Communication in business processes
Effective communication is a key element in the strategy of any enterprise. At the same time, it is a challenge that all entities operating in the market have to face nowadays. It does not matter at this point whether it concerns the environment and image, management of change, crisis situation, employer branding or the coordination of current operational activities within several business processes. Properly conducted, it enables you to reduce the risk in these areas and build a competitive advantage in a broad sense.
Communication and digital transformation
Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine an institution or an enterprise that would not pay attention to the optimisation of business processes. For them, it is a chance for a positive effect of activities supported by digital technologies. The goals of such changes vary, depending on the type of business and the environment in which the enterprise operates. Most often they focus on gaining a market advantage, increasing competitiveness and quality of customer service or ensuring compliance with legal standards or good practices in the industry.
The constantly increasing amount and importance of information processed in enterprises also plays a key role. These information, also in the form of various types of documents, must be properly classified and, if necessary, made available to stakeholders – without undue delay, maintaining the principles of confidentiality and with a guarantee of security.
Why is communication important?
In the above context, IT solutions that allow the organisation of an electronic repository of data and documents (the so-called electronic archive) are of fundamental importance. By the way, they support the exchange of information including the organisation of electronic document circulation – both within the organisation and in interaction with the business environment.
On the other hand, we are observing the constant development of social media that create modern electronic methods of interpersonal communication by using mobile devices and operating in real time. Their popularity has a significant impact on the adaptation and development of communication methods in information systems that support company management.
As a result, managers are given the opportunity to create the development of their own organisations. They concern the area of communication between employees, decision-makers, partners and contractors involved in the implementation of specific business processes.
Tools improving communication and increasing the efficiency of business processes
It seems that e-mail will be the main medium of information exchange between the company and its suppliers, partners, and customers for a long time to come. Therefore, do we still have to be doomed to tedious and time-consuming searching of the inbox in order to reconstruct the existing business arrangements or to review the documents sent some time ago?
Currently, most IT systems offer built-in client applications that allows viewing of mailboxes and sending e-mails. At the same time, they enable the user to register an e-mail in the system and give it context, i.e. link it with other data and documents in the system.
Contextual messaging – that’s something! But is there any way to limit user involvement in reconstructive activities, such as attaching e-mails? Of course! The process automation available in ECM (Enterprise Content Management) class and BPM (Business Process Management) systems come with the rescue. By defining appropriate rules, it allows the analysis of incoming messages in the inbox and automatically launches the electronic information / document circulation process. Let’s take the example of e-mails containing attachments with electronic purchase invoices. Process automation is also responsible for the identification and automatic, contextual registration of e-mails in the system, which are the response to previously sent electronic correspondence.
The canon of standard functionalities of ECM systems includes rules generating appropriate messages for users. This is done on the basis of the states of electronic documents and events related to them – also in the form of an e-mail with a link to the context / document which is related to the message.
Efficient internal communication
What about internal communication between company employees or between managers? Will e-mail continue to be an effective medium? For example, if you want to consult with colleagues how to respond to a letter from a client, do you need to call or send an e-mail?
Practice shows that in this case, a much faster method of consultation or information exchange will be electronic discussion and sending short text messages (chat). We save time because, unlike e-mail, we don’t have to describe the context of the message, attach documents, links, etc. Each participant has direct access to relevant information and documents on the basis of which the discussion is conducted. Importantly, information resources are not duplicated and scattered.
The essence of process standardisation
Fast-growing enterprises attach more and more importance to the standardisation of their business processes. This applies especially to those in which there is a large scale of processed information and documents, and where the coordination of work between departments, individual specialists and managers is essential.
Lack of standardisation in such cases often means low efficiency of employees and the processes themselves. Can the IT system support the implementation of standard processes? Is it possible to control the communication in such a process, depending on the type of data and documents processed and the competences needed to handle them?
The answers seem to be obvious in the era of modern IT solutions, although it is worth paying attention to the extent to which the solutions offered are functionally flexible and scalable.
The questions we should ask ourselves in this case are:
- Can I design a flow diagram for a standard process myself or do I have to use the supplier’s services every time?
- Can the implementation of the change in the process flow take place while maintaining the continuity of the system operation?
- Are successive versions of process flows saved?
- Do I have a graphical diagram design tool at my disposal, according to the “what you see is what you get” principle?
- When designing a diagram, can I define variations of processes, taking into account any process data and document features?
- Are there any restrictions on the number of standard processes that I can implement?
The value of communication on the basis of IT solutions
It is impossible to rationally justify an investment in an IT system without trying to estimate the added value we should expect from its implementation. The use of new communication possibilities, offered in ECM and BPM class solutions, primarily contributes to increasing the efficiency of business processes, and consequently – depending on the processes covered by the implementation – to reducing costs and increasing revenues.
Also, the productivity of employees involved in the processes is significantly increased. They regain the time they had so far devoted to routine activities. Thanks to this they can devote themselves to creative activities. It is also important to reduce the risk associated with disrupting the continuity of the process, for example by escalating messages and managing the warrants for the time of the employee’s absence.
The current realities of information civilisation are characterised by a growing number and importance of processed data, as well as by the intensification of information exchange and the development of communication channels. By using appropriate IT solutions, we reduce the risk of information security breaches.
Finally, I encourage you to answer the question: do these values build a competitive advantage?
member of the board of eq system