Effective business process optimization is not an ad hoc action, but a continuous improvement. Recent trends indicate that ad hoc actions should be replaced by a systemic solution. Once a manager has armed the organization with a process optimization system, a glance is enough to find the weaknesses and strengths and we can easily manage them.
Management practitioners and theorists, striving to communicate their valuable knowledge and experience in the clearest and most effective way, enjoy comparing the mechanisms found in organisations to phenomena known from the natural world. It is quite common to refer to the example of living organisms. This allows us to illustrate well the complexity of business processes in organisations and their mutual relations.
Both in an organisation and in a living organism (e.g. a human being) we witness specialisation and cooperation of specific areas in achieving very particular goals. For these objectives to be successfully achieved, they should run without problems and in an optimal way.
If this is not the case, action should be taken to eliminate the problems. In organisations, these decisions are made by leaders and managers. In practice, this often happens only when troublesome symptoms appear, even though the real problems causing them originated much earlier and may have been building up and accumulating for a long time before they were noticed.
Diagnosis is therefore often only made when the problems have advanced significantly and additional complications have arisen. Not infrequently, if one process does not function fully properly, it may trigger a whole avalanche of complications and significantly disrupt the functioning of the entire system.
With such a stated assessment, it remains to acknowledge that perhaps everything could have been solved much more quickly and easily if an earlier reaction had been possible. Its absence can usually be attributed to a lack of sufficient knowledge, and this to a lack of reliable monitoring of key processes and a practical inability to achieve this goal.
Business process optimization is sometimes perceived as an ad hoc activity: a problem appeared, so we look for a solution. Let us try to imagine process optimization as a systematic identification and elimination of problems based on an early warning mechanism.
The model of an organization permanently connected to a system monitoring key processes and providing managers with relevant data brings us closer to this. Leaders can identify problems based on this data in real time, so their response can be rapid. Because they are able to identify and eliminate problems at an early stage, they can prevent them from getting worse and spreading, preventing disruptive effects on the organization. At the same time, having quick knowledge of exemplary processes, they are able to immediately multiply best practices to entire teams.
Identifying process weak points and addressing them while at the same time finding process strong points and successfully spreading them throughout the organisation is one of the important steps on the path to business process optimization that makes process standardization possible.
Is it possible for business process optimization to become a feature of the working environment? Can a minimisation of the risk of emerging problems be a feature of this environment? Are we able to arm the organisation with a systemic solution, which once implemented will lead it along the path of continuous improvement to greater and greater efficiency? And how about if - as part of the benefits of the introduced solution - the employees themselves started to engage in business process optimization?
In those organisations where human resource costs are a key burden, it is usually also the people (managers, employees) who make the essential contribution to added value, representing the fundamental value to the organisation. Their working time is therefore a key variable that should be taken into account when aiming to optimize business processes. The first and necessary step on the way to business process optimization is therefore a reliable, accurate and credible measurement of working time devoted to individual or key tasks or business processes.
The aim of the business process optimization should therefore be to free up the time of both employees and managers for activities through which they add most value to the organisation. This is possible, among other things, by eliminating or minimising activities by which employees and managers do not add value to the organisation.
All activities that change the product or service and bring it closer to the way the Client expects it to be:
Activities that increase the potential to generate profits in the future. Time for activities that affect efficiency, productivity, quality of tasks performed from an individual or team perspective:
All activities that do not add value but are necessary due to current business processes:
All other activities that do not add value for the Client in the business processes
Our experience in over five hundred Business Services and Back & Middle Office teams shows that within just a few months of implementing system solutions in organisations, the business process optimization results in the release of even approx. 20-30% of employees' and managers' time. This has a significant impact on reducing company costs, and the implementation of best practices also helps to stop uncontrolled cost growth.
Effective business process optimization in organizations of the Shared Services type (carrying out repetitive tasks) makes it possible in this way to free up from a few to several dozen full-time jobs. It is possible for managers to use this to reduce headcount, but this is not absolutely necessary in order to feel the effects of the changes. Business process optimization can also significantly help to set aside additional resources to carry out further work and projects, which means it is possible to experience significant organic growth without bearing additional, often quite disproportionate costs.
Quick, accurate full diagnosis is usually impossible without the right data as a sure starting point and foundation for analysis. To be able to embark on the simple and beautiful path of process optimisation in Business Services, one needs a solution that provides absolutely reliable measurements of working time.
Only such data allow managers to effectively identify weak and strong points in processes without the risk of missing important things. They allow managers to plan effectively and make the best decisions based on facts, rather than assumptions or estimates.
Reliable measurement of critical data is only half the battle. Clear and easy-to-read data visualisation is needed. An intuitive and easy-to-use tool should provide a simple and transparent way to use the collected data for process optimization.
Many Shared Services managers perceive that the majority of employee time measurement systems available on the market, however, do not take into account these requirements and the specificity of their teams' operational work and do not fully respond to their needs.
Valuable and accurate data, which is the engine for effective process optimization that is impossible to achieve with other tools, is at Harmodesk's fingertips. How is this possible? Detailed measurements of working time, split into tasks, breaks and pauses, are collected online in the background, i.e. as you or your staff work in the Harmodesk application. They are displayed on visualisation dashboards in Harmodesk itself, making it easier and more effective to monitor task performance levels and manage team performance on an ongoing basis.
Harmodesk is therefore much more than a very popular timesheet for Business Services teams. It is a comprehensive solution for managing tasks and organizing the team work in the short term, but also in the medium and long term.
Ability to use the potential of Business Intelligence class systems, such as Qlik or Tableau, additionally opens up new areas for the analysis of collected data. In our implementation practice, the Management Dashboard and a predefined set of worksheets found in BI systems enable analysis in the mid-term and long-term perspective.
What does using data for interim analysis look like in BI?
The manager has a Management Dashboard and a set of 100 ready-to-use and tested support sheets:
In addition, the BI tool enables the development of sheets tailored to the specifics of specific processes, these sheets, among other things, allow you to:
As a platform for managing timeliness, quality and productivity, Harmodesk addresses the specific needs of companies in the industry. Accurate and detailed data, which is obtained on-line and in real With clear and field-proven visualisations, the tool provides real management support to managers, making business process optimization truly simple and intuitive.
What is important is that all this becomes a conscious participation of team members, whose role in the process optimisation increases, simultaneously strengthening their morale and motivation as well as relieving the leader and freeing up their time.
Every leader wants an engaged team and the comfort of making decisions based on hard and reliable data. This is much easier and more effective when there are always easy-to-interpret reports and clear visualisations at hand. By the way, having a quick overview, it is much easier for him to find and present arguments to employees, business and customers. This is a basic thing to ensure if you, as a leader, are serious about business process improvement.
The specific Harmodesk features (reports, worksheets, visualisations) were created directly in response to the needs of SSC / BPO and Back and Middle Office teams and are the result of many years of learning about the needs of business process management in their teams. They have been simplified and automated (according to the rule: define-measure-analyze-improve-automate-control) saving managers valuable time and giving solid benefits to stakeholders.
You can benefit from various existing examples of process improvement methods to achieve business goals (like Six Sigma, etc.) and implement process automation via many different apps and software. What is sure is that while optimizing operations eventually the number, variety, excess and the problems surrounding them will begin to overwhelm you. How to reliably avoid technical risks (application incompatibility, implementation problems, integration, errors) and be sure to meet your needs for quality, productivity, timeliness, compliance, problems with workflows, etc.?
The unique value of Harmodesk software is that it combines in one tool everything that is essential for processes to be optimized in a reliable and effective manner in the businesses like Shared Services organizations.