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How to understand your business processes
with Nintex Promapp

Thomas Kohlenbach, senior product specialist at Nintex, joined us for episode 27 of our Automation Alliance Podcast, to share his insights on process understanding.
With over twelve years’ experience implementing initiatives related to continuous improvement, change management and system integration across the automotive and financial services industries, he is a passionate business improvement advocate who has helped global organisations reduce operational costs and drive cultural change.
Thomas believes that process management plays a fundamental role in successful business transformation. “Process management is our end game,” he explains. “We want to build a repository of standardised, repeatable processes – guiding and empowering all staff members to fulfil their roles and deliver the best outcome to the customer.”
This requires a clear understanding of your as-is processes. If a process isn’t clearly understood and defined, it can’t be properly standardised and optimised, let alone digitised and automated. And it’s vital that you faithfully represent the ‘as is’ state of your process and not an aspirational or legacy depiction of the procedure.

Why focus on processes first?

Process understanding is the first step in a successful automation journey. It’s also a way to make your business more resilient during volatile periods. When market requirements or customer needs change at a moment’s notice, a clear understanding – and map – of your as-is processes allows you to adapt them swiftly and strategically.
On top of that, when employees are working from home or in different locations, clearly defined processes serve as a reference point. This boosts productivity and accountability because people know what’s expected of them. You can also easily on-board and train new team members.
Without the right approach and tools, however, process understanding can involve an overwhelming amount of work. For this reason, process mapping technology, which helps you to understand and map your processes with ease, has become an area of significant growth and innovation in recent years.
Thomas advises choosing a solution that allows you to shape your process understanding and management approach around your company culture. Here are some pointers:

1. Ongoing communication is critical

You need to manage people’s concerns and anxieties around process changes and new technology right from the start. Make sure they understand why process management is important and how they stand to benefit.

2. Think Ahead

Rather than just picking one process to optimise and automate, and focusing all your energy on that, rather equip your organisation to build a repository of processes for continuous improvement. This is how you scale automation and transformation through your enterprise.

3. Be Inclusive

Thomas believes that true business improvement can only happen when you treat this as a cultural change within your organisation. “Empower employees. Encourage people to share ideas for driving the business forward. These days, leaders need to be more mentors and coaches,” he advises. This way, your process understanding initiative is driven from the top down and bottom up – benefitting from both strategic thinking and on-the-ground operational knowledge.

Choosing the right tools

In some organisations, people are resistant to change. Often, there’s a lot of fear around robotics and AI because there’s concern that people will be displaced, and jobs will be lost. A lot of programmes struggle because employees do not believe in the technology. Through effective people and change management, however, you can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural shifts that need to happen to establish trust in the power of automation.
According to Thomas, “Simplicity is your success factor for engagement.” Above all, he recommends choosing process mapping and management technology that is easy enough for everyone in the business to use on a daily basis. This way, they’re more likely to follow optimised processes accurately and regularly contribute ideas for improvement.
Thanks to its visual, intuitive user experience, Nintex Promapp is not only extremely straightforward to use, but also easily accessible from anywhere. You can document your processes, from any location and then surface your process maps exactly where you need them, in the productivity tools you use every day. There’s no formal training required.

To learn more about process understanding and hear some customer stories, listen to our podcast here

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