For digital transformation to be labelled a success, you need to ensure that the technology you adopt has a positive impact in the intended areas. And for this to happen, business process management is key i.e., the practice of studying, identifying, changing and monitoring business processes to create a more efficient and effective organisation.
Without process management, there’s a risk that any new software, such as an ERP system or new eCommerce website, will negatively impact your operations, driving changes in the wrong areas and making it difficult to ensure consistency and ROI.
In short, your processes should drive change and growth – not the technology, as it’s only the enabler. But how do you ensure this? And what strategies can you use to guarantee success?
In this post, we’re looking at business process management in greater depth, before highlighting the benefits of using workflow charts as part of your digital transformation strategy. Use the links below to navigate or read on for the complete guide.
- Why Business Process Management Matters
- When Should You Focus on Business Process Management?
- What to Include in a Business Process Management Map?
- How to Map Your Business Processes in a Workflow Chart
Robust and defined processes are a key asset of any business, allowing for efficient day-to-day operations and the pursuit of progress and growth. But handling and understanding business processes can be challenging, and it’s something that many businesses can slip up on when implementing a digital transformation strategy.
So, why is business process management important? And what can it offer?
Well, for starters, it’s a means of defining how you want your business to operate, both now and in the future. The processes you deploy will have significant sway over the pace, scope, and scale of your digital transformation, so it’s certainly something you want to nail down in the early phases of your software implementation.
Process management is about defining the direction of your business when onboarding new software. Consider how new tools and technology will affect your current operations, and how you envisage such platforms shaping your business in the future.
The more aligned your business’s structure, objectives, and long-term scope, the easier it will be to define a business process roadmap. And this is crucial, because having clearly-defined processes can contribute massively to the success of your digital transformation – ensuring your technology investment seamlessly aligns with your processes and operational infrastructure.
Most digital transformation projects comprise of three distinct phases: software selection, customisation and design, and implementation. So, at what point should you spend time defining and managing your business processes – the beginning or the end?
In an ideal world, business process management should happen in the first phase of digital transformation. That’s because the clearer we can be on operational structure and processes, the greater the outcomes will be when designing and implementing the technology to meet those requirements.
Of course, things are rarely that simple. Many brands lack the time, money, and resources to define business processes in the pre-design phase, so typically move to the next step – following budget approval – without first assessing the long-term viability of their processes and operations.
Thankfully, redefining your business processes during the design phase isn’t all bad. With budget approval out the way, you can focus on the elements of digital transformation that will be of most value to your organisation, customising different features and applications based on your unique requirements.
Not only that, but liaising with your software vendor at the design phase can be an effective way to take stock of your processes and operational structure. Their external input can highlight issues or pain points you may not have considered, which will help to streamline the software adoption phase.
Regardless of when you come to redefine your business processes, there are several key details you should look to accrue and categorise to give you the clearest vision of your operational make up.
First, you’ll need to segment your processes into two primary categories: core competencies and commodity processes.
Core competencies are the bread-and-butter processes of your organisation. They’re what make your business competitive and successful, and are typically unique to your operation. Think of things like customer experience, product innovation, or employee rewards programmes; anything that’s important to your business and makes it stand out.
Commodity processes, on the other hand, are all the things your business needs but that don’t necessarily define your offering. This includes things like purchase order processing, accounts payable, and other administrative duties. They’re the necessary processes that any business needs to operate successfully, but don’t shape or define an organisation.
When you’ve split your key processes into these two camps, you can further prioritise and segment day-to-day workflows to extract more detail. This is also when you’ll want to utilise workflow charts, which is among the simplest ways to present business process management.
To develop a prioritised map of your business processes, start by defining high-level processes. Then, work systematically through each of these processes from initiation to outcome.
At some point in the workflow, it will become clear when technology should come into play. Indeed, you may find that you can remove two or three steps from the process by utilising technology – and this is one of the key reasons why business process management is such a valuable asset when planning for digital transformation.
As touched on above, mapping business processes in a workflow chart is the simplest way to define activity and highlight where new digital technologies can fit into your operations. Such process maps are essentially flowcharts showing how a process takes shape on a macro level, giving you a detailed picture of how your business manages individual tasks day to day.
Of course, there are a range of tools that you can utilise to simplify business process management. Allowing you to create detailed, annotated workflows in an intuitive drag-and-drop setting, modern workflow software is ideal for organisations looking to define their business management processes with a high level of detail.
With a huge range of software options at your disposal, the hardest part of using workflow tools is choosing the right platform for your needs. To help, here are a few features to look out for:
- Collaborative – does the software allow for easy collaboration? Can individuals and teams jointly create a workflow chart in a single space? Collaboration is ideal when you need input from two or more team members.
- Customisable – your workflow charts need to be readily customisable, with intuitive functionality to allow you to map out every level of your process management hierarchy.
- Process efficiency testing – some applications, like Process Street, allow for process efficiency testing within your workflows. This is ideal at the design phase of digital transformation, giving you a platform through which to assess the efficacy of any changes you hope to implement with new technology.
For a full list of tried-and-tested business process management workflow solutions, take a look at this comprehensive software list from GetApp.
Need help redefining business processes as part of your digital transformation? Our expert team can help. With years of experience helping businesses leverage the latest management software, we can help you find the right solutions for your requirements. For more information, visit the homepage or click here to get in touch.