Improving business processes offers many great benefits -- direct and indirect savings and savings on time and frustration, to name just a few. Even though improving processes is extremely helpful, common pitfalls and oversights can keep your plan from achieving its full potential. Are you forgetting your goals because you're more focused on the steps? Is there a process you could integrate or automate to make workflow easier, but aren't?
In this guide, we'll walk you through common business process management (BPM) mistakes and help you practice cost avoidance, as well as cost savings, in your business process automation (BPA) engagements. We'll also help you increase your process improvements' reach, which will save both time and team resources. With something as important as BPM, you want to make sure you have all the knowledge you'll need.
This guide is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.
Table of contents:
The right questions can help process leadership
It's a common pitfall -- focusing on the workflow's steps rather than the ultimate goal. Without process leadership, your company won't be able to keep the objective in mind and can end up lost in the control process. Following the process may even be working against the original goal. How can you avoid this sticky situation?
CEO John Weathington has seen this situation many times and offers advice to help you avoid ending up in it. There are several questions you should ask yourself, such as what are you expecting from the workflow, and what will the end state look like if successful? Communicating your objectives to everyone will help ensure you don't get lost in the world of proper steps over ultimate goals. p>
Learn more in "Asking the right questions drives process leadership."
Videos to help you improve business processes
Watch these videos for insights and advice on BPM.
Automation can improve business processes
When workflow is very repeatable, automate. It's a simple concept but one that many CIOs have trouble following. CIO Scott Lowe offers valuable insight on the direct and indirect savings that can come from automating workflows, giving some much needed perspective that can help convince other departments of the necessity for simple BPA projects. After you improve basic functions and provide a proof of concept, CIOs can expand to other areas of the business, offering yet another value to the business.
But where do you start? A common workflow improvement involves changing paper forms into PDFs so the recipients can fill them out and email the forms back. A great improvement, but Lowe suggests taking that initiative one step further and integrating the form so that the data goes directly to a database, removing the need for human intervention on the other end. Lowe suggests thinking creatively: For instance, by implementing tools like SharePoint and InfoPath, the fields can populate automatically. There's a world of things that can make workflow easier, better and cheaper once CIOs explore workflow automation.
Learn more in "CIOs are improving business processes through automation."
Business process terms for CIOs
Brush up on common business process management and automation terms.
BPM modeling is essential to workflow automation
BPM software has rightfully earned its place as an instrumental tool for process improvements, but you need to keep an important thing in mind -- it's not the magic bullet. Our CIO expert Jonathan Hassell explains four common mistakes and how you can protect your IT team from following the same path.
You can't expect BPM software to improve business processes without buy-in from your fellow senior leaders. Building momentum is vital for the success of your BPM project. Make a concerted effort to make that project meaningful for its stakeholders as well as key process participants. Focus on company-wide improvements rather than a list of administrative processes, to shine a light on delivering value back to the business. Hassell helps you navigate the sometimes twisted path toward BPM success.
Learn more in "BPM modeling is the key to solid workflow automation."
Business process management and leadership quiz
You've read all the business process automation experts and are well versed in the best strategies for BPA and business process management, or BPM -- but how much do you really know? Earn your stripes and prove you have what it takes. Find out whether you're sharp as a tack or need to brush up on BPA's harsh realities. Do you agree with the automation experts? We have confidence in you! Give our quiz a try.