technique, efficiency increased.
According to Smith’s definition, division of labor is one of the major factors responsible for economic growth. It leads to increased specialization, improved techniques, and technological advancements.
When you think of the Industrial Revolution, it’s hard not to picture a dark and dirty factory floor. But what if you are told that one man helped revolutionize the industry through his principles of management?
His name is Frederick Winslow Taylor, an American engineer who worked during the early 20th century leading up until World War II when he first published The Principles of Scientific Management. His publication focused heavily upon standardization procedures as well as systematic training for employees within organizations.
This helped organizations better define their roles while also creating innovations such as time-motion studies or visual task optimization techniques such as Gantt charts, which were widely adopted throughout Europe, Russia, and other places around the globe. His work was so important that even NASA relied on it.
The late 20th century was a time of tremendous change for business, as organizations struggled to keep up with the ever-changing world around them. One concept that helped deal with this complexity was outsourcing. Peter Drucker coined it and maintained that companies tend to produce too many products and hire employees they don’t need when they could just outsource certain aspects of production and focus on a few products or services that they excel at.
Drucker focused much of his work on simplifying processes through decentralization. He defined “knowledge workers” as specialized workers whose main job is to “think for a living,” such as programmers, engineers, academics, editors, etc.
Another big development came when he revealed that knowledge workers would be the most valuable asset of a 21st-century organization. As Guthridge and Komm, et al., (2008) noted, “a single knowledge worker contributes three times more to the organizational profit than other workers.”
Chapter 2: Why Are Business Processes Important to Your Company?
Business processes are the main element of your company’s daily operations. These processes include everything from how employees dress to how they deal with customers, process orders, and take care of billing issues.
Benefits of Business Processes
There are many benefits associated with developing solid business processes, including:
- Eliminating rework, which can increase a company’s speed and accuracy in both services rendered and product quality.
- Producing higher quality products and services, saving the company money in the long run.
- Improving customer service by communicating more effectively with customers about items they are interested in purchasing or processes, such as return policies and procedures. This allows companies to maintain customers, reducing the need for marketing to and acquiring new customers. Areas that could benefit from improved processes could include sales, finance, operations, and customer service.
Business processes are the guiding mechanisms that help a company communicate to customers and employees by setting out task steps and deadlines. They can be automated to ensure the most efficient flow of information and tasks to achieve a specific goal. The workplace is changing and optimizing processes are an important part of extracting more value from your staff.
How these routine business activities are carried out can make a huge difference in whether they benefit or harm the health of your organization. Nowadays, many business people are opting for information technology to help them automate their processes. But even if you consider automation as one of the important elements of your business process management strategy, you should not neglect other factors that also play an important role in determining whether these routines will be beneficial or detrimental to your company’s overall success.
When it comes to business process improvement, you can’t simply rely on technology to get the job done. You need to have a clear understanding of how your company operates and what specific areas need improvement. Once you know where your business needs help, you can then begin looking for the right tools and technologies to make the necessary changes.
One key factor that’s often overlooked in business process management is communication. This element is important because it helps you gather feedback from all of your staff members, not just those who directly handle customer service issues. With this information, you’ll be able to identify areas that need improvement and the changes that are needed for these business processes to work more efficiently.
If you want to make your company more successful, you need to have a good understanding of business processes and how they work. Only then will you be able to make the necessary changes to improve your organization’s performance.
It’s essential that companies invest in their business processes as it will only aid their long-term success. The key is being able to measure what areas are effective or not so you can refine them for success.
The Key Elements of an Effective Business Process
The key element of an effective business process is understanding the relevance and importance of each step in the process. The following factors need to be taken into consideration for optimum results.
Make It Concise
- Don’t include unnecessary steps or tasks that don’t contribute to meeting the goal of the process.
- Make it easy to follow. Use clear, concise instructions and organize the steps in a logical order.
- Include all required information. Be sure to include all the necessary details to help users follow the process, such as contact information, required forms, and so on.
- Use a standard format. If possible, use a standard format for all the documents and forms associated with the process. This will make it easier for people to follow the steps.
Use Simple Language
Use simple, easy-to-understand language. People should not need a degree in business to be able to follow the steps. Make sure the language used is easily comprehended.
Show the Big Picture
Include a diagram or flowchart that shows the overall process. This will help people understand the steps involved and how they are related to one another. Let them understand the ultimate aim of the process.
