5 Ways Process Management Helps Your Business in a Crisis

Written by Lucas de Boer | 4 min read
Published on: March 19th 2020 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020
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By now, businesses and communities worldwide are aware of the global impact of COVID-19, with measures introduced to combat the spread of the virus already having a significant effect on the way we live and work. In such challenging times, it is more important than ever that organizations ensure their business processes are robust enough to handle a crisis, now and into the future.

Business continuity with process management

In the immediate aftermath of a crisis (whether health-related, a natural disaster, or some other event), any responsible business should be first and foremost considering what employees are going through, and what actions need to be taken to ensure the safety and security of their workforce. Once any danger has passed, or official responses are put in place (for example, in the case of COVID-19, the wholesale shift to remote working) the question naturally becomes, “How can I protect my business as well?”

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: better processes mean you are better able to handle unexpected events. Organizations who have done significant previous work on understanding and optimizing their business processes are best-placed to avoid or ameliorate any negative impact of a crisis scenario, and even come out stronger on the other side.

There can be opportunities from a crisis: this is a difficult situation to deal with, but it also brings forward new skills, and an ability to challenge the status quo, globally and for your business. Radical transformation in the middle of a storm is possible, but this can only be done with understanding, smart people, and a willingness to change what’s needed. Dr Gero Decker, Signavio co-founder and CEO

5 ways process management helps your business in a crisis

A crisis forces you to confront your business continuity plans. For some companies this may come too late, but even in those cases it is still possible to identify critical business processes and make sure not only that they are robust right now, but that they can be scaled down as needed and scaled up quickly once business picks back up. With that in mind, there are several key elements that can help organizations maintain business continuity with process management. Here are 5 ways process management helps your business in a crisis:

Understanding your business

Robust process management, combined with a strong process analysis tool, gives you the information you need to understand the way your business actually works, not just how it is supposed to work. When things are going wrong on a macro-level, this understanding is vital to identifying vulnerabilities in your business at a micro-level, so you can make the changes you need as quickly as possible. After all, in a crisis situation, time will be a critical factor.

Ensuring business continuity

Crisis situations can feel overwhelming; often events are moving too fast to respond effectively. In an environment of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to carry on as close as possible to business as usual. In order to do so, your underpinning processes have to be able to withstand disruption.

A strong process management framework means your key business activities are clearly modeled and understood by all staff across your business. In turn, this means you will be able to maintain a (relatively) consistent and positive customer experience even under difficult circumstances, therefore reducing customer churn. From an internal perspective, strong process management coupled with elements of process automation mean activities within key business areas can continue, for example ensuring prospects already within your sales cycle proceed to closing.

Maintaining clear communication

Collaboration is key to effective process management. Tools like SAP Signavio Collaboration Hub are vital under normal circumstances, to connect workers in different geographical or business areas with each other to discuss and optimize business processes. This collaboration becomes even more important when your entire company is working remotely! A single source of truth for how to operate during and immediately following a crisis can divide organizations that are thriving, from those that are merely surviving.

Building resilience and adaptability

A key feature of effective process management is enhancing agility. After all, it is difficult to adapt your business processes if you lack a clear understanding of how those processes actually work, or the confidence that they are resilient enough to cope with change. This is a challenging enough proposition in the face of business transformation initiatives—it is even more so when the transformation is brought about by an external crisis. Knowing that your processes are optimized to be the most efficient and effective they can be gives you the structure you need to take advantage of new opportunities or face new challenges, whether over a week, or months, or a permanently changed operating environment.

Planning for the future

The impacts of a crisis can reverberate over time. Choices made today may have long-term implications for the future of your business, so it is vital that you have the information you need to make the right decision at the right time. Process mining is the perfect tool for forecasting exercises, as it gives you the insights you need to identify process optimization solutions, then test those solutions through mechanisms like process simulation and digital twinning. Use process mining to reduce unpredictability in your business processes, and you will be well-placed to pick up where you left off once the crisis is over.

Next steps

The SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite offers an all-in-one solution for dealing with the impact and aftermath of a crisis. As you look beyond these 5 ways process management helps your business in a crisis, and prepare to face future uncertainty, Signavio can help make sure your business processes are up to the task no matter what lies ahead.

Look out for our upcoming resources on using process management and business transformation principles to recession-proof your business, supercharge your risk management, and prepare for long-term and large-scale remote working. You can find out more about the SAP Signavio Process Transformation Suite at our Velocity Edition page, or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

In the meantime, you can follow updates about COVID-19 at the World Health Organization. From all of us here at Signavio, please look after yourself and others, and stay safe.

Published on: March 19th 2020 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020