In the past few years or so, we started hearing about how the most profitable companies in the world managed data, opposed to years before, where those companies were the ones that managed oil.
What does it mean? It means that data is the element that will get you where you want. But unfortunately, most companies ignore the data they already have and make decisions based on perception. And that is a huge mistake.
Okay, by now you are wondering what this has to do with BPM and BPM tools. Well, everything. BPM is the discipline that will let you take full advantage of the data you have and will tell you if it’s time to search for more information or to optimize what you already have. Either way, data always tells you what to do in the most assertive way possible.
Is every piece of information useful? Maybe not. So, to start we will have to set Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are a pretty known concept, but for those who don’t know what it means, here is a basic concept, according to Hubspot:
“A KPI is a key performance indicator that measures how your company is performing at achieving a certain goal or objective. There are KPIs for every aspect of business, whether it's financial, marketing, sales, or operational”
Key Performance Indicators are a huge part of the BPM discipline. In the first place, in order to establish KPIs, we must set a specific objective, and then we will know which kind of indicators we have to set. This works best when it’s part of a business process. Each stage of the process will have its own set of data, and with the correct BPM tool, we will be able to see the information of the whole process in a simple way.
Let’s make this simple. Imagine that our specific goal is to make our business department more agile. We can say that a relevant KPI would be the time spent on each task of a process. So, we can automate a large and complex process that consumes a lot of time, involves several resources and people. We even can automate integrations with other departments and measure if the problem is in your business department or the other.
We have chosen our process, automated it in a BPM platform, and it’s time to use it. We deploy it a few times, let the users get accustomed to the new software, and now it’s time to look at the KPIs. Fun fact: several BPM platforms allow you to see the information of the process in real-time. This enables you to detect performance issues at the same time the process is being executed, helping you avoid costly mistakes.
On the other hand, we have historical information, which will help with more general aspects of the process, like how many times the process has been deployed. These are long-term KPIs, which are usually based on Business Intelligence Technology.
Okay, now that we know how to set and obtain the Key Performance Indicators, let’s talk about their importance in the BPM discipline. As we discussed in a previous article, one of the most important stages in process automation is optimization.
But, how do we optimize our processes? Based on the data we get. Usually, when we make decisions as head of departments or even as CEOs of companies, we base them on how we think things are going. We think that a process is taking too long because of some task, but instead, it could be because of something else.
Having the correct set of data will allow us to objectively analyze the situation and make accurate decisions, which will result in better performance and a better work environment for the whole company. But don’t think that because of what I said here the decision-making process is slow. Quite the opposite, you will be able to make faster decisions, with less margin of error.
In sum, data will prove useful if you set the right KPIs to keep track of. This works best when it goes by the hand with a fully modeled and automated process. It’s like taking advantage of the best of both worlds. The business world is changing rapidly, and in order to stay ahead and keep competing, it is crucial to base our decisions on objective and relevant data. In the end, it will be the most relevant game changer.