The process should be self-explanatory. This means that there shouldn’t be any extra information needed to explain the steps. Everything that is required should already be contained within the document or flowchart, as well as all other related documents and forms.
Make It Teachable
A good business process forms the basis of training and is shared with others.
Give clear instructions. Make the process easy to understand for people who haven’t been exposed to it before. Provide a detailed explanation of how to follow each step, including any necessary training materials.
Include any videos, images, and audio that help to explain the process. The use of multimedia helps to ensure that the process is easily followed by all people. It also ensures retention.
Chapter 3: How to Write a Business Process
Writing a business process is done in stages. It begins with the initiation phase, where the need for a new process is identified. The design phase follows, where the process is planned and designed in detail. The implementation phase is next, where the new process is put into action. The operation phase is where the process is used to produce value for the business. The final phase is the retirement phase, where the process is discontinued, replaced, or revamped.
- Identify your goals
Business process analysis is the process of breaking down the activities and processes in a company to determine how to optimize, measure, and improve them. This is done by identifying how work flows from one activity to another and understanding the needs of all employees involved.
To do business process analysis, you first need to understand your current processes. You’ll need to list all activities, identify the various stakeholders and roles, and put all this information into a diagram. Next, you’ll want to brainstorm solutions for improvements or fixes. Finally, you’ll need to test the new or improved process against your existing processes and results to see if the proposed solution is better than your old system.
When you’re done with this, you might release that information as a business process map. You could then construct dashboards and other tools to commit your work to action. For example, you could use visualization software to create charts and graphs showing the movement of customers through each step in your processes. You could also create scorecards for different types of transactions so that managers can keep track of performance throughout the year.
Business process analysis can be used to create new business processes, improve on existing processes, or both. It’s typically used for larger projects and business-critical systems. It was first made popular in the 1980s in Japan and has since become a growing field of study and development.
Before starting the project, it is wise to identify what you want to achieve with your process. This will guide how you look at different solutions and will define which flaws are important enough that they need to be eliminated (and thus become requirements).
The key questions here are:
- What problems shall we solve?
- What opportunities shall we act on?
- What are our goals?
- Are the identified goals realistic and achievable?
- How will we measure success?
- Create a plan
Business process mapping (BPM) is the visualization of a business process. It can help organizations improve their performance by identifying and improving bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Mapping a process can also help identify areas where improvements can be made, such as adding more staff or automation.
Processes may be mapped for various reasons, including identifying defects and improving efficiency. Mapping a process can help identify unnecessary steps or bottlenecks that are slowing down the entire system. For example, if a company conducts surprise audits.
After having chosen the focus of the BPM—for example, a specific process or organizational unit—one begins to analyze it to determine its order and dependencies. The next step in this analysis is to create an overview or map that shows these steps, including all data flows involved. This map usually consists of several sub-maps, each focusing on one specific step or sub-process. The final step is to validate the analysis findings by seeking feedback from all involved parties.
Having established your goals, it is time to create a plan detailing how you will achieve them.
The questions you should ask yourself during this phase are:
- What are the necessary steps?
- How long will it take?
- Is there enough budget for the project?
- Which activities do we need to monitor continuously and which just occasionally?
- Could the plan change during the project due to new insights or risks that were not included in our original plan but can no longer be excluded?
- Could resources become unavailable?
- Create tasks based on company goals
Business process management (BPM) is the application of knowledge, methods, and tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes. It is a holistic management approach that aligns all aspects of an organization with the goals of the business.
BPM can be used to improve any process in an organization, from strategic planning to customer service. The goal of BPM is to make sure that all processes are aligned with the strategic goals of the business, and that they are efficient and effective.
BPM involves the use of a variety of tools and techniques, including process modeling, process improvement methods, process management software, and process monitoring tools.
Examples of companies that have used BPM include:
P&G’s e-marketing process includes BPM methods to rapidly improve the return on investment of online marketing activities by evaluating proposals, selecting partners, and providing effective reports.
The goal of Siemens business process outsourcing plan is to reduce costs by driving efficiency through mechanization and standardization. The use of BPM practices led to a 10% reduction in fixed costs per transaction while increasing the number of business processes.
Asset management companies (such as Wells Fargo Asset Finance) use BPM software to automate existing manual process workflows, which has given them greater visibility into what is happening with their customers’ assets.
