Posted in Workflow Automation

7 BPM Best Practices You Can’t Ignore

Whether you’re managing them or not, every business has processes.

The problem is that if you’re not taking control over how you manage those processes, you won’t be able to spot the blockages in your pipelines.

The result? Extra costs, unexplained delays, and repeated errors.

If these issues sound familiar, it’s time to take control.

Read on to discover the top BPM best practices that help you take charge of your processes once and for all.

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Why Is BPM Important?

Business process management (BPM) refers to all the actions involved in the creation and management of end-to-end processes within business systems. 

Commonly, the actions involved in BPM implementation include:

  • Identification of systems and processes
  • Process modeling
  • Analyzing the efficiency of existing systems and processes
  • Designing and implementing process improvement changes
  • Measuring process efficiency and efficacy
  • Digitizing and automating processes

The thing is, whether you tend to them or not, all businesses have processes — sales processes, financial processes, purchasing processes, HR processes, and so on. 

Some companies never examine how their processes operate, meaning that each member of staff carries out tasks in their own personal style. Not only does this lead to inconsistent results, there are often unknown errors and bottlenecks that go unnoticed or unchanged. 

The result of uncontrolled systems is unmanageable costs. If you can’t pinpoint the inefficiencies in your business processes, you don’t know where you’re wasting time and money or why your results aren’t what you expected.

Business process management invites you to tend to these processes to build efficient systems that run smoothly. 

BPM helps to iron out bottlenecks and delays in your processes. Plus, 65% of companies agree that BPM helps them improve efficiency, enhance versatility, and uplift customer satisfaction. 

Take Cricket Australia, for example.

The organization noticed that they had significant delays in their financial processes — it took up to 15 minutes to create every invoice. This meant the invoicing process was slow and arduous, often leading to delays in payments.

To remedy this, Cricket Australia switched to frevvo. With this low code workflow automation software, financial processes are far speedier. The governing body can now generate hundreds of invoices a day.

7 BPM Best Practices For Smooth-Running Processes 

Looking to manage your business processes more effectively? 

Here’s a list of the best practices that will help you streamline BPM to make improvements easier.

1. Start With Business Process Modeling

One of the big mistakes that organizations make when trying to improve BPM is to build their best practices based on an optimistic view of how the company runs.

To make sure that you’re implementing the right changes and prioritizing improvements, you’ll need to create a business process model based on how your processes actually work — not how you’d ideally like them to work.

This means identifying the processes that need managing and mapping them out.

A process map helps you to see how the processes flow, the actions involved, and the deliverables at each stage. You can also see the stakeholders that move the process along.

Start by identifying the purpose of each process and when the process kicks in. 

Next, map out the scope, showing where each process begins and where it ends. 

Following this, you’ll need to model all the actions that occur along the process pipeline to get from the start to the end.

By mapping out the process, you can immediately identify steps that bottleneck the process, causing delays, excess costs, and errors.

before and after

This is how a senior services organization, PMMA, improved its business process management.

By mapping out its processes, PMMA recognized that the new hire process was taking hours to complete as new employees needed to fill out 30–40 forms.

Not only that, but manual processing meant there were lots of errors and duplicate entries, while the data entry process was extremely slow.

To remedy this, PMMA digitized the process with frevvo. 

New hire forms auto-populate and auto-validate to reduce errors and manual data entry, while auto-routing speeds up the approval process.

2. Implement Small, Steady Solutions

Don’t make the mistake of trying to improve everything at once. Prioritization is key.

To improve your business process management, you’ll need to take small, manageable steps that allow you to measure the feedback of your incremental changes.

Not only does this afford you time to train your staff on the business process changes that you make, it also protects you from significant negative fallout if you make incorrect alterations.

Small solutions will allow you to test your business improvement without complete upheaval. If this organizational change doesn’t work, you can revert back without having to upset the balance too much.

This is how OESJ managed to successfully switch to digitized processes without any major issues.

When the tech team was tasked with implementing digital solutions that would save money and improve speed and efficiency, they chose to implement frevvo slowly.

OESJ first tested frevvo on purchase request workflows only — their most inefficient existing process. Before frevvo, purchase requests were filled out yearly and involved a lot of walking between offices, and returning paperwork due to mistakes.

By switching to an automated business process management software, OESJ managed to automatically route documentation to the correct approvers, who could sign documents using electronic signatures.

After seeing how much time and hassle frevvo saved them, OESJ proceeded to implement the business process automation software to improve employee onboarding.

With small, steady solutions, OESJ managed to reach its goals of improved efficiency and cost savings without having to overhaul every process at once.

3. Find the Efficiency/Efficacy Balance

When you aim to improve efficiency, you’re looking to enhance the way in which a process gets done. This may mean you want the process to be cheaper, faster, or have fewer mistakes.

When your goal is to enhance efficacy, you’re looking at how well the process gets done. This refers to the quality of the final deliverables.

efficiency vs efficacy

The problem is that these two things are often at odds with one another. 

For example, say you want a new pair of jeans.

You head to a fast-fashion website and pick up a cheap pair of jeans in minutes. The problem is that they’re mass-produced very quickly and cheaply, so they’re not very durable, and they don’t fit all that well.

In this circumstance, the jeans-making process is highly efficient, but low in efficacy. You’ll get your jeans quickly and cheaply, but they’re low quality.

