A few years ago, business process management solutions were talked about widely. With changing technology, the problem for organizations became how to easily gather all relevant business data and use it in a comprehensive and efficient way. Today, having a document management system isn’t just an industry buzzword, it is a way of life.
Information enters your company in a variety of ways. There are emails directed to any number of employees. Then there might be secondary emails that were exchanged through private accounts as employees were off-premise, but still doing business. There might even be text messages, web forms, fax documents and paper documents.
Your business process management software is there to help you organize all of these different strings of communication. In order for your BPM to allow you to better manage your workflows and streamline your efficiency, it’s important that it’s used correctly. You’ve heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”? This works on the same premise – you might have the best possible business process management software available, but if it’s not used correctly it won’t help.
Five Tips to Improve Business Workflow Using BPM Software
Getting the most out of your business process management solution means using it to its capacity. Many software solutions can take effort to learn effectively, so the caveat here is that you’ll need to invest some time in education. Once a system is learned, it’s fairly easy to stay up to speed on new tools and upgrades.
Some companies will install a new system and expect it to magically fix their issues. The system might have the capacity to do that, but only if the company takes the initiative to make certain that employees are adequately trained and that workflows are designed to optimize efficiency.
These tips should give you a head start on using your system to the best advantage for your productivity.
- Make integration and training a company-wide protocol. Your system only works as well as your employees use it. If you’re just integrating a new system, it’s the perfect time to rewrite company protocol from the ground up. There needs to be a set method for how each process is worked through so that all of the employees are trained efficiently and steps are not accidentally missed. If you already have a document management system in place but find that it is not universally used throughout your organization, it’s time to enforce business rules. If every employee uses the same system, future training is easier and productivity increases.
- Design workflows to meet your best outcomes. When working with a new document management system, you can set document workflows so that productivity is increased, and errors are eliminated. Each industry will have different compliance issues and processes. Generally, you can set your workflow so that individual documents must be gathered and submitted in a set order. This allows for a work process that never wavers. Setting a workflow this way will also alert you when mistakes are made or when documentation is missing. You can work with your vendor to set these workflows specific to your needs. In some cases, your internal IT staff might work to set these parameters so that they can be edited or changed as the needs arise in your business.
- Define and map your overall document management system. Mapping your document management system means that you look at all of the information and documentation needed in each department. You’ll notice that client information might be shared from billing to marketing to customer service. Defining the overall document management needs for each department and then the company as a whole allows you to better develop your workflows so that each employee has access to the information they need to most efficiently contribute to the completion of company goals.
- Designate staff members to work as on-site system experts. You should have staff members who take the lead in working with the document management system. This might include your IT staff or a liaison in each department who can take control of any issue with the system, contact customer support when needed, and help employees who might be having difficulty learning the dashboard.
- Schedule intervals to review analytics to measure benchmark success. All of the work in implementing your business process management software would be wasted if you didn’t measure its success. Whether your system is new or one you’ve been working with for some time, it’s important to set dates to review the analytics and see where your process is succeeding, as well as aspects which might be improved. Treat this responsibility in the same way that you might treat your business plan. It’s important to reassess your success on a set schedule and adjust accordingly. Technology changes and your documentation needs will invariably shift as your business grows. You’ll also want to consider the success of specific employees and departments. Measuring your analytics will give you better ideas as to ways to continually improve your documentation process.
Choosing the right business process management system isn’t the end of your journey. But it can be the first step to streamlining your workflow and increasing your profitability.