This is an overview of what is involved when it comes to documenting how to automate your processes. Of course, the devil’s in the details, and certainly, this is not the only way, but after listening to and learning from hundreds of our industry’s best consultants and analysts (the benefit of producing so many webinars – I listen to them all), I think this is one approach for you to consider.
- Identify a current process you feel could be improved and begin to map it
- Identify the task you want to perform – what’s the start, and what’s the intended finish (or next) state
- Gather the right stakeholders together – the right thinkers and the right do-ers – and don’t forget someone from leadership, from legal, from your records management department, from IT, maybe folks from HR or Finance, and certainly the front-line people who actually perform or oversee these tasks currently – your line-of-business (LoB) power-user champions are crucial here
- Map/workflow the selected process
- Let the LoB people who currently perform this task map/workflow their actual process
- Let your LoBs have a good laugh at their perceived reality of a process map – over the river and through the woods, then spin 3 times on the merry-go-round while doing the macarena
- Seriously, you can stop laughing now
- But admit it, you may be spinning on the merry-go-round 2 times in your actual process – but would 1 spin be sufficient?
- Now, get to work mapping a more efficient – and practical – set of processes to complete this task
- Practice this in the real world for a bit, knowing this still won’t be perfect (really, what’s perfect anyhow?!)
- Identify the delays and exceptions, and how frequently each type occurs
- For the most frequently occurring exceptions, document how to automate that part, or otherwise turn it into a standard task
- Where there are bottlenecks, look for ways to break them into parallel actions and add this into your workflow documentation by adding another branch in the process map
- Continue to chip away at the delays and exceptions until what’s left are true exceptions that would need human intervention to resolve
- Update the documentation; train and remind your workers on these additional, now regular steps into the process
- Revisit after this has been in practice for awhile
- Keep refining as needed
Want to consider a more detailed approach? Check out AIIM’s training program, Business Process Management: Digitize Core Business Processes. This course provides practical guidance to map, standardize, automate, and manage operational processes with the right strategies, tools, and technologies. You’ll learn how to implement new ways of working while maximizing ROI.
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