To the ancient Greeks, hubris was one of the deadliest sins. In their mythology, overconfidence and a lack of due care and attention were sure to attract the wrath of the gods. And while taking a lax attitude to your business processes probably won’t attract Zeus’s anger and a flurry of lightning bolts, there can still be some serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important to attain and maintain a good enough understanding of what’s happening in your organization.
In this article, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t just rest on your laurels – even if you think your processes are perfect – and how process analytics and mapping ensure the ongoing insight your organization needs to avoid one-day falling victim to process hubris.
To begin, let’s explore why understanding your processes is so important.
Going back to the ancient Greeks for a moment: Socrates, Plato, and others used the maxim “know yourself” to warn about the perils of an unexamined life. In an organizational operations context, “knowing yourself” can translate to simply knowing more about the processes that power your business, which define how your organization functions – and how effectively it does so.
This “self-knowledge” stretches all the way from the fundamental processes that underpin everything you do to the minor granular details. If there is something seriously wrong with a process, and it completely fails one day, that could cost your business a lot of money. But your organization is also harmed by a smaller flaw in a routine process that goes unnoticed as that processes is practiced day in, day out, hundreds or thousands of times.
Two key criteria for self-knowledge
If you truly want to understand how your organization’s processes are performing, that understanding needs to be:
- Comprehensive – a wide knowledge that spans all your processes and their participants
- Up-the-minute – giving you a reflection of how your processes are performing right now
That may seem like a tall order. Surveying your employees and testing your processes manually would be a Herculean labor. But fortunately, process mapping and process analytics can now put the power of up-to-date, organization-wide process knowledge in your hands.
Seeing the full picture with process analytics
The first step toward understanding is scoping. That means getting a sense of everything you’re dealing with: all the processes used within your organization. Business process mapping technology allows you to gain this foundation. Successful process mapping obtains as much visibility of all your processes as you can get, and a sense of how they work.
With process mapping, you’ll be able to see any obvious instances where processes are:
- Needlessly complex – with the potential for simplification
- Compliance/security risks – which need to be corrected
- Unnecessarily labor intensive – causing strain on employees
- Slow and prone to delays – leading to customer dissatisfaction
You’ll also quickly identify processes that could benefit from automation. Even if you’ve already been automating some of your business processes, auditing your organization via process mapping is likely to reveal even more instances where you could benefit from workflows automation and RPA.
But it’s still not time to stop even when you’ve fully mapped your processes, re-engineered them, and introduced the power of automation. Remember what we said about hubris? A watchful eye on process maintenance.
Think of your business as a machine and think of your processes as the machinery that allows it to function. How many machines have you ever used that have kept working perfectly forever, and always done everything you’ve wanted them to?
No matter how well it’s constructed, change and entropy will inevitably affect a machine and its usefulness to you:
- External factors cause wear and tear on the machinery and make it less effective,
- New usage requirements appear that go beyond the machine’s original functionality
- Innovative new mechanisms are invented that work better and more efficiently.
In the same way, no matter how perfectly you craft your processes today, the same thing can occur to them:
- Increases in work/data or decreases in staff cause bottlenecks, slow down processes, or make them grind to a halt
- Additional business requirements are introduced which processes do not cater for in their existing forms
- New apps, services, and ways of working are created which could make processes better, faster, or more accurate
What works one day may not the next, and what was once a perfect process can easily become no longer fit for purpose. So how do you know when that’s happened?
Process analytics and continuous process improvement
Using process analytics, you can gain continuous insight into your processes, so you can easily see when they’ve stopped performing adequately or are no longer catering for your current needs. With that understanding, your processes can always evolve to be better, and work harder for your business with every new version.
This kind of continuous process improvement is the opposite of process hubris: proactive, diligent, and striving constantly to be better – instead of stopping and saying “OK, that’s good enough”. And because you want your processes – and your business – to be the best they can be, we’ve evolved Nintex Analytics to provide an unprecedented level of insight, scalability, and data accuracy. It’s part of our own continuous process improvement. We’re not resting on our laurels either.
Want to learn more about the power of understanding your processes via process analytics and mapping? Get in touch with the team at Nintex today.