Using BPM for new business projects ensures that these projects are aligned with the company’s business strategy. BPM-supported strategies are often more effective, as they can leverage all of an organization’s resources for optimal impact.
BPM provides a framework to better understand how processes work together to support organizational goals. It enables managers to focus their energy on improving the performance of key processes rather than on managing individual tasks and events.
During this phase, you should create individual tasks that will help you reach the end goals of your process.
You can do this by answering these questions:
- Which activities are necessary to reach each goal?
- What resources (e.g., people, equipment) are needed for each activity?
- Do we need to link any tasks to each other?
- Are any activities related to each other? When are they done to each other?
- Assign tasks to departments or individuals
Now that you have a good overview of all the tasks related to your project, it is time to assign them to specific departments or individuals.
You should ask yourself:
- Who will be responsible for each task?
- What are the dependencies between tasks?
- How much work is involved in each task?
- Is everyone on board with their assigned tasks?
- Are there any risks associated with the tasks?
- Test run the process
Business process simulation is a tool designed to recreate the steps in a business process and show how each step might affect another step. It is especially valuable in identifying and removing bottlenecks or sources of delay or unreliability.
Business process simulation can be quite useful for optimizing processes, showing where the workload might build up, and uncovering potential points of failure.
It is worth defining what is meant by the term “bottleneck.” A bottleneck is a narrow point or restriction in a process, where the flow of things can build up and become stuck. Bottlenecks are sometimes referred to as “stop motions” and can be either physical or psychological. For example, one company was having difficulty filling orders because their packing process was too time-consuming for their number of employees. Although the packaging machines were capable of packing much more quickly, the machines were not being operated at maximum efficiency. When a process is physically bottlenecked, there is a physical restriction to the amount of flow. When it is psychologically bottlenecked, there may be no physical restriction to flow, but people are not working at maximum efficiency.
Business process simulation can be applied before an innovation is designed or implemented. For example, the software development tool called DSDM organizes a project into business use cases (BUS). A business use case defines how a user will interact with the product to achieve some goal. Business process simulation can be used to help refine the BUS or to identify potential problems. For example, in a warehouse full of computer screens, an inventory system that is too slow could easily be pooled over several computers instead of using a single computer to serve many orders.
This phase is important because you can identify and solve problems in an early stage that would be much more costly if they occurred when the process was already in full-scale operation.
You should ask yourself:
- Does our process work?
- Do we have all the necessary resources to start it?
- Do we have a plan if something goes wrong during testing?
- How many tests shall we do and what input data will we use for each test?
- Do the results of our tests match our expectations (e.g., in terms of timing, resources used)?
- How can we improve the results?
- Launch the new business process
Business process documentation is a well-known business practice of documenting and controlling the flow of work. It is also one of the most important practices for creating accurate and beneficial documents for your company. These are often seen as plans that provide an outline for how to carry out and handle tasks on a day-to-day basis. Plus it provides all the steps that are involved in the process, who is assigned to them, and deadlines for each.
Documents that fall under this category of business process documentation include operations manuals, staff job cards, standard operating procedures, and more. These documents are very important and businesses should do everything they can to ensure they work efficiently and accurately so there is no room for complication.
For example, one of the most important business processes in any company is customer service. It is a process that should be carefully documented so everyone in the company knows how to deal with customers.
Business process documentation can help to minimize delays and disruptions, maximize work productivity and organization, and ensure accurate results. It can also prevent mistakes by identifying areas of uncertainty.
Each task or activity needs to be written down in detail before being carried out. This helps when you are completing paperwork for employees or you want to know exactly what is meant by each requirement for a website’s content production guidelines. This can also help when you are selling items on an e-commerce website, writing documents for web applications, or even just writing content.
The descriptions and instructions should be detailed yet concise so that each task is clearly defined with the least amount of confusion.
The documentation should be sequential and well organized to allow efficient access and easy retrieval of the information. Tasks that are related need to be grouped. This makes it easier for workers to find specific tasks or steps they may need to carry out.
While you are still in the implementation phase, it is important to keep up with monitoring the results. This means checking whether things like resource requirements, costs, delivery times, or quality indicators are still met by your business process.
You should ask yourself:
- Have our goals changed?
- Are there any improvements necessary for this process now that it has been put into action?
- What could go wrong?
- What are the risks and how can we mitigate them?
