May 09, 2021
Michael D. Wilson
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Having systems without processes is like owning a car but not knowing how to drive. In this article, we explain how processes are an important part of your business systems and their efficiency.
Kathy had completed a year at her new workplace, and she was happier than ever. The culture was great, and so were the people.
But the best part was the leave policy. The number of sick days and personal days she could take was more than anyone she knew!
She had taken three long vacations and a couple of sick days after her probation, but her HRMS (Human Resource Management System) profile still showed 10 pending personal days.
It was only later that she realized she was not updating her vacation days on the HR system, and she ended up taking more leaves than she was eligible for! You can only imagine the level of frustration she went through after learning that.
The reason behind this unfortunate incident was simple - she was not trained for the process of leave applications on the company HR system.
Your systems play an important role in your business operations. They help you in every part of your business - from planning and strategy to execution and management. But when you do not establish clear processes to use these systems, you break the whole purpose of implementing them.
As a business leader, you often struggle to prove the ROI of investing in a new business system. Whether it is a new marketing automation tool or invoicing software, you need to make sure the system adds value to your business - and processes play an important role in doing that!
Siloed and complicated business systems that are expected to perform without established processes will hamper your business operations. Market research by IDC suggests that companies lose 20 to 30 percent revenue every year due to inefficiencies, and your systems can be one of the biggest contributors to these inefficiencies.
In this article, we will teach you the importance of processes for your systems. But before we do that, let's clearly define what processes and systems are.
A process is defined as a collection of business tasks and activities that when performed by people or systems in a structured course, produce an outcome that contributes to the business goals. A business process includes at least one of, but not limited to, the following elements:
Systems are the software we use to accomplish and execute business goals, strategies, plans, and processes. Systems are used for various functions in a business, such as sales, human resources, marketing, payroll, and accounting.
Systems can be as simple as an excel sheet used to chalk out your annual marketing content calendar, or as complicated as a Salesforce dashboard used to manage the sales pipeline of large organizations.
Now that we are clear on the definitions of processes and systems, let us understand how processes are critical to the success of your systems.
System success can be measured by indicators such as system efficiency, effectiveness, employee experience, ease-of-use, ROI, etc. Here are a few ways in which processes contribute to these success indicators:
Systems and software are technology support that facilitates business operations. CRMs, ERPs, HRMS, order management systems are all examples of systems used to execute and manage business operations.
But these systems themselves need processes to streamline their operations. Processes enable efficient and effective use of your systems by ascertaining step-by-step guidelines on how to use your systems.
Detailed process outlines improve the productivity of you and your team while using the systems. Process implementation helps you break down silos in your systems by enabling transparency and accountability.
For example, when you implement a process of applying for leaves on your HR system, you enable accountability on the part of your employees and their manager for their paid vacation.
If there is no process, the system is not used to its most optimum capacity, leading to inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
Similarly, processes also eliminate bottlenecks and redundancies in your processes. They provide a wider scope of insights on the overall system, which improves the operational performance of your business systems.
Every system has multiple users in your organization that keep changing over time. Changes such as transitions within teams, promotions, new onboarding, and resignations are part of every business. These changes should not affect the performance and outcomes of your system.
When your systems do not have established processes, they cause chaos in changing situations. Lack of a set process in your system makes it difficult for new users to understand and operate the system.
For example, your payroll manager operates the payroll system in a certain way, which is not identified as a clear process. No one else on the team is aware of the tasks and activities involved in operating the system. Now imagine that the payroll manager resigns and you have to replace her/him with a new employee. Without a set process for your payroll system, you have no material to train your new team member. In this case, there is a loss of productivity and efficiency ,as the new hire has to spend time discovering her/his method from scratch to use the system, creating unpredictable process variations.
Processes ensure there are smooth transitions for system users without disrupting the system and its functioning.
Implementing system processes helps you to identify unnecessary spending of system resources and finding effective ways to use them.
An established process saves the time your employees spend on experimenting with your systems. When the system process is defined, they know when and how to use the system. It outlines what system features best suit their requirement, and they can make effective use of their time and effort.
System processes also ensure timely maintenance and efficient use of systems. This helps you save a considerable amount of costs in relation to your systems.
Your systems are used to accomplish and execute business goals, strategies, plans, and processes. And the primary users of your business systems are your employees.
When you establish system processes, it results in better system operations, better business outcomes, and better lives. Once your systems are streamlined, your employees save time and effort that they can put to better use for work that requires creativity and engagement rather than tedious system handling.
This helps them not only perform better at work, but also enjoy their personal lives without stress, worry, or guilt!
Processes are the best thing you can do to make sure your systems work for you. Without processes, it is pretty much the other way around!
Take the first step in integrating your systems using processes - take our self-assessment to understand the health of your systems and processes!
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