Process Management: A Changing Situation?

Process Management: A Changing Situation?

The concepts of business process management and improvement have certainly been around for many years. In my extensive time in the industry, I’ve seen how the journey has evolved from the traditional brown paper-based cycle of process workshops – define, measure, improve, and control (DMAIC). And right now, with advances in technology, process monitoring and improvement can be carried out in real-time. Thanks to the combination of organisations discovering the importance of implementing business processes, plus new technology solutions arising due to the digital virtual environment we live in, this revolution has changed how we action process improvement.

Process Management: A Changing Situation?

Digital Revolution – a Big Change

As new technology solutions have adapted and developed, this has certainly changed the way we look at business process management; giving many clear benefits:

  1. Process mining – This ability to read data from ERP systems and visualise them using business processes gives businesses a clear view of cycle time, volumetrics, and process conformance KPI(s) – providing a live view of technology and business processes.
  2. Task mining – Enabling organisations to read data on user and screen interactions while visualising them using business processes; giving a view of manual processes and providing the ability to analyse manual processes (not catered to by ERP systems).
  3. Collaboration – Feedback on documented processes through collecting process insights from across the organisation and external stakeholders; making process discovery and analysis a team effort.
  4. Workflow orchestration – Creating low code workflows that can trigger system actions and queue tasks for bots/humans; helping process governance and bridging automation gaps.
  5. Simulation – The ability to overlay resource, cost and time data on business processes and help simulate to-be improvement scenarios.

These developments have successfully digitalised the traditional DMAIC approach. Organisations are now able to define problem statements, collect ideas around the improvements that are required, while also prioritising and measuring improvements that impacts their business strategy the most.

Discover Through Data

Tools like process mining and task mining generate a clear view of what is happening on the ground in your organisation; taking data straight from the source, such as your ERP system. Resulting in the ability to view business and technology processes live and helping you to objectively view your current processes.

Measuring for Success

Where previously you may have had to either rely on opinion or undertaking an exhausting manual data loading and formatting exercise, you can now benefit from a live view of how processes are being executed in your organisation.  This real-time visibility reduces barriers to analysis and achieving operational excellence, and helps organisations measure what really matters.

AI Analysis

The improvement phase is now stepping into a chapter where organisations can learn from each other as a business community. Tools will soon be able to analyse and suggest improvement ideas using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. These tools can make benchmark comparisons and analyse bottlenecks, while also giving you process improvement ideas and suggestions on which ERP modules and features to use for your business. Not to mention learning from similar implementations across other enterprises.

Simulate Your Improvements

There are a lot of movements that organisations can achieve using RPA, workflow automation, machine learning and lean improvements. The ability to simulate these improvements using real-time data and potential to-be scenarios helps build confidence while avoiding potential pitfalls on dependent processes. Knowing the ins and outs of what is happening in terms of behaviour and patterns enables you to have a very clear view of what is required in terms of changing your business processes. Through collaboration, you can build an early consensus and bring people along the change journey; educating your audiences of what is about to change and why.

Live Control and Governance

Continuous reviews of live business processes and adoption of change across the enterprise, coupled with the ability to manage process change and governance through workflows, can clearly make process governance and management effective and efficient.

Think About Your People

One caution worth considering with the new technological advances is that when we change processes, we’re changing what we do. This has the potential to impact people in their roles and working lives. Because we’re changing the way people behave and the way people do things, it’s essential that you keep engaging with your staff; bringing them along the journey.  They will need the support and encouragement to agree that the changes are good, and that they will benefit from them. Plus, the support for implementing these changes and tweaking them as necessary. 

Having the ability to monitor, review and constantly tweak your processes thanks to new technological advances certainly helps your business to get to the ideal state. These technologies, combined and implemented as a suite with a focus on your overall business strategy, can help organisations be change-ready and change-friendly.