Business Process Transformation: The Way Is The Goal
People love their habits – that’s a good thing because routine makes every job faster and more error-free. If you have to look up every action or input or seek advice from others, you are significantly less productive than if everything goes smoothly. Consequently, changes to business processes are the natural enemy of routine.The associated sayings are well known: “We’ve always done it like this” or “We’ve never done it like this before.
” However, this inertia is countered by considerable business pressure, forcing companies to make more and more changes. Never before have companies had to adjust to such extensive economic, geopolitical and social changes as quickly as in the last two years. Digitized, agile, and automated business processes are essential tools to implement a course correction and, thus, a transformation in the company.
For years people have been talking about “Business Process Management” (BPM), which means standardized and technology-based control over the various processes in the company – from customer inquiries. The individual processes can run manually, semi-automatically, or fully automatically, using more or less sophisticated technologies.
While the technology providers mainly refer to automation and other technologies, the biggest challenge is the already-mentioned corporate culture. Many management experts agree that only active cooperation in which everyone is involved has a chance of success. If this does not happen, or only insufficiently, this can lead to resistance to change that is difficult to break down again.
The Confusion Of Terms Is Reminiscent Of The Tower Of Babel
There are now several areas and terms that address handling business processes. Many overlap, and others reflect dynamic developments and want to achieve differentiation through new terms. Below is a selection of the most important words and their meaning:
- Business process management is the original term for these applications. Today, it is increasingly understood only to mean technologies and software used for the technical implementation of business processes. In this context, terms such as BPM software, BPM tools, or BPM suite are often used.
- Process mining is a technology-supported method that makes complex processes transparent and manageable. For example, data paths from different IT systems are merged to determine the course of business processes.
- Process intelligence encompasses the entire range of analytics and AI as far as they relate to business processes. This also includes integrative elements that connect process mining, modeling, and automation.
- Process automation is the introduction of processes that are more or less fully automated, such as RPA and bots. These systems increasingly use AI/ML, so they are entering new applications, especially those related to unstructured data and their business models.
- Process Excellence aims to harmonize and optimize processes across departments to achieve the highest possible added value. This area is generally regarded as the basis for a fast response time and, thus, a successful corporate strategy.
The generic term for all these methods and tools is Business Process Transformation (BPT). This includes all areas and processes, whether operational, cultural, or digital. BPT comprises four provinces:
- The company’s attitude in terms of self-image and self-assessment of its possibilities.
- Continuous restructuring and automation to become more competitive while staying lean and fit.
- Exploitation of all growth potential; this clearly distinguishes BPT from a mere restructuring of the processes.
- Employee motivation, i.e., what was already mentioned above in the context of BPM.
While points one and four primarily represent management tasks, points two and three require much technical support. The third point can only be dealt with using extensive analysis tools. Several process-oriented platforms are available for this purpose. Such process engines are controlled by technical process models (technical workflow).
Four Phases Of Introduction
The introduction of BPT consists of different phases. As part of the process analysis, the current business processes are examined and mapped into process models (actual models). This is followed by process recording: Which involves the structured collection of process knowledge and the creation of process documentation. Some process changes are relatively easy to implement, while others require more effort.
Then an ROI analysis (return on investment) is worthwhile, with which the effect of the various options can be shown. However, numerous influencing factors complicate the impact. This includes, for example, the different people involved in the project. The result is coordinated target processes documented as process models using appropriate software. “Agreed” here means, above all, that the responsible managers are committed to the change.
Therefore, a professional business process analysis tool (BPA) should go beyond pure modeling through analysis and simulation functions for process models, a visual model comparison for different model versions, and reporting functions. The requirements for software support are high: It should enable decentralized process recording, integrate complete IT landscapes and be easy to use. Risk management also plays a crucial role.
Policies within a company, an industry, or a country make the software-based documentation of business processes indispensable. Important: BPT does not have a final state. The sentence applies: “The path is the goal.” BPT is not a solution in the classic sense. It only creates the technological and organizational prerequisites so that all processes can be continuously optimized with the help of measurements and observations.
Modernization In The Energy Supply
An example illustrates the far-reaching consequences of modern process optimization: energy supply companies must increase customer satisfaction and acquisition. At the same time, the mass processes in accounting and asset management must be designed more rationally. The problem with this is that the existing methods have become confusing, complicated, and error-prone. An important step towards improving performance is introducing a meter-to-cash process, i.e., the fully automatic process from meter reading to billing.
However, this massive conversion can only be carried out with modern, tried-and-tested technologies because experience has shown that all historically grown and correspondingly complicated processes must be thrown overboard during this transformation. There is a very wide range on the market for technical redesign and continuous support for all process measures.
The cloud-based Signavio portfolio is an example of this. It consists of a powerful, integrated platform that enables all required process changes to be implemented quickly. The software offers intuitive operation, extensive functions, and modern analysis and simulation tools. And as a cloud application, it also provides all the related advantages, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency.