As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”, this applies doubly so in the post-Covid business landscape. For, moments of learning only come forth in times of adversity, and the business world at large learned a great lesson on the fragility of businesses as of the past few decades, especially the last 4 years, after weathering more trauma than perhaps all of its prior history. After multiple stock market crashes, economic collapses, tense geo-political situations, and a global pandemic, it would be foolish now to expect things to ever go smoothly for business, and even more foolish to become complacent with things.
When I say that these last two decades have taught us the fragility of a business, it is not a baseless claim. The statistics from the Covid-19 pandemic alone show us that entrepreneurs were not prepared to face such a struggle, as can be seen in this statistic compilation by the Quandary Consultant Group, where they highlight the expectations of consumers and the shortcomings of businesses regarding business processes.
Many business owners had grown complacent in their practices, and they paid a heavy price as a result. We saw many businesses that were too late in going digital be forced to close their doors permanently. A good chunk of businesses had to downsize to curtail business expenses. Many businesses failed to recognize their customers’ expectations and underdelivered to their demise. The list goes on and on. And all of these disasters could have been averted if more attention has been given to the business’ processes.
If These businesses had invested in regular auditing and upkeep of their business processes and workflow and had regularly optimized inefficiencies, then the chances of the business not going under would rise exponentially. That mom-and-pop shop at the corner, had it invested in digitization and diversified its business practices instead of sticking to what worked so far, may still be open. That start-up that had to close before it took off could have been saved if it had focused on optimizing its costs and strategically maneuvering for growth in hard times.
The bottom line is that all these businesses invested in business process optimization services and internally improved their organization regularly. They would have been in a much better position to weather external pressures. And this is why today, our experts at Expertise Accelerated will discuss Business Process Optimization (BPO), and BPO services. We have strong faith in the current business landscape that many businesses have learned from these past experiences and will invest in BPO services going forward. This guide should prove a great launch pad to enter the business process optimization world and understand what they’re missing out on.
Table of Contents
What is Business Process Optimization (BPO)?
Before we get to the optimization part, let’s talk about how we perceive a business and its processes. Technically speaking, a business in its purest form is the culmination of all the business processes working in harmony to produce the desired result: profit.
By conceptualizing a business as the result of many different business processes, the optimization concept becomes much easier to understand. Consider a building as an example. This building can only remain standing so long as the pillars stand firm. But if the pillars are not cared for and allowed to deteriorate, then the whole building can be blown away by a gentle breeze. In the same way, think of a business as a building, held up by pillars called business processes. If the processes are allowed to deteriorate and not regularly optimized, then the business is left prone to collapse by the slightest of external forces. And this is precisely what happened during the pandemic. Entrepreneurs who had foreseen the fragility of their businesses and invested in BPO services to shore up their defenses against external pressures were able to soften the blow of the pandemic and continue operating to this day.
Now, let’s talk about business process optimization (BPO). BPO is the maintenance of the business’ pillars, aka its processes. Typically, this is not something that an existing employee of the business should do, as subjective bias may interfere with objective assessment. This is why we recommend enlisting the help of BPO services.
From a technical standpoint, enlisting BPO services essentially entails having an expert BPO specialist come in and take stock of how your business processes are performing across the board, identify all the gaps in efficiency throughout the business process workflow, and suggest measures to optimize those business processes in such a way that actively benefits the business while passively hedging against damage from unforeseen external circumstances.
BPO and BPO services bring forward a slew of lucrative benefits for businesses, which are discussed below:
The Benefits of Business Process Optimization and BPO Services
Time and Cost Savings
The most vital resources in business today are time and money, and saving on both is key to growth and success. BPO does just that. A BPO service can look at your business processes and figure out where you are wasting time and money when you can save both. And then it’s just a matter of implementation. One of the major areas where inefficiency can be clearly observed is the Order-to-Cash (O2C) process. Some businesses end up having too many extra, unneeded impediments in their O2C process, which leads to a large chunk of customers abandoning their carts midway. Now, if you could clear up all the fluff and have a straightforward O2C process, not only can you process more orders faster, but you also stand to increase your profits by reducing the risk of cart abandonment, by almost 35.62% according to a survey by the Baymard Institute. The O2C process is a great example to demonstrate the potency of BPO services, actually, because it encompasses all of the business’ main processes that contribute to revenue generation, and so optimizing O2C means optimizing all of your primary business process workflows for time and cost savings.
One of the greatest problems in business today is mundanity. Often, employees may end up feeling detached and uninterested in the business because there is no dynamic element in the business processes. If the cashier has to scan barcodes all day, eventually he will get sick of it. Similarly, if the accountant must repeat the same daily tasks, it becomes a chore rather than a contribution to the business. This is also a key problem that can be fixed by consulting firms specializing in BPO services.
