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How to Optimize Business Processes

Businesses cannot thrive and grow without efficient business processes in place. From recruiting and hiring employees to sales, marketing, accounting, and managing computer networks, virtually every business function requires a series of processes. The process of business ensure that all related tasks are documented and well organized. In theory, those responsible for carrying out a given process will know exactly what to do and when. However, business methods are not necessarily efficient. Business method optimization seeks to make business method as efficient as possible.

Why Optimize Business Processes?

Some business methods start out efficient but become less efficient over time. For example, as rules and regulations change, you may add tasks to a process in order to comply with the new regulation (Source: “Optimizing business processes”, InfoWorld). However, some existing tasks may no longer be required due to the change. Did you remove those tasks from the process? Likewise, changing one process may affect another process, resulting in unnecessary duplication or tasks that no longer need to be done. If secondary processes are not updated, inefficiency is the result.

Inefficient business processes can result in:

. Unnecessary delays
. Mistakes
. Employee frustration
. Customer dissatisfaction
. Accidents
. Wasted time
. Unnecessary use of resources
. Duplication
. Unnecessary costs

How to Optimize Business Processes

Businesses cannot afford to waste time, money, and resources. They cannot afford the risks of errors and accidents, employee frustration, and unsatisfied customers. In order to address these problems, improve productivity, and streamline operations, business method must be evaluated and optimized on a regular basis (Source: “What Are the Best Tips for Business Process Optimization?”, wiseGEEK). One approach to business method optimization consists of just three steps: identify, analyze, and automate.

1. Identify – Identify the process that needs to be optimized. Break down the process into its most basic components. What are the individual tasks that need to be done to complete the activity? What is the activity’s desired outcome? When does the activity begin and end? Who is involved in this activity? Which deliverables, reports, or information is generated or required as part of this process? Are any secondary processes likely to be affected by your changes?

2. Analyze – After identifying the components of a process, the next step is to rethink the process. Look at all of its parts in search of inefficiencies. Ask yourself “what if?” and “why?” and think of ways to reduce waste. For example, “What if we generated PDF copies instead of paper ones?” or “Why are we generating three paper copies for each order?”

3. Automate – As you fine tune the process of business, explore solutions designed to automate it. For example, business management solutions exist for any number of business method such as invoicing and accounts payable (Source: “Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) for SAP Finance”, Dolphin). Automation can ensure that the workflow is carried out consistently as well as do so more efficiently. Whether automating accounts receivable, invoicing, or any other process, business process automation can deliver substantial cost savings, risk management benefits, and cash-flow improvements.

Business Process Innovation

Outsourcing Success Mantra

Managers managing successful outsourcing relationships
increasingly believe that success is tightly bound to the ability to adopt and exploit practices that drive sustained process innovations/ improvement. Such business processes innovations are characterized by a no-holds barred commitment
to the overall business goals and hence are aligned to individual skills/competencies. Along with today’s leading edge technological resources like ERP, new process modelling techniques provide the means to sustain continuous innovation.

Outsourcing experts and project managers now look to
implement processes that directly address critical business needs, recognizing the cross-organizational nature of different activities – integrating these process innovations with existing or planned applications. Given that most
process modelling procedures can address best-practice availability and integration requirements at some level, the issue becomes this: How do enterprises achieve competitive, process-based differentiation or advantage?

Process Linkages & Innovations

Understanding – and more effectively managing – the relationship among outsourcing service provider & service seeker as they exist in a chain of supply and demand has become a operations management imperative. The widespread
achievement of this goal has been greatly helped by the spread of relevant process automation tools/technologies that not only promote data transparency but also real-time collaboration across geographies & process boundaries. These deliver the desired cross-enterprise functionality, coupled with
recognition that business process innovations are possible only in win-win concert with like-minded supply-chain partners.

This critical new process management methodology by the BPO experts seamlessly addresses all the
supply-chain constituents based on proven process modelling technologies and the manner in which those process models interact and support the rapid deployment and enhancement of cross-enterprise service/fulfilment applications.

One of
the key value-added initiatives in this approach is the development of industry-based BPO templates – or reference models of outsourcing best practices. Moreover, this modelling capability needs to be inherently dynamic in nature. That means it must be able to:

o reflect and support a continually changing business model whether new, reconfigured, or time-phased;

o completely regenerate and link the underlying business objects that encompass any logic flow and incorporate any technological advancements; and

o generate a customized system without the need to manually set any system parameters, authorization codes, or redefine user interfaces.

In addition to the process modelling methodologies being brought to bear on process innovation and other outsourcing initiatives, service suppliers also seek to
integrate best-in-class project management and modeling technologies. These methodologies are extensive, market-proven, and often used as the basis for suppliers’ reference/testimonials claims.

Innovations & Underlying Technologies

Directly linking business-process modelling tools with underlying IT systems means that organizations can now drive their businesses based on an outsourcing experts’ understanding of industry best practice and their own unique business
requirements rather than constraining business processes by the underlying technology. Given these abilities, the focus of managers, business analysts, and even system implementers can be addressed from the perspective of the business
imperative rather than the technologically possible.

Advanced modelling encompasses best practices and processes, the technological intricacies of configuring system parameters and data models, and highly complex product implementation and deployment issues. Technological differentiation &
outsourced process innovations starts with attaining true cross-functional, business-processes simplification & integration. Increasingly, the differences between service suppliers will directly appear as the vendors attempt to address the most demanding cross-enterprise objective – innovation.

Business Process Management Resources

Business process management resources are valuable repositories of details regarding the management of any business. One such main resource is the Internet. There are a lot of websites offering guidance for managing business processes in order to run a very competitive and cost effective company. Even though several companies and agencies come forward with references to business process management resources through their websites, only a few among them are trustful.

Through the Internet, you get ample options to browse through a large collection of articles related to the management of business processes. You also get a chance to ask your questions on the forums. There are some websites providing links to sites devoted to business process management. These provide information about the latest software tools developed for business processes. These tools are the business process management systems. A software tool must be installed only after understanding the business processes well. If the processes are not clear then incorporating BPM technology will create more confusion. There are numerous websites offering a free evaluation copy of these software tools so that a concern can implement it to see whether that software is beneficial.

There are leaning centers which conduct effective seminars and presentations to show entrepreneurs and established businesses possible ways to increase performance and produce desired results. The faculty members of these institutions provide appropriate and effective training. Some institutions conduct the courses specifically for your organization. Most of the establishments arrange classes in both in-house and off-site formats. Students also get practical advice from experienced instructors and well designed course materials.

Other business process management resources include books and consultancies. Many books related to business process management can be purchased online itself. The books also include pocket guides that describe quality improvement tools.