Modernizing Workflows in a New Business World: A Look at Forrester’s New Study

Digital transformation has been part of the business conversation for years, but the steep pace of global change has renewed the urgency for many businesses.  Forrester describes the current landscape in more blunt terms in their recent study on the value of modernizing workflow management. The authors state it plainly: “The stakes are high, and the chances for failure are even higher.”

But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to optimize. In fact, the study, which discusses Forrester’s survey results from enterprise decision-makers, suggests quite the opposite. In it, they explain that themes and patterns have surfaced, suggesting that—while the times we find ourselves in are as unpredictable as ever—maintaining a strategic focus on a few key areas can be the difference between success and failure.

Thinking Beyond Individual Efficiencies

One of the report’s key recommendations is to focus on “effectiveness over efficiency.” In other words, while lowering costs and boosting productivity should absolutely be an objective, it should be achieved in the context of broader business goals. Many respondents showed this was top of mind. In the survey, more than 75% of decision-makers agreed that changing the way they work would be the only way to achieve digital transformation goals.

Focusing on effectiveness means not only aiming for the efficiency metrics you’re going for but also taking into consideration exactly how those goals will be achieved. Simply rearranging a workflow for lowered costs and higher productivity in one segment of the business process is not enough to sustain enterprise-level transformation. It must be approached from a wider scope that considers all aspects of how workflows.

Process, Process, Process

You must know your business process to optimize it, which, of course, is not news to anyone here. But what seems rather obvious and simple is far from it. You may know generally how certain processes start and finish, but it takes much more than a tangential understanding of process reengineering. Forrester points to tools for process mining, which can provide a wealth of deep insights. With insights in hand (that are also aligned properly with the aforementioned business objectives), you can then begin reengineering in order to optimize workflows. Of special note, Forrester also points out that skills in process reengineering are specific and rare, and that outside expert could be needed. (We can help with that!)

Automate the Right Things, Not All Things

While automation is certainly a top priority for today’s business leaders, it’s not a silver bullet. Nor is it one size fits all. As the study author puts it, “Process excellence starts with process assessment.” A primary objective of analyzing your process should be first and foremost to decide what parts of any given process are best suited for automation, and which are not good candidates.

To this end, Forrester suggests looking at tools that offer agility. Change, as we’ve mentioned, is constant. In order to adapt, businesses must be able to quickly and easily make architectural workflow changes as needed. The key is ensuring these tools are standardized in a way that facilitates consistency.

Think Big Picture

Big technology changes impact every area of business. Before undertaking any digital transformation initiatives, it’s critical to have plans in place that will reflect the necessary collaboration to work through such massive and impactful change. Understand how departments work in the context of one another, and build a leadership structure that is hyper-focused on effective collaboration. With the organizational change, you must consider the organization both in its entirety and as the sum of its parts.

If you’re ready to see how your business can scale with automation and digital transformation, get in touch for a free demo.

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