BPO is not just about improving the processes for the sake of profit, but also for the sake of the people involved in the business. You cannot run a business if you ignore the needs of those under you, and BPO helps you identify those needs. You can gain a lot of insight into your business and its processes by simply talking to the humans executing those processes. And then, by optimizing and addressing the complaints of the team, you end up boosting employee productivity and investment in the business as a necessary by-product. And by regularly optimizing the business processes, you end up making the same old work feel fresh by introducing things like automation, new software, new techniques and strategies, AI, and many other optimization measures.
Risk Detection and Mitigation
A business process assessment by a business analyst is akin to an external audit, and much like an audit, helps identify vulnerabilities and risks within the business. Whether it be error, fraud, or some other form of risk, you can only address it if you know it’s there. And you won’t know what possible problems may be happening in your business processes without enlisting BPO services to take a look and show you what you can’t see from within the business.
By regularly assessing and optimizing processes you are essentially hedging against potential error, fraud, and other forms of risk, such as cyber-attacks, etc., by investing in the latest counter-measures to such vulnerabilities and rooting out bad actors before they can cause more harm. EA publication titled “A Guide to Fraud Detection and Prevention for Small Businesses” is a great resource for entrepreneurs curious about risk management.
Another important factor to consider in business today is the sheer speed of progress in technology and business strategy, which come alongside newer regulations and compliance concerns. Staying up to date with industry standards and regulations is immensely important for businesses. One, because these regulations are in place for a reason and protect the business from financial or brand damage, and secondly because not following regulations can result in heavy penalties, both legal and financial.
BPO services can help your business stay up to date. Typically, when new regulations are issued, businesses are given time to adapt. But you can’t adapt if you don’t understand the new regulation, or don’t know how to tailor your business processes to be in compliance with new regulation. A business analyst or consulting firm can fix this for you. By regularly checking in with such BPO services and staying on top of regulatory concerns, you can save yourself a lot of headaches from the authorities.
As mentioned before, new and improved ways of doing business are emerging almost weekly now. New tools for automation, and new software for faster output, all of these developments are consistently happening, and entrepreneurs must stay on top of these developments and incorporate them into the business where required.
BPO services help here as well, as they are well aware of such developments, and can in fact not only suggest processes to modernize but also suggest technology, software, and strategy that best fits with the business’ goals and budget.
How Business Process Optimization (BPO) Works
Business process optimization can be broken down into 4 major steps:
Process Assessment and Mapping Workflow
When you hire a business analyst to optimize your business processes, the first thing they will need from you is a breakdown of your business workflow. The only way to optimize the business is to first identify areas needing optimization and to do that, you need to have a bird-eye view of the business’ workflow and see where bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie. So, the first order of business is to draw up the business’ processes, detailing how everything moves from one process to another to finally generate revenue, and then pick at each individual component for potential problems.
Your business processes, regardless of inefficiencies, are the way they are due to your past decisions. You can only figure out how to move on from where you are by first looking at what got you there in the first place.
For example, the business may have been in financial trouble at some point resulting in one of the processes having to downsize and reduce resource use. This is a strategic decision for the moment, but you may very well forget that and proceed onwards with this resource-deficient sub-optimal process. Similarly, some methods of order processing may have been popular in the industry a few years ago and that’s why you implemented it, but since then better solutions have come about making the past one obsolete.
Tracing back your steps and seeing why a process is the way it is and questioning your past decision-making makes it easier to make future decisions for further improvement, as you are looking at what you tried already, why you did it, and how it turned out.
After identifying process inefficiencies and the thought process behind them, it’s time to optimize. This is where business process optimization services are really put to the test. It all comes down to how such services can transform inefficient processes into efficient ones. And there is no correct answer when it comes to this question, in all fairness.
Some processes can be optimized by incorporating AI and automation into the mix, others can benefit from workflow changes and cutting out unnecessary steps, and others yet can be solved by resource allocation. It all comes down to what solution works best for the business and can realistically be implemented. The business may be at a point where it can’t afford certain services like automation, so it is up to the BPO service to figure out an alternative to solve the problem.
Monitoring and Adapting
Just because change has been implemented does not mean it will necessarily be effective. After introducing changes to business processes, it’s time to monitor progress and see how the newly optimized processes are faring. Maybe some ideas seemed great on paper but fail in execution. Others may prove to be harder to implement than expected. Whatever the case may be, you only find out when the rubber meets the road, and if things go south, it’s up to the business analyst or consulting firm to step in and figure out a way to solve BPO execution issues.
Expertise Accelerated as your BPO Consultant
When it comes to Business Process Optimization services, few do it better than Expertise Accelerated. EA CEO Haroon Jafree alongside the upper echelon of EA management boasts a tremendous well of expertise when it comes to business process optimization. With success stories like Sabra and Saffron Road, Haroon has a proven track record of completely revamping a business’ processes, reengineering them from the ground up to be as functional and beneficial to the business as possible.
EA provides US businesses access to some of the finest hand-picked business analysts and BPO specialists in the global talent pool, all remotely available to be integrated into the business’ existing team at a fraction of the cost of a US equivalent specialist.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, you can schedule a free consultation with Mr. Haroon and hear the facts straight from the horse’s mouth. What better way to learn than to learn from the best, as they say.