Creating a BPA workflow is part science and part art.
BPA is structured like a science. Building a BPA workflow involves working within a set of rules, so you can automate predictable and repeatable paths.
But a successful BPA project also calls for flexibility. For example, you may break rules to get things done faster. Knowing how to break the rules – without putting your project at risk – is an art.
Leave the DIY for Martha Stewart
Many companies think they can do a BPA implementation by themselves. They buy off-the-shelf software that isn’t tailored to their needs and only solves part of their problem. Then, they end up with dozens of tools that don’t integrate with each other. This drives up their costs and can cause failures.
BPA is not suited for DIY.
You need an experienced partner who is part scientist and part artist. They should create a solution that is customized to your needs – tailoring to the rules while managing the exceptions. This will help you achieve the following benefits from BPA:
- Increased efficiencies and productivity
- The ability to do more with less
- Improved customer relationships and reduced churn
- Cost savings, as you have fewer touch points involved with each process
- Greater accuracy in each process
- Increased security and compliance, as you can build these items into all of your processes
4 keys to a successful BPA project
An experienced partner will understand both the art and the science of your BPA project. They will help you navigate your discovery phase and identify areas where BPA will have the greatest impact on your business.
Here are four steps to a successful BPA project:
1. Don’t try to boil the ocean
Many companies attempt too much with their first BPA project. For example, they may automate a process and then move to another process without first measuring their results. Later, they will realize that they’ve missed critical items and need to go back and re-do their work.
With BPA, it’s wise to start small.
Pick one process and create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for it. After you automate this process, measure it against your SMART goals. When you see ROI, you can move on to the next process. When you follow these steps, you will soon have a fully automated workforce.
Trying to address your BPA problems on your own can be more costly than bringing in an experienced partner from the start. For example, you may not realize how a process in HR impacts other areas of your business. Then, you’ll waste time and money identifying and fixing errors.
2. Conduct a current state assessment
Many companies jump into BPA without knowing where they are starting and where they want to go.
It’s important to map out your current state before you get started. Go through each of your processes as though you are doing them for the first time. Make note of every step, as well as any bottlenecks that you come across.
Ask yourself the following questions to gain clarity on your current state:
- What are my challenges?
- Do I have problems with my people, processes, or technology?
- Why do I need to automate this process?
- Who will we impact when we automate this process?
Also, look for interdependencies in your processes. The more your processes are connected, the more you need to consider when you automate them. Be sure to scope your work properly. For example, you may think that you’re automating one small process but then you find three more processes connected to it.
3. Understand your end goals
Before you start a BPA project, get clear on where you want to end and what benefits you want to achieve. What KPIs will you track during and after your BPA implementation to gauge your success?
Your end state goals will help you define what you need to fix and what your processes will look like going forward. Documenting you end state at the beginning of your project will also help your team get on the same page, so that everyone works towards the same outcomes.
4. Get internal buy-in and alignment
A single process can impact multiple areas in your company. So, it’s critical to get all of your teams and stakeholders on board. If departments and employees aren’t willing to change their processes, your BPA project will fall apart.
Get internal alignment on what processes you need to fix and the benefits you want to achieve. Then, engage stakeholders throughout the project. Ask for feedback, so you can ensure that your new processes work and that teams are getting the results that they need.
BPA is a journey, not a destination.
You can’t just whip out a DIY manual, implement BPA, and then move on.
To gain the most efficiencies, you must take address both the art and the science of BPA.
When art and science work together, each automated process becomes a building block that supports change throughout your company. With the right partner, BPA becomes a well-oiled machine that automates your day-to-day processes. This empowers employees to focus on projects that drive value for your business – as opposed to spending all of their time on mundane administrative tasks.
Discover how Canadian companies are streamlining their workflows with BPA: Visit www.RicohChangeMakers.ca.