How to prepare business processes for automation?
“Process” and “business process”: the same thing? So, a process is a set of actions directed to the transformation of a process object. The business process is what the manager controls.
In companies, the management of which has decided to implement automation, as a rule, do not operate with the concept of a process object. Accordingly, it is impossible to use the definition “process” in the above sense.
The second problem is absence of owners of processes in the company. This generates the necessity to answer the question: will the company automate “processes” or “business processes”? Nevertheless, work with business processes allows to achieve local optimization.
What should be done before the start? Practical recommendations
Before you start an automation project, it is important to consider the following recommendations:
1) You should not automate the business process “as it is”. It is important to study them primarily. Probably, there are certain problems in your company. If you do not deal with them before automation, it will turn out that you are automating problems, not business.
2) To find problems in business processes, use the following tools.
The first of these is the graphical characterisation of processes. This approach allows you to identify hidden problems: incorrectly defined boundaries of business processes, lack of responsibility for employee performance, additional functionality within the process, outdated approaches in the implementation of some functions.
The second is simulation modelling. This method allows to estimate how much time it takes to implement a process, and to calculate the time needed to process implementation.
3) “With the help of our software all processes will work with 100% accuracy” – you should not believe that. IT product providers can tell you that their programs already contain algorithms that automate “best practices”. It is assumed that their software only contains the “right” processes. But only you can decide what is the right process for your company. Therefore, it is advisable to examine the structure of the processes and find out whether the working algorithms offered by the software is suitable for you.
4) Consider how to better implement changes related to the new processes. Let’s assume you have identified the business problems and designed the appropriate processes. This does not mean that employees will follow all the rules and principles in a new way.
Sometimes changes in business processes are introduced before automation, sometimes – in the process. Both variants can be correct. However, if you have decided to do this before the project starts, train the staff to work in the new business processes, create a position of process owner and much more.