Has that time come yet? The “time” when you realize that your once a start-up business, involving just a few processes and people, has gradually grown into a hard to manage infrastructure? One having plenty of... “holes” to be plugged for better efficiency? Then it's a fact: you need to look for a business process consultant! But what is business process consulting anyway?
And this is just one of the questions that I'll do my best to answer in today's post. Besides this, I'll be:
- pointing out to you, as clearly as possible, what a business process consultant does, more precisely
- how a business process consulting campaign works, from step A to step Z
- 5 reasons why you should opt for such services (or 5 “benefits” that you'll reap from opting for such services, if you prefer)
So, shall we delve right into it?
First Things First: What Is Business Process Consulting?
Take it as a “diagnosis & prescription” applied to your business process.
It's a process where an external consultant:
- comes in to closely analyze all the processes being carried out within your organization
- … and to identify any inefficient use(s) of resources, redundant processes that could get easily automated etc.
- then present the results of his/her “investigations”, along with his recommendations to you, top management
And, if requested, he could also run simulations to test the suggested process improvements.
That's the whole process broken down into its essential steps!
And... How Does It Work? The Entire Process in 4 Simple Steps
Now don't imagine your business process consultant running his/her investigations “undercover”. Or locked somewhere in an office, studying documents, infographics and stats and “thinking up” his recommendations for your business workflow.
For it doesn't work like that!
He/she will need to get out there and to actually observe your team “in action”. To detect, on the spot, any proofs of inefficient use of time or simply to understand how each process works.
For, you can't improve something that you don't “intimately” understand.
Now that we've settled this, here's a business process consulting campaign... broken down into 4 steps:
a. The business process consultant starts by doing what it takes to gain a deep understanding of all the processes that your business's based on.
And his/her methodology could involve tactics ranging from:
- interviewing your team members
- to watching them closely as they carry out their regular tasks
b. The observation phase and the issues-detecting phase take place simultaneously.
Therefore, once your business process consultant identifies all the areas of improvement and the “weak links”, he'll start putting together his “battle plan”. His list of recommendations for clearing all those detected inefficiencies.
And these “efficiency holes” could be:
- bottlenecks, leading to work getting piled up in one specific area from the whole workflow system
- inefficient use of resources (time being the most valuable of them all)
- too complex layouts that might delay the completion of certain tasks
- repetitive processes that could be automated
- areas where lack of accountability or bad communication impacts productivity
c. The business process consultant presents his/her report to you, along with his process-focused recommendations for improving efficiency
d. You might want to see those suggested improvements applied to your workflow and the new system “in practice”. This is an optional step where you require a test to be set up.
What Does a Business Consultant Do?
He/she puts together an accurate and realistic picture of the workflow within your organization and points out all the “cracks” in this picture.
And eventually delivers you the solutions for...filling them in.
And this definition could be an equally viable answer to the question: “What is business process consulting?”
Now to sum up a business process consultant's “mission” to even fewer words, it would go something like this:
He/she documents your business processes, “equipping” them with clear sets of instructions, so that each member of your team should know, at any phase, what are the next steps to take
Why hire a business process consultant instead of assigning someone in your team to handle all this documenting and structuring your workflow into repeatable processes?
Because in case of overly complex infrastructures, with tasks, varying a lot, depending on too many factors, documenting and organizing them gets unexpectedly challenging.
Especially if you (your team) don't have the know-how or the needed time for analyzing, in detail, every single little operation in your workflow.
5 Reasons to Use Business Process Consulting Services
Now let's talk... clear advantages! Here are the main benefits that you'll reap from opting for such services:
1. Less Time for Managing Details, More Time for The Big Picture
Do the math yourself:
How much of your time do you waste/invest in managing all kinds of day-to-day... details?
Now just imagine how much time you'd save if you took all these burdening tasks, all these time-consuming responsibilities, off your back!
And this is precisely what the business process consulting services are aimed at:
- helping you stop “wasting” time on details
- … by automating all those day-to-day management tasks
- … so you can focus more on those new projects that you have been postponing, on exploring new revenue opportunities
- … and on your customers, too
2. A Consultant Will Instill Responsible Attitudes Within Your Team
Without every member of your team motivated to adhere to certain quality standards and best practices... any attempt to improve efficiency is useless.
And this is another valid answer to your “What is business process consulting?”
It's all about motivating your team to feel some sort of ownership over the results of the tasks they perform.
A business process consulting not only that will “detect” those team members who:
- skip a few (maybe crucial) steps when performing a task
- come up with their own shortcuts for carrying out certain tasks, which might impact the final product's overall quality
… but he/she will also work on motivating your team to adopt the recommended best practices and a certain work ethic. For one of his/her key responsibilities is to make everyone in your team feel responsible for his work.
3. You'll Be Expanding Your Capabilities as an Organization
And it's a “cause and effect” process if you come to think of it:
More efficient business processes lead to enhanced capabilities in every sphere.
And I'm talking here about enhancing efficiency when it comes to:
- scalability (by seizing and leveraging opportunities for improving your infrastructure, your organization gets to grow internationally, as well)
4. You'll Be Simplifying All Your Business Operations
Mobile media, cloud computing, social media... and all the latest technologies will only give your business processes a major efficiency boost.
And it's that business process consultant that you'll hire who'll be:
- handling the IT assimilation process
- selecting the right technology(s) for each process
- reducing the IT complexities
- simplifying and automating workflows
5. You'll Be Cutting Down Costs
And here you get another valid answer to your “What is business process consulting?” question:
… during which all the business processes included in your workflow get closely audited, evaluated and properly optimized.
And a certain hierarchy set up:
- resources get reallocated to more important projects
- and a plan for investing in technology (for automating key processes) is put together
Time to Let an Expert Document & Improve Your Processes Now!
Now that you know what business process consulting is, it's time to:
- stop using the budget “excuse” and consider all the resources of time and money that you'll be saving
- … or the “dangers” menacing your business if you allow it to run on undocumented processes (anytime someone in your team could make a mistake from lack of a well-structured workflow & a set of clear instructions)
- realize that such a complex process does call for an expert