Preventing “Feature Creep” with Your BPM Software
At the end of the day, business process management (BPM) should make things simpler, not more complicated. Yet with BPM software, there can be an unspoken temptation to use every last feature, whether it’s necessary or not. Like with most things, when using BPM tools, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
BPM should be a process of strategic automation. The sum total of that automation should be integrated processes that are more efficient, more cost effective, easier for customer service reps, or some combination of those elements. Here’s how to simplify business processes and prevent “feature creep” from making BPM unnecessarily complicated.
Elegant Design Leads to Elegant Processes
If you choose BPM software with a friendly user interface, you may be tempted to sit down and start building a process off the top of your head. This could be a useful thing to do to learn the ins and outs of the software itself, but for the processes you want to manage, you really need to start at the “drawing board” phase.
Identify the essence of the process, and break it down into discrete steps. Are all the steps necessary? You may be able to streamline your current process if, for example, new technology handles something you used to have to do by hand, or if an old regulation you used to have to follow no longer applies.
Does This Step Create Added Value for Our Customers?
With every step of your process, it’s important to ask if the step leads to added value for customers. Maybe it doesn’t do so directly, but indirectly, by feeding another important part of the process, or by working with input from other steps and simplifying it. Keep in mind that “adding value for customers” may happen by cutting your costs and allowing you to price products competitively. This can happen when processes contain automation and allow you to produce a product or service faster than you would otherwise.
Does This Step or Subtask Improve Efficiency Further?
There’s nothing wrong with adding subtasks or steps and, in fact, you can count on it happening as you fine-tune your processes. But you shouldn’t add them unless they do something to improve business process efficiency further. Each and every step and subtask should serve a purpose and should serve the purpose with maximum speed and accuracy that’s reasonable to expect.
Does This Step Steer Clear of Bottlenecks and Stagnation?
It’s possible to add steps or subtasks that inadvertently cause unforeseen bottlenecks, and the only way to find these steps is to test out the automated process and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to prune back or modify processes that lead to slow-downs, or that fail to make the process better in some way. Bear in mind that not every step will check off all three of these boxes. But it should check off two of them, and should result in a process that either adds value for customers, improves efficiency, and doesn’t cause new bottlenecks.
Can the Cloud Help?
Many businesses – especially small businesses – benefit from BPM software that runs in the cloud. And an increasing number of larger enterprises are seeing the value in cloud-hosted software, particularly as legacy IT hardware wears out and has to be replaced. If you’re considering investing in BPM software, learn about your legacy vs. cloud options. Unless you already have IT infrastructure in place, you will most likely find that turning to the cloud makes more sense in the context of the overall simplification you want to achieve with BPM.
PerfectForms is a BPM workflow software designed for non-programmers. It allows users to build online forms and processes with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, and modify them with ease. That way you can commit to continual improvement knowing your BPM tools are ready whenever you are. PerfectForms offers the choice of cloud hosting on on-site hosting, so whatever your infrastructure situation or security needs, you’re covered. We invite you to read through some of our case studies and see the many use cases to which PerfectForms can be put. With PerfectForms, exceptional business process management and all the benefits that go with it, are in your hands.