- How will we know if the process is successful?
- Record its success
Once the process has been successfully implemented it is important to keep track of its success rate.
You should ask yourself:
- What percentage of our goals have we achieved?
- What are the areas where we need to improve?
- Which steps of the process are causing problems?
- Are there any unforeseen problems that have arisen?
- How can we further improve our process?
- Revamp and repeat
Business process improvement (BPI) is the application of techniques and tools to optimize and improve the performance of business processes. It can help to improve quality, efficiency, effectiveness, and agility. Business process improvement is a systematic, top-down approach to improving a business or a part of a business process. Business process improvement takes into account the customer requirements and applies tools and techniques that can improve the performance of an organization’s processes.
BPI involves examining all aspects of a process to identify improvements. It uses Six Sigma and many other improvement methodologies to accomplish this. Six Sigma helps reduce the number of defects in the process by over six sigma levels. Another tool is the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) methodology.
Business process improvement occurs on three levels:
- Operational BPI
- Transactional BPI
- Strategic BPI
Operational business process improvement includes various methodologies that are used to improve the day-to-day operations of a company, including lean Six Sigma. These methods help to reduce waste in existing processes, improving efficiency and saving time and money that can be allocated elsewhere.
Transactional BPI is used to improve business-to-business transactions, the flow of information and systems within a company. Most companies will have some form of transactional BPI in place with the use of business intelligence software, which provides information from day-to-day activities.
Strategic BPI is where processes are measured using balanced scorecards or other performance metrics to ensure they are aligned with business objectives. This may also identify opportunities for process improvement.
Some notable companies that have used BPI include Microsoft, Dell, and Google.
Microsoft used BPI to transition from client services being a cost center to a profit generator. Hundreds of millions have been saved as a result of the process improvements that were made.
Dell used BPI as part of its supply chain strategy, earning its recognition as one of the best supply chain companies in the world.
Google used BPI to increase revenue per click by 96% and reduce customer acquisition costs by nearly four times. By reducing the number of steps in its processes, it has seen significant gains in inefficiency.
At some point, your process will need to be revised since it’s not long-term viable. It might be that the project is no longer delivering its initial benefits or that new technologies have emerged and changed the game.
You should ask yourself:
- How has our business environment changed?
- How do changes in the business environment affect our business?
- What is different since the last time we looked at this process?
- How can our new goals be achieved with a modified business process?
- Can we improve our existing process to meet the new goals?
- Do we need to add new steps or activities that didn’t exist when the original plan was made?
- Did any new risks materialize? How were they mitigated?
- What was the overall success rate of the revised process?
- How can we make sure that the success rate stays high?
The steps above provide a general guideline on how to manage your business processes. However, every business is different and so are the processes required to run it successfully. You need to tailor the steps to fit your specific needs and make sure that everyone involved is on board with the plan. With continuous monitoring and tweaking, you can ensure that your business processes are always up-to-date and meet your goals.
Chapter 4: Examples of Business Processes According to Industry
A business process can be classified into one of three types: operational, management, or support.
Operational processes are the day-to-day activities that keep a business running. These include tasks such as processing orders, delivering products, and handling customer service inquiries.
- Order processing is the process of sorting, picking, packing, and delivering items to consumers. It is only considered complete when the item ordered has been delivered to the customer.
- Product delivery can either make or mar the organization. It is necessary to deliver items to customers on time and in great shape. This will improve the organization’s reputation and retain its customers.
- Customer service is a set of operations that a company carries out to satisfy its customers. Everyone in the organization has to be involved in customer service to provide customers with a completely coherent service.
Management processes are used to make decisions that affect the overall direction of the business. These include tasks such as setting goals, budgeting, and forecasting future sales.
Examples of management business processes include:
- Strategic planning
- Resource allocation
- Marketing campaigns
Support processes are essential for supporting the other two types of processes. Examples include human resources, legal affairs, and procurement.
Examples of support business processes include:
- Hiring new employees
- Maintaining tax records
- Obtaining office supplies
The business process is widely used in a variety of industries for various purposes. For example, medical offices go through a business process to provide patients with quality care. Employees are trained on the job to follow the process efficiently.
Since the business processes can be used in other industries, it is helpful to be acquainted with how they use different processes in order to help your own company or organization.
