Management consultant Lee J. Colan calls it "the yellow car phenomenon" - you buy, or simply notice, a yellow car and suddenly you find yourself seeing yellow cars all over. Or if you notice a particular actor in your new favourite TV series, suddenly you realise just how many other roles you’ve seen them in.
Much the same thing is true in business process transformation. At some point in the lifetime of any company, you will have a problem with one of your business processes and once you have noticed the problem it will continue to niggle until it has been rectified.
These problems could present in any number of ways, for example:
- It takes too long for something to move through a process lifecycle.
- Redundant actions are taking place within the process.
- The current process has a great potential for errors or misinterpretation.
Business processes are principally put in place in order to streamline the way your business works. When everyone follows a straightforward set of steps, there are fewer errors and delays, less replicated tasks, and both staff and customers are generally happier.
Business processes that don't work can lead to numerous problems. for example:
- Bottlenecks can develop, causing you to miss deadlines.
- Work may be duplicated, or not done.
- Resources are wasted; costs increase; and colleagues get frustrated.
- Customers may complain about poor service or inferior products.
Encountering these kinds of issues is a sure sign that your companies’ business processes need an update.
Other points which may indicate that it is not only time to update your business processes, but automate them as well:
- Processes are currently being managed on paper so you have minimal traceability and data mining is time-consuming and laborious.
- You are looking for new ways to improve productivity and reduce costs.
- You have compliance issues that need to be addressed.
- You want to mitigate risk and improve your decision quality with relevant data.
Once you have seen the impact that a single procedure can have on your organisation you will begin to see opportunities to optimise all over.
Where to start? By mapping the process naturally.