What is Process?
A set of recurrent or periodic activities that produce a result
Is business process always needed?
When a company is starting up and small enough where everyone knows what everyone else is doing, it could be argued that process is not really necessary.
Bob in Sales can ask Jane in Product (at a desk just across the room) if a customer could have a certain change in the product so that he can make a sale. Jane can do this, no problem, and it helps drive revenue, so let’s do it. Things can change on the fly and be more “bespoke” to current or immediate activity. Seems sensible. Bob gets his sale, the company grows.
Another year on, the Sales team has grown and we have Bob in the office with Anette and Fred out on the road talking to lots of new customers. New customers who have ideas about changes they would like to see in the product. Great! But Jane now has all three sales people asking for three different change requests. Jane is beginning to struggle.
How does process helps in a growing organisation?
Jane, and the growing company around her, now need process. A structure and discipline need to be put in place if the company is to be able to scale and grow in a directed and focused way. Process and procedures will help them to define and communicate in clear and concise manner the what, who and how things are done to get to the end goal.
A process for the sales team to feed requests to the product team in a more controlled manner means Jane and her team are not stressed and can collaborate with the sales team in a more meaningful way. The procedures define more detailed information/instruction as to how the sales team communicates what the customers want, thus giving the opportunity for both teams to find out why, at what cost, can it be done, how important is it, how urgent, do we want to do it etc.
As both teams grow having these processes and procedures in place provides efficiency and consistency throughout the business.
Where can process be applied?
Process covers all areas in business, from Product and Sales to Finance and HR. Within Invotra the use of ApprovalMax has recently been introduced to enable approval automation for accounts.
Applications such as these allow organisations to clearly outline the expectations and objectives for everyone, the responsibilities and accountability for all individuals and roles.
How process leads to success
Process can help define the company’s culture. It is important that everyone understands the value of process and that these processes are followed. It is also important that everyone feels that they have a part to play within the processes that affect them. Processes should be across departments and teams to enable collaboration and to ensure accountability. Working in this manner can help implement improvements. These improvements are paramount as the company scales and grows.
Personally, I love process, both at work and in my own challenges. It creates structure and keeps me focused on the bigger picture, the end goal. And if the end goal changes, or the current process isn’t working, I adjust the process and procedures to get where I want to go.
N.B. I started writing this blog as the news of Coronavirus began. With the occurrence of this pandemic, I believe that having good processes in place has helped massively in every area of the country from the Government, the NHS, to the local Councils and businesses big and small. Of course things are changing rapidly and everyone is facing daily new challenges to overcome but having core processes in place to fall back on in a time of crisis has and will continue to prove invaluable.