The Challenge of Business Process Improvement
Do you get overwhelmed or frustrated dealing with business process improvement? For all types of businesses, managing changing and growing information is a challenge. Dealing with multiple applications is complicated and inefficient. As a result, many business processes are not as orderly and convenient as they could or should be. Does this sound relatable?
So, to address this, it is important for businesses to take the time to analyze, assess and improve processes. Business Process Improvement (BPI) helps leaders of enterprises to lower costs, boost productivity, increase accuracy and support greater efficiency.
However, the approaches of BPI used yesterday will not work in the future. Trends including automation and skills shifts are propelling the future of work – and the future of opportunities for your organization.
You will help your organization be ready to capitalize on the future of BPI and get real results, if you anticipate key trends, including communication technologies, robotic process automation, adaptive case management and digital adoption platforms.
Four BPI Trends
For each business, the process of BPI will be different. And the task will not be static; rather the exercise should and will engage different methods to analyze what works, what doesn’t and what can be done to make things better.
As the nature and intent of BPI evolves, being aware of the following trends can help improve businesses and be aspects of analyzing your business.
Technologies for Better Collaboration
In the day-to-day of your work, who do you communicate with? Where are these partners, colleagues and clients located? Almost certainly, you’re relying on tech to connect with people scattered around different locations. Perhaps you’ve almost certainly felt annoyed at some point with technological hiccups disrupting communication.
As work will continue to develop through more diverse and spread-out teams, a new generation of technologies, and digital process platforms is necessary for business improvement. Effective and frictionless communication has a very strong impact on the success and bottom-line of a business. Additionally, teamwork and collaboration are important for all businesses, and communication technologies can support this and BPI.
There are several key trends now shaping collaboration for businesses and BPI. These include: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, tools for visual collaboration and data collaboration tools.
The benefits of communication technologies include supporting exchange of information in real-time, streamlining workflows, breaking down outdated silo’s, streamline workflows, creating better customer experiences and removing version-control issues.
Adaptive Case Management
Case management is an approach to help solve a business process where the sequence of events are not predictable and they determine the process, requiring that workers respond and select the appropriate next step. Adaptive case management (ACM) is flexible and modifying case management, where knowledge workers are supported in making dynamic human-centric decisions. The decision making process is not confined to rigid processes and definitions, freeing up business users. This allows users to apply their learned knowledge to unforeseen situations and amend business processes as needed.
As repetitive processes can increasingly be automated, ACM tools are emerging and evolving to help manage less structured and impromptu situations for the processes of knowledge workers. Soft skills, such as engaging effectively with colleagues and leadership, are critical as by 2030, two-third of all jobs will be occupations focused on soft skills. Supporting knowledge workers is an important aspect of improving business processes.
ACM places the needs of knowledge workers at the forefront (see Figure 2), and screens processes and information to support optimization. BPI is not rigid, and the inherently adaptive nature of ACM supports making unique improvements for every businesses’ unique needs.
As technology advances and the nature of work evolves, adaptive case management will increase as a trend for taking BPI to the next level.
Robotic Process Automation
BPI is being aided by new software. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software which can automate aspects of business and work. While BPI is a process, RPA is a tool to support that process.
What sets this software apart is the ability to mimic digital processes in the manner a human user would engage. For businesses and business process assessment, RPA necessitates two foundations to be a worthy investment.
There are great benefits of RPA to the business process. For example:
- Boosting employee morale – Supporting employees and freeing up some of their valuable time can help reduce frustrations and raise spirits.
- Saving money – Operating costs can be lowered through allowing a greater amount of items to be processed through a system.
- Higher quality and improved accuracy – Through increasing consistency, standardizing processes and greater compliance, RPA supports higher quality services.
- Better customer service – RPA can assist serving customers by reducing human error and freeing up human users for more personal connections.
- Repositioning resources – Shifting certain processes to robotics supports employees to allocate their time and expertise to other important duties.
All of these elements are part of business process improvement.
With a high enough volume, using RPA to automate business processes can lead to an ROI of up to 200 percent in the first year. Also, the processes must be repetitive with high predictability so they can be automated (see Figure 1). RPA opens the door for hyper-automation, where an organization can use both RPA tools in combination with digital adoption platform (DAP) to optimize processes from end to end. After the process of BPI, if hyper automation is deemed an achievable benefit, learning more about how this works is an advantage when undertaking new transformations.
Digital Adoption Platforms
Technology can be leveraged to optimize business processes; but, these outcomes rely on their effective use and adoption.
Digital adoption is the process using technology effectively to the greatest capacity and maximum value. Without this, introducing digital tools and technologies will not be successful.
Digital adoption platforms, which layer with another software to guide users, can be applied to the goals of BPI. BPI aims to identify areas of wasted efforts and reduce friction of business processes. Digital adoption platforms support the latter.
Making softwares and processes simpler and more accessible for users drives real, tangible results. Every day, the average employee wastes up to 1.8 hours each day just looking for the information necessary to do their job. During the process of BPI, your business will identify where, in particular, time is being ill-used or where employees can be better helped to be efficient and productive.
For example, digital adoption platforms, such as OnScreen, help users more easily train and use software, including SAP or any Enterprise Application that runs in a browser. In an average of less than half an hour, an OnScreen guide can be created and published to simply lead individual users to complete the tasks relevant for their jobs. As a result, the time to proficiency is accelerated and overall support costs are reduced.
With constant disruption and evolution in regards to technology, labor and industries, it is important that business processes continue to evolve and strive for greater efficiency. However, it can be intimidating to approach changing the status quo.
Getting a plan and using smart strategies for business process improvement can help you understand what needs to change, foster support and buy-in, get a plan, make changes and then review.
With smart strategies, it is just as important to be mindful of emerging trends relevant to business processes. Technologies to assist collaboration, adaptive case management and digital adoption platforms are all shaking up how business gets done.
With change comes opportunity and it’s important to get comfortable with business process improvement because continual change is necessary for success.