There is no shortage of ways to improve your business.
You could probably make a list right now of improvements you’d like to make, whether you’re looking to increase revenue, cultivate culture, or make a positive impact in another area.
That’s where business process optimization (BPO) comes in.
What Is BPO?
BPO, according to IBM, “is a systematic approach that emphasizes repeatability and replaces heroic efforts and one-time improvements.”
BPO emphasizes comprehensive change instead of incremental improvements. The strategy “renders enduring structural changes in organization that are necessary for innovation, business outcome, or both.”
IBM stresses business agility, which is “the collective capabilities and constructs allowing a business to continuously transform [IBM’s emphasis] in order to achieve its business outcomes, and to be predictive, flexible, responsive, and launch business initiatives in times of change and uncertainty.”
Business process optimization is a component of business process management (BPM).
TechTarget defines BPM as “the discipline of improving a business process from end to end by analyzing it, modelling how it works in different scenarios, executing improvements, monitoring the improved process and continually optimizing it.”
How Can I Improve BPO?
A variety of methods to improve BPO exists online. However, we favor the simple two-step approach promoted by IBM.
First, engage and assess.
This phase of the BPO method helps you get a global view for why you’re trying to optimize your business.
When you engage and assess, you get a better understanding of:
- Your current business architecture
- The goals of the business
- What the desired outcomes are for the business
- The area of focus for the business
- The level of agility your business needs
Key activities in this stage include:
- Developing goals and outcomes
- Conducting assessments
- Establishing your baseline for agility
- Assessing gaps in achieving greater agility
- Defining your desired future state of agility
- Developing your roadmap for how to get there
The second phase of IBM’s BPO model is to architect and plan.
Here, you'll create a blueprint that can guide your business through predictable change and identify agility requirements—in other words, unpredictable change.
Key activities in this phase include:
- Developing a heat map—the components in which a lack of agility hurts the business most—for desired scope for agility improvement
- Identifying points of agility
- Developing architecture blueprint with agility enablers
- Developing business agility transition plan
Take a few moments to think about ripe opportunities for your organization to improve. Perhaps you’re looking to improve line of sight to your data, or maybe you haven’t gotten the results you wanted yet from your predictive analytics strategy.
No matter what you pick, use the tips listed here to start optimizing your business.