BPA: Out of whack business operations?

May 16, 2017

Did you know that around the world, about 56% firms are actively automating processes or plan to do so in the coming year as per a Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR)*? So why is it such a big deal? The numbers reveal a future where automation and human capital are both necessary for a company’s competitive streak no matter which industry we are talking about from Textiles, Food Services, Pharma or Healthcare. Digital maturity is now a key differentiator to outperform competition and why? Because of some common challenges such as:

  • The department executives struggle to manually compile and distribute reports on time and still face flak for errors in the reports.
  • The IT head is frustrated dealing with disparate applications within complex workflows that stubbornly refused to cooperate with the company’s legacy systems.
  • Manual processes in different departments lead to expensive delays and errors that no one was willing to take responsibility for.
  • Each department functions as an independent system and does not share information, which sometimes result in duplication of efforts.

If any of these scenarios is true in your organization, then it’s definitely time to bring in automation.

Identify out of whack business processes

To identify which business critical processes need a technology makeover, answer the following questions for each process. If the answer is yes for most of the questions, then automating the said business processes is the way to go.

  • Is this process a constant source of headache for you?
  • Is this process critical to your company’s goal?
  • Does this process have rote and repetitive tasks and could do with minimum human intervention?
  • Will introducing automated decision making make a significant improvement in process efficiency?
  • Does this process have a sizeable impact on the company’s customers?
  • Are the chances of successfully resolving and redesigning the process significantly high?
  • Is the scope and cost factor of this redesign within budget?
  • Is the process itself from dinosaur age or simply a matter of outdated technology?

Digital disruption? Get stakeholders on your side

IT heads, CIOs and business process heads have to fulfill the dual role of keeping a long term vision for the company and also ensure superior operational delivery standards within the organization. The members involved in business processes need to be made familiar with the benefit of using automation and doing away with manual methods. As more of the grunt work is handled by computers, human judgment and ingenuity will become further significant in a workflow process and hence in workflow management.

To bring around business, existing processes have to be made capable enough to deliver improved business objectives. One approach would be to re-use and optimize a business infrastructure which incorporates IT, people, equipment and resources. A company´s strategy, business processes and IT systems should be interconnected to remove them from their independent operating silos and bring in process efficiency.

Employees engaged in a work flow process need to know that in the end, it’s about sustaining business and staying ahead of the competition. And the way to go about the same is arming oneself with technology to evolve into a better version of oneself.

Why business outcomes should be aligned with your processes?

When processes are aligned with business strategy, process design and IT implementation, it automatically brings down the effort and time taken for output and the overall operating costs. So, if business strategy and process excellence have to be on the same page, a company’s business strategies need to be designed to be customer centric and should create optimal value for the customer through their work.

Without active participation from the workforce, a company cannot achieve much success no matter how grand its vision and goals are. Employees involved in business process need to know the significance of aligning their daily decisions and actions, while working in a business critical process, with the company’s vision. One method to percolate this information down to the rank and file of the organization is through senior management actively taking the effort to communicate the organization’s goals and explain how it is mapped to the work done in a process.

Mapping goals with every day work

If goals need to be aligned with every day decisions, employees have to recognize how their activities and behavior could make or break a company’s vision. To recognize it, first they need a little bit of guidance and structure which shows how their day-to-day responsibilities are mapped to the organization’s goals. Supplying each employee with a map which links what they do in a business process and how it affects business goals will allow an employee to make sense of the influence of any variation in one area and its domino effect on other areas.

Workflow management and business operations solutions brings in new processes and practices which in turn requires reskilling and new behaviors. By recognizing and rewarding those who are able to smoothly achieve this sends a positive message and also connects desired behavior with meaningful recognition and rewards.

Select an automation solution that would be the right fit for your organization

Now that you have identified the processes that need an overhaul, aligned activities within that process with business goals, it’s time to select an automation tool or get a technology partner. There is a wide variety of BPA tools and suites being offered in the market, from niche solution based on industry, function, or user type, end to end enterprise suite, and a hybrid version which is a mix of niche and enterprise suite. Remember to get the answers to below questions before you finalize on a tool or technology partner.

  • Opting for cloud based solution would allow an organization to not bother about site servers and their maintenance. Is it public, private or hybrid cloud that is ideal for your organization in terms of data security, costs and flexibility?
  • Does the technology partner offer technical and customer service after the sale?
  • Is there a free trail being offered that would allow you to take an informed decision?

– Orion Team

*Source: https://www.grantthornton.global/en/insights/growthiq/automation/

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