Every business is made up of various functions and processes, some of which work seamlessly together, some don’t align at all, and create friction points internally. Those who don’t integrate these processes often fall behind, while those who do gain a massive competitive advantage. But what business processes need to be considered and how can they be managed?
What is a Key Business Process?
There are five core, fundamental parts of every business. These are interdependent to one another but each flows into the next. They are:
Value Creation - Discovering what people need, want, or could be encouraged to want, and then creating it.
Marketing - Attracting attention and building demand for what you have created.
Sales - Turning prospective customers into paying customers by completing a transaction.
Value Delivery - Giving your customers what you have promised and ensuring they are satisfied with the transaction.
Finance - Maintaining the balance sheet and monitoring/enforcing discipline about profitable internal resource investments and external purchases to ensure the business and financial objectives of the enterprise are met to keep going and make your efforts worthwhile.
Additionally, when thinking about how these parts work with one another, Porter’s Value Chain, a value chain model introduced by Harvard Professor Michael Porter in his 'Competitive Advantage” book, suggests splitting core processes and activities into two categories: Primary and support. The primary activities include those that go into the creation of the business’ offering. The support activities focus on those that help the primary processes and activities in creating an advantage over competitors.
Identifying which activity goes into which category is a vital step in understanding where you spend the most resources, where you can improve, and where you are lagging behind the competition.
Porter’s value chain model states the five primary activities as inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, and sales, while the support activities are firm infrastructure, human resource management, technology development, and procurement. What is made clear in the model is that to get value out of these activities, they need to be brought together in one unified process.
The 10 Common Processes Every Business Needs
Within the key parts of the business and the core activities are ten common business processes that every business needs. These processes (or departments) typically work individually and independently and often use different technologies that are specific to the area of work.
The ten common business processes:
- Human Resources
- Financial Analysis
- Product / Service Development
- Product / Service Delivery
Managing These Core Processes
Managing all of these common processes is difficult, especially if you want to unify them into a seamless system. Failure to manage these processes leads to increased risk and low business efficiency. That’s where an Integrated Business Management System (IBMS) comes in.
An IBMS provides a solution to manage all of the moving parts in the business, including:
- People (Internal / External)
- Assets (Tangible / Intangible)
- Finance (Revenue / Costings / Budgeting / Forecasting)
- Time (Day-to-day Operations / Planning)
- Collaboration (Storing and Sharing Organisational Knowledge)
- Information (Structured / Unstructured)
- Governance (Transparency / Accountability / Credibility)
All of the above produces information, and information requires Governance. We like to summarise this with a simple acronym: PAFTCIG.
Organisational Resilience: Why These Processes Need to Be Integrated
If your key business processes are working in silos, they are effectively working against one another - counter-productively. One of the biggest benefits of integrating these processes is the improvements in organisational resilience: The ability to anticipate, prepare for, react and adapt to organisational change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and thrive.
Integrated processes and systems enable a business to operate smoothly and efficiently, while protects them against sudden disasters that strike - whether that is a cyberattack, a natural disaster, a loss of power, a board room shift, or something else.
From a strategic and continuity point of view, this resilience is priceless. It’s a fundamental catalyst for growth. An IBMS enables a business to leverage the processes and activities within to not only beat the competition but stride further ahead.
So, what about those who choose not to integrate these processes? The flip side is a rise in costs and resource consumption. Additionally, businesses that operate in silos will find it difficult to drill down into valuable customer data and get a comprehensive view of everything that is going on in each area of the business. This approach essentially leaves holes. Integrating systems and processes plugs those holes and bridges the gap between multiple business functions.
The Benefits of Integrating Your Key Business Processes
Given the pace of the digital world, the competitive landscape, and the risks of today, we’d go as far as to say that an IBMS is vital for every business to succeed. That’s because integrating systems isn’t just about merging them together, it’s also about figuring out new ways to function seamlessly. Those who achieve this are the ones who will stay ahead of the game.
Adopting an IBMS means:
Improved data accessibility: With the help of system integration, data accessibility becomes easier, especially for business leaders. This leads to better decision-making, at different levels, which often results in accelerated business growth.
Better communication: When businesses are well-integrated, improved connectivity will streamline communication between participants of different functions. As a result of this, organisations can easily share more information, which was previously difficult, costly, and/or time-consuming to access.
Improved productivity: Rather than having to duplicate data from one place to another and wait for information to be received from other departments, employees can now spend more time on crucial tasks that will help the business grow. Less admin and reporting, and more growth activity.
One-stop service: Having all of the valuable data stored in one place, the relevant information is easier for employees to access and share. When you can view every aspect of your organisation from one system, you will have fewer things to manage and worry about. One central repository for all critical information.
Robust growth: A rapidly growing company can quickly become entangled in a complex application and system landscape. But with an IBMS, problems can be solved, and changes can be made with just a few clicks rather than by having to visit multiple systems. Hence, IBMS software has got you covered!
Ultimately, it’s all about leveraging the key business processes to gain operational advantage.