5 Process Improvement Tips for the Digital Business
In business, one of the best ways to improve performance and efficiency is by taking a structured approach to process improvement.
With the right steps, it is possible to:
- Boost overall productivity and performance of processes
- Reduce inefficiencies and errors
- Decrease employee frustration and improve the workplace experience
A solid method for process improvement can enhance an organization’s financials and its overall success.
Below, we’ll look at a few ways to streamline business processes and how to realize some of the benefits mentioned here.
Process improvement tips for the digital business
Here are a few techniques and tips to employ when improving business processes:
1. Understand business process management (BPM)
Business process management (BPM) is a discipline dedicated to managing and optimizing business processes.
BPM is further divided into a set of activities that include:
- Business process design (BPD)
- Business process standardization (BPS)
- Business process optimization (BPO)
- Business process redesign (BPR)
Together, all of these activities are designed to help professionals:
- Develop new business processes from scratch
- Measure, analyze, and gain insight into the performance of those processes
- Redesign and optimize those processes as needed
In recent years, BPM has been combined with different methodologies, tools, and techniques, such as Kaizen, Six Sigma, and process mapping. Though there are several underlying strategies for managing business processes, these approaches all tend to follow the same general principles.
2. Improve productivity with automation platforms
Automation tools perform certain types of business tasks without the need for human oversight.
Robotic process automation (RPA) represents one of the most recent examples of automation tools. An RPA can be configured to meet the needs of a business and perform tasks both simple and complex.
RPA solutions offer several benefits, including:
- Reduced human error
- Decreased labor costs
- Improved speed and efficiency
- Increased productivity and output
Today, RPA and related automation tools focus on relatively mundane, straightforward business tasks such as data entry, marketing automation, and other tedious workflows that require little to no human intervention.
Over time, however, cognitive automation will become more common, allowing automation tools to perform tasks that have traditionally relied upon human judgment. Though it may seem like science fiction today, analysts suggest that when combined with cognitive technologies, RPAs can enable self-learning, autonomous decision-making, and more.
3. Simplify the employee experience
Business processes are directly tied to employees’ workflows and the employee experience – the more simple and efficient the process, the better the employee experience.
On the other hand, when workflows are too convoluted and business processes too complex, employee engagement and productivity suffer.
When focusing on the technical aspects of a business process, such as the steps involved and quantitative measures of performance, it is easy to ignore the human element. Yet the numbers and the employee experience are interdependent and one cannot be changed without affecting the other.
For that reason, when improving business processes, it pays to connect with employees and understand how those processes affect the employee experience.
After all, the employee experience can affect:
- Employee engagement and productivity
- Turnover and retention rates
- The employer brand
- The workplace climate and culture
Ultimately, the employee experience impacts many of the same metrics used to measure business processes, so it is important to understand the role that employees themselves play in the performance of those operations.
4. Implement an employee upskilling program
New business processes often involve the implementation of new software and workflows which, in turn, often require new employee skills.
The modern workplace is undergoing constant change and evolution. To keep up with those shifts, employees must be continually reskilled and upskilled.
An issue many organizations are coming to realize is that traditional approaches to employee training cannot handle the increased demand for new skills. Classroom training, for instance, is too costly, wasteful, and slow when compared to other, more modern training options.
In the digital workplace, digital adoption platforms (DAPs), such as WalkMe’s DAP, are much more practical and effective.
- Provide in-app, contextualized training
- Reduce learning curves through software walkthroughs and product tours
- Allow trainers to create customized walkthroughs that meet the needs of their employees
- Analyze users’ software interactions to better understand their challenges and training needs
In short, using DAPs in conjunction with other training methods can help automate training efforts, simplify the employee experience and finally make it easier to adopt and improve new business processes.
5. Build a digital-first business
The digital revolution has been transforming the global economy for years, and it will continue to transform the world for years to come.
To keep up in this digital-first marketplace, it is essential to embody a digital-first culture.
The virtual landscape, in other words, should become a cornerstone of any business process improvement effort.
- Building a digitally mature enterprise and a digital-first workplace
- Leveraging emerging technology to improve business processes and organizational performance
- Integrating digital strategy with business strategy
- Fusing digital into every aspect of the organization, from digital workflows to the employee experience to the customer experience
Today, the entire business world is built upon a foundation of technology, so any business process improvements should leverage digital solutions as much as possible.
The more effectively an organization can adopt and integrate technology into its practices and strategy, the easier it will be to succeed – if not lead – in the years ahead.