Process optimization starts with understanding. Here’s how you get it.
Process optimization starts with an accurate view of your actual business execution – how users interact with the applications that form an end-to-end business process. We frequently work with clients who are looking to perform process optimization for a myriad of enterprise applications such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and dozens of others. Typically, these highly complex technology landscapes are constructed of applications running in hybrid cloud environments as well. Understanding how actual business processes work within these landscapes is no small task.
Uncover the Actual Business Process. Let’s look at an example at a Fortune 500 company where the order and fulfillment process was identified as a prime target for process optimization and streamlining. Standard interview-style approaches had failed to work in the past, because users traditionally answered process-related questions with the idealized view, rather than what they were actually doing. With business process capture technology and analytics, we successfully uncovered key areas for process improvement which had remained undetected for years.
Combine Process Flows with Business Data. Specifically, we used process information from actual business execution in the enterprise applications themselves to generate heat maps which showed the frequency with which different users were taking paths through the transactions. In doing so, we quickly noticed that 80 percent of the time employees were creating orders and then immediately modifying them! This observation led to a number of different questions for analysis:
- Were order takers simply making mistakes on the initial orders?
- Were customers changing their minds immediately after placing an order?
We also noticed that 50 percent of the time after creating a shipment, the customer was immediately changing the delivery document.
Finding Productivity Gains. So what was the outcome? As it turned out, employees were moving from “create order” to “change order” screens because they were following an old process whereby they used the “change order” screen to methodically validate every order. This antiquated process was no longer needed because business logic had been added to catch errors, and human validation occurred at order entry. Given that there were hundreds of thousands of orders a day, this unnecessary manual step resulted in thousands of hours of lost productivity per year.
Further, the change to delivery documents after creating a shipment was occurring because customers often didn’t know the shipment route – which had to be entered manually each time. By tying the entry screen to the shipment information so the route would be automatically populated, timeliness and accuracy improved and resulted in substantial time savings for staff and customers.
Automation Software Provides Accurate Process Analytics. Software for automated business process discovery, like Worksoft Analyze, makes it possible for your team to automatically capture the actual business process and usage statistics, even as business users perform their normal business processes, interacting with SAP, web, and other enterprise applications. With automation software, the process is simple and not burdensome for IT or the business users themselves. On top of that, the visual output makes it possible to rapidly identify process improvement candidates – and potentially achieve thousands of hours in time savings. Not to mention cost and quality improvements.
Start with the Facts. Real process improvement hinges on having an accurate understanding of the real process. That’s where automation comes in – getting you quickly to the facts of the process and eliminating the need for speculation. The best way to optimize today’s digital business processes is to incorporate business intelligence and analytics into standard operations, and then use the insights gained to optimize them.