Plan the Perfect Automated Business Process With These 5 Tips
When it comes to automating the manual processes in your business, picking out the right business process management software is the most important step. After that, it’s time for you to set up actual workflows and get the automation ball rolling.
Say you’ve purchased a workflow software to automate the complex processes in your admin department. But now you have the typical beginner’s dilemma – where do you start? How do you make sure that automation helps you rather than just pointing out the flaws in your existing systems? How much prep work do you need to do?
It can be overwhelming, especially if you have never had a previous brush with process automation software.
Here are five easy ways to plan out your first few workflows to help you get into the habit of automation.
1. Talk to Your Teams About Automation
The success of a new workflow automation tool depends on how well your teams receive it. You can’t just adopt a workflow platform and enforce it on your team. You have to talk about it to them even before you purchase a tool, persuading them about the positive impact on your business.
The best practice is to hold a Q&A session about the new workflow norm. Even before throwing software in front of them, talk about why you are automating things and identifying the common enemy of manual data transfers.
For example, maybe the service request process in your enterprise is slow and a point of constant conflict with other departments. Tell your stakeholders that with automation, they won’t have to worry about losing track of requests since the system will take care of it.
This is an important first step because it helps you share your vision about what you expect from the implementation. It keeps everyone on the same page and creates a conducive environment for people to take ownership of their workflow duties.
2. Create Realistic Workflows
When you are about to automate your workflows, make sure they are a virtual version of the existing ones. A workflow model that deviates from reality only complicates things and creates more chaos in the future. You can identify and do away with a few redundancies, but it’s important to route the workflow through pre-existing users and approvers.
For example, if you are automating the expense approval process, you can make it more efficient by mapping the request between the initiator, the reviewing manager, and eventually the final approver without it having to go through multiple users and managers. However, leaving these people out without informing them isn’t a good idea.
3. Set the Right Validations
When it comes to actually diagramming your workflow and online form, be mindful about structuring it in a way that yields the most accuracy. Business process automation should be easy for everyone in your team, regardless of their technical deftness.
Let’s say you are about to automate the visitor pass request, a process that isn’t as smooth as it could be. The process requires visitors to give their personal data, submit a photo, deposit a government-endorsed ID card, etc. When you automate these steps, you have to make sure you create a form with fields to capture all important information, an attachment field for documenting visitor’s photo, and logical approval routes.
Many other processes require workflow admins to create conditions, business rules, parallel approval branches, and so on. Keeping the workflow layman-friendly will make sure process users get acquainted with the new norm quickly and there are less chances of errors.
4. Be Picky About Data Visibility
When you are designing your workflow process, be careful about how to handle data visibility among the users involved in the loop. Some workflow data, such as budget processing approvals, might be sensitive in nature for everyone to see. Similarly, some data might not be very useful for everyone to see, in which case it becomes a source of clutter and distraction for the viewer.
A cloud BPM tool like Kissflow lets you define user permissions to address this problem. Based on your requirements, you can either make data fields hidden, editable, or read-only to specific users. Specifying user permissions not only helps to maintain data consistency on a workflow, but also helps users complete their required part quickly without getting stuck with unnecessary details.
5. Start Small
Adopting a business process automation software for your organization is something that can change how your company handles future processes. To ensure the optimum return of your investment, utilize the tool in the right way. A great way to accomplish that is by taking baby steps and giving yourself ample time to let the technology grow on you.
Test the application on a few small and well-documented processes and scale up slowly to rope in more complex, mission-critical workflows. The dynamics of every workflow are different, so it’s important to allocate a reasonable time limit for each workflow and ensure that deadlines are honoured.
It is a much safer bet to try out the new workflow tool on a few simple processes rather than going gung-ho trying to build a workflow empire. That way, you are likely going to end up hiring a consultant later for an expensive course correction. Aim big but start small.
Automated workflows are revolutionizing businesses all over the world, and your organization can definitely benefit from it when you do it well. BPM workflow apps today are extremely agile and easy enough for you to start.
Are you planning to adopt a BPM software solution for your business? Do you need help planning the first automated workflow for your organization? Start with a free trial of Kissflow Process and see how easy it is to set up a workflow process in less than 15 minutes.