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Implementing Business Processes

You’ve mapped and analyzed your business processes and have a good picture of how things currently work. You’ve also spent a lot of time planning how to make things better. You feel like you have a pretty good handle on what you want to do—but how do you actually make it happen? Reviewing, mapping and strategizing are all great exercises, but none of them really matter if you don’t put your new plans into action. So now we’re going to talk about business process implementation.

BPM by NovacuraThere are two main factors to consider when implementing a new (or updated) business process. You need to think about the technology—machine tasks, automation, hardware, software and so on—but you also need to think about the human side of business process management, a.k.a user adoption.

You might think that the actual implementation of new business processes is an IT project. But successful implementation involves everyone in your business. Implementation isn’t just about making sure the new process works correctly: it’s also about making sure the new process works for everyone involved. Because if your new processes don’t work on a practical level, they simply don’t work.

So, with all that said, how do you actually implement your new business processes?

The technology side: BPM software

If you use a lot of different business systems—account software, marketing software, an ERP, MES, WMS, CRM and so on—then adding a BPM tool to your suite of business systems can be really helpful. Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “yes” to any of them, your business will benefit from having some kind of BPM software tool:

  • Do I want to be able to easily create new workflows and/or map other business processes?
  • Is gathering real-time data on business processes to keep track of things like bottlenecks, downtime, etc. important to the company?
  • Do I want to be able to adjust business processes quickly and easily—and push those changes out to the rest of the company quickly and easily too?
  • Is there a lot of duplicate data in my business systems?

Choosing BPM software

BPM by NovacuraWhen it comes to BPM software, you have hundreds of different options, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. So, take the time to do your research and test out the various options before you commit to a BPM tool. When determining your requirements, ask the following questions:

  • Who is in charge of modeling the processes: business, IT, or a combination? Do you need a series of different user and role types? Does the BPM solution support custom users and roles?
  • How much control do you need to have over your workflows? Do you want to be able to design workflows from scratch or start from pre-defined workflows that follow best practices—or both?
  • Do you want to connect tasks, workflows or processes to your business systems? For example, do you want to be able to pull information from your CRM, ERP or other systems into your workflows? If so, you need to make sure your BPM tool has the right connectors to make that happen.
  • What skills do your in-house team possess? Do they need additional training to use your BPM solution to its full potential? Does the vendor provide that training? Think about this in terms of both IT and BPM skillsets.
  • Will the BPM solution actually work in your business? Can this BPM tool actually support and run your new processes? To answer this question, you may need the vendor to do an on-site demo or even create a proof of concept.

Over and above these questions, you also need to think about the needs of the people who will use these new processes. For example: imagine your business provides maintenance to heavy construction equipment. You have built mobile BPM apps for your technicians to manage their work, including:

  • fault reporting
  • work orders
  • inventory and equipment management
  • time and mileage reporting

Think about what features will make your specific processes easier to manage. Some of the features you might want to consider include:

  • drag-and-drop workflow builder
  • role-based access (defined users and roles)
  • mobile support
  • data collection capabilities – through forms, barcodes, manual input, etc.
  • reports and analytics – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Finally: think about how people actually work. Are your business processes being carried out in areas with no Internet or mobile data? Do workers have to wear gloves and/or other safety gear that makes it hard to use a mobile device? Take these environmental factors into account when you use the BPM tool to make process-based applications.

Using Novacura Flow to turn workflows into mobile apps

Of course, we think Novacura Flow is the best BPM solution on the market today. The reasons we love Novacura Flow for BPM include:

– drag and drop workflow builder
– multiple ways to connect tasks to your business systems (ERP, MES, CRM, etc)
– build mobile apps out of those business processes
– easily adjust workflows and deploy new processes with just a few clicks
– support for barcode scanning, IoT devices and more

It’s simple yet very powerful. Designed with usability in mind, while still being able to handle complex processes. In short, Novacura Flow can handle all your business processes with ease. Learn more by clicking here.

Implementing your new business processes

Implementation might be as easy as telling everyone that the process has been updated. Or, if you’re using mobile apps to manage processes, it might be as easy as pushing updates to your workers’ mobile devices. The physical implementation of a new process will depend on how the process works.

One big thing to remember: test everything thoroughly before you implement it!

The people factor: change management

There are two parts to a successful business process implementation: the part where you physically make the changes, and the part where you communicate those changes to the company. Many businesses do the first part, but fall woefully short of completing the second part… and then wonder why their business process management efforts aren’t making the impact they thought they would.

If you want to make sure your BPM efforts are successful, you need people to buy in to the changes. This can be especially hard when people worry that new business processes can make their jobs obsolete. But the sooner you start change management efforts, the more likely you are to get that needed buy-in, so it pays to start early.

There are many different methods of change management that you can follow:

Each of these methods is designed to help you arrive at the same goal, so the choice of which method to use is completely up to you. The key is to communicate well, communicate often, and not be afraid to adjust your process as time goes on. Experimentation, adaptability and collaboration are crucial to business process improvement, so be open about the changes you plan to make. We talk more about change management and communication in our free guide, “Why ERP Implementations Fail”. You can download a copy of the guide here.