Sage Advice US

3 tips to finding the right process management tool for your enterprise

You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the number of process management tools that exist. From nearly zero-cost solutions like paper mapping or Excel to the most sophisticated business process management software, the options are endless. Figuring out exactly which solution answers your organizational needs is crucial to saving time, money, frustration and, most importantly, the integrity of your enterprise. Without one, your employees are pretty much guaranteed to be working less intelligently and productively.

The first step is to determine what your business needs right now. Here are three tips to ensure that regardless of which process management tool you choose, it will be the right fit for your organization.

1) Ensure open lines of communication and listen to feedback

In an enterprise, no man is an island—and management is no exception. Scouting for inefficiencies within the business should be a group activity. It takes a combination of executive leadership, daily users and operational leaders, to figure out inefficiencies. Before you decide on a workflow management tool or business process management software, consider the team that will be using the software and carrying out the processes. Is everyone on the same page about what’s not working in the day-to-day? A study by Harvard Business Review found that 95 percent of a company’s employees were unaware of , or do not understand, its business strategy. Gathering teammates to openly discuss points of difficulty will empower you to choose the best enterprise management tool. In that respect, this factor may be the most helpful in whittling down those endless software options.

2) Select vendors with the right software and training

If you’re spending a lot of money to implement software, it’s crucial that it serves all the functions your enterprise truly needs. And the vendor should be completely invested in helping your team make it work.

When you prepare to implement your new process management solution, keep the statistics in mind. According to a recent study, 68 percent of enterprise workflow solutions fail. These solutions rarely fail because of a fault in the technology—if it fails, chances are the people are to blame. For example:

“The importance of selecting a vendor who not only provides the software and training, but also implements the solution adequately is extremely important,” writes Paul Pitts, founder of All Start Software Systems.

Ask as many questions of the software vendors as you need to feel comfortable with your decision to hire them, including references for the implementer, sample project plans and a summary of their methodology.

3) Start with a beta test team and then implement company-wide

Whether you start with a few members of the team who will be handling the reworked process, or you pull teammates from distinct departments of the enterprise, there’s one goal: Make certain that the software is a fit for your organization.

The challenge of finding the right key to efficiency for your enterprise can be daunting. By zeroing in on the processes that create sticking points, asking vendors a lot of questions, and involving the entire team in training and testing, you’re well-positioned to improve your organization’s workflow and success