Effective business process management makes your digital transformation more successful.
Digital transformation, or the modernization of business practices, has significant advantages. Dated legacy systems are frequently based around physical paper forms that provide no data unless they're manually counted. The heart of a digital transformation is the digitization of this data so that organizations can put it to immediate and effective use, and it frequently involves implementing software to organize and make sense of the information.
A digital transformation also involves a shift in thinking that prioritizes technology and innovation. With tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, reams of data can be processed in the blink of an eye, providing insights into how an organization can better meet customer needs. Often, this optimization is a product of changes in business process management, or BPM.
Even the most basic organizations function through processes. There might be a process for acquiring leads, a process for vetting them, and a process for making a sale. After you convert a prospect, there's a process for invoicing the customer, one for fulfilling the order, and one for delivering the product. There are also strictly internal processes, such as those triggered when employees ask for time off or request tech support. BPM refers to the management of these procedures, such as ensuring they are effective and determining how to combine them in the most efficient way.
When implemented effectively, BPM helps organizations streamline their day-to-day processes, making work more efficient. But implementing BPM or other digital transformations without full buy-in from your team can lead to a lack of teamwork or other disadvantages. Be cautious to avoid these pitfalls, or your company might lose time and funds.
If a digital overhaul is on the horizon for your organization, use that opportunity to determine whether implementing a BPM initiative is right for you. If it is, work to implement it at the same time as your transformation. BPM used to be a one-and-done event, but it has become a constant process in many of today's most successful companies, and it goes hand in hand with a digital shift. To maximize the effect of your transformation with an eye toward BPM, follow these three steps.
1. Educate department heads about BPM.
BPM is commonly confused with project management, so your leadership team members might write it off as a low-priority task. In truth, the aim of BPM is to identify and optimize the repetitive, predictable processes necessary for a business to function. Take the time to explain to department heads exactly what BPM is and why it's important.
You can use the classic BPM example – all the processes that need to be accomplished from the moment a customer orders a product to the delivery of that product – to illustrate your point. All too often, these processes are unmanaged, repetitive and confusing. Let your company's leaders know that updating your BPM strategy or solution is a chance to make work more efficient for everyone involved.
2. Have department heads map out their own processes.
Once your organization's leaders are on board with your plan to improve your BPM, have the head of each department map out the current processes they and their employees use to complete their tasks. When those maps or lists are complete, work together to determine whether any of those processes have become irrelevant or redundant.
It's important to remove unnecessary processes whenever possible. Digitization is also a great opportunity to streamline processes inside a department where they might have formerly overlapped, and one of the end goals should be automating arduous manual processes to free up valuable employee time.
3. Analyze processes essential for digital transformation.
As you and your leadership team review your existing processes, you'll likely come to the realization that many departments request the same data repeatedly – and not just customer data. Digitizing essential processes will also allow your business to identify and remove bottlenecks in productivity.
For example, in the onboarding process, HR, accounting and IT may all ask your new hire for information. If your existing processes involve turning in that information on paper, it likely needs to be passed around from department to department, meaning several people are doing the same work. After a digital transformation, however, these departments can simply share the information after it's been collected once.
A digital transformation certainly involves technology, but the process should include far more than just buying new software or equipment. For a digital transformation to be effective, it must start with a cultural leap that includes a thorough examination and overhaul of present business processes. Incorporating BPM initially is what makes a digital shift effective; incorporating it continuously will make your efforts truly transformative.