How to move away from a paper-based Business Management SystemIsobel Witts
Paper-based business management systems are relatively easy to set up but are notoriously difficult to maintain and review, particularly as part of an ongoing continuous improvement initiative. In this article we will explore how to move away from your paper-based business management approach to a much more efficient electronic system.
If you are currently using a paper-based approach, it’s likely that you already have the majority of your business processes documented. But, are these paper processes
- Easy to find?
- Easy to understand?
- Reviewed and updated regularly?
Many of the people we have helped to move away from a paper-based business management system have struggled with these key requirements.
How to capture your business processes
For any business management approach to be successful, capturing your business processes is imperative. Here at Triaster, we believe the best way to really understand what your business does, is to capture all of your processes and present the information in the form of a process map.
A process map is a physical representation of the steps you must take to perform a particular process. In the simplest of terms, a process map is used to show the steps involved during the transformation of inputs to outputs. A good example is shown below.
To learn more about the benefits of process mapping, read our article:
The importance of storing your processes and documents online
Once you have mapped all of your business processes, it is good practice to keep any supporting documents in the same place so that they can be found easily. If you are using a paper-based system you will have frequently experienced the frustration of not finding what you need straight away or where to find it. This is incredibly time-consuming and inefficient.
The easiest way to keep everything together is to house everything you might need online, on your company’s intranet for example. Taking this approach will not only make your life easier, but will also allow you to share your processes and documents across the business.
The benefit of storing documentation online, is that it can be easily backed up and recovered if something happens. A real issue with paper-based systems is that you are very limited in terms of disaster recovery should they be damaged or destroyed. Of course you will have electronic versions, but if these are all stored on your company’s internal servers, they could be easily deleted, misplaced or take up too much space for example.
Invest in a dedicated business management system
If you are looking for a good solution for storing your processes, procedures and documentation online, we really recommend investing in a dedicated business management system. This not only gives you a platform to house your business processes and supporting documents but will also bring additional functionality such as:
- Ability to search using keywords
- Document version control
- Support with achieving quality standards accreditations
- Visibility to other departments or external suppliers
- Process analysis and improvement capabilities
There are many great business management systems available on the market, but before you begin to look for one you must first outline what type of management system will be the best fit for your business. You can read more about the different types of system in this article:
Many of the people we speak to regarding business management systems are also considering using Microsoft Visio and SharePoint to manage their processes and documents. This is a great option if you have the time and resource to maintain this system however there are some common challenges that arise when the combination of Visio and SharePoint is the primary management system in an organisation.
You can read more about this in this the below article:
How to move away from a paper-based Business Management System
In our experience, we believe the best way to move away from a paper-based business management system is to invest in a dedicated software system. We understand that this is not a simple process and there are several factors that need to be considered before deciding on a system.
To find out what questions you should be asking when looking for any business management system, read our article:
Here at Triaster, we offer a dedicated business process management system that intelligently houses all of your company’s processes, procedures, policies and documentation in an easy to understand, easy to use secure website. If you are interested in exploring how Triaster can help you with your business process management and improvement challenges, we would love to hear from you.
Written by Isobel Witts
Isobel joined Triaster in September 2014 as our Customer Success Administrator. After about a year in the role she decided marketing was where her main interest lay and she began working with Emma as a new Triaster website was developed and the Triaster blog was started. The move was very successful, resulting in her moving full time into a marketing role, firstly at Triaster and subsequently for a local marketing agency.