It happens to all of us. We get in a habit of thinking within the confines of our everyday work tasks and no longer focus on the big picture. For example, when I came into work this morning, did I think, 1) OK, I’ve got to scan in and index all the new files in my inbox, check what workflow jobs have been assigned to me since yesterday, and review today’s emails, or did I think, 2) OK, how can I improve my department’s ROI today? While I’d like to say 2, it was definitely 1. I got caught up in my daily tasks and forgot the big picture goals I’m working toward.
It’s only natural then, that when asked to enhance our processes, we look at what we’re doing now and move forward from there. But, what we should be doing is looking instead at the big picture and starting anew. That could mean deconstructing our processes and building them again to make sure they’re solid. Perhaps even better, it could mean examining the big picture goals and figuring out the best way to get there.
Pulled from the whitepaper, “Harness the Power of Your Data” below are five points to keep in mind when you’re embarking on your process automation project. Though this whitepaper was written primarily for insurers, the following applies to any workflow project.
1. Dream big.
What do you want to achieve with your new process automation project? Don’t limit your view to what you can do now, or what you think the software can do. Determine your goals and think of how you can set up your processes to meet them. Think big, figure out what you need, then speak to your vendor to discuss the possibilities.
2. Be resourceful.
Don’t take on too much. You started your process automation project to improve your efficiency and productivity. So, you may have to reevaluate some of the tasks your staff is performing to see if the current process is the best for your business. Would outsourcing some tasks help – should your staff be scanning and imaging your backlog and incoming files, or would their time be better spent performing tasks that will advance new business? Figure out the most cost-effective approach that will propel your organization forward.
3. Be smart.
Smart workflows aren’t designed in isolation. You need input from all process stakeholders to create the best workflow. To end up with the most complete process, don’t assume that anyone involved knows all the steps. Spell it out in painstaking detail. Your IT and business staff will need to work together to plan out the steps, create the process, and implement it.
Make sure to keep everyone in the loop. IT and management will need to work together on the project for its entirety. But, remember to include end-users in the workflow evolution process, too. Share the project goals with everyone involved by communicating clearly and often to maximize acceptance and buy in.
5. Think ahead.
While thinking about training during the process automation project is not unusual, how about thinking about interface tips? Including help text within the workflow tasks when they are displayed onscreen is a great time-saver. You’ll still want to train the end-users, but having these tips available when they’re actually performing the tasks is a way to make them more comfortable with the new processes from the start.
Dream big. Be resourceful. Be smart. Share. Think ahead. Think outside the box and you’ll see great results from your process automation project. You can read the complete article here for more valuable tips.
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