How to streamline your business processes
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Having clearly defined business processes that integrate ERP and CRM systems is a must for running a functional company. Not having these processes in place would be a recipe for disaster, and these procedures need to be built around the users, business operations, and industry best practices.
So, how do you streamline your business processes? Keep reading to find out!
The Importance of Streamlining Processes
Before we get started with the steps to streamline your business processes, let’s review why doing this is so important.
When processes are automated and seamlessly integrated into all of your systems, everything works more efficiently and effectively. It is a battle-tested way to minimise errors and duplicated efforts, while simultaneously improving both employee and customer satisfaction.
Processes that do not work in a streamlined manner can cause a wide variety of problems. For example, a lack of integration within your enterprise solutions can lead to data silos and frustrated employees who have to do time-consuming and manual work.
Resources are wasted because work may be duplicated or not completed at all, and developing bottlenecks can cause you to miss deadlines. in the end, this will spill over into customer satisfaction, bad service, or poor product quality.
In other words, you can't afford to not streamline your business processes!
1. Analyse Your Current Business Processes
The first step to streamline your business processes is to analyse your current business. Document your existing workflows and list out all of your processes. This will be the starting point for an analysis of what is working and what needs to be streamlined.
As you start to create this documentation, talk with different departments in areas of your business. Their feedback on each process will give you insights into areas that will benefit the most from going digital.
Remember that you can't improve something when you don't have a full understanding of how it is working! It is also unrealistic to carry out every task from memory. Write out each step involved in completing a task, report, or a slide deck. Most importantly, don't assume anything until you have proof of how your employees are managing the process!
One of the best ways to do this process analysis is to work with a custom development agency like Automate Labs. Their experts will be able to look at your processes from an unbiased perspective and help you craft your business digitalisation strategy.
2. Define Your Focus Areas
Once you're satisfied with the analysis of your existing procedures, it is time to define the areas you will focus on automating.
The key is to pinpoint areas within a process where communication breakdown occurs, where there are unclear instructions or high levels of employee frustrations. These are the areas that are costing your business the most time and money, so it is essential to improve these processes first.
Often it is helpful to breakdown these processes into smaller, more manageable pieces. Don't get caught up in the complexity of a process and try to keep it simple. The only way that you will be able to streamline your business processes is if you take it one step at a time!
At this point, you will likely find that an off-the-shelf enterprise solution is likely not going to meet all of your integration and automation needs. For true digital transformation, you should invest in custom software that can take into consideration all of your essential business processes and work alongside them to make them more efficient and effective.
3. Start Automating!
The next step is to start automating some of these processes through enterprise solutions. A custom developed application is going to be your best option because you can design the workflow to exactly meet your needs.
The purpose of automation is to eliminate inefficiencies, ensure standardisation, and streamline workflows as much as possible. Simply put, this is the step where we try to make complex business processes easier and more effective than they have ever been.
4. Test Your New Workflow and Get Ready to Adapt
Testing your new workflows is one of the most vital aspects of streamlining your business processes. Something may look perfect on paper and sounds like it makes sense, but that doesn't always mean that it will work properly in the real world.
See how the new process responds to a live workplace environment and gather feedback from different departments in areas of your business.
Did the new process work better, or was it more complicated than it was before? Is the process automated but not user friendly so that employees end up doing it manually on the side anyway?
Testing your new workflow in a live environment well are you to pinpoint areas that still need to be changed and adjusted. Don't expect to get everything right the first time - be ready to adapt and make adjustments along the way so that all stakeholder needs are met.
5. Work with a Custom Development Agency
Although this process may seem overly simple when laid out in a few steps, it is actually very involved and time-consuming. Streamlining your business processes does not just happen overnight, and you want to make sure that you do it the right way so that you can achieve your business goals.
Before you start evaluating quotes from vendors and choosing new enterprise solution platforms, you have to focus on process analysis and documentation. Doing this will highlight the need for a custom solution, as most pre-packaged products are just too generic to be able to digitalise what your business needs.
When you work with a digital transformation agency like Automate Labs, our experts will take the time to review your current processes in depth. The insights that are gained from this analysis will allow us to develop a solution that is right for your business - rather than trying to sell you solutions from the start without knowing what you need.
At Automate Labs, our goal is to help you exponentially increase the success of your business process streamlining efforts. We work with you from start to finish, so not only will we help you re-engineer projects and improve processes, but we will also partner with you every step of the way to ensure that it works.