BPM and Workflow Change the “Bottom-Line” Paradigm

Increasing profits is critical, but BPM and workflow can positively impact so many elements of organizational operations

Any organization’s bottom line is an incredible “motivator.” It is used to pay bonuses, bestow awards and give accolades to those whose efforts lead to reducing spending and increasing profits. After all, the purpose of any organization is to grow and improve— and a healthy bottom line indicates achievement on both counts. There are limitations, though, to what a company can try to achieve through its profit-maximizing efforts. As a result companies have to safeguard against idealizing “business improvement” in terms of numbers only.

What the bottom line fails to calculate is the human element in business activity. Improvements can be made — sometimes big, sweeping improvements— and not be represented in a spreadsheet as those efforts may be more difficult to quantify. When we talk with Process Director users, however, we find that these so-called “soft benefits” often help change the mindset of the organization in such a way that long term bottom line improvement becomes embedded into how the company actually operates.

This is the essence of Process Director. It enables processes that lead BOTH directly and indirectly to business process improvement. Some benefits are realized immediately, while others form over time yet their impact is seen, felt and heard for years to come. These longer term improvements are usually seen in a variety of ways:

Participant contribution: We all go to a job every day and would like to make an impact, and play a role in both our own and the company’s success. When we have greater insights into the way our company truly operates, we can gain a deeper sense for what is, and is not, working. Maybe we sensed that invoices weren’t getting approved quickly because submitters did not include appropriate paperwork, for example. Yet, by using a BPM software and workflow software solution, we can identify what is going on throughout a process leading to improving the way things get done. Imagine if every person in an organization had a tool that would enable them to be involved in creating better, and faster, processes leading to better, faster results.

Increased visibility: Pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “…what is essential is invisible to the eye.” He was talking about things far grander than workflow, but his sentiment can also be applied to our business environment. Let’s look at it this way: for the sake of expedience, employees rely on a steady flow of data and information. In far too many cases, that data may not lead them to think too much about the process. But that’s truly not what is essential. It’s useful however the critical things are the issues and processes that, through insight and analysis, can be changed and improved. A weekly Excel report does not encourage employees to seek ways to improve a process. On the other hand, Process Director empowers users to apply their analytical skills to the insight provided by our product. When combined, they give an organization the ability to change and improve in ways that are meaningful to the organization, its customers, and to the bottom line.

Ownership: Employees that have the right tools and permissions can make changes that move a company closer to its goals. Process Director, for example, does not require coding skills to create a usable process —nor to change that process when required. By knowing and understanding the desired outcome, the right types of changes (those that will impact the bottom line) can be made. Two important outcomes result: 1) The potential for better processes and company operations, and 2) A sense of ownership among the employees who are involved. What’s more, when employees know their contributions hold the potential to make a real impact, a feeling begins to permeate throughout the organization –and a sense of esprit de corps emerges. This becomes an invaluable asset for any organization, and one that begins to build upon itself.

BPM and workflow are outstanding tools to help businesses perform more effectively. Using them can and ‘should’ result in bottom line improvements. We also know that BPM and workflow can lead to a mindset among ‘players’ that enables them to be a part of, and accountable for a better way of doing business.

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