What is a business process review?

A business process review is an exercise to evaluate your current organisational processes and identify ways in which to make them more effective and efficient.  

Does my organisation need a business process review?

There’s no getting away from the fact that carrying out a business process review can be time intensive. So, should your organisation spend the time carrying one out?  

Well, essentially yes. Every organisation can benefit from a business process review, even if you are not about to embark on a digital project. Taking the time to document your processes, and build knowledge and awareness of how your organisation carries out day to day operations, provides you with a valuable opportunity to assess them and build upon them.  

If you are carrying out a business process review in advance of a digital project, it is even more beneficial. A business process review can ultimately form the basis of everything you do in a digital project. Among other things: 

  • Defining the ‘as is’ state helps you to validate and prioritise your requirements  
  • Business process documentation supports user acceptance testing by having a process template for comparison  
  • Business processes provide your technology partners with an understanding of how you work. They may find opportunities for how their technology can help improve and streamline your process.  
  • Your understanding of your “as-is” processes should be used to define the ‘to be’ state you can develop (noting that you’re not going to change all of your processes, only those which it is appropriate to refine or update) 
  • The review helps you to identify ‘quick wins’ by establishing what can be addressed now, what needs to wait for new technology and what requires more strategic decision-making to bring improvements 

What are the key questions to ask in a business process review?

There can be a lot to cover when looking to conduct a business process review, from looking at the tools in use through to communication between teams and departments.  

Here’s a list of some questions to ask when carrying out your business process review.  

  • Do we have our current processes documented, and who owns them?  
  • When was the last time the processes were reviewed?  
  • Have you created your own processes/manual workarounds?  
  • What tools/systems are being used by teams?  
  • How is data (and information) being shared between departments?  
  • What are the blockers you face?  
  • How long do processes take?  

In addition, many of the questions you ask should focus on ‘why’. Why do you carry out the process like that? What is the purpose? Why do you need to do that thing at that point? This allows you to really understand why the processes are currently being carried out in that way.  

Conclusion

From our experience, we know a business process can be hugely beneficial for every organisation, but it can also be time intensive. So, make it appropriate to the resources that you have available and define whether you are carrying out the review organisation-wide or just in certain areas. Look at the value you want to get out of it and the processes you want to prioritise – do you need to cover all processes right now? If you are going to do it, do it in the areas where it will have most impact. 

If you would like to find out more about conducting a business process review at your non-profit, get in touch to find out how we can support you.