How to Get the Most Out of Business Process Automation
Blog: Joget Unplugged
Business process automation (BPA) is considered a powerful means for streamlining business processes and approval steps, cutting costs, eliminating human errors and redundancies, and generally improving operational efficiency.
Joget Workflow lets you build workflow and business process management (BPM) applications that convey these benefits and more.
Now the question is this:
After creating your workflow/BPM applications, what are the most effective strategies that can help your team get the most out of such tools?
In this post, we gather seven best practices for doing just that.
Why does this matter?
Business process automation is a phenomenal tool that can completely change the way teams work. However, to experience this positive change to the hilt, you need to learn how to best implement the system and not just execute it lethargically.
In most cases, all that’s required to achieve this is the right information coupled with germane actions. Read on to see our recommendations.
Get your team on board
BPM is not a one-man show. In automating your organization’s workflows and processes, you need everyone’s support, from employees to upper management. You also need to get buy-ins and contributions from those who will be participating in the new system. Regardless of your position, going it alone could mean you’re setting up yourself for failure.
Everyone needs to be on the same page regarding the tasks needing automation. So involve your team in the project (yes, BPA *implementation* is a project and should be treated as such) from the beginning. This may include process owners/managers, workflow participants, the IT team, and other relevant stakeholders.
Brainstorm and plan together. Ask about their expectations. Let them contribute their ideas. And be sure to treat each idea with respect, even if you may not get to use it eventually.
Why? Because it’s only these people (especially prospective users) that can tell you their pain points and the best areas to automate, without which it’ll be difficult to get the most out of automation.
Also, get them to commit up front to using the app so you won’t have to struggle through deployment.
2. Keep your business objectives in mind
While successful automation could be one of your organizational goals (inter se), you need to set up BPA in such a way that it supports your broadscale business objectives, complements your team’s effort, and aligns with your vision.
Start with thoughtful planning, even before kick-starting the app development process. Decide on what you want — in line with your business objectives — and how you’re going to use the tool you create to achieve it. Doing this will make BPA more beneficial to your organization.
3. Choose a project manager
Just above, I mentioned that the implementation of business process automation is and should be treated as a project — seriously.
Now, one of the best things you can do to make your BPM strategy more effective and eventually get the most out of it is delegating the supervisory responsibility of the project to someone. Assigning a manager to administrate all the behind-the-scenes aspects of the project will only ever increase your chances of getting better results in a timely manner and within budget.
This person will be responsible for managing the entire project, from the app development stage to deployment and to the implementation phase; he should also be responsible for getting feedback and providing analytical reports for making improvements.
Here are some more things he will be responsible for:
In terms of communication, he’ll be the main contact point for matters relating to the workflow application.
He’ll work with the software provider.
He should ensure everything runs smoothly and that every automation advantage is being harnessed to its maximum.
He should keep an eye on the system and suggest ways to optimize the same for better performance.
He’ll receive feedback, suggestions, and complaints from users and ensure that appropriate support is provided.
Apart from getting the most out of automation, one other benefit of choosing a project manager is that since it’s the same intelligence overseeing the whole project, proper organization and effective monitoring will be easily achieved for excellent delivery.
4. Operate with knowledge
Operating from a position of knowledge, as opposed to running blindly, is indispensable for a successful business process automation.
There are two stages to doing this:
Getting the history
Testing, tracking, and measuring the new system
What’s getting the history about?
Before bringing the new BPM system into operation, try getting an idea of what’s been going on with the current system. Get and evaluate information on how the process or workflow was managed in the past to find out how to best implement the new system.
On the other hand, after you’ve actually implemented the new automated system, you should perform regular testing and optimization. For this to be possible, you will need to track and measure your BPA metrics to see what processes are working well and which can be improved upon.
The information you discover will guide you to make data-driven decisions and take more appropriate action in optimizing processes, all of which are necessary for making your BPM project an unforgettable one.
5. Go with simplicity
You don’t want to end up with a tool that’s way too complicated to deploy, manage, or work with. Complexity makes your tools less desirable by potential users. Employees want applications that are simple, user-friendly, and responsive.
Here are some ways to achieve this:
Don’t over automate. The trouble with some businesses is that they try to automate everything. But it isn’t every process that needs to be automated. Do your homework by researching to find out the “automatable” processes in your organization.
Keep the features and data to minimum. Employees do not want to be bombarded with features and information they don’t need to see. Moreover, unnecessary data and components in an app or business process can distract workers and contribute to redundancy and inefficiency.
Unclutter your app’s user interface (UI): The better looking an app is, the more it’ll attract users, and by extension, the more enjoyable and simpler it’ll feel to use.
6. Standardize the fundamental operations
One of automation’s major benefits is its ability to simplify complex processes.
To get the most out of it, you need to standardize the basic operations that most support this simplification. Standardization makes it easy to work more quickly and within regulations; this contributes to business process optimization.
7. Be prepared for change
Business process management is designed to help organizations identify areas where changes are necessary, so that they’re able to get to the next level of operational efficiency more quickly.
With this in mind, you need to prepare your work environment to support this sort of change. If opposed, the benefits that comes with automation may never be realized.
Moreover, you need to be ready to make changes as no process is written in stone. What you initially thought was running smoothly might turn out to be a candidate for tweaking.
Change must be anticipated, recognized, articulated, approved, implemented, managed, measured, and rewarded.
It’s time to get started
You wouldn’t get the most out of something you aren’t working at, would you?
Business process automation offers a plethora of benefits (which we will cover in another post). To enjoy these benefits, you need to first get a go at it.
Joget Workflow is an open source web-based workflow solution that helps organizations build workflow and business process management applications, which can bring together the people, processes, and information needed for effective performance. With it, you can automate business processes using Joget’s Process Builder, create enterprise web apps that deliver results, and do a lot more.
Sign up today for free to start using the platform, even if you know nothing about coding.