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A business process specialist evaluates the effectiveness of business processes and offers suggestions for improvement. Improvements can encompass companywide scenarios or specific employee-level issues. Whether large-scale or small, process improvements are expected to increase the company’s bottom line. To fulfill this primary purpose, business process specialists are skilled in analyzing, quantifying, and otherwise measuring productivity.
Improvements are necessary when there is a process weakness, a break in the chain. The weak link signifies wasted time or resources. Process weakness is not the only situation that calls for an expert, though. When customer needs change, a specialist can help the company change its processes to match the evolving customer profile.
To evaluate business processes, the business process specialist gathers meaningful information from company employees at many levels — from business owners to middle managers to entry-level employees. After documentation and quantification, the specialist determines which process components exhibit lower-than-desired productivity. The specialist then defines the specific issues to be addressed.
Discovering the company’s problem areas is only part of the job. The specialist must then design a method for resolving the issues. This often takes knowledge of technology or specific industry-related information.
Depending on the company, the business process specialist may be required to do more than evaluate and provide solutions. Some businesses ask the specialist to implement the solutions — a request that typically requires technical and project management skills. In addition, the specialist can be asked to perform testing of the new process to ensure its successful implementation.
Some businesses ask the business process specialist to participate in training employees to use the new solutions effectively. Training can include the development of training materials and the communication of training information in classroom or online instructional sessions. This is one way of ensuring everyone is getting the same message in the same training.
Business process specialists are not always in-house employees; they may be consultants. Outsourcing process improvement is not uncommon. Any company that offers business process analysis and solution implementation should certainly have a firm understanding of knowledge management and information technology, such as lifecycles and methodologies.
The business process specialist is best equipped with a skill set that includes strategic planning, problem-solving, workflow analysis, process design, project management, team leadership, relationship management, communication, collaboration, documentation, quantification, and analysis. A specialist is not always required to have a master's degree in business administration (MBA), but business training and cross-functional experience should be helpful. Some business process specialists have specified degrees in information technology or engineering.
@everetra - That sounds interesting. I think nowadays computer automation aids in business process improvement.
In my opinion, it’s one way of ensuring that processes can be streamlined and made more efficient. Processes that are manual by nature will of course have to remain manual; these processes require human decision making at various levels.
However, some processes require calculations, reports and things like that. For these processes, knowing how to use software to automate the tasks will make the work more efficient and result in a lot of cost savings, in my opinion.
I was hired on by a company once as a policies and procedures editor. This wasn’t a business process specialist position as such, since I didn’t create new processes or procedures; I just helped document existing ones.
However, editing existing procedures involved some of the tasks mentioned in the article, because my first step was to ensure that the existing procedures were accurate.
So I met with the individual analysts and asked them to explain the business process flow for some of the tasks they were performing, and compared those with the written outlines.
If there were inconsistencies, I worked with them to update the existing procedures. I also did some editing of policies as well, using a similar approach.