Five Industries Where Business Process Optimization Is Vital
The digital age brought a new commodity for businesses: data. Businesses are making huge strides in their operational efficiency by harnessing insights gleaned from this data through business process optimization. Business process optimization, or BPO, relies on this data and enables companies to fine-tune all sorts of processes. In some industries, especially those considered critical infrastructure, a strong business process optimization strategy is vital to their ability to keep pace with demand. Let’s take a deeper look into what’s meant by business process optimization and how it affects businesses before exploring the five industries where business process optimization is vital.
What is Business Process Optimization?
Business process optimization is the art of looking at an existing process and improving it in order to increase efficiency, lower overhead and improve revenues through productivity.
Business process optimization can be done in incremental steps or can encompass an entire workflow redesign. This redesign is called business process engineering, and while it has its own category, still qualifies as a type of business process optimization.
The goal of BPO is to streamline processes and no area of business needs more help with this than the often overlooked redundancy that exists among in-office (though mostly now remote) knowledge workers. BPO ends with positive changes to workflows, like an assembly line or a structured customer deal, and begins by observing deficits and creating solutions.
BPO can help with things like productivity, and even morale and turnover, improving corporate cultures and enhancing decision-making.
Call Center Business Process Optimization
Call centers are widely remote with 87% of the workforce working remotely, and heavily relying on the metrics they collect to operate, they are always performing BPO in some way to try to improve their processes and customer experience. They typically operate with a number of common paint points, including:
· long wait times
· confusing phone menus
· dropped calls
· repetitive explanations
· dead time
· unsatisfactory call results
Each of these things can be solved through business process optimization.
A BPO overhaul, for example, can start by looking at how long agents spend between calls in order to improve call volumes and lower agent dead time between calls. By looking at how agents are spending their time after a call is completed through activity monitoring and behavior analytics, managers can understand what administrative processes agents are conducting between calls and holding them back from answering the next.
By gaining this knowledge and improving the process for agents between calls, BPO solves more than call volumes and dead times, it also addresses long wait times and could result in more satisfactory calls if customers spend less time on hold.
These types of results are only achieved with the right data and by using the right tools, however.
When companies have the necessary tools to perform BPO, they can track staff hours effectively and look at volumes of calls to make business decisions.
That leads to the next component for call centers – QA and outcomes.
Looking at the above list of pain points, we see that the outcomes the call centers desire are deals made, calls performed, and happy customers, to name a few. These can all be addressed directly or indirectly through process optimization, proving there are fundamental positives that BPO fosters.
Financial Services Optimization
BPO is extremely useful in the finance sector as well.
First of all, it’s helpful in doing due diligence on deals, or investigating partners or counterparties. Finance businesses run on internal research, where they figure out what makes sense for their operations. Improving research with BPO can improve the company’s overall positioning.
There’s also the job of coordinating work across multiple departments.
Suppose that a certain document or piece of information bounces between three or even four departments during a deal structure. How do you make this process better? It often involves various parties getting together and doing things in a more coordinated way.
Process optimization in finance can be used for tracking outcomes for purchase orders, invoices or anything else related to AP/AR, and can also be used to improve an institution’s security posture.
Another way that BPO can help in finances is with anti-money laundering (AML) efforts.
Money laundering is a major peril in the finance industry. But it can be hard to catch or spot, unless you have good oversight software. The detailed user tracking and behavior analysis programs that may drive a BPO process are good at understanding where a threat may lie. Robust user session analysis is helping companies to change the game and improve their oversight of users dramatically.
Business Process Optimization and Health Services
In healthcare, BPO is helping with all sorts of overall goals from patient satisfaction, better billing and better compliance to actual improvements in patient outcomes.
First, let’s look at the ways BPO can help with clinical workflows.
McKinsey found that 30% of inpatient tasks at a hospital are performed by RNs, when they can actually be safely performed by more junior nursing staff. This is an area of health services where business process optimization can be used to ease nursing staff duties leading to improved patient care. And the opportunities for process optimization in clinical workflows don’t stop there. Redundant administrative processes and extreme over spending plague the health services industry but these can be addressed by overhauls to workflows through process optimization.
Then on the compliance side, BPO also helps with things like HIPAA. This works in different ways according to a particular provider’s operations, but in general, the improved processes that are the “fruits” of BPO can also do double duty by helping to make every day user activities more HIPAA-compliant. Businesses can pinpoint ways in which they can improve processes that also help with the cybersecurity and privacy goals that HIPAA is meant to address.
Other provider standards can also benefit, too. For example, there’s facility safety, and employee metrics to think about. So healthcare is another sector where BPO, and the software that helps to accomplish it like behavior analytics, can be liberally applied.
Optimizing the Energy and Utilities Sector
Critical infrastructure also benefits from business process optimization.
First, there is analysis of infrastructure. Utility companies may have thousands of miles of pipelines, or fiber-optic lines, or electrical lines to manage. Big data solutions can help streamline handling of these resources.
Then there’s the service to the individual households and businesses that are part of a utility’s community footprint or service area.
For example, handling outages better is a way to improve customer relationships. A good digital interface helps as well.
Another important component of this is chemical oil and gas handling, where hazardous material processes can be streamlined for better management overall. New digital management systems can even identify leaks by putting sensors on physical pipes and infrastructure and tying it to – you guessed it! – capable monitoring software.
And of course, BPO tools like behavior analytics can help energy and utility companies improve their security processes, enabling better incident triage and response.
BPO in Hospitality
BPO is also often useful in the lodging and hospitality field.
Here, businesses are using specialized software to track the status of every room and suite in a facility, including rooms that are occupied, booked, left uncleaned, or cleaned, as well as those that are, for some reason, off of the books.
With color coding and other data visualization, cutting-edge software makes it easy for frontline staff to understand what’s going on across a large facility footprint. The software can also have features for more desirable rooms (ex: oceanside or poolside) or rooms near elevators.
BPO can also automate some of the daily task management of a busy hotel manager’s job. There are tasks related to room handling, tasks related to amenities like a pool or restaurant, and other tasks related to compliance. There are also facilities maintenance tasks, like those having to do with:
· Room heating and cooling equipment
· Televisions and telephones
All of this can be capably managed with BPO processes that are super-efficient.
Then there’s customer service: in the hospitality world, long-term planning and sales is all about keeping the customer satisfied. BPO can help port the right data to the right solutions, for better business intelligence in the customer service world. It can also help with developing better loyalty and rewards programs, which will drive return business.
All of this is critical in streamlining and optimizing business operations. BPO does this with attention to the details that make important business processes work. User behavior analytics and related software can be a significant part of one of these strategic investments in improvement.