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Business Process Management on a Web Platform for Small to Medium businesses

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Summary ............................................................................................. 3 Key Business Areas for SMEs to Automate....................................... 3 Major Benefits of BPM for Small Businesses. ................................... 7 Making Business Processes Accessible : An SME Web Platform..... 8 Conclusion .......................................................................................... 8

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1. Summary
This short white paper considers the key business areas that SMEs often look to improve through business process automation, and discusses possible benefits. Experience suggests that successful business process management, through providing access to processes in the central web platform of the company provides considerable benefits, both in terms of convenience for the user and resulting impact of the processes on business efficiencies.

2. Key Business Areas for SMEs to Automate

For a smaller enterprise the process automation goals are much more atomic and isolated than we see in larger enterprises. Smaller companies are usually looking to fix a local and well understood problem for example it takes too long to raise a purchase order one process at a time. This approach is fit for purpose for an SME company, whereas larger companies seek efficiency gains through more substantial projects such as large scale ERP software deployments that span departments and provide close integration with financial systems. In our experience SME process automation efforts focus mainly on 5 key business areas : Key operational processes Administrative Support Processes Staff focused Partner focused via extranet access for key customers or suppliers. Product related




Process Automation



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2.1 Critical Operations

Example : The lead generation and sales process. For the great majority of SME businesses lead generation, nurturing and pipeline management is a critical process and one that benefits from process automation. These kinds of processes will often write customer data to CRM systems, send proactive notifications to potential customers as personal emails and provide market segmentation and behaviour data through reports and dashboards. Example benefit from automation By implementing a simple sales automation process that follows up a variety of initial sales enquiries from a demonstration request, an IT company was able to scale the early sales cycle with minimal increase in staff.

By using a plug-in the process is able to halt automated responses and create a CRM opportunity ready for a sales person to engage with. as soon as the prospect reacts to the process emails.

2.2 Administration
Examples : requesting a purchase order, project authorization. A significant number of administrative processes can be deployed efficiently through business process automation. A great many administrative processes take the form of an initial form based request, a series of notifications, status changes and routing decisions that conclude with an approved/rejected status and appropriate actions.
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Example benefit from automation An Engineering company was experiencing extreme frustration in the R&D department, since they frequently needed to place component orders with a range of suppliers many of them new to the business and the previous email based system of requesting authority from the accounts staff to place an order was often taking over two weeks two provide the purchase order. By implementing a transparent, single location business process with priorities, service level agreements, reports and statuses accounts and line managers were better able to respond and the average time for fulfillment was reduced extremely significantly. Real time status reports and filters showed the performance for all stakeholders. More importantly the impact on R&D was to remove frustrating delays in new product development and product improvements, which encouraged innovation and reduced cycle times.

2.3 Staff Focused

Examples : End to end induction, overtime requests and training needs. SME companies have a variety of staff centric processes that can be efficiently automated. These can produce efficiency benefits such as more effective induction systems or superior record keeping and analysis such as training needs and course attendance. Example benefit from automation One Claromentis client had for many years attempted to ensure that employee recognition for going the extra mile was a key part of the company culture. The drive had the full backing of HR and the executive management team. However the participation was significantly reduced by the poor implementation - relying on having blank Recommendation cards available in every office, and these being put in physical suggestion boxes that were periodically sent to HR, with the annual results publicized in a staff magazine. By implementing a process on the central web platform that proactively notified management, HR and the individual concerned the company was able to provide a real time system that promoted superior performance in a transparent and engaging way. The system posted the recommendations and their status on each individuals staff profile, as well as in the main results area of the scheme.

2.4 Collaboration outside the company

Example : the cooperative process with a collaborative partner - travel requests By allowing access to partners, customers and suppliers the web platform can automate processes that require collaboration across companies. For example if a company has a
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preferred travel agent, the process for business travel requests can go through an internal approval process, and then on to actually make the travel bookings with the supplier. Example benefit from automation. Automating such a process allows for simple and pragmatic comparison of supplier efficiency. In order to review the performance of a chosen supplier, one Claromentis customer was easily able to allocate requests from one set of users to one supplier, and the remainder to the original supplier. The results after one month revealed a clear disparity between the two suppliers measured by the automatic business timers and status reports available in the tool. The company was then able to commit all the work to the better performer.

2.5 Product Related

Example : defect reporting and market intelligence. There are a large variety of processes that are centered on products. For example defect reporting, market intelligence and launch approvals are all suitable for business process automation. Example benefit from automation. A company we worked with in the UK was frustrated by the inefficiencies in getting sales, R&D, marketing and regional managers to sign off and participate in product launch plans. The existing implementation was largely based one emails, excel files and phone conferences which were difficult to organize due to significant time differences. By producing a new, relatively simple process all stakeholders could review the status, provide input and review the related version controlled documentation in real time from any corporate location. The company also created a corporate social networking channel for each launch, allowing the stakeholders to provide short informal comments as well as more structured documents and approvals.

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3. Major Benefits of BPM for Small Businesses.

In our experience there are two major benefits for automating processes for the smaller business : Improving Efficiency Increased awareness and improved resource allocation

3.1 Improving Efficiency

The three main direct contributors to increased efficiency arise from Transparency Notifications Service Level Agreements

Transparency With an automated process the current status of all requests and graphical dashboards can be made accessible in real time to any audience on the web platform. This increased awareness encourages contribution and escalation from a range of people who are motivated to increase the efficiency of the relevant task.


Notifications proactively alert staff that their involvement in a process is required. From their point of view this is extremely efficient they do not need to periodically review queue requests but instead can rely on notifications to advise them that their involvement in a particular request is now required.
Service Level Agreements

By building in service level agreements through business timers companies can ensure that their overall productivity tasks are being met. Any requests that are about to breach a service level agreement for example outstanding by more than 3 hours are immediately allocated to relevant team leaders or managers to ensure compliance.

3.2 Improved Resource Allocation

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Once the process is automated it becomes clear over time what the bottlenecks are, and resources can be efficiently assigned to make sure that the whole process continues to meet expectations.

4. Making Business Processes Accessible : An SME Web Platform

Historically smaller businesses would have found the efficient presentation and involvement in business processes a challenge. Staff would have required training and also discipline to participate in isolated software solutions for BPM on an as needed basis. However with the rise in the web platform approach offered by companies such as Claromentis, the intranet becomes a digital workplace through which business process engagement happens seamlessly and efficiently. In general these platforms offer : Information management : the intranet / extranet world of document management and applications Business Process Management Custom Applications

Business processes are therefore made available as a seamless part of the digital workplace using single sign on and integrated permissions through menu systems, fast access icons, or from departmental/functional areas. Participation can be seamlessly requested through normal channels such as email , via notifications.

5. Conclusion
By deploying a web platform for the business that includes a BPM system SMEs make business process management improvements in 5 key areas. This is achieved with reasonable expense and with clearly quantifiable benefits in both efficiency and resource allocation.

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