Business processes are the foundation of your business and the building blocks upon which you construct your marketing-sales system(s). When your personnel understand the processes, they can make connections between daily activities and value. Your investments in marketing-sales (e.g. ERP, CRM) systems should be augmenting your existing business processes and leveraging the foundational knowledge of your team members. However, too often companies tend to focus on features and enhancements of such systems, instead of on the actual business process. In order to maximize efficiencies with your marketing-sales investments, let’s get back to the basics of understanding your business processes and why companies should spend more time on the process, and less time on forever customizing your marketing-sales systems to what typically become antiquated or ineffective methods. Below are a few takeaways on why focusing on business processes are still important.
Business Processes Help to Define ERP Application Requirements
First, and foremost business processes provide a clear road map to help you to define your ERP application requirements. The goal is to get your business from point A, the present, to point B, the future, as efficiently as possible. Your people are the drivers of your business vehicle. The ERP system provides the horse power. Business processes are the missing element, the map, that guides the driver to where they are going. Without a map to give direction and provide directions/instructions/methods/practices on how to guide your personnel, how do you know where they’re going? Are you heading in the right direction? Are you running an effective process? The fact is that if you can’t tell where you are today or where you’re headed, you may have an issue.
We agree that your software should augment your business. Planned and implemented properly, most software systems will help streamline your current processes, create efficiencies, and communicate information more effectively. However, software cannot fix a broken process, or an ineffective one. When this happens your system can actually make matters worse via GIGO (garbage in/garbage out) and things can quickly spiral out of control.
Treat Your ERP System as a Decision Making Tools
Your ERP system is not simply a data repository, but rather a decision making tool. Efficiency, throughput, quality, responsiveness, and flexibility are how you compete in the market – not just on price. These elements are also a part of your business process design. When these elements are out of sync, costs increase. You can only protect and expand gross margins if you can control all of your internal costs. Reduce costs by focusing on improving your processes, not by short-cutting them.
Process mapping will greatly help your company in identifying costly gaps in existing activities. Process maps provide a visual graphical tool to help you gain insight, linking your people/departments with tasks and activities. They provide clear vision to your managers and senior managers on redundancies and inefficiencies within the organization. Creating the “as is” and “to be” process maps involves all of your key stakeholders (both internal and external) to collaborate together to “own” new solutions.
When you can define what success looks like, and provide your personnel with guidance on how to achieve success, performance in your organization will increase. It’s exciting when everyone is on the same page, and the daily “fires” will become fewer and farther between.
Improved Business Processes Leads To... Better Customer Service and Profitable Growth
We maintain that customer experience is the ideal way to driving profitable growth. In order to remain competitive and to provide a superior customer experience, take a critical look at your marketing-sales business processes. Are there any holes? Is there room for improvement? Inefficient or redundant business processes have a adverse long-term impact on your customers' experience, where as agile, customer-centric business processes help your organization achieve strategic growth goals.
Remember, continuous process improvement should be a fundamental strategy in any organization, and should treated as a journey, and not as a destination.
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