Improve Your Business Processes Using SharePoint Online

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Organizations often use complex business process management (BPM) tools with many challenges. One overlooks the fact that Visio, SharePoint, PowerBI and Flow have all the components necessary to build an effective BPM system in-house using on-board equipment. This article the basics of such a system. SharePoint is one of the best and the most effective collaboration tool we have in modern times, which is exceptionally capable of efficiently managing business processes. Although all the environments of SharePoint (On-Premise, Online, and Hybrid) are designed with the primary aim of meeting modern-day collaboration needs. But SharePoint Online has been increasingly loved and praised by the business organization mainly because of the fact that it offers a business with optimal flexibility of teamwork and communication. In this blog post, we will discuss how SharePoint Online can be used to improve your business process. But before this, we need to understand the fundamentals of Business Process Management.

What Is a Business Process?

The processes structure all of the daily activities necessary for the exercise of each job. They consist of a series of tasks and actions, sometimes complex, that your employees must accomplish in order to obtain a determined result (for example: satisfaction of a customer request, launch of a product, follow-up of requests purchasing, quality process management, integration of a new employee, interim management, publication of calls for tenders, etc.).

For a given process, it is possible to have several procedures: the chain of activities is similar, but the resources linked to its execution may vary (for example, between two subsidiaries, between two departments, etc.).

The workflow, meanwhile, corresponds to the representation and IT management of all the tasks to be accomplished associated with the different actors involved in the realization of a process.

What is BPM?

Business Process Management (BPM) represents the activities of an organization and its processes. The BPM approach or management of business processes is an approach that aims to analyze and streamline the processes implemented by the company to carry out its activities with a view to improving its performance. It highlights human interactions and data exchanges with existing information systems. By defining the stages, the actions and the exchanges, the company gains a powerful management lever. It brings a broader vision and highlights performance issues. The idea is to ensure that its processes are implemented to meet customer needs with the best level of performance.

The BPM allows to understand the functioning of the different areas of the company: Quality, Purchasing, IS, Commercial, HR, Sales, Help Desk etc. and allows to analyze and streamline the processes put in place with a view to improving the performance.

What Does SharePoint Online Brings to Business Process Management?

When it comes to business process management, SharePoint has two major roles i.e.

  • To provide a powerful management leverfor the company. It provides new solutions by directly tackling the heart of performance problems. BPM through SharePoint Online creates value for the business by improving performance, productivity, staff efficiency and quality of customer service. All of these improvements are a direct result of process improvements that are attributed to SharePoint.
  • The objective of SharePoint Online is to provide total visibilityon activity and exchanges within the company. It consists of reducing human errors and communication problems within these processes, as well as allowing the various stakeholders to focus on their tasks with high added value.

 

The Goal: SharePoint analyze and regularly adapt on its processes, workflows and procedures according to the constraints identified to develop its performance or quality of service. The benefits generated by SharePoint for BPM are multiple and depend on the nature of the modeled processes.

  • Visibility: A well-described process promotes understanding of its challenges by users in order to contribute more effectively.
  • Profitability: SharePoint Online makes it possible to reduce lead times, accelerate decision-making, optimize costs and therefore maximize the efficiency and results of the company.
  • Performance: The current economy aims to always do more with fewer resources. The principles of BPM help improve productivity and all this can be achieve using SharePoint Online.
  • Traceability: SharePoint also progress monitoring (Who? What? When? How? Why?) is facilitated by the implementation of monitoring indicators and makes it possible to immediately identify any problems.
  • Agility: SharePoint Online also helps in identifying and correcting the dysfunctions encountered are major challenges for BPM. The ability to adapt the processes modeled in real time according to the constraints and exceptions identified generates new level of agility.

Business Process Management Proficiencies of SharePoint Online

SharePoint intended to facilitate the BPM approach in business and above all to automate the defined processes as much as possible. SharePoint works efficiently as a BPM suites and makes it possible to define the processes and to represent them graphically (formalization of the processes), to deploy them and to execute them automatically while being integrated and connected to existing software and systems (execution of the processes). In addition, a SharePoint solution also provides an interface to monitor, control and analyze integrated processes in real time to improve their results (process management and optimization).

