4 Elements That Should Mold Your Business Process Blueprint

You’d never build a house without a blueprint, would you? So why would your business model look any different?

A business process blueprint serves the same purpose. Put simply, blueprinting involves channeling your business requirements and defining your organizational structure — the same way you’d create a physical blueprint when building your dream home.

Blueprinting is a critical step in successful enterprise resource planning, but it can also be time-consuming. With the assistance of compelling process suites, enterprises can expedite blueprint implementation, helping to minimize risk, increase user adoption, and boost potential ROI.

Best of all, a blueprint solidifies that everything going forward will occur in as effective and efficient a way as possible. How do you draft something that stands up? Start with these four SAP business blueprint best practices:

1. Set the foundation. To bring your blueprint to life, start from the bottom up. Build a support system stable enough to scale with whatever needs your business has going forward.

Start by developing an inventory for all aspects of your operation and performing a business process evaluation. While you may think you know all the processes already, it helps to visualize them so you can begin the process of prioritization.

Then, use your findings to create a scope definition document that integrates timelines, barriers, and other essential information into your business process blueprint. This will serve as the guide that puts your business back on track if recalibration is needed. For example, if your business has 50 different locations, each with its own accounting and payroll system, silos may form and present inconsistencies.

A blueprint identifies where your company might be doing too much. Then, it brings everything under one roof so any resulting transformation maximizes value in minimal time.

2. Draw an initial blueprint. What goes into that first draft? Answering a few questions will help bring it all into focus.

For starters, where do departmental handoffs occur? And who is responsible for what within individual teams and the company as a whole? These are good exploratory questions to ask when sketching the broad strokes of your blueprint.

When a consensus is reached on those points, conduct time and cost estimates. How long does it take to complete current processes? What does the spend look like on those when all is said and done? With these parameters in place, you can use them as specs for setting improvement targets.

3. Track success and progress. With a blueprint outline in hand, you can start monitoring its effectiveness. Look at options to help sharpen your approach and maximize efficiency.

Explore ways of lowering operating expenses. Try eliminating bureaucracy, evaluating value-added activities, eliminating redundancy, simplifying process reports and forms, reducing cycle time, and applying automation. Then, set up internal controls and metrics to track your progress.

Create tools to increase the efficiency and adaptability of the business process. Operations, like anything else, are subject to human error, so incorporate automation and apply controls to minimize that possibility.

4. Think iteratively. A 30-day testing period can give you a taste of what you’re buying before you fully invest in it. Looking at your new business process iteratively is much the same. It helps you work out kinks, resolve glitches, and ensure everything runs smoothly while also displaying a commitment to always change with the times.

After successfully implementing your new processes, solidify your new blueprint with a new mindset that treats improvement as an ongoing initiative. You must continually evaluate your operations for maximum effectiveness and efficiency for your organization.

A well-designed home based on a solid blueprint will stand up to the elements for years to come — and so will a business! Using a solid business process blueprint will improve your business process efficiency and win you an improved return on investment.