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Business Process Management in Small and Medium Service Businesses

Business Process Management in Small and Medium Service Businesses

By Bora Perzic

Business Process Management (BPM) is a method of understanding, documenting, analyzing, executing and continuously changing business processes and relevant resources with a purpose of improving the value an organization creates for its customers.

SMB in the BPM initiatives

Traditionally Small and Medium Business is organized functionally (Marketing, Sales, Delivery and Accounting) and it tends to stay attached to that model for longer, while larger businesses are more likely to implement process oriented models of business management. Technology and training prices may be seen as the diverting of efforts that can’t be justified under great pressure of cash flow constraints, capital, and a thin resource potential typical for small to medium businesses (SMB).

Small companies often have low level, but vague process instructions and they generally can’t “instantiate” the process; that is to make clear for every employee what is being done at any given point in time. This is especially important for service delivery oriented companies, in fact majority of SMBs falls into this category, as they are mostly selling knowledge and expertise.

Constant pressure to change

SMBs and big business have one thing in common: They have to improve the conduct of their business every single day in order to survive and grow. What can’t be measured in the business can’t be properly improved. Acquiring and training new workforce will stay very manual, which limits the growth potential

Can we ignore the trend of BPM for SMB?

Owners of the companies would like to see the overall value of the company increased which can be very difficult if no clarity is provided on how the company actually conducts business. The way forward for the SMB in the BPM can’t be just documenting the processes but considering the introduction of light weight BPM and focus in instantiating the processes via implementation of well designed work tracking applications.

Main reason why SMB should consider implementing BPM may be summarized as:

SMB may have the one distinct advantage in relatively shallow and direct management structures and process. In these environments it is easier to initiate and execute the change necessary to focus on processes and process execution. Direct benefits would be seen in the areas of:

    • - Achieving consistency of operations
    • - Easier on-boarding of new staff/agents
    • - Creating a platform for growth while keeping many advantages of a small company for longer
    • - Empowering employees to suggest the business improvement measures

Ultimately it will lead to increased value of the company as business becomes more transparent and easier to cooperate with  and even integrate with the other business if and when necessary.

Implementing BPM in SMB will enable “end to end” process thinking versus functional models where Sales, Delivery and Accounting are comparatively isolated and represent inward tendency instead of customer oriented focus. In “end to end” process thinking customer is always the one to benefit.

Bora Perzic