The Benefits of Fixing Broken Business Processes
GUEST NOTE: Regardless of size, industry, and future plans, all businesses have one thing in common: relying on efficient processes.
Everything from sourcing inventory and supplies to processing customer orders and back-office administration relies on processes that need to be performed often on a daily basis. Failure to do so may result in ripple effects and potentially serious consequences.
Despite the critical role of processes, an alarming proportion of companies admit that the ones they have in place are not working effectively. Inefficient workflows, inappropriate tools, and a need for manual steps mean many processes don’t provide the support the business needs.
To get a clear picture of the situation, Nintex conducted a survey to determine the current state of business processes around the world. The results were revealing to say the least.
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One factor that has become clear is that the inefficiencies of many processes have been exacerbated by the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic. With more employees forced to work remotely, many processes had to be changed or reinvented in a short period of time.
The survey revealed that IT, HR and Shared Services are the departments within organizations that are most often cited as having weak systems and processes.
When asked about the situation, 52% of employees said they would leave their current organization in the next 18 months for another in the same industry if the new organization made it easier to get work done and had fewer manual processes. In the IT sector specifically, 64% of employees admitted that their company’s faulty processes prevented them from maximizing their productivity.
When asked to name the processes that caused them the most problems, 41% indicated those associated with employee administration. This is followed by employee onboarding (named by 36% of respondents), COVID or health check processes (34%) and customer service or customer support processes (28%).
Interestingly, when it comes to the role of IT in improving processes, 77% of respondents said they see technology as a barrier because they have no way to automate processes on their own. process. In fact, 73% said that IT hinders their organization’s ability to effectively automate tasks and processes.
The continued reliance on paper-based processes was also highlighted as an issue by many employees. Of those surveyed, 63% said their organization had no specific plans to move away from paper. This was seen as a particular problem when many people continue to work remotely.
In addition to being a source of frustration for staff, broken business processes have a significant negative impact on productivity. More than half (55%) of respondents said they waste at least 25% of their time undertaking manual tasks that could be automated. This equates to 10 hours per 40-hour work week.
A process improvement strategy
One way to overcome the challenge of inefficient processes is for a company to establish a process center of excellence. This center can become a central repository of process information and provide employees with the opportunity to contribute to process improvement.
Having such a hub also reduces the likelihood of a business having multiple, conflicting processes or a range of dependent workflows that are not properly connected. This type of situation can lead to greater employee dissatisfaction and lower productivity.
One of the first tasks of a process center of excellence is the documentation of all the processes that exist in the business. This will help identify which ones need to be overhauled, which ones are no longer needed, and which ones can be automated.
The focus can then be on automating processes, as this is where a business can derive the most value. In addition to speeding up workflows, this will free staff from mundane and repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on other activities that add greater value.
Encouragingly, 69% of Nintex survey respondents indicated that their organization is focused on automating core business processes. The benefits of this will no doubt become evident in the months and years to come.