Exchange rate has shifted its course, new tender has appeared, we are launching a new promotional campaign since the competition has just left the market….All of these situations trigger the business, trigger us and our environment and they happen daily. In the world today success doesn’t depend on how big or small the company is, but on how it responds to market changes, how fast it adapts to technological advances and how well it takes care of its employees, clients and partners.
The advantage of small and medium companies is the possibility to adapt easily and sometimes even be the harbingers of change or its initiators. This is why modern companies can’t be a one-man show for too long. At one point they have to switch to automated processes if they wish to grow. Processes are not only intended for large organizations. Present business requires a team, not an individual, to get the work done, be it a startup or a conglomerate. Process is here to set the company’s potential free and make it work like a well-oiled machine, whereas, the automation enables the knowledge to advance and spread within a company.
We don't seek customers for our business processes, we seek processes for our customers! - Milan Skorić, co-founder of Smartwave
Also, we must not forget the relationship with partners which is the most important thing in this time when the satisfaction of the end user comes first and when the lines between the companies are fading.
Business process is a sequence of activities that occur in your organization to meet specific goals. Very often, the process involves many people with different roles, e.g. people from different departments.
Let’s say that your company receives requests via e-mail, website, social networks or through direct contact with the seller. After receiving, the request is forwarded to the seller, depending on the type of product. Seller communicates with clients to understand their needs better and to put together an acceptable business proposal. If this is a standard proposal the seller can do the whole process alone and deliver the order right away. But there are complex proposals which require additional approvals by managers and only then they are delivered to the client. Furthermore, clients can accept or reject the proposal and they can ask for additional modifications. When the proposal is adjusted to clients’ needs the process continues and the seller’s task is to coordinate the delivery.
When you have a diagram it is easier to identify double and/or unnecessary tasks, bottlenecks and other anomalies in your process (e.g. if the employee is capable of completing all of the necessary tasks to get the goods to the client on time or if there is a possibility to speed up his/her task by automating business rules, etc.)
Business process management (BPM) is a discipline which uses various methods for analyzing, discovering, modelling, measuring, enhancing, and optimizing business processes. Business process synchronizes behavior of people, systems, information and things to produce the final business outcome which supports the company’s strategy.
Although unnecessary, companies often use BPM because it has the key role in the alignment of IT/OT investments and the business strategy. This discipline reduces the gap between some business idea and its digital form which you get by automating the given process.
Now that we have designed the process, we can start automating it, that is, transforming it to a software solution in which each step of the process can be done by a man through various devices, or even a machine.
Automation of the BPM system is enabled through configuration which is substituting the traditional method for application adjustment formerly done by IT experts (code writing). Everything is aimed at providing simple and not so expensive changes. Automation with the help of configuring is especially better for companies that need to keep up with the changes in business, more demanding clients, and a yawning technological gap.
Configuration is faster, simpler and it is possible to use it frequently without the assistance of programmers, IT experts or independent consultants.
On the other hand, every business is done differently so it requires different flow of information, i.e. data. The system should enable you to use only necessary processes with the data pertaining to your business so that you could serve your clients, buyers and partners better.
Let’s continue with the previous example. If you need a complex proposal, the task is automatically delegated to the manager without any exchange of documents, messages, e-mails and phone calls. In accordance with the defined diagram (previous figure) and if the proposal’s been marked as complex, the system automatically knows that after the seller has completed the task it should create a task for the Manager who will approve it.
Here is the most important concept: Inbox- the place where you can see a list of tasks waiting for execution. It looks the same as an e-mail inbox, what makes it easier for the users who can work in an already familiar environment. In our example, the manager receives an e-mail, that is to say, a task to approve or reject a complex request. If the request is rejected, the task is returned to the Seller or to whoever sent the request, whereas, approval is sent directly to the client.
In this so-called inbox each new task takes the form of an e-mail and each completed task is like read e-mail. Users, of course, have other options available, such as:
Furthermore, for each new instance of the Inbox it is possible to:
This way we have a centralized place, one system which has all relevant information about proposals, instead of scattered and unstructured data in numerous e-mails, papers and documents.
Automation doesn’t just connect people and businesses, it also includes smart devices, the so-called ‘Internet of Things- IoT’. With the help of these systems you can supervise and monitor devices which are visible online. All they need to do is expose their interface. If you have devices like these in your production, you can have a full image of your technological process from the comfort of your home, or a meeting on the other side of the planet.
If the BPMS is intelligent, it gives you the opportunity to meticulously monitor your business and measure all that is of interest to you: how many requests you have, which status they are in; you can post notifications or warnings if the proposal isn’t realized within set deadline, etc.
Then, we can see exactly who is in charge of what and many other details:
Based on these measurements and analyses it might be necessary to redefine, modify and enhance the process. As a plus, you don’t need any IT support, you can use configuration to change everything by yourselves.
Configuration tool is supposed to be simple and easy to use, so that everyone can configure their processes and in that way support their business. However, when it comes to big and complex operations, some companies simply prefer professional support and in cases like these, authorized partners who provide such services are recommended.
This is how you have the full overview of the process and you know exactly where each case is, therefore, you can optimally distribute your resources while maximizing the efficiency.
This is just one simple process and most small companies execute it perfectly, but what will happen when the ever coveted growth occurs and when the number of cases and processes jumps from 10 to 1000 per week? Yes, you caught my drift- there is no growth if you execute your processes manually. Current tools are just temporary on the road to your success.
In the above text we have actually reviewed all of the basic elements of the BPM approach:
If you want to ensure growth efficiency of your company you will adopt BPM, you will adopt processes! And if you are not sure where to begin, don’t worry: we have identified the key processes, designed some of them already so that they can be the starting point to enhance your business.
The best practical examples of implementing BPM show that it is necessary to identify and analyze the problem which has the biggest business value. Furthermore, you should create a team that will build competencies that are managed by processes so that other processes could be automated as well. You usually start with a small, quick project, a prototype, in order to measure ROI. And finally, you take another lap and with each iteration you enhance your processes by taking into consideration the experience gained from measuring and automating business decisions.
You can make your business global by exploiting advanced possibilities and without too much complexity or expenses. All you need to do is set everything up on a cloud. You can enter a bigger market by reducing and predicting basic expenses while increasing the flexibility of your company. Simply, it is not required from you anymore to have extensive technical knowledge or hire IT experts. Systems like Microsoft Azure Cloud won’t have to solve technical issues and provide you with IT support. High technology is at the tip of your fingers if you send your business ‘into the clouds’.
If you are eager to keep up with time and if you have a burning desire to grow and adapt fast you will opt for the solution that makes it happen. Such solution ensures automation of your business that will transform years and years of experience into applications, and then it will constantly enhance the business and adapt it to changes, clients’ wishes, technologies and regulations, minus too much IT knowledge, plus less expenses. If you wish to take advantage of the cutting-edge innovations and keep your technology simple and without digressions from your line of business, Smartwave is here to help. You can achieve all of this and not be an IT expert or invest substantial amounts of money.