Software Frustration? Blame Your Business Processes
When work gets stressful, it’s easy to blame the machine.
Whether the digital tools you use are difficult to learn, hard to navigate, or involve long, complex processes, software frustration is rampant.
The majority of employees have between five and 15 applications open at once. Using one can be frustrating, not to mention the need to switch between numerous interfaces. Our tendency to blame the apps themselves as the productivity killer is understandable.
But ask yourself, is the software really at fault?
Most digital tools are built to improve productivity and collaboration. Instead of blaming the technology, perhaps it’s the processes your employees are required to complete that are slowing them down.
Business process optimization improves workforce performance
Despite technology’s potential to improve employee productivity, the processes employees are performing on software often lead to the opposite.
Long, complex, and time-consuming processes become a bottleneck to efficiency instead of an enabler.
In one of our recent studies, we found that if a process takes 70 seconds or less and has under five steps, there is a 70% success rate. On the other hand, if a process takes longer or is more complicated, the success rate plummets.
In the past four years, the average number of apps a company uses has increased by 43%. As companies dedicate greater resources, budget, and strategy to digital transformation, it’s unlikely the momentum driving digital investments will slow down any time soon. Instead of blaming the software, you can drastically improve employee productivity and performance by optimizing the digital processes they need to complete.
Start by identifying the underlying issues
Business process optimization is essential for boosting employee productivity, eliminating costs and getting the most out of available resources.
But, you have to understand the business issue before working on a resolution.
To isolate the problem, first answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose or end-goal of this process?
- How many employees are actually completing it?
- At what point are employees dropping off?
- What are the most common errors employees produce?
- Who needs to complete this process?
Answering these questions will uncover the root issue(s) and help you discover what you need to focus on to make improvements.
Once you’ve identified which issues are limiting productivity and contributing to user frustration, you can take the following steps to optimize your business processes.
1. Simplify and minimize the steps to completion
According to our study, the optimal business process is no longer than five steps long. Beyond that threshold, users experience friction or distraction and do not complete the process successfully.
Start by reducing the number of steps employees need to take. Are there any redundancies or superfluous parts of the process you can eliminate? If you can customize the task, can you map out the process so certain steps are consolidated?
By combining or removing steps, you can increase your system usage and employee productivity.
2. Automate what cannot be simplified or minimized
Automation is a simple and effective way to optimize time spent on any business process. After cutting down on the steps that are not needed, see what can be automated.
Users are 65% more likely to successfully complete a process when it has been automated.
Even if it feels like a small change on the back-end, automating mundane tasks saves employees significant time and energy.
WalkMe’s SDRs know this first hand. After implementing our own ActionBot to automate the completion of Intro Call forms on Salesforce, SDRs were able to cut down the time required to complete the process by 50%.
An extra perk of automation is that it nearly eliminates the possibility of human error. When algorithms are responsible for inputting and transmitting data, they won’t be influenced by distractions and mistakes that lead to compromised data integrity.
3. Integrate your applications and processes
As organizations continue to incorporate additional applications, digital processes can become fragmented across multiple systems. Since most jobs require employees to use several platforms, employees must effectively traverse from one system to another.
But this “digital context switching” is a major drain on productivity, not to mention it’s frustrating and full of distractions.
When an employee has to leave one platform in the middle of a process and go to another (whether they were interrupted or because the process itself requires information from another system), efficiency suffers.
Platforms that enable multi-platform integration, such as a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), make this switch seamless. While eliminating software may not be the best solution, better coordinating the way employees work between them definitely is.
Business process optimization yields positive ROI
Optimizing your business processes helps you will save time, money, and employee frustration.
Yearly IT spending worldwide is expected to increase to $3.8 trillion in 2019. Companies continue to spend massive budgets on software systems to help improve employee productivity. To ensure your employees utilize all of the systems necessary for their job, make your processes simple, automated where possible, and take advantage of solutions that support integration.