The early part of any new year is traditionally a time for self-reflection and change. Resolutions are made (and often broken), gyms become crowded with “new year, new me” joiners, and—even by February—there’s a sense you’ve still got a fresh slate on which to inscribe your future.
For organizations, too, the early months are a prime time for thinking about change. What are your goals for this year? What do you want to do better? And the perfect way to start your journey of positive change is with an audit of your business processes.
Let me explain what that means, exactly – and furthermore how to audit business processes.
Hold on a sec, audit my what?
The concept of auditing your business processes may not be a familiar one to some. Financial records, data security—we’re all aware of the need to regularly and rigorously inspect those. What’s more, you review your employees, your third-party partnerships, and even customer relationships. Why should your processes, the very system your organization runs on, be any different?
In some countries, it’s mandatory for automobiles to undergo an annual safety inspection to ensure roadworthiness. You can almost think of a process audit in this way—a tune-up to check how efficiently and effectively your business is running. It’s the best way to find out if there are any problems under the hood, and if anything could be adjusted to go faster and steer better—which, in the context of organizational operations, means agility. And if your business processes are so inefficient or flawed that they actually cause backlogs of work or stop functioning at all—well, that’s a breakdown on the freeway while your competitors speed past you.
So, now we’ve established the importance of an audit of business processes, let’s look at the best way to do it.
How to audit business processes
Getting a complete picture of the processes in your business can be achieved via process mapping. Just like the name indicates, a process map shows you all the processes your organization uses, the purposes they serve, and how they fit together. This kind of bird’s-eye-view of your operations makes it far easier to tell where something’s not working. For instance, processes that are:
- Overcomplicated and/or contain needless steps that slow them down
- Highly dependent on time-consuming, fatigue-inducing manual input
- A compliance or data-security risk due to poor handling of data
Nintex Promapp® allows you to gain this insight quickly, simply, and collaboratively, making this a mission for change that everyone can contribute to. The people who use each process in their everyday working lives can have valuable input, helping to map out how it currently operates and how the process could be altered and enhanced.
Creating perfect process clarity
Once you’ve created your process maps, they can then be used by anyone who needs them throughout your organization. That allows you to standardize your operations and provide easy, at-a-glance guidance materials for employees, which can be invaluable for new starter training and departing staff’s handovers.
And creating these reference resources is more important today than it has ever been. One of the central tenets of successful remote working is this: document everything. A truly effective distributed workforce depends on its access to business-critical information, and your operating procedures are as critical as it gets. That’s why it’s vital to have a centralized repository of your business processes, each of them audited and developed to be the best they can be, and all easily available for those that need them. And there’s no better time to start building your own.
The next step: automate processes as workflows
Once you’ve performed an audit of business processes, mapped, and optimized them, you have a golden opportunity. You can deploy them as digital workflows. Workflow automation allows your employees to click (or tap) through each step of a process, with useful automatic prompts when it’s time for them to take a particular action, and your existing business tools and data integrated at the relevant steps.
What it looks like
So, for instance, if it’s a customer communications task, the workflow platform can bring in that customer’s data from Salesforce and populate a pre-defined email or letter template. Your employee doesn’t have to manually seek out the data from another app, then copy and paste (or retype) it into yet another—saving time and ensuring everything’s accurate. And when it’s time for another staff-member to play their part, they’ll receive a notification and can begin quickly and easily clicking their way through their task, too.
The remote working bonus
Digital workflows also fulfill another of the criteria of effective remote working: make it possible (and simple) for processes to be carried out by employees wherever they are. When processes are streamlined, paperless, and expedited, you can rest assured that they’re working as well as they can for your business.
Ready for an audit of business processes?
If you’d like to start your own business process audit, we can help. The Nintex Platform has everything you need to map your business processes, develop them to be their best, and deploy them as automated digital workflows.
Now’s a good time for change. Why not seize the opportunity?
Want to discuss how Nintex can help you achieve a successful audit of business processes and give your organization the tune-up it needs? Get in touch with the team today.