What Is a Business Process? Creating Effective Business Processes

Komal Ahuja
November 29, 2022
min read
February 13, 2024
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What is a business process? Any process that helps companies carry out a set of tasks. Discover how to create effective processes and improve productivity with this comprehensive guide.
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Your employees are struggling to meet productivity targets. And senior management is telling you to go back to the drawing board. Re-evaluate and figure out what went wrong.

The first thing you need to think about here is business process optimization.

Do your employees have a set of standard operating procedures in place? Are they able to easily cross-train each other? 

If your answer is no, then it’s time to get your business processes in order. This way, you can ensure the business sticks to a quality benchmark.  

TL;DR: What is a business process?

  • Business processes are a set of tasks that fulfill organizational goals.
  • Important business processes include human resources, social media management, marketing, product development, and customer service.
  • Automating business processes can reduce human error and improve productivity.
  • Best practices for managing business processes include prioritizing processes, delegating responsibilities, training new hires, building a knowledge base, and setting key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Scribe is a workflow automation tool that can help optimize business processes.

What is a business process?

A business process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that people or equipment perform to achieve consistent outcomes.

Well-defined business processes are structured, and measurable and offer the flexibility to be optimized for repeatability.

‎Business processes can be simple or complex, and they can be manual or automated. They can also be cross-functional, involving people from different departments or teams.

Business processes help organizations:

  • Achieve their goals.
  • Identify inefficiencies.
  • Scale up operations.
  • Generate defined business outcomes.

Business process categories and examples

Business processes are like the structured roadmaps of tasks and activities aimed at getting stuff done. They lay out a step-by-step plan for achieving specific goals.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to business process management. It often varies based on the market and industry. 

Here are six examples of business processes you’re bound to come across in any industry: 

1. Human resource processes

Many human resource processes are focused on attracting, developing, and retaining a high-performing workforce. Some common business processes for HR include:

  • Human resource planning (HRP): Identifying and addressing the organization's current and future workforce needs.
  • Recruitment.
  • Onboarding new employees into the organization.
  • Training and development.
  • Employee relations.
  • Compensation and benefits.
  • Performance management.
  • Regulatory compliance.
  • Offboarding employees from the organization.

2. Social media management

Social media management includes a whole gamut of channels—from Twitter and Instagram to Facebook and TikTok. 

Some examples of social media management processes are:

  • Creating a social media persona.
  • Choosing the right platforms
  • Developing a content calendar.
  • Coordinating with designers.
  • Creating engaging and relevant content.
  • Scheduling posts consistently.
  • Working with influencers.
  • Monitoring engagement and analytics.

 3. Marketing

To put it in simple terms, marketing SOPs involve attracting clients and potential customers to your product or service. Marketing processes can vary depending on a lot of factors, but some common ones include:

  • Situation analysis and goal setting.
  • Identifying target audiences.
  • Campaign development and execution.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  • Budgeting and financial management.
  • Marketing automation.

4. Product development

Product development is a complex process that involves a series of interconnected steps to bring a new product or service from ideation to market launch.

The product development process includes:

  • Ideation and concept development.
  • Feasibility assessment and market research.
  • Product definition and requirements.
  • Product design and prototyping.
  • Development and testing.
  • Continuous improvement and iteration.

5. Customer service

The job isn’t done after you’ve developed your offering and converted enough customers. You need to provide constant support to your client base to prevent churn.

Customer service business processes often include:

  • Receiving and triaging customer inquiries and requests.
  • Investigating and resolving inquiries or requests.
  • Following up with customers after resolving their issues.
  • Analyzing customer feedback.
  • Providing ongoing training and development for customer service representatives.
  • Enhancing customer service operations with new technology.

4 types of business processes

Processes serve as a blueprint to complete any tasks needed for your business. Business processes can be categorized into four main types: core processes, support processes, management processes, and developmental processes.

1. Core processes

Core or “primary processes” directly relate to how your company delivers customer value. They generate the revenue and growth required by an organization. Examples of core processes include:

Core processes are typically cross-functional, meaning they involve multiple departments within the organization. They're also usually the most visible to customers.

The benefits of streamlined business processes mean employees focus on core competencies. It’s even possible to generate savings or resources through more efficient process organization. Integrating platforms gives an organization an overview of how your product/service is performing in the market.

