Hello, this is Hayashi from the Marketing Department.

Today, many companies utilize a variety of tools on their PCs, ranging from simple programs such as Word and Excel to workflow systems that manage the entire business. Without these tools, many companies would not be able to conduct their daily operations.

Furthermore, in the past few years there have been major changes in work styles, as typified by remote work. Many companies are reviewing their business processes (work flow and procedures) and re-selecting the tools used in their operations.

BPM (Business Process Management) is an effective business management method for reviewing and improving such business processes. The use of appropriate tools is an important aspect of business process improvement.

In this series, we will examine how typical tools used in the office can be used to improve business operations from a BPM perspective.

In the first session, we will discuss spreadsheet software such as Excel, based on actual examples of business efficiency improvement.

What is BPM (Business Process Management)?

BPM (Business Process Management) is a business management approach that continuously improves business processes through the PDCA cycle and consists of the following four elements:

  1. Modeling of business operations (definition and visualization of business processes)
  2. Business implementation
  3. Process condition monitoring (monitoring the status of process conditions)
  4. Analysis, problem identification and process improvement

The purpose of BPM is to constantly optimize business processes by repeating these elements. If a system is established in which the status of business processes is constantly checked and problems are immediately corrected when discovered, errors and retention will be reduced, and business can always proceed efficiently.

In addition, the field’s ability to independently identify and improve operational issues and problems will help improve organizational capabilities.

For more information on the relationship between the PDCA cycle and BPM, please refer to this article.

Relationship between BPM and Tools

We will now discuss the relationship between spreadsheets and BPM.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Excel

Many companies use Excel in their operations.

One of the advantages of Excel is its versatility; it does not require special knowledge to write or save data and can be handled by anyone. Spreadsheet software such as Excel is indispensable, especially for administrative tasks that involve tabulation.

In the past Excel had weaknesses such as:

  • Difficulty sharing files in real time
  • Multiple people could not edit a file at the same time

However, with the advent of Excel Online, a cloud-based service, these disadvantages have been improved considerably.

However, when Excel is used by itself, the time-consuming process of adding and deleting information is a point where there is room for improvement.

It is not uncommon for the updating process of opening an Excel file, entering and deleting information, and so on, to become a burden on the business process. If this work is done manually, there is a risk of input errors and omissions.

In the next section, we will discuss the possibilities of integrating tools based on a case study that successfully improved the efficiency of tabulation operations from the perspective of BPM.

Manual Input into Spreadsheet Software Becomes a Burden on Operations

In the case study of Impress Professional Works Inc. it was reported that the company succeeded in going paperless and improving efficiency by utilizing Questetra BPM Suite to handle inquiries that were previously handled by paper-based systems.

The company’s conventional inquiry response operations had the following problems:

  • Time-consuming data entry and tabulation
  • Difficulty keeping track of progress

This was due to the fact that the company used to manage and tally the status of responses using paper inquiry response forms, and the data necessary for tallying was manually entered into a spreadsheet software program by counting the number of inquiry response forms. In addition, it was impossible to confirm who was in charge of which case and how the case was being handled without asking the person in charge about the progress of the case.

Therefore, the company introduced Questetra BPM Suite, a BPM tool, and embarked on full-scale business improvement.

What is the Right Tool for BPM Promotion?

Questetra BPM Suite and other BPM tools are software specialized for promoting business and operational improvements in line with the concept of Business Process Management (BPM).

Software known as BPM tools or workflow systems are characterized by their ability to approach the entire business process, for example, a BPM tool can easily do things like:

  • Schematize business processes and automatically execute operations according to the diagram (modeling and execution of operations)
  • Real-time display of the progress of operations and the workload of each person (monitoring)
  • See how long it took to complete a process (analysis and problem detection)

Now, the figure below is a sample screen of a business process visualized by Questetra BPM Suite.

Sample screen of a Questetra BPM Suite “Work Request Flow”

Questetra visualizes the progress of operations in real time, so the problem of struggling to grasp the progress status described in the above section is easily solved.

Real-life Examples of Business Improvement by Linking Tools

On the other hand, the company solved the other problem of time-consuming data entry and tabulation by linking the tools together.

This was done by using the ability to link data from Questetra BPM Suite to Google SpreadSheet, and the company has built a business process so that inquiry data is automatically added to Google SpreadSheet. The integration of these tools has greatly reduced the time and effort required for data entry and tabulation.

Example of an Inquiry Response Flow incorporating automatic processing tasks to Google SpreadSheet

Smoothly Implement BPM with Questetra BPM Suite

As in the case study described in the section above, the options for business process improvement can be greatly expanded by linking BPM tools with other tools. Furthermore, it cannot be overlooked that such improvements are greatly influenced by the BPM concept of visualizing business processes, monitoring the processes, and identifying and improving issues and problems.

As mentioned at the beginning, Questetra BPM Suite is a BPM tool that supports business progress and process improvement in line with the concept of BPM. These BPM tools are indispensable for the smooth implementation of the BPM method.

Questetra BPM Suite, a cloud-based BPM tool, can be used immediately after application, and a free trial is also available. Why don’t you take this opportunity to improve your business processes by BPM with Questetra BPM Suite?

▼ You can also apply for a free trial here ▼

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