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Now, on with the next post…
You’ve probably heard about Business Process Automation (BPA). The term itself seems somewhat self-explanatory, but what does BPA really mean and how can it help you succeed?
You know that flash drive you use to back up your data to take it to that other department for processing… that report that takes 30 minutes to run before you can process month end… that extra spreadsheet you must maintain to keep track of your process because your software won’t do it for you… that completely manual process that everyone dreads having as their responsibility… those 2 systems that track nearly the same information… (I think you get the point – I could go on all day here)… these are all great examples of business processes that can be automated.
These inefficient processes are robbing you blind and negatively impacting your bottom line.
Along with your bottom line, you also need to consider the implications of NOT automating these tasks. For instance… what happens if that flash drive mysteriously walks off when the cleaning crew is in tonight? What if the wrong set of eyes sees that report while it is taking forever to flip through pages? What if that spreadsheet is lost with a hard drive crash (you are backing it up, right)? How does the low morale associated with that manual process affect the people involved and the people around them? What if the data in those 2 separate systems get out of sync?
Business process automation does NOT have to be complex or terribly expensive. Deciding not to automate is what will cost you in the long run.
The first step in the process is to get everyone involved together and discuss the process as a team. You can bet that if they are dealing with this headache on a daily basis, they have several ideas (and probably a few choice words for the person that won’t pay attention to improving the process) about how the process can be streamlined. You then need to think out of the box of the normal day-to-day grind, about how the process SHOULD work.
People that are too close to the process may have a hard time thinking bigger about the process. Take a moment to consider this with respect to the laws of relativity… If a woman is walking on a train that is moving at 60 miles per hour, it appears to her that she is only walking 3.1 miles per hour (the average walking speed for humans). To a person watching the train pass by, the woman appears to be walking at 63.1 miles per hour!
In other words, people that are too close to a process sometimes cannot see what is going on around them. It’s not their fault. It’s just how the world looks relative to their vantage point.
The people involved in the process either need to step back and become the person watching the train, or have someone else watch them as they walk on the train to see what is truly taking place. It is often very helpful to bring someone in that is not part of the process. An outside set of eyes can really help. The more complex the process, the more true this is.
Once the team has identified the shortcomings and inefficiencies of the process (ie. the things that make people want to pull their hair out), you can evaluate the process as a whole. Look at the technologies available to solve the identified problems, then implement the software, hardware and tools necessary to streamline the process.
The Bottom Line…
Every minute of every day, inefficient business processes are stealing away productivity and your hard earned cash. You need to automate these processes to make your business succeed!
Tom Swip has been developing and streamlining business processes for over 20 years. Tom’s expertise lies in business process automation, software and application design and network infrastructure. In his spare time, Tom likes kayaking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.