When two or more business functions are involved, having a core process can help resolve discrepancies on time. It’s essential to design your process so that responsibilities are clearly defined and your workflow remains smooth.

2. Support processes

Support processes assist your organization in building an infrastructure to deliver the end product or service. They also enable the core processes to be carried out.

While support processes do not directly generate revenue, you need them for your core processes to function effectively. Examples of support processes include:

  • Human resources.
  • Accounting and finance.
  • Information technology.
  • Legal.

Support processes are typically internal-facing, meaning that employees of the organization primarily use them. They're also less visible to customers than your core processes.

Performing core tasks to keep the business thriving is challenging without support processes. They ensure the best level of service for the customer and the team members involved.

3. Management processes

Management processes involve planning, monitoring, and controlling the organization's activities. They ensure that the business operates efficiently, the organization's goals are achieved, and your continued overall success.

Examples of management processes include:

  • Strategic planning: Setting the organization's long-term goals and objectives.
  • Performance management: Measuring and evaluating employee performance.
  • Risk management: Identifying, assessing, and managing risks to the organization.
  • Compliance: Ensuring that the organization complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Management processes are typically cross-functional, involving multiple departments within the organization.

📌 ‎Related resource: 5 Free Business Plan Templates to Simplify Your Strategic Planning Process

4. Developmental processes

Developmental processes are an organization's steps and activities to create and implement new business strategies, products, services, or features.

These processes can vary depending on your industry and the specific type of development being undertaken, but they typically include the following stages:

  • Market research and analysis.
  • Strategy development.
  • Product or service development.
  • Implementation.
  • Evaluation.

What is business process management?

Business process management (BPM) is a holistic approach to managing business processes to improve efficiency, effectiveness and adaptability.

BPM involves these key components:

  • Design.
  • Modeling.
  • Analyzing.
  • Monitoring and measurement.
  • Optimization.
  • Automation.

Some of the primary BPM techniques and tools include: 

  • Process mapping: Visualizing and documenting business processes.
  • Process analysis: Evaluating performance and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Process automation: Using technology to automate tasks and improve efficiency.
  • Business process management software: Tools for managing the entire BPM lifecycle.

‎Choose the technique that suits you best, and implement it after getting buy-in from your stakeholders.

How to create an effective business process

To ensure your execution is on point, follow these best practices: 

1. Start with a clear understanding of your business goals 

Define specific goals and outcomes for your processes. What do you want to achieve? You might want to focus on outcomes like reducing costs, improving customer satisfaction, or increasing efficiency.

Once you know your goals, you can identify the processes that need to be improved.

2. Document your processes

Use Scribe to automatically document your processes - what is a business process?

‎Documenting your current processes is the best way to get a clear picture.

Scribe can automate your process documentation by creating visual step-by-step guides. Simply capture your workflow as you work with the in-built feature, and Scribe will do the rest.

Add custom branding, text, blur and annotations to add more depth and details to your documentation. With Scribe Pages, you can ask the generative AI to write your process documentation for you, combine multiple Scribes, and add videos, images and other multimedia to create a comprehensive business process guide.

Use Scribe

‎Once your custom Scribe is ready, you can share it instantly as a PDF document, embed it in wikis and existing tools, or send it directly with the URL link.

Documenting your business processes can take you a long way. It reduces time spent on training, improves business productivity, boosts ROI, and prevents financial drain.

While documenting your business processes, account for factors like scope, organizational data and software tools.  

📌 ‎Related resource: How To Document a Business Process

3. Involve stakeholders across the organization

Business process improvement is the most successful when it's a collaborative effort. Involve stakeholders from all departments and levels of the organization to get their input and buy-in.

Make sure that senior management is supportive of your BPM initiatives. Stakeholder buy-in and support can make or break the success of your efforts.

4. Decide on which processes to work on first

Schedule a meeting with your team to analyze your current organizational flow. Involve cross-functional teams that include people from different departments, as they can bring different perspectives and insights to process improvement.

Note down any gaps you spot and create a list of these identified inefficiencies. How can they be improved upon in terms of speed, efficiency or profit?

Look for software tools that can optimize these processes. This could include tools for data entry, process documentation, L&D, attendance checking and the like. 

Don't try to improve all of your processes at once. Start with a few key processes and build from there. Standardize processes whenever possible to make them easier to manage and optimize.