In the manufacturing industry, the business process is used to schedule and arrange the fabrication of the product. The process begins with a request for a quote, which is followed by an order. This helps the company deliver products to its customers as they are requested. The process continues with invoicing and shipping the product to make sure that it arrives at its destination on time.
The medical industry uses business processes when they need to set up a schedule for patients who need physical check-ups regularly to prevent any health issues from getting worse. Doctor’s office staff also use business processes to make an appointment for an ill patient. This is to make sure that the patient gets immediate care from the doctor once they arrive at the office. There are many things that a medical practice must do regularly to maintain its reputation; this includes sending out letters and reminders, scheduling appointments, and so forth.
In the finance industry, the business process is used to maintain a budget and make sure that funds are being used in the right ways. Some financial transactions like a loan or a credit card charge can be easily tracked if they are done following a company’s process;, doing so will have an impact on the bottom line.
Additionally, companies use business processes when it comes time to review their profit or loss goals for the year. This helps with planning and executing a budget better than if there was no set target for the year.
Real Estate Industry
In the real estate industry, the business process is used to ensure that listings get posted on the internet as soon as they are available. Listings are posted online as well as in directories, which not only helps with visibility but also helps with traffic to the agent’s website.
Business processes are also used by many real estate companies when it comes time to market their properties. This is because a business needs to have a solid marketing plan for its real estate business to do well.
Business processes are used in the travel industry to help clients experience exceptional customer service. It is a very competitive industry and travel agents want to make sure that they stand out from the rest. This is why they use business processes to help their customers in booking their travel plans more efficiently.
Document Management Industry
In the document management industry, business processes are used for managing documents for their clients. They have internal processes that must be followed when creating documents for clients as well as receiving the documents from each client so there will be no confusion about whose document is whose later on.
In the procurement industry, business processes are used to make sure that items are ordered the right way and delivered to their destinations correctly. The process helps with inventory control as well as making sure that the items get sent out to their destinations on time.
In the advertising industry, business processes are used to promote their products and services while also showing how they can help their customers. This is why they use channels like social media as a way to reach out to potential customers.
In the security industry, business processes are used to make sure that the company’s security system is up to date with the latest technology available, which will help them in protecting all their customers. They have different business processes for handling a security break-in and also for monitoring their alarm systems when there are no active alarms.
In the aviation industry, business processes are used to help with transfers from one country to another. They use business processes when traveling to make sure that there are no problems once the plane lands.
In the education industry, business processes are used for specific events such as teacher training, curriculum updates, and other related tasks. The business process is kept updated so that it can be used by all members and associates of a particular company.
Business processes are also used by many companies as a part of their human resources department. This is because they must have certain requirements in place to allow their employees to do their jobs well. For example, they have processes they go through when hiring new employees as well as terminating the ones who don’t fit the organization’s goals.
Many companies use business processes to make it easier for customers to purchase their products as quickly and easily as possible. This is why they are always searching for new ways to improve their processes even further. They want customers to be able to contact them at any time if there is an issue or if they have questions about how the process works.
All of these examples show how business processes can be used in many industries so that companies can succeed at what they do best. It helps improve the company’s efficiency while also making it easier for customers to do business with them.
Consider using business process examples in your services or product line of work to improve how you present your brand or company in the market. The concept can be used for different purposes, as long as it gives a company an advantage to help them outpace its competition.
Chapter 5: The Need to Upgrade Your Business
A recent survey by Gartner of over 2,000 CIOs revealed the need for businesses to upgrade their business in 2022 by being composable. Business composability is the mindset and technologies that enable organizations to adapt quickly to changing business needs. While we know we need processes for everything from ordering a hamburger to implementing software updates, few employees understand how this works. There is a growing need to upgrade your business.
How do business processes help to streamline your businesses?
Business processes help you streamline your businesses by building a process and updating it when needed to ensure your efficiency. Developing effective business processes is something that every business owner should prioritize. There are different types of processes: those designed to make you more profitable, such as supply chain logistics; those designed to reorganize your workflow, such as business management; and ones that are focused on internal improvements, such as IT staffing decisions.
Business processes are important to people in every industry. In most companies, you will find that the leader of the company is tasked with being the primary writer of all business processes, but he cannot know everything about all areas of the business. Some functions fall under different departments. The owner should be able to use the business processes to manage all his employees so that they execute their duties effectively no matter which department they work within.
