What is a business process and how to create one

A business process consists of a specific goal and all the steps it takes to reach it. It is usually a recurring task that involves more than one person, and ranges from super complex to relatively simple.

Having good business process management (BPM for short) is key for success. Standardizing the way these repeating processes are handled saves time and ensures consistent results. But regardless of how well your organization runs there is always room for improvement.

Let’s explore operational processes in more detail and things you should consider when creating one. Finally, let’s look how Sheetgo can be just the right tool to get your organization running smoothly.

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What is a business process?

As already mentioned, a business process is all the tasks and procedures needed to achieve a certain output. This output can either provide value to the customer or to the business itself.

The need for streamlined processes arose with industrialization and is still relevant today. Back in the day it was used exclusively for manufacturing, but nowadays the concept applies to any type of business.

Business processes are different from business tasks; they are more complex and naturally involve more people. They are usually the result of debate between stakeholders and involve various iterations to make them more efficient.

Business tasks are usually carried out by a single person who has more liberty to proceed as they see fit. These tasks may be part of larger business processes or just one-off initiatives that are self-conclusive.

Business process example

It can be hard to imagine just how many business processes we have set up at our workplaces. In this sense a simple example can be really clarifying.

Let’s look at a bare-boned hiring process:

  1. Candidates apply – People may submit their application through a referral, an online platform or as a result of being contacted by HR.
  2. Submissions are selected – A selection is made from all the received applications.
  3. People are interviewed – A meeting is set up to evaluate if interested candidates are good for the role.
  4. A person is selected – It’s done! A new employee is selected and will soon join the ranks.

Obviously this is a simplified process and what happens at your organization probably involves more steps. The important thing to point out is that even a small process can run into problems:

  • The number of submissions received may be insufficient.
  • The selection can be too lax or too severe.
  • Setting up interviews can be a coordination nightmare.

Any of these issues can be tackled by having a solid business process in place. To achieve this process it should improve over time to work out kinks and.

Key components of a business process

Understanding the key components of a business process is crucial. Each process, regardless of its complexity or the industry it belongs to is made up of several parts. 

Here’s a breakdown of the basic elements that make up a (good) business process:

  • Objective: Every business process should have a clear goal or outcome it aims to achieve.
  • Inputs: Resources needed to execute the process. They can be materials, information, data, or employee time.
  • Tasks: These are the steps taken to transform inputs into outputs. 
  • Outputs: Results or products of the process. They can be tangible (like a manufactured item) or intangible (like a report or a service).
  • Performance Indicators: They help in tracking progress towards the objective, identifying areas for improvement, and making data-driven decisions.

Whether you’re improving an existing process or developing a new one, having these elements in mind is essential for success. And with tools like Sheetgo, you can streamline and automate many of these components, ensuring your organization runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Designing an effective business process

If you are trying to tackle a new challenge and are looking to do it with a new business process. There are a number of things to consider.

Have a clear goal in mind

Setting a clear objective is the first step to success. It allows you to know what you are trying to achieve and everything else should gravitate towards this.

This involves not only having a well defined output but also an expected result. In other words, you need to know what success and what failure looks like. This will be the ultimate measure of whether there are problems in your process.

For the example we’ve already discussed, the goal is to hire a new employee. But what if it takes you an entire year to achieve it? Surely the objective is met but the process is not efficient. A better goal would have been “to hire a new employee within a month”. This paints a clear picture of what is expected.

Get all stakeholders involved

Getting everybody that is going to use the process involved as early as possible is important for the sake of collaboration. Especially if it involves several departments, building a system that works for everybody will make everything run smoothly.

Again let’s explore the previous example. The manager asks for a new hire for design and talks directly to HR, without letting the team know. HR sets up the entire process and goes on to collect a load of candidates. All of the candidates are forwarded to the design team, and they realize that none of them have an essential skill. They are ruled out and the process has to start over again.

The point here is that good communication is needed for a good business process. Getting everybody on the same page from the get-go avoids a lot of headaches.

Iterate, iterate, iterate

Businesses are continually adapting and so should their processes. Unfortunately they aren’t something you can set and forget, rather you have to revisit and tweak them.

And for this we go back to the importance of performance indicators to diagnose leaks in your pipeline. Having clear goals is crucial to analyze what part of your process needs to be improved.

Let’s revisit our new hiring process. We completed the first cycle and have a new employee, but it took us two months instead of one. Maybe our expectations were not realistic as usually happens when we do something for the first time. 

Whatever the case, there is always room for improvement. A lot of things could have happened along the way:

  • It took too long to select the candidates.
  • Interviews were not good and nobody moved forward so the process had to start over.
  • Half way through, we decided we needed a test to gauge everybody’s abilities.

All of these should serve to hone both the process itself and even the goal we set out to achieve.

Using Sheetgo to automate processes

Sheetgo has the potential to improve all your business processes. It helps you reclaim time from repetitive tasks and, in doing so, it also reduces human error.

The pillars of this tool are connections and automation. The possibility to create connections between different information sources and output data in various formats is powerful on its own. Coupled with automation Sheetgo is a business changer.

Connect, merge, filter or split your spreadsheets

Sheetgo in action

All of this sounds really good, but let’s take a look at Sheetgo in action. Take the Recruitment template for example, it consists of 3 forms used to update the database and 1 recruitment mastersheet.

Any time a user needs to update the mastersheet all they have to do is fill out the corresponding form. The use of forms have benefits of their own:

  • Forms assure consistency: with a form you can make sure important fields are filled and all data is entered as you need it.
  • Forms are easy to use: some people may be put off by a spreadsheet, especially if it’s one they didn’t build themselves. But everybody can fill out a form, making it the ideal tool to have your team keep good records.

At the core of this workflow is the recruitment spreadsheet. This file has all the historic data of all the candidates who submitted their applications. This information is essential for any recruitment initiative as it can be the stepping stone for advanced applications. From keeping records of exceptional candidates who didn’t make the cut, to having quality metrics on the whole process.

A tool that fits your business

On top of this, Sheetgo is an open-ended platform so you can build workflows from scratch or modify existing ones. This gives you the flexibility to adapt the tool to your business process, and not the other way around.

For example, you can identify closed job openings from the Recruitment file and send them to a separate spreadsheet for further analysis. Then you could even send an automatic email to notify stakeholders that the recruitment process has ended.

This is what adding those changes would look like.

As you can see, things can get complex quickly but what’s important to know is that Sheetgo is an automation powerhouse. Using this platform to build your business procedures can save you lots of time and make everything run more efficiently.

Business processes that work for you

Understanding what is a business process is fundamental to organizational success. As illustrated through a simplified hiring process, even basic processes can encounter challenges which will require iterations.

Sheetgo has a lot to offer in this respect as it can automate your business processes. Implementing this tool can save time, reduce errors, and enhance overall productivity.

If you would like to remove overhead from your day to day check out 5 time-consuming repetitive tasks on sheets and how to automate them.

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