Are you letting technology drive your process? While technology can help you streamline and automate your process, it shouldn’t be the determining factor in how you do business. It’s better to determine an efficient and fruitful course of action, and then use technology to automate and document it. At RelationEdge we call this our Process First. Technology Second. ® methodology, and it’s been the driving force behind thousands of successful consulting projects.
Documenting your process is important for a few reasons. First, it lends itself to internal transparency. Second, documentation of a process serves as a tool of accountability. Figuring out where the bottlenecks happen is much easier when you have a written process and can track its use. Third, it can be used to build a roadmap for technology implementation and use, making your technology support your process, rather than the other way around.
Here are five steps to documenting your process, so you can improve transparency and accountability in your business.
1. Identify Process Boundaries
What triggers a process to begin? How do you know it’s complete? These initial questions help you identify your current processes and lay the groundwork for creating a more detailed workflow.
For instance, your order process may begin when an order is placed, and finish when the order is delivered. Create an outline that reflects the important milestones of every step. Consider flow charts, checklists, and other tools to document your processes — feedback from your staff will tell you what is most helpful.
2. Name the Stakeholders
With the milestones of each process established, your next step is to identify who the stakeholders are. In other words, who needs to be a part of the process? List in your process where each stakeholder comes into play and what they are responsible for.
3. Determine the Necessary Assets
What do you need to complete a particular process? A list of required resources and assets will eliminate surprise roadblocks later on.
Identify the financial budget for the process, how many employees are needed, and any other required supplies. Outline the time required from each employee and the resources needed to complete each step.
4. Create a Workflow and Timeline
Now you can start on your detailed workflow that scopes out:
- what kicks off a process and how long each stage is expected to take
- each task and who is responsible for it
- the resources that will be used at each stage of the project
Workflows offer a visual of the overall process that is easy to grasp if done well. Your workflow should be in sequential order and adding elements like color coding makes it fast to identify tasks by department or urgency.
Once you have a workflow draft, send it out for feedback — if a stakeholder finds part of the process confusing, add clarity.
5. Find the Right Technology
Documenting your process is key for consistency and accountability, but you need to leverage a robust platform to manage and carry out your approach on a daily basis.
Once you’ve documented your process, determine which technology will put your process into practice. The best way to do this is to choose a solution that can bolster all your teams, from IT, to sales, to marketing. If all your employees can easily access, use, and benefit from your technology, you’ll be in a stronger position to drive transformative business value with your new-and-improved process.
Of course, the platform you choose isn’t the only important decision that you need to make when it comes to technology — it’s also critical that you implement the technology effectively so that it’s tailored to your exact needs. Fortunately, you can ensure a thorough implementation by consulting with a great partner.
Refine Your Process with the Right Partner
Documenting your process helps you make your workflow more efficient. You can cut down on mistakes, decrease costs, and gives employees clarity. With some good planning, a dash of flexibility, and the right technology, your process can bring much-needed order and sense to your most important projects.
At RelationEdge, we know how important it is to develop and document your process. Using our Process First. Technology Second.® methodology, our team of business process consultants, technology experts, and digital marketing specialists help you engage with your customers at each step along the path from lead to loyalty.
Want to discover how we could support your process development and documentation to drive transformative value at your business? Click here to learn about the Business Process Assessment offered by RelationEdge, a Rackspace company.