Time and time again, there’s one critical component that hampers a business’s productivity and efficiency: People are wired to work within organizational silos.
What are some of the specific pitfalls that inefficient or siloed business processes can cause? That’s a question Nick Candito, co-founder and CEO at Progressly, has studied extensively.
Candito’s business helps its customers transform the way they do business. He previously served as RelateIQ’s Head of User Success & Business Operations, which was acquired by Salesforce.com in August 2014 as the first automatic and intelligent CRM solution.
Processes that digitally connect suppliers, customers and assets create unique efficiencies and customer value not before possible, Candito says. From connecting machines on the shop floor to connecting data from different asset vendors, operating in the new digital economy means using information to inspire new methods of operation that help close the gap between a company and its customer.
Here are some ways process might slow a company down.
1. Siloed Departments – Departmental lines are increasingly blurred. Contact centers are closely tied with marketing, sales, shipping and even product development. Human resources, legal, IT and communications teams must be aligned to effectively manage workforce issues, compliance obligations and other company-wide responsibilities. With this higher level of inter-department engagement, tools today limit productivity at the departmental level and cause a big source of frustration.
2. System Integration Challenges – With greater automation, there are more systems and solutions in place than ever before. Each of requires a set of processes to enable their successful use. For instance, in a contact center, there is heavy reliance on CRM, inventory management and order tracking solutions. Agents require integrated processes to be able to effectively use all of these systems concurrently to deliver an optimal customer experience. Without a standardized solution to access processes, they are forced to continuously shift between disparate sources of information, resulting in productivity issues and even greater employee churn.
3. Frustrating Bottlenecks – Just because a process has been executed one way for a long time doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. Often, companies will overlook sources of process slowdowns because there is a lack of visibility and an inability to understand the impact of a bottleneck. These are sometimes the result of a lack of adaptation to a new technology being introduced or simply from a “gatekeeper” wanting a high level of control over a particular part of a process. Regardless of the reason, process hurdles can cause major slowdowns that can have far-reaching financial impact.
4. Redundancy – Another common problem that happens to companies of all sizes is process duplication. Requiring repetitive steps can diminish the quality of a process and confuse those who have to execute them. This is commonly seen when there is a lack of departmental collaboration or when processes have been adapted over time in a less-than-systematic way.
5. A Lack of Insights – Even when companies have the right business intelligence information available to them, it may be inaccessible or erroneously reported due to lack of real-time data provided to those involved in a process or monitoring status. Leaders who don’t have the most relevant insights at their fingertips are less likely to make smart choices. If a leader or sponsor doesn’t know exactly how you’re progressing (for example, where did the conversation leave off on a potential blocker, how many actions were completed, whether the timeline is being adhered to, or whether a project is in the red or the black), it’s difficult to competently decide if efforts need to be redirected or canceled, or if one initiative needs to be prioritized over another.
6. Decreased Financial Performance – Without a complete understanding of all components of the business, executives lose the ability to identify critical weaknesses and plan for predictable growth. Simply put, they cannot remain reactive to operational vulnerabilities or mitigate the complexities of running a business in a global economy. Ultimately, a lack of process visibility leads to the assumption of greater risk, a loss of stakeholder trust, and less positive growth.