Congratulations — you've just invested in K2!
That means you've recognized that your company is using inefficient paper-based processes that are slowing your workflow down right now. Maybe an invoice has to be physically sent to three different people for signatures and it takes several weeks for contractors to get paid. Maybe your inventory process requires a pencil and an hour of someone's time. Maybe you have a literal suggestion box for employees in the canteen and someone has to enter handwritten suggestions into the system manually.
Whatever those processes are, you've taken a big step and invested in business process management, or BPM.
You've chosen K2 — a powerful process automation tool that requires very little coding and offers you infinite possibilities because it can integrate with almost every system you have.
Hooray — but also, now what?
Switching to K2 may seem intimidating
The problem with a tool like K2, that offers endless possibilities is just that: infinite things are often overwhelming.
But that's okay. By taking things a step at a time, you can make the most of your investment without becoming overwhelmed.
Let's talk about K2 a little bit first.
K2 is a versatile, low-code platform that lets anyone create a workflow once they're comfortable with with. K2 produces several tools — K2 Cloud for companies who deploy virtually, for example, and K2-Five for those who deploy on premise.
It offers several features:
- Workflows - A drag and drop tool that allows you to create automated workflows
- SmartForms - A user-friendly tools that lets you create resuable forms to integrate with your workflows
- SmartObjects - A tool that helps you easily connect all your systems
- SmartStarters - Pre-built apps for specific use cases like sales quote approvals or new hires.
- App Wizard - A tool that helps you design a custom app quickly.
- Analytics - A tool that provides real-time data and integrates with other platforms like Microsoft's Power BI to produce reports
So what do you do with all of those? Well, you may not need every single module. Instead, it's time to pick one process and choose the tools that make the most sense for that process.
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Pick a process, any process
Just because you have a tool that can improve any process does not mean you've got to automate everything your organization does right this instant.
Start small. Chances are, since you've invested in K2, you've got at least one inefficient process in mind that you'd like to automate. If you choose to focus on that process you wouldn't be alone; a recent study found that most organizations tend to focus on one process at a time when they undertake BPM projects.
You may want to start there, or you might want to choose your process more strategically, in order to get an early success that will build confidence in K2 and your BPM initiative. If you choose to strategize BPM adoption, your first process should fulfill these requirements:
- It should span your whole organization (or at least more than one department) so all your employees can experience the automation and its benefits
- It should be fairly simple to automate
- Automating this process should require input from your staff
That last bullet point is important, because for your process automation initiative to work, everyone needs to be on board.
Getting employee buy-in
Change is always hard, and moving from a paper system that you and your company know well, to an automated system that's new to you might seem like too much for you — and for your employees — to process. K2 is a great platform for process automation, but the best tool in the world won't work unless everyone's using it.
Chances are, if you've just bought a K2 product, that not everyone's on board yet. It's understandable; they're used to doing things in a particular way. Change might seem overwhelming. Some employees may feel they own certain processes.
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Maybe Sara in accounts payable is used to running that contractor's invoice around to three desks. It's become part of her routine and she's built her Friday afternoon schedule around it. Now you're asking her to abandon that routine and a learn a new, digital way of doing things, on top of all her other work. She may balk at first. So might the employee used to taking inventory by hand. Or the receptionist whose job it is to empty the suggestion box and type each handwritten note into an Excel sheet.
Ultimately, K2 will make all of their lives easier, but right now it's just another tool they have to learn and they don't know it well enough to trust it yet.
Try to understand where they're coming from, because for K2 to work for you, and to successfully implement BPM, you've got to have employee buy-in.
There are a number of ways to get your employees on board:
Involve employees in process design: you know which processes are gumming up the works but you don't know those processes as well as the employees who do them every day. Ask them for input on which processes need to be automated first, and how those processes can be improved. Chances are, they will have ideas. This will also allow them to retain ownership of the processes.
Ask for feedback after a process has been automated: Your first try is probably not going to result in perfection. Ask for feedback, and then use that information to fine-tune your process automation. If employees feel they're part of the process, they're more likely to embrace it. They may also see places where they'd like to duplicate that process automation. Because K2 lets users reuse and repurpose existing workflows, this is a good opportunity to expand your BPM initiative.
Training: You can't just throw Sara from accounts payable at K2 and hope for the best. What if she decides not to use it and keep doing things the old way? Then you've got the old inefficiencies and a new system that's not being used. Training — whether it's led by an instructor, online training, or training provided by a consultant — is a good way to give your staff the time and space they need to get familiar with K2 and comfortable with the process of BPM.
Getting help with Business Process Management and K2
Business Process Automation is a complex organizational change and it's okay to seek help if you think K2 implementation won't go smoothly. That's one of the reasons K2 partners exist. K2 partners are third-party organizations who are trusted experts when it comes to K2 and BPM. Omni, for example, is both a gold level value added reseller and a silver level implementation partner with K2.
Partners have proven to K2 that they have the capacity and expertise to provide implementations and best practices. This means a partner can help you with your existing K2 platform, even if you didn't purchase it from them.
If you feel you need an expert look for a partner who will take a look at your processes and only change what needs to be changes in order to improve your business. Omni's team, for example, learns all about your existing processes and workflows before offering BPM solutions tailored to your needs.
After all, if you want to make the most of your K2 investments, the workflows need to work for you and your staff.