Nowadays, communication with other people from across the world can be a click of a mouse away. Cloud computing and the ever-increasing mobile phone usage are radically changing the dynamics of work. For businesses operating globally, remote work and geographically distributed teams are becoming the norm.
And then, there’s the changing market landscape as well. Consumers want information at their fingertips and quick fixes to their data-related issues. For businesses to stay competitive, quicker decision-making through real-time information becomes mandatory.
Easier said than done, but with the right technology and strategy, good things can happen.
Separating the wheat from the chaff
Some consider the Internet the best invention of the modern world. Given the numerous benefits the Internet has unearthed, that assertion may be hard to refute. But with the Internet comes larger volumes of data that needs to be processed, and therein lies the data overwhelm challenge. In a virtual world literally swimming with tons and tons of data from here, there and everywhere, how can the wheat be separated from the chaff, sans the headache?
Search engines that are growing smarter and smarter are, so far, doing a good job.
Turning digital, relying on search engines and deploying mobile-supported applications don’t necessarily guarantee the success of a business, or the availability of useful information. To reap relevant business results, there has to be a process, an optimized business process.
To illustrate the point, let’s take the things you’ve accumulated in your basement or attic over the years as an example. Sooner or later, you will need to sort through the stuff for things to keep, give away or send to the garbage bin. Doing so may require a whole weekend, maybe even two. For most people, the fact they have to trade a weekend of fun for a boring sorting routine is enough to indefinitely put the basement/attic work on the back burner, until it becomes absolutely necessary.
Process optimization, in this case, would require that instead of dumping stuff into the basement without any regard for reason or organization – or any future need, for that matter –there has to be a specific place (like a neatly labeled box in a particular spot) for everything, so getting back to anything doesn’t have to be a pain.
A simple example, the point being separating relevant data from the noise doesn’t have to be overly complex, as long as the right process is in place at the outset. In the context of work, process optimization benefits include speed, visibility and agility, all necessary ingredients to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment.
Process standardization vs. collaboration
It used to be that business process optimization was focused solely on process standardization. Today, the changing market dynamics and increasing need for speed have deemed rigid processes inadequate for businesses to stay ahead of the pack. Where standards and processes fall short, collaboration is being thrown into the mix.
Alongside a flexible business process framework, team collaboration results in employee empowerment, as decision-making and turnaround time are no longer dependent upon key decision makers, or carved within rigid processes that are difficult, if not impossible, to tweak and tailor to specific procedures and end results. Instead, employees are free to exchange relevant information to arrive at the best possible solution to work issues at hand.
Collaboration, coupled with process standardization on an adaptive business process framework, enables better project management and delivery. It facilitates the maintenance of document libraries, including the formation of a cohesive work team. Times, indeed, are a-changing. Today, more than ever, collaboration should be as much an integral part of a business process optimization solution as automation or reporting. When you get down to it, only through collaboration can businesses be truly innovative.