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Process Efficiency – 5 Critical Elements to Consider

Do you glaze over when conversations turn to improving efficiency?  Do you even know what efficiency really means in the context of business processes?

Organisations know that employee efficiency is one the solutions to productivity and ultimately, this is the reason behind significant investments in applications software.

In theory, deploying a contemporary software solution like Salesforce® along with sufficient, appropriate user training should result in an outcome where employee productivity is increased.

So far so good.   Where can and where does this go wrong?

  1. The Requirement-Solution Gap.  Although many organisations believe that a one-size-fits-all application will deliver efficiency, this isn’t always the case.  Efficiency will depend on the “fit” of the application software solution with an organisation’s specific and often unique process requirements.  SaaS applications can be more closely aligned to requirements using configuration and customisation.  But there will always be gaps that need to be bridged by user’s awareness and ability to manage these mismatches.
  1. Organisational readiness.  Some organisations operate more dynamic markets, others may have significant changes imposed on them as a result of changing external market forces or through being acquired. Other organisations slowly evolve their processes over time.   This conditioning to change, influences the readiness of the organisation and their experience of managing a roll out of a new system.
  1. Employee’s ability to change. There are many reasons why this can be a problem. Some users are simply reluctant to change, others find training sub-optimal for their style of learning and others underestimate the level of commitment needed to adopt new applications software. 
  1. Broken Processes.  Some business processes are so poor, they can be described as broken. Employees are obliged to keep these processes working through their innate knowledge, often ignoring policy and making compromises. Generally, these situations are unsustainable and are disastrous from an efficiency perspective.   
  1. Continuous monitoring and improvement.  Improving efficiency must be viewed as continuous project as business processes are influenced by external factors that force changes over time.  It’s important that frequently executed processes and their associated paths through application software are continuously and systematically monitored.  An adage applies, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.  As well as the all-important baseline, real-world measurement for a task, continuous monitoring reveals unforeseen bottlenecks, outliers and exceptions.

What’s the solution?  

  • Understand all nuances in the target processes and identify gaps between these and the standard software solution.  Formally select configuration options, develop customisations and agree any process changes that may be needed to make a good fit.
  • Mitigate any shortfall in the organisation’s readiness.  In addition to experience and expertise in managing change and delivering solutions, it’s vital to understand and quantify their commitment to the success of the new application.  Stakeholder roles such as Program Manager, Business Analysts, Project Managers, Learning and Development as well as Employee Engagement have critical inputs and goals that must be aligned.
  • Employees and Change.  Work with Learning & Development groups to ensure that training, help and guidance needs are addressed comprehensively.  Traditional up-front training should be supplemented with on-demand training “snippets”, and these can and should be accessible from within the target application.  Relevant extracts from Standard Operating Procedure manuals should also be incorporated into the on-demand help and guidance set.  Any areas of UI ambiguity should be eradicated by deploying context sensitive help and guidance.  Finally, if tasks can be automated then do it.  Employee’s motivation, energy and morale is sapped if obvious short-cuts can be automated by the application software.
  • Broken Processes.  A simple rule applies here: don’t proceed until there’s a plan to fix broken processes. New applications cannot be delivered onto inadequate foundations.  Once processes are fixed or created from scratch, these can be mapped into the application’s capabilities in the same way as other processes.

Contemporary SaaS solutions include extensive configuration and customisation options which deliver however there are often aspects that may need additional attention.  

Specifically, standard help and guidance typically cover the standard application.  Data verification and workflow are key areas that can make a huge impact.  

Deploying Software Adoption solutions such as Apty can complement customisation and configuration strategies and shorten implementation times.  Apty supports a broader range of help and guidance deliverables as well as “deep-dive” Application Usage Analysis that can help you baseline the time and steps required to perform specific tasks and processes.  Once these are established, Apty includes a range of solutions to address any issues and supports a continuous improvement approach.

In short, good Software Adoption is critical to Process Efficiency and Employee productivity.  Although it’s often overlooked, accelerating applications adoption and user proficiency is one of the keys to successful projects.

Performa IT are experts in delivering Digital Transformation solutions built on Salesforce.  Our solutions are predicated on user efficiency and productivity improvements.   Contact us to discuss how we can help your business processes to become more efficient and help make your employees more productive.