Where can processes be digitalised?

Most departments have processes. Your company probably also has an IT department which handles processes such as support and inventory management. Maybe you also have a purchasing department that handles processes related to ordering items and approving invoices. HR are sure to have an onboarding process, as well as one for managing contracts and approving holiday requests. The good news is, if you know what your processes are and have even documented them, you’ve already taken the first step towards digitalising business processes.

Where do you begin? Getting started with process digitalisation.

Understand the process.

The image below depicts a process for invoice approval you might see in a purchasing department, for example. An external invoice comes in that needs to be paid, but before that can happen, two approvals are required. The manual process goes something like this:

Process analysis.

It quickly becomes clear how inefficient this process is. Delays are caused by using internal post and also localisation, which can be a problem, especially with COVID-19 and forcing people to be more flexible about where they work. Even a business trip would put the breaks on the process. What’s more, it’s also very difficult for employees to see exactly where in the process the invoice is at any given time.

These issues can all be resolved through digitalisation. For more complex processes, we use tools we developed ourselves in combination with extensive experience to provide you with a strong decision-making basis for your individual process landscape.

Creating a standardised process overview.

We’ll work with you to develop a standardised process overview as a foundation for development and fine tuning. This can be on the basis of BPMN as illustrated below (simplified version for illustration purposes).

Process implementation.

Implementation is possible using various technologies. Our portfolio covers a broad range including all things Microsoft Power platform, the Nintex portfolio and individual developments by our in-house development team. Our example shows implementation using SharePoint Online and Nintex.

In the fully-digitalised process, Thomas Müller receives an invoice via e-mail just as before. He uploads the invoice to a SharePoint library specially designed for the purpose, filling in some metadata as he goes. Once this has been completed, the next steps in the process are automatically initiated.

The head of department, Silvia Neid, receives an automatically generated e-mail providing here with all the important information needed for approval (see image below). She doesn’t even have to close the e-mail to approve the invoice. Alongside all the crucial invoice details, the e-mail also has the invoice attached. All Silvia Neid has to do now is click on “Approved” in the e-mail.

As soon as this happens, Managing Director Steffi Jones, receives an automatically generated e-mail very similar in structure and scope to the one we’ve just seen. Steffi Jones opens the attachment to take a closer look a the invoice as shown below.

Steffi Jones can approve or reject the invoice by clicking on the respective button without having to close the attachment. She can also add a comment. Steffi Jones approves the invoice and adds the comment “can be paid”.

This decision is immediately documented in the invoice’s metadata in the SharePoint library. Moreover, the person responsible for processing the invoice receives an automatically generated e-mail that the invoice has been approved and can now be paid. Thomas Müller then pays the invoice as normal, completing the process.

What are the benefits of digitalising the process in this example?

A considerable amount of time is saved by eliminating the need to use internal post.

Work from anywhere – Invoices can be approved from practically anywhere from a smartphone or notebook. This also means that we are no longer dependent on working from a specific location.

Signatures don’t have to be paper-based as the approval is digitally documented in the metadata, which is a big step towards a paperless office.

When it comes to numbers, this could mean that digitalising processes can save, for example, five minutes per person involved. In the example we are using here, that’s 15 minutes saved per incoming invoice. If we assume 50 invoices are received per month, that’s an annual saving of 9,000 minutes or 150 hours.

Time to get cracking. Your first steps on the road to digitalising your processes.

Now, you are probably asking yourself how you can start your digitalisation journey today. We have two possibilities for you:

App in a Day.

This first option is an introduction to the Microsoft Power platform with the App-in-a-Day Workshop. As a Microsoft partner, we are authorised to hold this workshop developed by Microsoft.

In one day, we’ll give you an overview of the Power platform and its Power Automate and Power Apps components. This workshop is a combination of knowledge sharing and hands-on sessions that cover four modules.

This introduction is great if you want to roll up your sleeves and get started straight away. By empowering yourself and your colleagues, you’ll quickly be able to reap the rewards of success and sustainably enhance expertise within your company.

Process Assessment.

The second option for process digitalisation is our Process Assessment Workshop. We will work with you to analyse your processes using our extensive experience and specially developed tools.

We’ll also carry out clustering with regard to complexity, potential for optimisation and implementation costs. In a final step, we’ll then calculate the return on investment for the implementation of each of the previously analyses processes. Based on these insights, we’ll put together a list of priorities with our recommendations.

This is the perfect approach if you would first like to analyse and evaluate your processes and gain full control of your process landscape. You will gain a solid basis for decision-making to develop your own process digitalisation strategy.

Get in touch if you’re looking to accelerate your process digitalisation.