The needs of each business are unique, so this should be accounted for while brainstorming your strategy. 

5. Optimize your business processes with automation

Think about all the processes in your business—from onboarding and training new hires to sending out invoices and data entry. Many of them can be optimized through automation software and tools.

Consider the following factors when deciding to automate business processes:

  • Tasks that are repetitive and rule-based are ideal for automation. This includes data entry, invoice processing, and customer support requests.
  • Processes performed frequently and involving large volumes of data or transactions are also good candidates for automation.
  • Complex processes with multiple steps, dependencies, or intricate calculations can also benefit from automation to improve accuracy and reduce the risk of errors.
  • Consider the impact of automating a process on the organization, including the potential impact on efficiency, productivity, cost savings, and customer experience.

6. Measure KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) refer to a series of quantifiable measurements used to gauge an organization's overall long-term performance.

There are many factors to consider when setting benchmarks and key performance indicators for your business processes. These include your overarching business goals, the company’s growth stage and strategy. 

Some of the most commonly used ones include:

  • Engagement → Page views, session length, social media insights.
  • Conversion → Calls booked, revenue, bounce rate.
  • Loyalty → Churn, multi-channel adoption, timely payment.
  • Marketing → Traffic, visitors campaign reach. 

KPIs can help you determine the company's financial, strategic and operational achievements. You’ll need to establish two types: 

  • Short-term: Real-time indicators like an employee's time to complete a task.
  • Long-term: Uses a larger time frame to gauge business productivity—say six months.

By setting up these key performance indicators, you’ll be able to access real insights into how your team is progressing in achieving milestones, meeting targets and even upskilling.  

7. Monitor your business processes

Business process monitoring is a critical component of business process management.

Business process monitoring is the continuous collection, analysis, and reporting of data on business process performance.

BPM involves the following steps:

  • Identify the processes to be monitored.
  • Analyze departmental data to uncover bottlenecks and areas for optimization.
  • Analyze the data to identify trends and patterns.
  • Report on the findings to stakeholders.
  • Use data analytics to make informed decisions about process improvements.
  • Take action to improve the processes based on the findings of the analysis.

Business process monitoring will help you identify the processes that need improvement and measure the impact of your changes.

8. Build a knowledge base

Think of your company’s knowledge base as a repository containing information about every business process.

Knowledge bases generally include answers to FAQs, troubleshooting guides, product documentation, and how-to guides. They also help codify all the knowledge of your current employees. 

These centralized resources can significantly improve the onboarding and training process for employees. On top of this, they also improve customer experience by providing detailed instructions. 

Create a knowledge base by collating everything into a centralized source. This will help preserve your institutional knowledge. Consider including the following categories: 

  • Onboarding documentation. 
  • Quick reference guides.
  • Troubleshooting steps. 
  • Company policies.
  • HR documentation.

While creating your knowledge base, get feedback from different team members. Ask them to contribute actively, include tips to follow and document their workflow. 

Employee contribution to a knowledge base can allow new hires to understand the goals of an organization through a peer’s perspective.

9. Train employees

Training and involving employees in process improvements can lead to better adoption. This helps them learn quicker—meaning team members can focus on their work instead of searching in multiple places for help.

Whenever they encounter a roadblock, your team can refer to your knowledge base to help them through the process. If there is any confusion over SOPs, you can always rely on your documentation.

Your business process documentation and training manuals should be accessible (in a centralized location) and available throughout the employee’s tenure at the organization.

10. Focus on continuous improvement 

The business process lifecycle is an ongoing process of improvement.

Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members involved in BPM. Ask for feedback on processes. Your team often has valuable insights on what works and what doesn't.

Share best practices and lessons learned, regularly review your processes and adjust as needed.

Manage your business processes with Scribe

What is a business process? Structured, measurable, repeatable tasks and activities help your business achieve a specific objective or goal. Without effectively managing your business processes, you won’t be able to grow as an organization.

The easiest way to start with business process management is to document everything.

Workflow automation tools like Scribe can help here, allowing you to create easy employee guides. This helps retain top talent, improving the quality of work and customer experience. In turn, this also helps the company achieve its long-term goals.

Once you’ve identified what processes within your business need automation, you can focus on the more essential tasks.

Sign up with us for free to learn more about how Scribe can help optimize your business processes!

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