Everyone’s jumped into something without a plan. Sometimes, this looks like going into the grocery without a list or setting out on the road without a map. But imagine doing that with your business. Planning is a must when operations and livelihoods (both yours and your employees) are on the line.
That’s why business process blueprints are essential. Blueprinting brings all your company’s needs and parameters into one place so you can allocate efficiency, productivity, and resources properly. Just like you need a blueprint to build a house, you need plans to define the structure of your organization from the ground up.
The beauty of a business process blueprint is that it can house workflows, terminologies, and other elements unique to your company. It helps develop more process-driven cultures, allowing your organization to improve function.
Blueprinting, although vital, is often a time-consuming step. Luckily, you can cut down this time by using effective process suites. These suites, coupled with SAP business blueprint best practices, can help expedite your blueprint’s implementation while ensuring you minimize risk, increase user adoption, and boost potential ROI.
Business process blueprints break down silos
Unlike that of other countries, U.S. business culture is not inherently process driven. American workers tend to prefer working in silos and asking for help when needed. This makes operating a functional organizational model tricky because these barriers lead to process deviations that hamper momentum.
Conversely, process is second nature everywhere else in the world. Companies in Europe, Canada, Asia, and much of Latin America also value processes, so introducing a model that examines the inner workings of an organization is nothing out of the ordinary. Ultimately, any organization aims to move from an “as is” model into a “to be” model where process is consistent across all roles, branches, and departments. Effective SAP business blueprint platforms can predict the potential risks in your operating model.
In a time when more people than ever are physically separated in the workplace, siloed employees can feel isolated and disconnected from their peers and the company’s vision. These days, a clear organizational structure and proper business process evaluation create the framework for solid communication, interdepartmental collaboration, and understanding.
How your blueprint keeps process top of mind
Without process, a company can’t survive or thrive. In fact, disorganized processes can be a make-or-break factor in a company’s future success.
For example, take a large enterprise retailer with 500 locations in 12 countries. Should each location determine its own process? Of course not. That would lead to a fundamental breakdown in the organization’s function.
An internal benchmark of controls and metrics: This helps create tools to make your processes more effective, efficient, and accurate.
A trial run: Like a free trial for a new product that helps you determine whether it’s worthwhile, a trial run will help you resolve bugs and ensure a sound process.
A commitment to iterative thinking: This last phase (i.e., the maintenance phase) is about establishing a new mindset around the ongoing improvement of business process efficiency.
How to integrate a business process blueprint into your organization’s culture
Blueprints aren’t a cure-all. Houses built on shoddily built plans can lead to disasters and large-scale repairs. A process blueprint requires care and forethought. To that end, here are three strategies for successfully implementing a business process blueprint:
- Ensure your chosen solution offers a central repository.
The necessary procedural information might be scattered throughout files within an organization. Without a central repository, businesses will find it nearly impossible to analyze and collaborate around this data.
Using a business process management suite as a home base for all processes can help. For instance, our company has process mining technology that identifies areas of risk that can then be automated, identified, and mapped. Those findings can inform how to make those “to be” processes more efficient.
- Establish a common standard.
Most organizations build their processes using different standards as inspiration. Unfortunately, this inconsistency can make their models hard to understand for everyone except the owner.
Inconsistency also makes determining business requirements difficult. Confirming a common standard will ensure that all necessary stakeholders can easily understand your organization’s processes.
- Enable your solution to offer support for challenges.
Another persistent issue that arises during the blueprinting phase occurs when there is no method for process owners to collaborate with subject matter experts. If you don’t have the process outline or access to these experts, you risk going over budget or not conforming to the timeline. Without expert collaboration around it, the final blueprint is at a higher risk of failure.
If you’re trying to figure out how to improve business process efficiency, consider going back to the drawing board. Embrace business process blueprinting, then use the proper tools to help bring your vision to life. This step can help shape cultures into more process-oriented ones, leading to greater overall success for your organization.
Beyond being vital for functioning, process can also reduce the cost and time associated with implementation projects. Without a thorough, well-conceived business process blueprint, scoping and planning a project could cost more than anticipated. When the time and cost increase, the project’s value usually decreases.
To keep predictions on track, a blueprint needs:
A process inventory: Maybe processes are already widely known, but assembling a visual list helps you begin thinking about prioritization.
A foundation: Like blueprints for home improvement projects, business process blueprints need boundaries. Use a scope definition document to set them.
An actual blueprint: This document helps clarify where handoffs between departments occur, and it helps illustrate which department or individual is responsible for what part of the process.
An estimate of time and costs: Establish a baseline measurement for how long processes take and cost your organization, then define improvement benchmark parameters.
Verification of the process blueprint: Get feedback from colleagues to make sure that your blueprint reflects reality and to establish stakeholder support.
A plan for next steps and improvement: Improve upon methods such as eliminating bureaucracy, improving value-added activities, eliminating redundancy, simplifying process reports, reducing cycle time, and applying automation. Roll out the new processes by communicating the correct information to the right people.
Written by Caroline Broms, as seen in CEOWorld.