Using business processes can’t work well without good communication between employees who are working in various departments. Employees can be directed to do certain tasks by using written documents or verbal instructions. However, sharing processes in this way needs a lot of consideration because employees may not understand the procedures. This is why it is important to use professional business process managers to guide the development of important business processes.
When it comes to setting up a new business, some processes are best left as they are while others need to be modified and updated over time. You must ensure that all employees, even if they are from different departments, have a similar understanding of what is expected. When you streamline your business by using the right kind of business process, then you can make sure that you build efficiency in your business.
What are some ways to manage your company’s workflow during a lockdown or other unexpected outside event?
The COVID-19 pandemic came as a rude shock to the world. It has led to a deeper introspection on what needs to be done beforehand to manage unexpected outside threats to business survival.
Taking the time to write effective business processes is one of those aspects that are often overlooked because they seem mundane and inconsequential to the bigger picture. But without them, even your best-laid plans can go to waste, as was witnessed during the first lockdown when half of New York’s hospitals were forced to close down because their staff couldn’t get into work.
It is clear that the next time, business processes need to be non-negotiable.
A recent international online survey conducted by Forbes found out that 62% of workers want a hybrid work environment as compared to the 23% and 15% who want a full-time office or full-time remote arrangements.
But while they are in the process of implementing changes, not enough effort has gone into developing business processes and understanding how these processes will cope with a pandemic. This is a major oversight as business process changes can make or break an organization’s ability to respond to internal or external threats effectively.
It is therefore of utmost importance for all businesses to have processes in place that will ensure the smooth running of their organizations during uncertainties such as the lockdown. Also, don’t forget that a lack of process resiliency will also affect how well you can respond during a lockdown.
Automating Your Business Processes
Business process automation is a software-based technique that automates or streamlines business processes. Business automation can include several related activities. Automation is the process of getting work done with limited to no human interaction, as opposed to manual labor. Business process automation is used by companies of all sizes to help increase efficiency while reducing costs. Automating business processes can be helpful in some ways, such as speeding up processes, tracking records and activities, improving workflows, and increasing flexibility. Business process automation can help companies improve quality, service, and worker morale.
Business process automation software automatically performs repetitive tasks as they are completed online. Some automated systems are fully programmed using rules-based software platforms that allow administrators to customize the system’s functionality. Other systems rely on marketing companies to provide customized software designed to specific business needs.
Business process automation works by monitoring users’ progress as they work. When it recognizes that a certain set of conditions has been met, the system automatically takes the next step in completing a task or workflow. For example, if an office manager wants to enroll new employees in a company’s healthcare benefits package, the office manager would initiate the process from an online portal and then let the automated system monitor employees’ progress toward completion.
The business process software market is an ever-changing field, and it’s hard to figure out what features to look for. Below you will find some of the key things to look out for in purchasing a business process software for your company.
While many companies have attempted to break into the market, there are only a few that have succeeded. The reason is that they have put their unique twist on their technologies. For instance, QuickBooks has built its entire technology on a well-established database that allows it to seamlessly sync with other accounting software. What this means is that they won’t be caught off guard by changes in accounting and sales software.
So, with all these different companies racing to produce the best software, you can’t help but wonder which ones will make it through the competition.
You need a reliable company that won’t disappear overnight and leave you scrambling for a solution. These companies with a history of long-term support policies ensure that in times of need, you will still be able to receive great help from your software. The best companies in the market will always try to respond to problems with their products as quickly as possible.
Easy to use
There’s no point in having sophisticated technology if you can’t figure out how to use it. Therefore, you must be able to learn the ins and outs of your new software with minimal effort. You don’t want a complicated task that takes hours of training and downloading documents before you can get anywhere with your company’s new system. If your software has too many features, it will guarantee that you won’t ever use them. This is bad because you will have paid for these features, and you won’t get any use out of them. Therefore, the software you purchase must allow you to access all the information you need as quickly as possible.
Complements other software
When you have a solid set of computer and software tools, you will find that it makes your life easier. It is no good trying to produce a perfect product if you need a separate piece of software for each task. For example, if you have a great accounting software package, your business can use that as the basis for your sales and marketing packages.
The best software will be able to coexist with other software perfectly. This is because it has been built to work perfectly with them. A company will also get more use out of their new system as its functions are used as complements to other software applications.
