How your business works matters. With competition at an all-time high and emerging technologies transforming industries from the ground up, taking stock of day-to-day processes and operations is essential to sustainable continuity and growth.
So, how do we achieve this? One way is through business process innovation – a concept whereby continuous improvement drives efficiency, cost-cutting, and growth throughout your organisation.
Here, we’re taking an in-depth look at process innovation, showing you how it works, what its benefits are, and how to implement it as part of your broader management strategy.
- What is Business Process Innovation?
- What Are the Benefits of Process Innovation?
- Planning Business Process Innovation: Why It’s Important and Things to Consider
- A Final Word on Business Process Innovation and ERP Software
Business process innovation is the introduction of new technologies, methodologies, or strategies within an organisation. It’s designed to improve and enhance operations, whether by solving problems, resolving pain points, or improving the efficiency of day-to-day processes.
The concept of process innovation isn’t new, but in recent years, many businesses have adopted such a method as part of their broader management strategy. This formalised approach has developed in the wake of digital transformation, with rapidly emerging technologies and evolving techniques requiring businesses to adapt to changing industry and operational trends.
Due to the game-changing nature of business process innovation, such a strategy requires careful consideration and planning before any new techniques, technologies or best-practice guidelines are implemented. Successful process innovation hinges on competent onboarding and robust buy-in, with all personnel up to speed and prepared for the incoming changes.
Generally, business process innovation differs from other forms of innovation (e.g., incremental innovation) in that it seeks to make sweeping and lasting change to how a business operates. This is why planning and execution are vital, with process innovation capable of transforming not only how a business operates, but its culture, structure, and long-term ambitions too.
Business process innovation can bring a multitude of benefits, with the potential to positively influence both individual performance and the fortunes of the wider business. Indeed, such innovation is only brought onboard when such benefits are accounted for and guaranteed, so business leaders can feel assured that the right steps are being taken to ensure continuity, enhancement, and growth.
Below, we consider some of the key benefits of business process innovation.
Efficiency and Performance Improvements
Without question, one of the greatest benefits associated with business process innovation is the efficiency improvements it can afford your operations. Whether in manufacturing, logistics, procurement or marketing and sales; introducing innovative new processes can lead to marked increases in efficiency throughout your organisation.
Process innovation enhances efficiency in a couple of ways. First, it seeks to automate processes and controls that are resource-heavy, freeing up time that can be reallocated within individual business functions. Second, it solves problems and irons out pain points, accelerating workflows and making day-to-day tasks simpler.
For many companies, the main driver of business innovation centres around cost reduction. With greater efficiency and resource utilisation, a reduction in cost is a welcome by-product – helping you curtail spending in specific areas of your operation.
Improved efficiency and reduced expenditure not only mean more bottom-line profit; it’s a great enabler for growth. Reallocate recovered costs to new areas of your business, and you can launch new ventures or invest in the latest technologies to push your business further.
Continuity and Competitiveness
Whether it’s part of your formal business strategy or not, innovation is a prerequisite of the modern industry landscape. As digital transformation accelerates and disruptive start-ups continue to emerge, businesses can easily be left on the backfoot if they fail to innovate in line with industry best practice.
Not only can business process innovation help you maintain a competitive edge, it’s also an effective means of ensuring long-term continuity and business health. Efficiency, growth, and a productive workforce are all signs of good business wellbeing, and innovation can play a part in supporting all three.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits of business innovation. The advantages you can expect will depend on the scope of the innovations implemented, as well as your industry and business size.
Effective business process innovation doesn’t happen naturally; nor does it happen without the appropriate planning, implementation, and onboarding. As touched on earlier, process innovation requires major changes to how your business operates, so a considered approach is vital to get the results you’re looking for.
Here, we offer a few practical tips on planning for business process innovation.
Assess the Competition
What are your competitors doing well and what are they doing poorly? Have any new businesses emerged within your industry that have broken the mould and taken a different approach?
Getting the measure of your competitors is a vital step in business innovation. Not only can it inspire you to embrace solutions you may not have considered, but it’s also an essential step in maintaining competitiveness and ensuring you don’t fall behind the market leaders.
Consider Market and Industry Trends
Digital transformation has triggered a period of rapid change within every sector, so there’s almost certainly new trends and developments that you have overlooked. Of course, you know your industry better than anyone, so be sure to stay abreast of the latest news and goings-on to ensure your business is ready to respond.
Use the insights this research throws up to inform your innovation strategy. How can the changes you make as an organisation help you adapt to changing market trends? Whether that means embracing remote working or introducing new technologies to your logistics chain; broader industry developments can have a big impact on how your business innovates.
Risk and Value-Assess Your Proposed Business Innovation Strategy
Making major changes to how your business operates can be daunting, so you need to be sure any innovations you introduce will bring tangible value. To do this, we propose risk assessing every element of your innovation strategy, listing the pros, cons and potential hiccups of all changes taking place within your business.
For example, how might introducing new technology within your sales team affect productivity and performance? In the short term, you may see a drop off as the team get used to the new programme, but with time the system should bring long-term value. Be mindful of the bigger picture and consider how risk balances with value.
Communicate with Personnel, Teams and Stakeholders
It’s crucial that you secure buy-in before proceeding with business innovation. Stakeholders, partners, teams, and individual personnel will want to hear about any prospective changes, and how new process innovation will affect their day-to-day work as well as the broader business.
Communicating your plans is essential to the smooth and efficient onboarding of new processes, innovations, and technologies. Within departments where roles may change as a result of innovation; clarity, transparency and an assured approach can help ease any disruption and anxiety surrounding the incoming innovations.
Successful business process innovation hinges on having the right tools and platforms to carry the business forward and maintain continuity. ERP software is particularly effective in this regard, offering modular applications and scalable functionality that can be customised in line with your changing business requirements.
At Intact, our Intact iQ ERP solution is an ideal partner for businesses seeking to innovate and enhance their operations. With the flexibility to grow alongside your company, our flagship ERP platform can accommodate continuous improvement and changing demands – giving you an indispensable portal through which to control every aspect of your evolving business.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to business process innovation, and that it helps you to think differently about the direction of your business. If you’d like to learn more about our ERP and business management software solutions, visit the homepage or call our team today via our contact page.