A BPM solution generally includes several components:

  • A process modeling tool tographically represent the company’s business processes.
  • An execution engine (workflow engine)responsible for bringing the process to life and automating their progress according to the defined conditions.
  • An interface allowing the actors of a process to be alerted and to carry out the tasksincumbent upon them, generally using computer forms to be completed.
  • A real-time monitoring interface tomanage and steer the processes as they go along.
  • An interface to adaptand evolve its processes.

 

Additional components can be offered:

  • Tools facilitating integration, that is to say interfaces (API) and connectors allowing to integrate the BPM solution into the existing information system.
  • A simulation interface allowing to simulate and optimize the processes even before their deployment.
  • Customizable management and reporting tools to design dashboards made up of precise indicators (KPIs) allowing quick decisions to be made. This is called BAM (Business Activity Monitoring).

 

What Else Does SharePoint Online Bring?

SharePoint Online is a cloud-based collaborative platform for businesses wishing to better control their processes, and this in total autonomy. Based on three principles facilitating independence SharePoint Online is oriented towards simplicity of use, speed of implementation and agility of processes (ability to rapidly evolve defined processes).

Including all the standard components of a business process management solution, SharePoint enable businesses to manage all your processes with ease, while graphically model these business processes, managing exchanges in real time and monitor company’s overall performance using performance indicators defined.

It also helps improving, simplifying and optimizing processes in a few clicks, according to the constraints identified, by adapting the process without any discontinuity of service and in an agile manner.

The Benefits of Using SharePoint Online for BPM

SharePoint Online truly contributes to taking control of the organization’s performance and strengthening its competitiveness.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

SharePoint helps you sparing precious time of your team spend on manually performing repetitive tasks at individual, team or organizational level. Simple and visual designer of SharePoint i.e. Power Automate (an integrated business process improvement tool within SharePoint) allow you to set up approvals and alerts through multi-layered, complex process modelling.

Connect & Integrate Data Sources & Services

When you need to access data from disparate resources, SharePoint Online allows you to automate file and data exchange along with file update and synchronization. It also allows you to integrate third party services for efficient workflow management.

SharePoint Online offers companies and institutions the following advantages:

  • Coordinated execution of processes with complex content throughout the company.
  • Provision of large-scale process management applications on the SharePoint development platform.
  • Initiation of processes after the arrival of certain documents (e.g. invoices or claims) in SharePoint or after the occurrence of other events related to content (e.g. credit check, control of customer orders).
  • Monitoring and analysis of or reporting on current or historical process activities using SQL databases.
  • Creation and simulation of process models with Visio, checking their operational functionality or quantification of recommendations for process changes.
  • Unified voice and text communication within the process application to improve the visibility of essential business requirements, to solve problems faster and to build up a process-specific knowledge database.
  • Develop process applications using a library of over 40 customizable SharePoint web parts to quickly deploy a work environment that motivates people.

 

Some other benefits include;

  • Agility:Detailed knowledge of each step associated with SharePoint tools and digitalization facilitates the restructuring of a process to take advantage of new opportunities or adapt to constraints.
  • Productivity:By constantly improving operational excellence.
  • Quality:Control of the conformity of deliverables (repeatability of the service, few or no faults).
  • Cost:With an efficient organization.

 

In addition, on the human side, SharePoint improves:

  • The Customer Experience: The delivery of a quality service contributes to customer satisfaction.
  • The User Experience: Internal comfort in the conduct of its missions, in particular by relieving employees of time-consuming, repetitive and worthless tasks to focus on those with added value.

 

Limits & Points of Vigilance

Managing the SharePoint Online as a BPM solution is crucial for successful implementation. Like any project, there are a few things to watch out for. This is the case with communication, particularly between users. It is also wise to think of integrating change support into the scope of the project. Keep in mind that humans are not machines. They need to be accompanied to dispel their doubts, uncertainties, and stress in the face of novelty.