Guide To Business Process Workflow Management
All businesses always involve at least one business process. A coffee shop, for example, has a method to brewing its signature coffee, which is a business process on its own.
These business processes make up the core of the said business: when the processes are efficient, the business will achieve optimal productivity, and vice versa, inefficient business processes may lead to severe failure.
Mapping the process via business process workflow management and optimizing it can help businesses identify redundancies and bottlenecks.
Here, we will discuss the benefits of implementing business process workflow management to help your organization achieve its goals. However, let us begin by discussing the concept of business process workflow management itself.
Business Process Workflow Management: The Concept
First, what is a business process?
A business process is a repeatable set of activities or tasks enabled by systemic usage of resources to achieve a specific business objective or goal. These tasks can be sequential or non-sequential in nature, but the principles remain the same.
Business process workflow management is an effort to map, analyze, and optimize this business process to ensure it is as efficient as possible.
While the actual method may vary, all business process workflow management will involve three core phases:
- Gathering data about the business process
A business typically has more than one business process, so the first step is to pick which business process we’d like to optimize.
We should gather as much data as we can about the business process, such as:
- What is the workflow about?
- What’s the purpose of the workflow?
- What resources are involved?
- Who is involved?
We can, for example, interview those involved in the business process to gather this information. Gather as many details of the business process as possible before we move on to the next phase.
- Mapping and analyzing the business process
The next phase is to visualize the business process in a workflow diagram, typically a flowchart. We can use pen and paper or Business Process Workflow Builder software to create a comprehensive business process diagram that is easy to customize and analyze.
Once the business process workflow diagram has been realized, we can analyze the workflow for the following:
- Whether there are tasks that take too long to complete
- Identify bottlenecks where the workflow stall
- Are there any steps that can be eliminated without affecting the process too much
- Could the workflow be improved in any way?
Based on this analysis, we can develop a plan to optimize the business process workflow and move on to the next phase.
- Implementing the optimization
Now that we’ve got a clear idea of what changes should be made to the business process, we can move onto implementation. Changes should be properly documented so we can revert to the previous state of the workflow when required, and we should also monitor whether the implemented changes will cause positive impacts. If not, we might need to go back to phase one and perform another round of optimization.
Benefits of Business Process Workflow Management
- Reduce operational expenses and costs
In fact, more than 50% of surveyed businesses mentioned that saving money is their main reason for mapping and optimizing their workflow.
By improving a workflow’s efficiency, we can ensure the business process is using fewer resources (including financial resources) to achieve its objective, effectively reducing operational expenses and other costs.
Business process workflow management can also help businesses identify business processes that are not worth the investments and eliminate these processes to reduce costs further. Alternatively, companies can choose to outsource these business processes.
- Identifying obsolete and ineffective business processes
By mapping and managing your business processes, you can better understand your current processes and identify which processes are already obsolete and need renewing (or need to be replaced with a brand new one).
An effective business process workflow solution like Aproove can help businesses objectively identify the processes that are already optimal, which need to be renewed, and which should be eliminated.
Ultimately, business process workflow management can help businesses identify their weaknesses so that they can improve upon these weaknesses to become more efficient and productive.
- Improved customer satisfaction
Business process workflow management can allow the organization to optimize existing processes to be more customer-centric and model new processes that are focused on satisfying their target customers.
By ensuring business processes are already customer-centered, we can ensure the business meets customer needs better, which can indirectly result in improved productivity.
- Improved business productivity
By ensuring business processes are as efficient as possible, we can ensure processes are executed faster, allowing the business to execute more processes and achieve more objectives.
Business process workflow management can help businesses identify bottlenecks and redundancies that can be improved upon, reducing the lag time between tasks to ensure the processes are being executed more efficiently.
- Improved competitive advantage
Business process workflow management can allow organizations to keep up or even stay ahead of their competitors.
By ensuring business processes are effective and efficient, businesses can maintain their competitive edge, and the organization can also focus more on innovations rather than on fixing operational inefficiencies.
How can finding the right software help with workflow management?
Given all of these benefits, you’re probably wondering how you can begin to optimize your business processes and conduct them as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, a wide range of business management software has been developed to streamline the various business processes, from customer relationship management tools through to contract lifecycle management software. Some examples of these workflow management solutions include:
When it comes to invoicing and accounting which is repeatable and granular in nature, there are plenty of opportunities to make the process more efficient. If your business is buried in routine invoices, introducing software like Xero or Intuit could be really useful in reducing the time your team spends on manual tasks like filling out forms and creating new invoices each time.
Customer relationship management software
In business, maintaining a positive relationship with your customers is just as important as starting one, as a lot of business revenue comes from retaining customers. By implementing a customer relationship management solution, businesses can gain better insight into how customers are converted from leads, what their purchasing decisions look like and where there are opportunities to upsell or prevent a customer from leaving. Sourcing this data manually can be a nightmare, so finding an effective tool that does it for you is key.
Contract lifecycle management software
Behind every transaction is a contract, and without a contract, you probably won’t have a deal. That’s why, as many legal and sales teams will know, it is crucial to get contracts across the line and signed as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, when a scaling business still uses a manual contract workflow, this can be a challenge. Where small legal teams are processing an increasing number of contracts, they can become buried in low-value work and fall behind on the deals that matter. With contract lifecycle management software in place, this burden is lessened, and business teams are able to self-serve on contracts, rather than waiting around for legal input at every stage.
Project management software
Managing projects can be a headache for large, busy teams. This is particularly true where multiple departments are collaborating on a shared task and the communication between them is poor. However, by implementing a strong project management solution, business teams can assign and prioritize tasks, set regular updates, collaborate on lists and track the progress of projects – all in one place.
Business process workflow management can help businesses standardize their business processes, so they are much easier to optimize. As a result, standardized business processes will increase output while also allowing more effective onboarding for new hires.
By ensuring business processes are as efficient as possible, we can effectively improve the organization’s productivity, growth, and profitability.