What would you change about how your company operates?
Nobody’s perfect, not even the world’s top CEOs. No matter how big or well-managed, every business can be improved in some shape or form.
Bosses, managers, and senior figures must ensure that the business processes they put in place are consistent and productive to maximize efficiency and drive profitability. This will give your company the best chance of success and continued growth in the future.
In this guide, you’ll find everything there is to know about business process development. You’ll learn what it is, why it’s essential, and how to develop your business processes.
What is a business process?
Business processes have developed significantly over the past century or so. Although certain processes have remained constant, how companies operate them has changed. Manual workflows used to be the norm throughout a business, but technological advancements have led to a notable reduction in traditional working methods.
For instance, back-office functions like data entry used to be recorded by hand and sorted into filing cabinets. Computers introduced the notion of digitization, and files could now be stored online. More recently, automated tools have removed the need for human input altogether, and data can be recorded and retrieved using artificial intelligence.
Businesses are built upon a web of interconnected procedures. The success of a business in achieving its objectives relies heavily on how these procedures are managed. It is crucial for managers and individuals involved in business process development to have an understanding of the types of business processes and their roles in overall business success. Here is a brief overview of the main types of business processes.
These processes play the most significant role in creating value for customers and generating revenue for the organization. Examples include marketing, sales, production, distribution, and customer service. These processes are typically managed through systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or vertical SaaS (Software as a Service) applications.
These processes enable the functioning of the business. While they do not directly generate revenue or provide value to customers, they are the absolute bedrock that enables the business to operate at all. Examples of these types of processes include HR, finance, payroll and IT. They are usually managed using department SaaS platforms.
Long tail processes:
These are customized workflows that arise due to evolving business needs and the increased complexity that comes as a business grows. They may occur due to gaps between systems, applications, departments or workflows. Sometimes, they must be extemporized as they may not exist in documented form when first required. Examples include contract review, vendor approval and new hire requests.
Strategic processes are fundamental in that they establish the direction of the business and measure its performance against predetermined goals. Examples include product development, marketing strategy formulation and partnership building.
These processes aim to translate the business strategy into steps or instructions that departments and teams can carry out. These processes document the methods that should be used to effectively manage and direct the organization’s available resources. They encompass areas such as operations, finance and administration related to resources.
Your organization’s ability to constantly reassess and – when necessary – reinvent its business processes is a key signifier of success.
Understanding the essence of business process development
Business process development may be tricky to enact, but it’s easy to understand. Practically every business performs certain functions that can be enhanced by efficient planning and testing. Business process development is the art of optimization.
Business process development aims to enhance your organization’s efficiency and customer service. The key idea is to drive growth and profitability while establishing a streamlined and flexible working method to give the best chance of continued success.
Business process development helps companies improve their business performance and adaptability. It bridges gaps, fosters collaboration among employees and teams, and brings greater value to the company and its customers. However, many companies need help with implementing business process development. Some of these challenges include not taking a collaborative approach, struggling to gain support from management or end users, being more reactive than proactive, and neglecting to measure the new system’s success using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
In the next section, we look at some key foundations of business process development.
Setting clear objectives: The blueprint to success
Any organization can only be successful when its leadership sets clear objectives. These strategic business goals, often agreed upon at a high level with the board, inform the development of business processes. Without a defined plan to direct your processes, you may create more inefficiencies than you resolve. Aligning your objectives with the company’s vision can also help you enforce your values more efficiently.
Establishing well-defined and measurable objectives ensures consistency in output, product, and customer service quality. It allows you to define the parameters by which your success will be judged – which, in turn, can be codified as a set of KPIs. Your company can scale more quickly if you give your customers a consistent experience. Investors are also attracted by a proven record of consistency, which demonstrates how setting clear objectives can boost profitability.
Analyzing and streamlining existing processes
The fundamental component of business process development is analysis. Businesses must analyze their operations, identify bottlenecks, and implement the correct strategies to counteract internal inefficiencies.
This could involve analyzing a number of existing business processes, including customer-facing operations, support and internal processes, long-tail and ad-hoc processes, or your processes for strategic planning and management.
