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Technology's Role in Business Process Optimization

Reka Mishra, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives, SVB Financial Group
Reka Mishra, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives, SVB Financial Group

Reka Mishra, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives, SVB Financial Group

Business processes are essentially an amalgam of art and science. A business delivers value through its processes. New technologies are reshaping the way these processes are managed and executed. Companies seek solutions that can bring greater efficiencies to business while providing flexibility and agility to business process management (BPM). Technological developments aim to improve and align employees’ value addition that collectively contributes to a company’s value delivery. The ongoing tech evolution opens doors for process automation.

In today’s market, automation is starting to make a deep impact in the BPM space. However, while numerous solutions for BPM automation flood the market each year, the functionalities that they offer are rather generic and fail to cater to the specific needs of businesses and struggle to provide a tailored end to end solution. Lacking in agility and flexibility, these solutions are tedious to implement. Companies that have adopted such solutions either have to choose the processes and methods offered by the solution, or execute tasks according to their own unique business processes that were developed over many years.

To overcome these hurdles, it is key for technology partners and solution providers to understand the complexity and uniqueness of business processes provide a human centric design and be cognizant that one size does not fit all. Additionally with the fast pace of business and its ever changing needs, the business process need to evolve constantly and frequently there by trying to customize every technology solution tends to be an expensive endeavor for organizations.

The Path to Strategic Partnerships

Each business model is unique and so are the processes involved in it. To enable an effective partnership and derive optimal benefits, it is crucial to evaluate the skill and experience offered by the partners. In addition to subject matter expertise, the alignment of business values is also critical. Some business may provide ideal solutions but they might function on values that are out of alignment with one’s own business/ organization. It is also equally important to evaluate other aspects of the potential partner such as financial stability and client engagement to understand one’s business requirements, willingness to adopt according to changing needs, all of which are essential for a mutually beneficial partnership.

  While businesses strive to gain competitive edge through continuous process improvements through adoption and implementation of various technology, there still needs to evolution in technology solution itself and its adoption 

Brining in Change

Change is a paradox. While many businesses aim to bring change with the ultimate vision of making improvements, change is also feared by the same stakeholders, as there is uncertainty and fear of unknown. But process changes are necessary to enable employees and to tackle redundancies and propel the business forward. Historically companies focused purely on improving the process aspects without considering change management, adoption strategies, collaboration strategies and global prospective.  Although, trends today indicate that businesses are abandoning traditional approaches and implementing evolving technologies with new strategies. Companies now have a plethora of options when it comes to picking the right solution to handle change management, training communication, and trend analysis. Yet, the same solutions present new challenges in terms of user adoption due to lack of process owner’s engagement and handling of exceptions.

Evolution in BPM

With the advent of automation and AI, business process automation as part of continuous improvement is making great strides.

The direction of market trends points toward solution providers are investing significant amounts of time and resources in understanding the human touch and coming up with efficient, repeatable and scalable solutions – which are spanning over multi-geography.

 I anticipate that forthcoming enhancements would be providing 24/7 solutions, across various geographies and would be highly customizable. The automation in BPM will also result in automation of repetitive work and will impact the workforce skill set and requirements. As part of evolution, in addition to the focus of improving the back-end processes which are centered on backend operations, there still lies an untapped opportunity in automating customer-facing activities like client on-boarding and overall customer experience.

Advice to Peers

To be successful, one needs to have a blend of thought leadership and execution capabilities – they both complement each other. Consider walking that extra mile of understanding the impact of changes on human capital, which will ultimately define the success of the process improvements. The solution needs to be holistic in nature and should focus on piecemeal solution. Finally, along with focusing on developing technical skills, having solid focus on customer centric design, change management is important too, because, ultimately it is the people who would sustain the process, resulting in organization reaping the full benefits and adoption. 

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