The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Improvement Apps

Big organisations in government and the private sector have always sought faster, cheaper and more efficient ways of doing things and digital technology continues to act as the great enabler, facilitating vast changes to business processes over the past 20 years especially.

Alan Williams     |     20th December 2020     |     10 Minute Read

The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Improvement Apps

1What Is Business Process Improvement?

Big organisations in government and the private sector have always sought faster, cheaper and more efficient ways of doing things and digital technology continues to act as the greatenabler, facilitating vast changes to business processes over the past 20 years especially.

The larger the enterprise the greater the complexity and IT decision-makers often feel overwhelmed by the sheer weight of data being generated and workflow issues that need resolving quickly. This has become an even bigger burden in 2020 thanks to COVID-19, which has accelerated the decentralisation of the workforce, bringing with it a range of mobility challenges with large numbers of staff operating across disparate locations and time zones.

A lot of business processes are involved in running a large operation, regardless of the sector, and finding or quickly developing the best digital tools to streamline operations and enhance productivity cost-effectively is rapidly becoming the Holy Grail of enterprise IT.

Business process management (BPM) applications, which incorporate the best digital technology has to offer including Cloud solutions, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics, are developed with one purpose in mind – to enhance the performance of your business by optimising current processes and incorporating new ones in response to changing circumstances.

This means finding the best ways to reduce inefficiency and human error and streamline operations. BPI Apps should also facilitate greater interaction between business divisions and act as a catalyst for connecting older legacy IT systems with state-of-the-art digital technology. It also means modelling, designing, developing and testing BPI Apps that are user-friendly for your workforce that may not be particularly IT-savvy.

Enterprise BPI Apps can be tailored for a wide range of workforce and customer-related operations including, but not limited to:

  • Compliance and regulation
  • Inspections and audit checkl ists
  • Allocating jobs and work orders
  • Workflow management
  • Expense keeping and cost accounting
  • Customer requests
  • Service orders
  • Asset location and reporting
  • KPI reporting
  • Software and solution integration

2The Right Apps For Your Business

The right BPI solution can transform your business and OneBlink’s multi-faceted solution addresses all the traditional impediments that affect many BPI solutions. OneBlink makes it easy for organisations to not only deploy low-code building tools, but also provide higher-end developer focused tools for system connectivity, hosting and integration as well as the managed operating environment needed for web/app deployments.

3Simplifying Operations

Businesses large and small are constantly looking for ways to simplify workflows and operations, and BPI Apps by their very nature are designed to do that.

Using a combination of business analytics, content and integration tools.

BPI Apps can be merged with existing IT infrastructure to remove many of the barriers that have impeded efficient workflows in the past such as slow and cumbersome workforce communication and poor data gathering and dissemination practices.

The potential for transforming your business with such Apps may be relatively untapped but such Applications are rapidly becoming the norm rather than the exception in state-of-the-art digital workforces in the year 2020.

BPI Apps are designed to reduce the vast amounts of paper floating around large businesses and the manual labour required to process it. Used in conjunction with CRM, licensing and asset solutions, they can automate processes, eliminate much of the paperwork previously involved in day-to-day operations and often reduce the number of steps involved in a particular process.

4Reduced Costs And ROI

Doing a cost-benefit analysis on BPI Apps is not straightforward as there are direct and indirect benefits and these may show up in different ways across the business.

The cost of BPI Apps is relatively straightforward as it usually just involves the development and any subscription to the software application itself, plus any external consultancy and training required.

ROI, on the other hand, should be highly visible throughout the enterprise thanks to huge reductions in time taken for:

  • Performing menial tasks by lower-level staff
  • Manually re-entering of data
  • Reduction in travel between office and external sites
  • Case management
  • Collating information across your business
  • Inventory and asset management
  • Information sharing amongst staff in disparate locations

The more widespread BPI App adoption becomes, the greater the savings across the enterprise as you remove duplication and redundant steps from processes, saving man-hours and driving greater all-round efficiency.

Other less quantifiable factors may include boosting staff morale and less employee turnover thanks to streamlined workflows and the App’s ability to remove friction or perform some of the less-appealing tasks around the office, or in some cases making them redundant.

Above all else, BPI Apps should improve the overall quality of your operations across all areas of your business and as an enterprise IT executive you may need to consider the overall cost of maintaining the status quo and not adopting them now.

5Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is the bugbear of businesses regardless of industry and is generally a time-consuming and thankless task. Achieving full compliance with federal, state or local bodies can also be costly, depending on the number of manhours and other resources involved.

Whatever the cost, being compliant should receive a big tick from customers present and future, while the cost of non-compliance could be devastating for reputation and customer retention.

BPI Apps can do much to expedite the processes involved in collecting and disseminating the data necessary for advanced audit management and general compliance through both cloud-based web services and system-compliant software that automates and provides certainty to elements such as data collection and audit forms.

6Increasing Visibility And Accountability

Managing the division or a large unit of an enterprise has no end of challenges, not the least of which is keeping tabs on what every staff member is doing. In the past, such queries would be resolved by either lots of people crammed into a meeting taking turns to describe where they’re at on a project or replying to a seemingly endless chain of emails.

