Any business exists eventually for two things: to create a product or service that has demand in the market and can be sold, and to make a profit while doing it. There's always an "assembly line" behind the scenes of people, activities, equipment, and associated procedures that ultimately leads to the delivery of the end product - and this is what a business process is. The whole gauntlet, right from the supply chain to the customer's basket, each business has an established workflow, protocol, and methodology oriented towards achieving the same goal.
With that said, the multiple aspects that comprise a business process can potentially be optimized time and again to work at improved efficiencies while using fewer resources. Business processes can be bettered with time using contemporary tools and tackles, such as BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) and automation, among others. In fact, outsourcing business process management has become big today, with organizations focusing more on incorporating more efficient workflows to economize on resource spends and reduce time-to-market. Two statistics make it amply clear that business process improvement, or transformation if you will, is rapidly becoming the norm:
- Business process automation is set to grow at a CAGR of 12.2% by 2026, and
- The market size for outsourcing business processes is about $55.5 billion.
What makes business process transformation so important? How can you begin this transformative journey at your company? Let's start with the basics.
What is Business Process Transformation?
Process transformation is the complete overhaul of the way your products and services reach the market. Redesigning every aspect of a product's journey through the landscape of your business, with a view to incorporate best practices for better operational efficiency, is what business process transformation is all about. Assimilating technological innovations, acquiring new capabilities, and conceptualizing better business models with a periscopic view of the future equips a business with the arsenal it needs to not just survive bad times, but also be able to achieve growth even during difficulties.
However, there's an elephant in the room: ever since the pandemic showed the world the mirror, there was a pressing need for businesses to evolve and meet the demands of the market. Yet, some businesses had the grit to show the world how things are done: the names that pioneered an accelerated adoption of digitalization that happened in the wake of COVID-19 is the epitome of process transformation. Read McKinsey's cover on six companies that embodied business process transformation and made the cut, all while the world seemed to be ending.
It has become the new benchmark. It goes to highlight how necessary business process transformation is; would you think of buying from a brand if it was absent from digital platforms? This is only speaking of the digital aspect - there are many other areas of a business that can be optimized to function better.
The long and short of it: Keeping your business thriving with a preparative of the near future, while reducing resource consumption and maximizing efficiency.
The Need for Business Process Transformation
"The only constant in life is Change," The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, put it rightly.
Businesses around the world are in perpetual competition with each other, and unless your business delivers a unique value to the customers that they are unlikely to find elsewhere, your business will barely scrape by. Consistently evolving your business processes and streamlining your workflows according to the projected market trends, one step ahead, is the only way to achieve unbridled growth.
Periodic reviews of the health of your organization reveal the problem areas that need changing. It could be anything - a process, the technology you use, your organizational structure, the way your business manages contracts - a gazillion things could be wrong or right.
Process transformation helps align the machinery of your organization according to its goal, targets, vision, and mission.
And then, there is the matter of compliance with the ever-changing laws, which can only be achieved by staying functionally updated.
It is a fast-paced, focused activity that needs intense and highly detailed planning. At the end of this overhaul, your organization would function with better:
- Employee satisfaction
- Customer satisfaction
- Risk and loss management
The long and short of it: Business process transformation works like an upgrade to a company, and the result is seen in improved, smoother performance, better feedback, and organizational agility.
Steps Involved in Business Process Transformation
Rome wasn't built in a day - but your business doesn't need a Rome. It needs a seamless environment to function as it should, which is what process transformation aims to achieve within workable timelines. Step by step, the decision-makers must strategize to achieve a well-oiled organizational gearwork thus:
- Having a clear view of the goals - What is your business planning to achieve this quarter? Or this year? Or five years down the line? Your goals are the guiding beacons that tell you which areas aren't aligned with your targets and need remodeling. This is where transformation begins.
- Acquiring and analyzing the metrics - The only way you can see your business practices manifesting is in numbers: your KPIs. These are the first numbers that reflect how well your business has assimilated the process transformation.
- Understanding that people run the organization - Automation aside, it is the people that make up your organization: the way they adapt to and accept the metamorphosis reflects directly in the performance of the company. Taking into consideration their expectations and appraising them is a part of the transformation.
- Executing a simulation - Set up a prototype run of the new process environment: leave no surprises. Only when the cogs and gears know how to turn will a machinery work; get to know the implements well and familiarize your business with how the whole thing works.
- Play the building-blocks game - Rather than rushing your organization into deeper space, take the payload approach: implement the new tools one block at a time. Check for issues before moving on.
The long and short of it: Transformation needs a load of brainstorming and actionable milestones; it isn't an off-the-shelf solution that you can plug and play. Detailed planning must precede any implementation or outsourcing of business process transformation.
Challenges in Business Process Transformation
Change is never easy, and there is always a stop-gap needed to deal with the problems arising while transformation is under implementation. The challenges that mostly occur are:
- There will almost always be a rift between those that welcome the changes and those that prefer the old way of doing things at your organization. It may hinder the speed.
- Finding a flag bearer who is capable of seeing the transformation through to the end is a job easier said than done. A sponsor that isn't strong cannot lead the initiative.
- Poor alignment with objectives almost always results in ineffective transformational drives.
- The lack of needs analysis prior to getting BPM solutions creates integration problems with existing platforms in the business. This may create a data divide and pose further problems.
The long and short of it: Nothing can beat a well-detailed plan. Transformation requires an investment of time and money; therefore, plan ahead for all possible roadblocks.
The availability of new, intelligent, and innovative technology has made it possible to reduce costs while improving operational efficiencies at organizations, which is a primary driver of process transformation. According to data, the Business Process Management industry is poised for a $4.78 billion market by 2026, which is highly suggestive considering most businesses today have accelerated their onboarding over to Digital in less than a year. Business process transformation isn't a destination, but a milestone to achieve every few years to keep everything functioning optimally.