Strategic Goal Tracking with BPA
Recently, I sat down with OpenText’s Judie Simpson, Vice President of Client Engagement and David Berglund, Senior Director of Software Engineering, to talk about Business Process Automation (BPA). The basics of what it is, what it isn’t, how companies should approach it, etc. You can watch the whole video (just over 20 minutes) by accessing the link below.
BPA as an Enterprise Level System
In preparing for and actually doing the talk, I found myself thinking about to the early days of business process management (now mainly referred to as business process automation) and how it has changed. Originally it was just a solution for taking paper files and making them digital, but now it’s become something much bigger. By orchestrating the work to get it to the right people, mining data from content, and tracking times in and between steps, you ultimately have a tool to help organizations track their strategic goals to make sure they accomplish them.
It’s the notion that BPA can and should be an enterprise level system that I touch on in the video that really appeals to me the most. While more companies are starting to embrace BPA, especially in these times where working from home is becoming not only desirable but necessary, more emphasis on making BPA an enterprise solution should also be at the forefront. By including BPA into a company’s enterprise level strategic goals, it allows upper executives the ability to see how their strategies are either on track or (hopefully not) off track.
Using BPA to Track Strategic Goals
Let’s take an example. Suppose a company had a strategic goal to improve customer effectiveness. This is something all companies should strive for but sometimes executives like to put it up front because perhaps they have had complaints or other reasons that customer satisfaction has gone down and now they want to track it by making it a strategy. So, how do the lower level departments help achieve this goal and how do those upper level executives know it’s being executed?
This is where BPA can be vital. With a structured workflow and making sure all of the business processes are engaged within a BPA solution, the time it takes to resolve a customer’s issue can be measured, tracked and reported in real time (or very close to real time).
Suppose a company wanted to track the average response time for a customer request. They decide they want to break it out by source of the request: phone, email, web request, and physical mail. By tracking these source types within BPA, they can see how long it takes each one to get through the process. For the purposes of this example, let’s assume there are four steps: Initial Review, Update Systems, Approval and Final Response to Customer. BPA would have the ability to track the times as shown in the graphic below:
The times for each step by source are the amount of time the customer requests spent in that step.
Analyze the Information
Based on this information, company executives would know that the response time is the longest for physical mail (averaging just over 7 hours to get a response to the customer). They can also see that the bottlenecks for the process across all sources appear to be in the Approval step where tasks within that step take an average of 4 hours for the tasks to get completed.
Use the Information to Improve
Now the company has two solid areas where they can start to make improvements: handling of physical mail (maybe optical character recognition (OCR) could be utilized to pull information out of the content) and the Approval step (how many people are responsible for handling these tasks? Are there conditions where this step could be bypassed?).
This is the power a BPA can bring to a company. Not only can it provide work efficiencies but also the knowledge throughout the organization on where problems may exist and steps to help resolve those problems.
Knowing is Half the Battle
GI Joe said it best. Knowing IS half the battle and getting to that knowledge can be even quicker by setting up and using BPA to your company’s advantage. This is not to say simply putting in a BPA will automatically give you all the information you need. As stressed in the Coffee Break session with OpenText, analysis is the key to everything BPA. You still have to plan, configure, and possibly even add some custom coding to get and present the information you want to see but it’s all there, it just needs to be properly mined. Utilizing consulting companies like ClearCadence (shameless plug) or the professional services team for your BPA software can help you get more out of your system. Don’t have a system yet? What are you waiting for? The time is now for BPA to be one of the cornerstones of your organization. If you don’t have one yet, you’re already behind. Don’t fall behind any further.
See more of the conversation here:
Kevin Beddingfield is Managing Director at ClearCadence (www.clearcadence.com) and heads up ClearBPM, a packaged service for companies to help gauge their BPM/BPA readiness in addition to doing full analysis, requirements documentation and functional design for a BPMS project from a software agnostic point of view.