Within these categories are the key processes that almost every business performs, such as marketing, sales, finance, human resources, contract renewals, recruitment, product development, and customer service.
Properly using data and analytics can highlight areas for improvement and give you the insight to suggest appropriate approaches. For instance, productivity tracking tools can identify unproductive periods or process gaps. Armed with this data, you can analyze precisely what is going wrong and when. You can determine which staff members you need to gather feedback from to understand what happens when a process is run.
Embracing technological advancements and automation
Technology plays a significant role in business process development. Companies can leverage digital tools and software to improve their efficiency thanks to advancements in AI and automation.
You can improve your workforce’s productivity by utilizing tools to automate certain processes. For example, RPA (robotic process automation) is a technology that allows businesses to use software robots to automate almost any process that can be carried out via a series of click and keystroke entries on a computer.
Giving your staff the right technology can maximize efficiency and ensure they don’t waste time on needless processes. For instance, you could automate back-office processes or outsource them to free up your employees for more important tasks.
A step-by-step walkthrough of business process development
Your company needs to create a successful business process development plan to maximize growth and profitability. There are five simple steps you can take to ensure you prepare and execute the correct strategies to improve your business. Read each step in detail below.
1. Identify needs and set goals
To initiate business process development, you must identify what needs improving and set clear, attainable goals to resolve this. For instance, you could leverage productivity tracking tools like Time Doctor to recognize common periods of unproductivity and use real-time analytics to establish well-defined goals.
2. Map out the current process
Next, you must examine your current business processes in detail. Understanding your existing operations will give you a clearer picture of what needs to be done. This will help you set goals and solve problems rather than waste time trying to streamline already efficient processes.
3. Design and test the new process
Now that you’ve gathered insights into your current business processes, it’s time to design and formulate an improved version. Focus on the key inefficiencies hindering growth, profitability, and customer experience. Then, test your new process over a small scale to ensure you achieve the desired results.
4. Document and train team members
Once you’ve finalized your new business processes, document each step and train your employees. Every team member should be made aware of the latest strategies so they can adjust their work methods accordingly. Educating your employees on your business process changes will ensure that your vision is implemented smoothly.
5. Continuous review and iteration
Lastly, you should consistently review your new process to ensure everything works as expected. Getting it right the first time is rare, so it’s essential to make any necessary adjustments according to internal and external feedback. This reactive approach will help your company adapt to changing business needs and will create the best possible chance of future success.
The future of business process development: Trends and predictions
The business world is volatile, and everything you know can shift in the blink of an eye. As such, business process development strategies are likely to change in the future. The rise of AI and the need to create sustainable practices will undoubtedly play a significant role over the next decade.
The rise of AI and machine learning in process optimization
Automating business processes has become increasingly common, and the rise and development of AI will likely increase this. Tracking tools and other machine learning software can provide companies with predictive analytics and real-time responses that can be used to adjust processes without human input.
This will profoundly affect how businesses develop new strategies for improving efficiency. We’ll see bigger budgets for digital tools as companies look to reduce the workload on their employees, instead allowing team members to focus on more pressing tasks.
Sustainable and ethical considerations in process development
Another trend that will only grow in the future is the focus on sustainability. Climate-consciousness is becoming more entrenched in global society, and businesses must adjust their processes to accommodate sustainable and ethical practices.
Employee, client, and customer values are all shifting towards eco-friendly practices. If companies want to satisfy these groups, they must align their business processes with global attitudes on sustainability. This benefits companies and the environment, as organizations can reduce their carbon footprint while improving employee satisfaction and customer acquisition figures.
Embracing change and continuous improvement
The concept of business process development is constantly evolving. In today’s fast-evolving business landscape, companies must adjust their strategies to align with new perspectives and global priorities. It is essential for senior leaders and managers engaged in business process development to embrace adaptability, continuous learning and awareness of industry trends.
Furthermore, the emergence of AI and advancements can assist companies in navigating through change. Tools like Time Doctor, which tracks productivity, offer insights to improve efficiency and increase profitability. Experience the benefits firsthand by requesting a demo today.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.