Fortunately, that need no longer be the case as BPI task management Apps allow managers total visibility over their workforces and who is doing what, what stage a particular activity is at, and who may have too much or too little work on their plate.

These apps not only offer valuable information about workforce contribution, but they can also provide insights into where bottlenecks are appearing and what managers need to do to achieve smoother workflows.The right visibility Apps, often incorporating advanced analytics, give managers an unprecedented view of their employee interactions, the systems they have in place and how they are collecting and disseminating data. They can then use this information to re-assign tasks and priorities where necessary.

Case or activity management BPI Apps offer far greater visibility of the happenings of your entire workforce.

But just as importantly, they can serve as a single location for building a complete picture of any given assignment, including all relevant documentation and correspondence, in a visually intuitive layout that maps out tasks, tracks timelines, work in progress and any blocking issues.

7Improving Customer Experiences

Customer experience has become all-pervasive in the digital economy. It is also firmly entrenched as one of the top management priorities of all businesses large and small, according to most surveys of IT executives, making relationship building key to ongoing customer growth and retention.

Customers now interact with businesses through multiple touch points across fixed and mobile networks and multiple channels, resulting in far more complex customer journeys than was previously the case. It also means that customers can no longer be taken for granted when they can shop around online anywhere, anytime for better deals, and bad business processes lead to poor customer service.

BPI tools help to design and implement processes intended to improve the customer experience by garnering as much information as possible in areas such as:

  • Customer segmentation (age, location, etc)
  • Data collection from multiple source points
  • Surveys and polls

Using predictive analytics, this information is then used to generate electronic forms and workflow reports which are customised to provide unprecedented insights into your customers.

Electronic forms and workflow apps may, for example, include visual dashboards to track and collate data which can then be made available to staff across disparate locations. At the same time as Big Data and Analytics provide unprecedented information about your business and its relationship with its customers, BPI tools are facilitating faster and more accurate real-time messaging across platforms and devices, product tracing and tracking, task assignments and worklist capabilities.

Improving customer experience is all about the outcomes that matter most to your customers.

That often means tweaking or redesigning customer journey maps as they evolve over time. Sustaining the momentum for change can be challenging, especially across a large business, but BPI tools are there to assist by drawing on vast amounts of information and pinpointing areas where services can be streamlined and improved.

8Reducing Inefficiency

Inefficient processes are harmful to businesses as they lead to wasted employee time, and lower productivity, especially if staff are using manual processes that can easily be automated.

Business process improvement means the constant refinement and automation of routine business processes and BPI tools can greatly reduce inefficiency in a number of ways.

Email, for example, has in many ways become a bugbear of modern offices, with Inboxes perpetually full to the brim and untold man hours wasted sifting through all of that content to find what’s relevant and useful. So while it’s become, largely by default, both a messaging and a workflow tool, its become painfully inefficient at both.

However, BPI tools offer ways to greatly increase email productivity or to bypass email completely, by extracting tasks, prioritising who reads what, providing far greater visualisation of company-wide tasks and responsibilities and capturing existing workflow processes to find ways to improve them.

They also provide a more centralised place for communication, meaning employees that are newly assigned to a particular project don’t have to wade through a million email conversations to pick up a thread.

Business Process Improvement tools are already a great tool in the war on red tape and inefficiency, and this trend is likely to become even more pronounced with the unprecedented amounts of business data being generated on a daily basis.

9Greater Business Agility

Businesses require unprecedented amounts of agility to be competitive in today’s global marketplace.

That means being able to equip an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce with the tools they need to effectively do their jobs, and an ability to adopt the latest technology to constantly improve workflows and streamline operations.

With all the uncertainty in the current global economy, having the ability to streamline business processes, improve efficiency and achieve agility are universal business goals and it’s also the reason why we are increasingly finding new and unique ways to use BPI tools.

BPI tools allow you to design, model, execute, automate, and analyse process workflows, while also offering the potential for far greater business agility as they can be quickly rolled out and modified to deal with shifting business trends and changes to the regulatory environment.

This approach also drives continuous process improvement and introduces operational efficiencies.

BPI process mapping tools, for example, are highly sought after and can map business processes step by step from beginning to end using flowcharts for everything from supplier to customers, then make the best adjustments.

10Mobility Is More Essential Than Ever

Workforce mobility has become much more than a mere trend over the past year, as businesses grapple with constantly-changing conditions and increasing decentralisation. At the same time, staying connected with employees from a number of disparate locations in real-time has never been more crucial.

As cloud connectivity opens up vast new opportunities and smart devices increasingly talk to each other, businesses can now equip their workers with state-of-the-art tools to operate in a way that delivers true enterprise mobility.

That means sharing corporate data through secure networks as seamlessly as possible for workers to perform their tasks. It also means connecting systems, business processes, people, and devices so they can operate both in sync and offline from anywhere in the world with cross-browser and cross-device support.