Alternatively, you could go to a tailor and have your jeans custom-made. They’ll fit like a glove, and they’ll likely last a long time. The problem is that the tailoring process takes a long time, and the cost is considerably higher.

In this situation, the jeans-making process is highly effective, but not very efficient. You’ll get high-quality jeans, but you’ll have a long wait, and you’ll have to pay handsomely for them.

You need to bear these two situations in mind when you’re managing your business processes.

Ask yourself where you can afford to cut back on the quality of deliverables so that you can speed up the process or cut back on costs. 

Equally, consider where it’s vital for deliverables to be perfect every time. In these cases, you may need to allocate more time and extra budget to the processes.

In general, it’s important to establish a happy balance. Create a quality control policy for both your efficacy and efficiency, and communicate this to your team.

4. Remember the Stakeholders

The stakeholders in your process will determine how it flows since they all have different priorities.

Look at who is involved in each process and ask what their concern is. This includes all staff members, buyers, suppliers, and partners involved in carrying out the process.

Do they want to speed up the process? Is customer service a concern? Do they care about accuracy? Flexibility? Ease?

For example, more than a third of salespeople say that the time-to-sale is one of their top challenges. This means salespeople are interested in speeding up the sales process.

Meanwhile, 78% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments when making a purchase. This means buyers are concerned with receiving reliable customer service throughout the sales process.

When managing your processes, you need to take these concerns into consideration to create a balance that keeps everyone happy.

Look at Activ8, for example.

The sales and installation team were suffering from slow sales cycles due to the lengthy manual quoting processes.

Not only was the constant back-and-forth of paperwork making the process harder, but it was also confusing to customers. 

By switching to frevvo, Activ8 is now able to provide on-the-spot digital quotes that customers can electronically sign and pay for there and then. 

This speeds up the sales cycle for the sales team and improves customer service for the buyer, all at once.

5. Digitize Manual Processes

By switching to a BPM solution like frevvo, you can exchange pesky paper processes for integrated digital processes.

Not only are digital processes faster and more accurate, companies that are digitizing paper processes cut their revenue risk in half.

What’s more, digital processes help to improve employee collaboration. In fact, 40% of business leaders agree that digitization enhances employee productivity.

You’ll also find that the customer experience improves with digital processing. 

Take electronic signatures, for example. When customers, suppliers, and approvers can sign digital forms electronically, the process is far faster and can be completed from anywhere.

That’s why 72% of organizational leaders agree that e-signatures are highly important for business continuity and agility.

Let’s take a look at logistics firm, Hellman, to illustrate this point.

The logistics company was previously using paper and PDF forms for crucial processes such as contract amendments, credit amendment requests, new customer credit approvals, and cost allocation.

Not only was this highly inefficient, but the company often saw issues with misallocated costs and data entry errors.

By digitizing these processes with frevvo, Hellman managed to cut out these issues.

Cloud-based forms mean that these processes can be accessed and approved from anywhere, while auto-population and auto-validation features prevent duplicate data, data entry mistakes, and misallocated costs.

6. Automate Repetitive Tasks

Once you’ve moved your processes from manual to digital, it makes sense to automate repetitive work.

automate repetitive tasks

As 42% of business leaders will tell you, automation speeds up task completion. Not only that, but half of all business leaders and employees claim that automation reduces process mistakes.

On top of this, 31% of business leaders agree that intelligent automation cuts back on labor costs.

Now, consider that 45% of paid activities can be automated. Just think about how much time that saves your team and how much money your firm can save.

Dive into your processes and identify repetitive menial tasks, such as data entry, or cumbersome manual tasks, like submitting paperwork by hand.

Find a BPM tool like frevvo to build workflow automation that enables you to fill in forms and route documentation automatically.

This is how La Cité boosted student registrations.

Before using frevvo, students registered for classes manually. They’d print forms, sign them by hand, and queue for over 20 minutes for someone to check their paperwork.

Now, thanks to frevvo, students can fill in digital forms online from any device. These are automatically populated with relevant data and automatically validated to prevent errors. 

Once submitted, these forms are routed automatically to the right approver and uploaded straight to the student database.

7. Always Measure Feedback

From the outset, you need to identify your key performance indicators (KPI) and create targets based on these. 

You’ll need to continuously monitor these KPIs to work out how well your processes are meeting your targets. These KPIs will also help you understand how changes affect your processes.

Does a change slow a process down? Does it make it more costly? Does it reduce errors or improve customer service?

For example, if you want a faster system, you need to see how fast it’s going, then measure how the process tweaks speed it up or slow it down.

By constantly measuring performance, you’ll be able to better identify bottlenecks as they occur, as well as understanding how and where you can improve the process for better future performance.

Conclusion 

BPM best practices revolve around the idea that incremental solutions can help improve your processes over time. This means setting goals, implementing manageable changes, and measuring the outcome.

That said, if you’re still using paper processes, it’s time to make the leap to digitize your procedures. While this may feel like a big step, the payoff can be monumental. 

Want to modernize your business process management? Sign up for frevvo’s free trial today.

Author:

Ashish Deshpande has worked in the process automation space for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in successfully deploying frevvo’s software at hundreds of organizations such as HBO, New York University, and Boston Public Schools. Ashish has contributed to leading publications such as Forbes, business.com and readwrite.com. Ashish received a PhD in Computer Science from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India.