Of course, it’s no good having a great piece of software if it costs an arm and a leg to buy. However, you’re also going to find that your business process software will generate extra revenue for you. Therefore, the extra money you spend on the software should give you more than what you originally put down for it. Therefore, we recommend finding a company that will get your best value possible.
Fast and efficient
A business process software must have the ability to download and install quickly. Be it for setting up, testing, or for an eventual update, you need everything to be as fast as possible. If it can’t do this, then it’s not reliable. The company will have no way of knowing if their new system is working properly until they try it out on a smaller scale. This isn’t something that any company wants to deal with.
You don’t want a simplistic system that doesn’t give you the features you need to make your life easier. You need to be able to organize as much as you possibly can with your business process software. This will give you the edge in an increasingly competitive market and will save you time and money that you would otherwise spend on labor and resources.
In the US, business owners pay thousands of dollars in taxes each year. Therefore, you can’t afford to be spending a lot of money on unnecessary software. The software shouldn’t be overpriced either.
While there are still many companies that prefer to run their business from their desktop computers, there are also quite a few who prefer the benefits of cloud technology. This can be because their business is too busy for them to give much attention to information storage and maintenance, or because they don’t want to maintain the servers on their own. Either way, it’s always a good idea to have an option of cloud technology available.
Cloud technology means that the customer can use their software without needing to know much about the technical aspects of running it.
An article by Forbes states that cloud technology gives customers flexibility and security, as well as being a lot cheaper than trying to set up your own servers. Even though they say that it can be difficult to migrate business needs from one system to another, they still recommend using cloud-based services if you are considering it.
Chapter 6: How to Improve Your Business Processes with SweetProcess
It’s never too late for businesses to start taking documentation seriously. Documentation can help you make your company more efficient, and it provides a clear map of the steps in any business process. There are many benefits to using business process documentation software like SweetProcess.
Have you ever had to hire a new employee and then spent days or weeks documenting all of your company’s processes? It can be time-consuming, tedious, and frustrating.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! SweetProcess makes documentation easy by allowing you to create beautiful process maps in minutes. You can even get started for free today with our 14-day trial.
With SweetProcess, you don’t need an IT team or expensive consultants. Just sign up for a free trial and start creating process documentation immediately. Our intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows anyone at your company to map out their workflows quickly and easily without any training required. And because our software is cloud-based, everyone at your organization will be able to collaborate seamlessly from anywhere in the world—no matter how big or small your business is. We also offer 24/7 support so if you have questions along the way just give us a call anytime day or night—we love talking shop over coffee (or tea).
Let’s take a look at what other companies have benefitted from using SweetProcess.
The owner of MiPA, Emma Mills talks about how they use SweetProcess to streamline their business processes. She was scouting for software that could handle the workflow of her growing business, and one she could use to offer a personalized service to each of her customers. Then she found SweetProcess. With SweetProcess, MiPA now enjoys:
- Improved business processes.
- Seamless employee onboarding and training.
- Centralized knowledge base.
They now operate their services seamlessly, and Emma describes the ability to handle the communication feat of their business as the game-changer.
Another great company that found SweetProcess useful is Turkstra Lumber. Jamie Ramsden, the business intelligence and lean Six Sigma champion, describes how their company was able to get the most out of their employees by creating seamless business processes. As they sought to be more strategic and sophisticated in their service delivery, they found SweetProcess, and have since then been grateful for it. They can now boast:
- Effective documentation.
- Centralized knowledge base.
- Employee efficiency.
- Team collaboration.
This has improved their workflow efficiency and allowed them to focus more on providing great service to their customers.
Ted Fogliani, the CEO of ShipCalm, discusses how SweetProcess has facilitated growth and employee efficiency in his organization. Ted was familiar with using workflow systems, but every software he laid his hands on had one shortfall or another, until he discovered SweetProcess. ShipCalm now enjoys seamless employee training and onboarding, business process documentation, employee and customer knowledge bases, and a shared user experience.
Your organization can also enjoy what MiPA, Turkstra Lumber, and ShipCalm enjoy. All you need to do is to sign up for a free 14-day trial without using your credit card and you will get hooked.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, but we hope you found the information useful and that it will help your business. If there is anything else you would like to know about our company or how we can improve your processes, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. In addition, our Business Process Documentation Guide is at your disposal for free download. Why not take advantage of it? Simply sign up for a free trial account today and start building out those foundational documents!