Today’s organizations are burdened with a mountain of repetitive tasks that are essential for ensuring smooth operations – whether you are designing a website, handling a customer service request, or shipping packages. There are other projects, with multiple moving parts, which are controlled by a dozen or more employees. The challenge is to complete such tasks on time while ensuring optimum quality and within a stipulated budget. The good news is: there are efficient solutions that make it easy for organizations, whether small or big, to inject speed and quality in workflows and ensure that none of the critical elements slip your attention.
Process Mapping and Process Automation are two effective solutions in this sense. While process mapping helps organizations understand how their business processes work and how to optimize them; process automation introduces machines and bots into rules-based, repetitive processes thereby freeing up essential time for the employees that can be utilized to handle mission-critical challenges. These two strategies not only transform your processes but boost employee morale as well. Let us now take an in-depth look at these two strategies.
What is Process Mapping?
Process mapping is the first step of any automation strategy. It enables the non-technical people working across departments to see a process landscape. As a part of process mapping, business processes or workflows are visually represented (with flow charts) to illustrate a sequence of events and the tasks involved. Process mapping serves as an essential input enabling organizations to make informed decisions entailing process transformation.
With the ready availability of diagramming software, anyone can now get started with process mapping. Such software makes the design process simple and intuitive, with its built-in templates and shapes. Some diagramming software even allows the users to link the flow charts directly with relevant, real-time data (e.g. inventory spreadsheet, customer database).
Microsoft Visio is an innovative diagramming solution that enables users to visualize data-connected business process and workflows with its host of integrated features. Visio can be easily integrated with other Microsoft 365 workloads such as Teams, Power BI and Power Automate.
Benefits of Process Mapping
- Detailed documentation of processes to ensure consistency, quality, and institutional memory.
- Keeps everyone on the same page to reduce avoidable errors.
- Clarifies the workflows and its goals, so that everyone involved understands what their role is.
- Identifies the opportunities for process improvement, such as insights about where things get delayed or areas where unnecessary duplication persists.
- Allows a simple depiction of complex processes that are easy for the leadership to understand at a glance.
- Serves as a point of reference and trains new employees about company processes and standards.
Pertinent Examples of Process Mapping
- A retail company’s online order process flow chart, from customer request to billing, shipping, and follow-up.
- An IT department’s process for prioritizing and addressing support tickets.
- A sales team’s process for meeting its goals, from how to find and assesses the best leads to retaining clients in the long-term
What is Process Automation?
Process automation, with software, enables organizations to automate the routine tasks involved in a business process or workflow. It saves time and effort involved in a task while avoiding any errors. For example, during a new customer onboarding, the automation software will automatically trigger a welcome email and enter the customer’s information into a database. Process automation ensures that no one has to remember to perform small tasks that can make a big difference in the long run.
Power Automate in unison with Power BI and Power Apps enables organizations to seamlessly automate their business processes and workflows. With Microsoft, you can fetch data from multiple sources, organize those in an app and automate various tedious and time-consuming business processes.
Benefits of Process Automation
- Mitigates human error: An automation software never forgets tasks or executes them inefficiently. This avoids any human error in your processes.
- Ensures consistency: Good business processes are those that follow a set of standard rules. Automation ensures that each time one task is completed, the same step follows.
- Accelerates productivity: Employees are no longer responsible for performing repetitive and tedious jobs. This frees valuable hours from their work schedules.
- Boosts employee morale: With automation, employees are free to concentrate on more creative, fulfilling, and rewarding work which can keep them motivated.
- Improves collaboration: An automation software can send alerts when someone’s left feedback on a document or completed a specific task. It keeps everyone well informed and the work moving forward.
Pertinent Examples of Process Automation
- Capturing and organizing customer information: Automation of tasks such as gathering contact information and purchase history avoids hours of doing manual data entry.
- Customer support: Tasks such as sending automatic responses to frequently asked questions or quickly categorizing a request and routing it to the correct employee unburdens the support team and delivers prompt support to customers.
- Invoice processing: An automation software can pull relevant data and route it to the appropriate employee for approval, thereby accelerating the invoice processing and payment release process.
How Process Mapping and Automation act together to increase Employee Productivity?
Process mapping and automation are intertwined strategies that enable organizations to reimagine their business processes. While process mapping delivers information about where bottlenecks exist within a business process; process automation allows organizations to resolve these. Microsoft 365 delivers powerful workloads that allow you to design a workflow in one step and select which aspects of that workflow should trigger an automatic process in the other. It enables you to plan each process and execute elements of the process simultaneously, making the effort more efficient. While Microsoft Visio can help you visualize and detect cumbersome business processes, Power Automate on the other hand enables you to quickly and easily inject automation into the business processes.
Both these popular workloads go hand in hand to augment human ability, streamline operations, and thereby optimize employee productivity. Utilizing these, organizations can identify and remove the impediments that are restraining employees from unleashing maximum productivity.
Process mapping and automation together offer various benefits for employees such as reduced working hours, less job stress, and room for innovation. The identification and consequent removal of repetitive tasks from their daily routines help employees to focus on more challenging tasks and best use their skills to shape business success. With automation in place, organizations can witness an overwhelming increase in employee productivity and employee happiness.
Examples of how Process Mapping and Automation Work Together
- Regulatory compliance: Most organizations have to adhere to various regulatory standards. Designing a process flow chart taking all the standards into account, and then automating tasks associated with the flow chart, means that nothing will be forgotten. This puts less stress on the employees.
- Employee onboarding: The process entails various rules-based tasks which can be easily identified and automated, freeing up the employees. Some aspects of the process can be easily automated, such as automatically scheduling a welcome lunch or entering new employee data into the payroll system.
- Digital marketing: Create an optimized process map that includes various digital marketing tasks – from ad placements to a successful sale. Automate some aspects of the process, such as categorizing customer information or sending a follow-up note to keep the customers returning.
During uncertain times such as these, every organization wants to attain more with less, meaning that the employees need to work smarter and not harder. Mapping processes and automating routine tasks can go a long way toward attaining the goal. It allows the employees to put their best foot forward towards the success of an organization and liberates them from performing tasks that underutilize their skills and intellect. And Microsoft 365’s powerful workloads – Visio and Power Automate – make process mapping and process automation a breeze. At AgreeYa, we have a complete suite of Intelligent Automation and Microsoft services to help you achieve your most ambitious business goals and overcome most daunting business challenges. Contact us to know more.