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Phil Ayres

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Tech CEOs: Opinion

Old Approaches to Business Process Management Are Failing Companies

A new economy means new challenges

We all know that companies of all sizes are facing tough economic challenges at the moment. These challenges are coming from one of the toughest directions possible: customers are not spending money, making it more important than ever to convert the few available prospects into profitable customers. Improving business processes is a powerful way for companies to work better, but the old business process management (BPM) approaches companies often rely on just don't fit the current challenges.

Companies invest in business process management from two direction:

  • methodology - the way a company can fix its problems
  • technology - applications helping people work in a more structured way

The reasons for doing this were all reasonable in an economy with plenty customers with cash in their pockets:

  • reduce headcount
  • do more work with the same resources
  • improve the quality of a product or service

In the current economy, these types of improvement are not enough. Whether a company is a bank, a manufacturer or a law firm, the challenges facing the business is that the economy is making it harder to attract new customers and retain them.

This is where modern business process management solutions kick in. First, they offer a faster startup time with more focused analysis of problems, which means less money is spent on teams of expensive consultants trying to build strategies for things that don't matter. Second, the solutions offered already include a range of business templates, helping companies to build to a tried and trusted plan rather than always reinventing the wheel. Finally, and possibly most importantly, the methodology focuses on iterative improvement, rather than trying to get every little thing right first time. When the tools are designed to adapt to this types of constant change, the company can improve based on experience rather than luck.

With this lightweight approach to business process improvement, the flexibility to change processes based on experience and best-practices allows companies to do something that in the past was really difficult:

  • treat each customer as an individual rather than force fitting them into a standard model of a customer
  • allow the processes that serve customers to extend and adapt based on circumstances
  • help the business owners introduce new improved processes rapidly and with minimal cost

Business process management can help companies meet the challenges of the current economy. Companies that adopt new methodologies and technologies can become known for great customer service at a great price. In these times when social media is the marketing machine, and word of mouth spreads corporate reputation like wildfire, companies can attract and retain more customers than ever before.

Phil Ayres from the Improving It blog

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Phil Ayres is the founder of Consected, providing SaaS workflow to companies that want to improve their business processes immediately, not after an expensive software implementation project. Companies that work with Consected benefit from Phil's direct experience helping organizations meet their business goals through the use of innovative process and content management solutions.