Remember the last time you went to administration and watched people copy papers and files manually? Input data with a pen? It’s hard to believe that this still happens around the world. Even more, some of your business processes are similar to such relics.
It’s not just that offline internal processes are slowing your business down. You forgot to welcome the digital age. Today, customers expect a real-time, smooth experience. They want everything — reports, payings, and delivered products — now!
Giants like Amazon made them that way.
If you don’t want to be left behind, here’s how you structure the digitalization of your business processes. So that they can keep up with changing consumer demand and the ever-increasing digitization of the whole world. But first…
Digitizing Your Business Processes – What does it Mean?
To digitalize your business processes is nothing else than using the same principles of online businesses in your existing, real-life processes. You computerize and document the processes you currently use in a cloud or in-house data centers so you can perfect them.
While you harness the tech to cut their number of required steps and make them as streamlined and smooth as possible. You can digitalize three types of processes:
- Management — goal setting, directing the organization, and executing tasks or activities.
- Support — any process that supports the base functions of your company.
- Operational — a group of activities that end with producing a particular product or service.
Here, the point is the simple automation of existing processes. You need to reinvent the whole business process. This includes you cut the number of required steps, reduce the number of documents, and handle fraud and regulatory problems. Also, you’ll need to redesign your operating models, organizational structure, and skills so they match any reinvented process.
Ultimately, you should adjust and rebuild your data models to allow improved decision-making, performance monitoring, and consumer insights.
Start From the Goal and Work Backwards
Digitization usually allows you to fundamentally reconfigure the business process. For instance, when you combine automated decision-making with self-service and in the process eliminate manual processes. If you want to successfully digitalize your processes, you should begin by designing how the future state of the process will look like.
Don’t pay attention to existing constraints during the design. Once you describe their future state, you can reintroduce constraints. Moreover, try challenging constraints. Some of them could be outdated myths. You can solve this fast by discussing it with consumers and regulators.
Handle Consumers Experience From Beginning to the End
While digitizing lets you increase the effectiveness in particular areas of the process and handle specific customer complaints, it could never create a really smooth experience. Thus leaving a lot of potential improvement on the table.
When you want to digitalize your end-to-end processes like customer onboarding, you should involve employees from customer experience in the digitization process. Today, some companies handle this by creating cross-functional teams with everyone in them — from IT to end-to-end customer experience.
Develop Digitization Capability
Today, there’s a short supply of digitization skills, meaning you need to either find an external partner or create an in-house team. The path you select will depend on your needs and long-term goals. There’s no need to create in-house teams for one-time or multiple digitizations.
On the other hand, if you’re going to deal with digitization all the time, it would be better to create an in-house team.
Of course, if you have the necessary staff already. It will be difficult and costly to develop an in-house digitization team from scratch. The objective is that you easily and affordably build a center of skilled employees who you can call to quickly digitalize your processes. Given its difficulty, it’s not surprising that a lot of companies search for external talent and partners.
When it comes to traditional IT-intensive programs, their ROI is visible only at the end of the project. This often takes years after the project begins. On the other hand, when you digitalize your end-to-end processes one at a time, you’ll see increased performance in just three to six months. Although complicated IT challenges like integrating legacy systems are difficult to complete fast, you can still deter delay risks.
For instance, construction companies looking to integrate their IT legacy systems can use affordable offshore talent for rekeying data in systems. This enables the creation of new digital customer processes that they can use with pilot customers. In the meantime, they can parallel build a robust IT interface. This way they reduce the involved risks through integrated efforts and fastened payback.
Keep in mind that going fast is sometimes hard. In fact, the usual culprit for these bottlenecks is business decision-making, not IT development. Consequently, you need robust board-level support so you keep all the stakeholders aligned during digitization. As for all other decisions, you may delegate them to the project team.
When you deploy systems traditionally, you roll out new solutions in a progressive way across the site to current user teams. But digitalizing some of your processes may require a different approach.
Radical changes to supporting organization and processes cause it. For instance, your sales teams could prefer that customers apply for services through the current system instead of self-serve kiosks.
If this is the case, it may be more simple to roll in a new department to deal with the new digitalized process, and then involve employees with this while you increase the volume progressively.
This way you get much simpler digitization as you won’t spend costly energy on having to change old habits and behaviors. Once you migrate all processes to a new, digital environment, your new departments will already “swallow” all the necessary workers from legacy teams.
On the other hand, some of your processes may need progressive rollouts. It will always depend on the type of your process.
Include Mobile Support
A likely important part of digitizing your business processes is that they support mobile. Of course, this will depend on your processes. Some simply need desktop experience based on the amount of data required.
Last year, unique smartphone internet users surpassed 4.27 billion, showing that over 90% of the worldwide internet population uses a phone to go online.
When your workers, consumers, or audience has trouble or can’t access your internal/external digitalized features on their phones, they’ll avoid using them as much as they can. This leads to lower profits, productivity, and ruins the whole reason why you digitalized your processes in the first place.
When you’re working with external service providers in digitizing your processes, you should make sure their products support mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. It’s also key that you verify their mobile experience is smooth, with an easy-to-use interface.
Both ensure your digitalized processes are fast and simple to use. Leading to more customers and employees actually using them, as well as increased profits and productivity.
Find the Right Partner
Including third-party service providers in your digitization may look like your business is increasing its expenses. But when you digitalize your business processes, particularly data-intensive ones, you’ll see a large return in investment.
Not to mention a reduction in business process costs and faster turnaround time. An example would be a bank that significantly quickens the loan approval process.
While talking about costs, it’s often important to avoid developing an internal team only for supporting a single digitization project. If you do want to go with an internal team, it’s best that you already have user-experience designers and data scientists.
This is because they’ll provide crucial support and insights regarding the maintenance, structure, and design of your digitalized business processes. They should also have outstanding communications skills to influence the adoption of digitalized processes.
Deter Likely Bottlenecks
When you’re digitizing your business processes, it’s key that you complete the project to the end. This means you deter and avoid any likely bottlenecks. Moreover, you should emphasize that your digitization can’t take years to complete, unlike traditional IT-intensive projects.
If your current department can’t handle strict deadlines, you should think about hiring outside service providers who have the time and capability to complete the project fast.
Keep in mind that if you want to integrate your IT legacy systems, you’ll likely need more than a year to complete the digitization of your business processes. If you want to expedite such projects, you can go with an affordable digitalization partner who can guarantee you rapid completion.
This will help your internal team rekey data in your system and develop an IT interface parallel while you provide your customers with access to the beta version of your digitalized offering.
Look at What Your Customers Say
Why change something if your customers won’t like it? That’s why it’s crucial that you analyze what your customers are saying about the changes. You should assess user reactions at every point of digitizing your processes. From alpha and beta to live versions. Their feedback will aid your team in finding where:
- You should make changes.
- Are the likely bugs.
- To improve user experience.
Before you start to implement your digitalized versions of processes, you should think about building some technical resources and reference documentation for workers and consumers alike. It should contain:
- Typical troubleshooting.
- Answers to usual questions.
- Direct support tickets and adequate contact for them.
A good third-party service will provide support, and ease your internal workload.
At Etrellium, we’ve supported digitizing business processes for more than five years. We deliver optimized and secure solutions fast. Also, support from a qualified team of experts. The end result? Completely optimized and customized digitalized business processes that facilitate growth and return on investment.