Business Process Improvement
In an ideal world, all workflows or processes effectively support a meaningful business goal, are strictly followed, generate minimal friction, and of course are 100% optimized. Unfortunately, this rarely represents reality. As years pass and the business and regulatory climate evolve, some workflows or processes exist as more of a historical artifact and often become irregularly used. Other processes might naturally change and evolve, deviating from the internal workflow documentation and yet, improve over time. How do you know if a particular process is good or bad? Our solutions allow you to gain unprecedented insight into the actual workflows and processes within your organization, so that you can identify inefficiencies and sources of friction, replicate best practices and optimize your business operations for greater efficiency.
Our solutions give you the ability to answer some challenging questions including:
- What are the real world workflows – those based on employees’ actual behavioral patterns, and how do these workflows compare with any internal workflow documentation?
- How consistently and thoroughly are these workflows followed? Read more about how our solutions use workflow analysis or more specifically, how we can visualize workflows to detect missing steps in the context of an HR issue like unfair hiring practices.
- Are there certain workflows which generate unusual amounts of friction and negative feelings?
- Which workflows are most efficient? How can we replicate these best practices elsewhere?
Let’s consider a simple scenario (shown to the right), which takes place within a large organization: Two business units, with a similar structure, set out to achieve the same business goals by performing the same set of processes. Yet, the European Operations business unit performs significantly better than the North American Operations business unit. Why is this so? Is it a process issue, or is it about the caliber of the personnel? In this example, we’re analyzing how each business unit responds to customer service requests to replace a product part under warranty. Some of our analytics, like the Sequence Viewer shown here, allow you to visualize ad hoc workflows so that you can see any behavioral patterns based on employees’ actual activities. Often, processes that employees follow differ dramatically from formally defined company policy.
In this case, the North American Operations business unit primarily follows official policy: an initial service call (blue) is followed by various “required” authorization steps by supervisors as well as the factory (purple, green, yellow and gray), which are then followed by the warehouse visit (magenta) to receive the product part and, finally, visiting the customer to actually fix the product (orange). Interestingly enough, the majority of the time, the European Operations business unit follows a very different approach: the initial service call (blue) is directly followed by a warehouse visit (magenta), a visit to the customer to fix the product (orange), and then two official authorization steps (purple, yellow) to complete the paper trail.
Although the European Operations business unit deviates from official policy, upon further investigation, the organization concludes that this process is significantly more efficient in terms of responding to customer requests faster, leading to increased customer satisfaction and increased customer loyalty. In a scenario like this one, the organization might choose to update the internal workflow documentation to reflect this improved process and, ultimately, require other business units to adopt these best practices. Cataphora’s technology can model the behavioral patterns across the entire organization and the workflows within it, so you can compare how the workflows differ across business units to help identify opportunities for improvement.
There is a variety of other applications for our technology in the realm of business process improvement. For example, how do you know if a particular process is good or bad, specifically after a process is changed? One aspect that might directly influence your response is how the affected employees, who consistently interact with this workflow, respond after the change is implemented. Does this change produce company-wide friction or resentment? Our solutions allow you to analyze how employees behave towards a particular workflow at any point in time, so that you can compare employee behavior before and after a process change is implemented.
Our sophisticated approach to business process improvement moves beyond statistical scoring to examine how human interactions relate to specific workflows, giving you the unique opportunity to answer some challenging questions about your internal processes. Whether you are primarily interested in understanding if workflows are being consistently and thoroughly followed, how a specific process change produces friction across the organization, or how you can improve the efficiency of a particular workflow, Cataphora’s solutions give the ability to address these concerns more thoroughly and accurately than otherwise possible.