11BPI Tools Enable Greater Mobility

Mobile technology is having a huge impact on business processes due to the anytime, anywhere characteristics of mobile touch-based devices and the vast improvements in cloud-based technology and data capture techniques.

At the same time, BPI tools are rapidly becoming a leading driver of enterprise mobility thanks to their ability to facilitate business processes.

As smartphones and other devices collect data on everything from user activity, location, Internet access, and employee availability, that data is constantly being analysed and contextualised.

BPI Apps help to disseminate this information and apply best practices across individual departments for greater productivity, while mobile device management solutions allow for configuration and installation of those apps for your mobile workforce.

12Benefits Of Enterprise Mobility

Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their productivity and increase customer engagement. Enterprises that execute effective business mobility plans can achieve reductions in IT operational staff time, increased worker productivity, and the ability to bring new revenue streams online more quickly.

Mobile BPI tools open up a world of possibilities for enterprise productivity. They eliminate most of the need for paper-based data collection thanks to laptops, smartphones and tablets doubling as easy-to-use touchscreen devices that can be used anytime, anywhere.

From a business perspective, this extra mobility means faster processing in real time and the virtual elimination of manual data logging. More importantly, it means that most of the time an employee can perform a task or receive information without having to waste time and energy going back and forth to the office.

Mobile BPI tools can be easily integrated into existing application development platforms to solve a number of mobile business challenges such as workflow, planning, data gathering and reporting, regulation and security.

These solutions can greatly streamline all-round operations, reduce costs and lead to increased profits, but good deployment strategies are vital for maximising the effectiveness of mobile BPI tools, regardless of whether they operate in cloud or hybrid mobile ecosystems.

Additionally, mobile BPI tools are there to help businesses better identify and understand mobile workflows and the levels of success they are achieving in individual departments so they can then be extended across the enterprise to standardise and automate best practices to meet constantly evolving workflow challenges.

The benefits don’t end there. Increasingly businesses are looking for simplified, streamlined ways of doing things and BPI tools that are developed with input from business and IT divisions can reduce red tape, facilitate easy data transfer and overcome technical complexities by giving workers a single, effective solution with which to operate from.

A comprehensive enterprise mobility management solution should also include BPI tools that incorporate social media, chat and video functions that complement traditional email forms of communication.

13Future-Proofing Your Workforce

BPI tools have come a long way since their first iteration, where they were designed to automate back-end processes to speed up what were almost exclusively manual and paperbased workflows. This contributed to greater efficiency, productivity, and cost savings, and also provided businesses with a holistic digital view of their company for the first time where they could track things such as orders, shipping and the state of supply chains for the first time.

Predicting the future direction of digital technology is not an easy task but one thing that is clear is that process automation will continue to be a business imperative and BPI tools will be increasingly vital in achieving that end.

Process automation allows businesses to design workflows with less manual work, shorter process times and less human error, while simultaneously increasing productivity. This coupled with the constantly improving accuracy of data and business intelligence will lead to far greater productivity over the next decade.

With the office of tomorrow continually evolving and workplaces becoming increasingly decentralised, BPI tools will be instrumental in improving the:

  • Time taken to perform tasks
  • Quality of work performed
  • Flexibility of where that work is performed
  • Costs involved

Likewise, as the quality of the data and the technology improves for Apps such as map location services using GPS on smartphones, so will users’ intuitive touch screen abilities. From a practical standpoint, this means that businesses will have workforces increasingly comprised of digital natives that are used to high levels of process automation and fast turnarounds for information sharing.

14Technical Adances Drive BPI App Development

Businesses continue to evolve along with their processes and workflows, and BPI tools will increasingly become an essential part of digital business process transformations.

Part of this is due to the flexibility and scalability of BPI Apps that can be seamlessly updated to incorporate advances in technology to a scale that fits your workflow requirements. In the near future that means incorporating technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and especially the Internet of Things (IoT) which incorporates all devices connected to the internet primarily through sensors.

Technology is only as good as the practical applications derived from it and BPI tools will continue to enable better, faster, more flexible work processes that drive productivity and profitability. From a user standpoint, that means using Apps for faster, more collaborative product development, streamlining messaging and notifications to customers and employees, and improved drag-and-drop and touchscreen functionality.

15Greater Insights From Analytics

The days when large businesses resided under one large roof are long gone, and often businesses are spread out over the world, so ensuring that increasingly mobile and dissipated workforces continue to work collaboratively in sync across time zones and geographies will continue to be a challenge going forward.

Here again, BPI tools will continue to play a leading role in analysing and disseminating data for automotive processing. To achieve this, they will increasingly incorporate analytics to track and measure data, evaluate it quickly and direct it to where it most needs to go. These analytics should become increasingly vital to businesses for a whole range of uses going forward, including:

  • Faster decision making
  • Optimising expenditure and controlling costs
  • Pinpointing staffing requirements
  • Identifying fraud and other security issues
  • Evaluating business risks in new locations

BPI tools are designed for your teams to access vital, secure information from anywhere in the world at any time for greater business efficiency and analytics will continue to be a major driver of these tools into the future.