Business process drives efficiency and allows staff to perform to the best of their ability within their skillset, avoiding decisions on what they should be doing next. Processes should be documented in Flow Diagrams and annotated in detail within the company WIKI. Applying due dates for each step of the process will help staff to prioritise and complete key deliverables on time. Well documented processes increase organisation meaning that audits become a breeze as evidence of process demanded by auditors is readily available.
Part of a well-defined business process is the RACI matrix (stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed). Each process step may have a number of people involved, but there should always be only one person accountable for its delivery. Accountable staff have nowhere to hide and must ensure that their step of the process is delivered, otherwise, they must be able to justify the failure. This, in turn, brings the opportunity to reward accountable people for successful delivery. When all staff members are aware of their role in a process it can help to scale the business, recruiting people to join teams all performing the same operations.
A well defined and documented process can be easily digitised using Business Process Management packages such as Metatask, Process Street or Tallyfy. This will automate the scheduling and distribution of work, with tasks landing in staff members’ inboxes when the dependencies are already cleared. It doesn’t stop there though. Once your process workflow is digitised, you can start to automate the more manual and mundane steps of the process using Task Automation tools like Zapier or IFTTT to send data automatically between other software applications. This can include auto-generating documentation, automatically contacting clients at key times, generating invoices automatically, sending contracts for digital signatures, updating databases, CRMs and much more.
With a well documented and digitised process, monitoring the status of all the processes within a company becomes easy. KPIs can be set as targets to improve output. Flow diagrams can be converted to Gantt charts which can be used to identify bottlenecks giving candidate areas for improvement. Management Dashboards can be created to give business leaders the aggregated information that they need to gauge the current status of their business in order to make key decisions.
With a well defined, documented, digitised, automated and measured process in place, businesses start to see the benefits of a fantastic baseline. This isn’t the end though. Things can always be tweaked and improved to bring the very best out of staff both now, and as the business landscape changes. Consultation with Accountable and Responsible staff can lead to improvements being driven directly by people working within the operation of the business. Alterations can be tested and applied in a controlled way giving much more opportunity to try ideas before rolling them out across the whole business. The inner workings of the business become so much clearer to key decision-makers and new opportunities eagerly jump out of the numbers.
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