What can a Business Process Analyst (BPA) really do for you and how can it be a positive step in the right direction?
I have always found it fascinating how many people apply for a job vacancy, were presented with a well-defined job description and once they are in the role, they comment that the job is nothing like what was described. Often shortly after they leave and find another position elsewhere.
There are many reasons for this. We will explore this and how a Business Process Analyst can minimise such events.
When applying for a role, generally the job description contains well-defined tasks/responsibilities especially for an operational role. These tasks/responsibilities are the predictable aspects of the organisation and are based on how the organisation has operated to date. Especially how it operates right here and now, and what is thought to be needed in the future. However, an organisation operates in a very dynamic business environment, hence daily, the predictable shrinks and the dynamic expands.
There may be a reduction in orders, or someone in the organisation is suddenly absent for an extended period. As a result, the employee is required to do activities outside their JD. In addition, there maybe a sudden change in direction for the organisation, because management needs to respond to a change in market conditions. The unexpected dynamics, impacts everyone in the organisation.
Having a full time BPA in the organisation helps minimise and almost eliminate such sudden impacts.
The role of a BPA is to, on a continual basis, identify, document, analyse and improve the business processes of the organisation.
Assume that your BPA has identified and documented all the business processes in your organisation and that these are currently a true reflection of how the business operates. The most obvious benefits of this is that there is clarity of roles and responsibilities, and as a result:
- Job Descriptions can be clearly defined
- On a day to day basis staff know their responsibilities
- Staff can be held accountable for tasks and rewarded accordingly
- Tasks requiring the same or similar skillsets can be shared in case someone is absent
- KPIs can be easily established so that the goals of the organisation are achieved
The benefits of merely having business processes documented and up to date is quite endless, and for that alone, the investment into a BPA presents huge value. However, that is just part of what a BPA does.
A BPA also continually analysis the identified and documented processes to answer questions such as:
- Are the business processes aligned to the strategic objective of the organisation?
- Who are the key staff upon which the business depends?
- Which processes work well; which do not? why?
- Which processes are likely to be affected by an upcoming business change?
The answers to these questions enables the BPA to identify ways to improve the operations of the organisation. These improvements form part of a recommendations report, presented to the leaders of the organisation. Such a recommendation report is usually evidenced by quantifiable data about process time, cost, value and efficiency metrics. As a result, leaders can make the right improvement decision and ensure that the right investment is made.
Clearly a BPA brings a lot of value to the organisation; however, the utmost benefit lies in the fact that the BPA identifies, documents, analysis and improves business processes on a continual basis. Daily, the BPA works on making highly focused, small, incremental changes to the organisation. As a result, the impact of change on the organisation such as a sudden decrease in orders, a management reaction to changing market conditions or extended absenteeism, is almost unnoticeable. Hence the job description can truly reflect the day-to-day responsibilities of the new recruit.