Business Processes: Pitfalls that Could Be Hurting Your Business
Time and time again, there’s one critical component that hampers productivity and efficiency: we are wired to work within the confines of organizational silos. Your prospects, customers, and partners (and employees for that matter) do not see you as a series of disparate organizations. They see you as a company. They want to engage you as a singular entity. The onus of seamless engagement is on you, not anyone else.
Success today no longer guarantees success tomorrow. Rather, companies willing to redefine what they are, what they sell, and how they operate will win in the new digital economy. In fact, companies open-minded enough to re-evaluate every aspect of their operations with an eye toward new, customer-centric innovations will be even bigger winners.
In today’s world of hyper-connectivity and soaring customer expectations, streamlined and transparent business processes are more important than ever. From ramping a new employee across a department to managing external vendors and even compliance risk management, business processes drive how every employee works across major industries and how companies measure their efficiencies. They’re a key component to keeping systems and teams aligned with goals and objectives.
Interestingly, most organizations are using advanced technologies that offer data-driven insights for many of their day-to-day operational needs, yet aren’t leveraging the same advances applied to business processes. The impact for businesses using antiquated business process solutions or worse, no solution at all, can be multi-faceted and, ultimately, damaging to the bottom line. What are some of the specific pitfalls that inefficient or siloed business processes can cause? Here are a few that plague companies across nearly every industry.
Departmental lines are increasingly blurred. Contact centers are closely tied with marketing, sales, shipping, and even product development. Human resources, legal, IT and communications teams must be aligned to effectively manage workforce issues, compliance obligations, and other company-wide responsibilities. With this higher level of inter-department engagement, tools today limit productivity at the departmental level and cause a big source of frustration.
System Integration Challenges
With greater automation, there are more systems and solutions in place than ever before. Each requires a set of processes to enable successful use. For instance, in a contact center, there is heavy reliance on CRM, inventory management, and order tracking solutions. Agents require integrated processes to effectively use all of these systems concurrently to deliver an optimal customer experience. Without a standardized solution to access processes, they are forced to continuously shift between disparate sources of information, resulting in productivity issues and even greater employee churn.
Just because a process has been executed one way for a long time doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. Often, companies will overlook sources of process slowdowns because there is a lack of visibility and an inability to understand the impact of a bottleneck. These are sometimes the result of a lack of adaptation to a new technology being introduced, or simply because of a “gatekeeper” wanting a high level of control over a particular part of a process. Regardless of the reason, process hurdles can cause major slowdowns that can have a far-reaching financial impact.
Another common problem that happens to companies of all sizes is process duplication. Requiring repetitive steps can diminish the quality of processes and confuse those who have to execute them. This is commonly seen when there is a lack of departmental collaboration or when processes have been adapted over time in a less-than-systematic way.
A Lack of Insights
Even when companies have the right business intelligence information available, it may be inaccessible or erroneously reported due to lack of real-time data provided to those involved in a process or monitoring status. Leaders who don’t have the most relevant insights at their fingertips are less likely to make smart choices. If a leader or sponsor doesn’t know exactly how you’re progressing (for example, where did the conversation leave off on a potential blocker, how many actions were completed, was the timeline being adhered to, or whether a project is in the red or black), it’s difficult to competently decide if efforts need to be redirected, canceled or reprioritized.
Decreased Financial Performance
Without a complete understanding of all components of the business, executives lose the ability to identify critical weaknesses and plan for predictable growth. Simply put, they cannot remain reactive to operational vulnerabilities or mitigate the complexities of running a business in a global economy. Ultimately, a lack of process visibility leads to the assumption of greater risk, a loss of stakeholder trust, and less positive growth.
Processes that digitally connect suppliers, customers, and assets create unique efficiencies and customer value not before possible. From connecting machines on the shop floor to connecting data from different asset vendors, operating in the new digital economy means using information to inspire new methods of operation that help close the gap between companies and their customers.