The Importance of User Experience in Business Process Management or BPM

POST on Workflows and BPM by Sonia Pearson

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When it comes to creating the right process management system, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all about that one clear, direct route through a system that users need to learn and get on board with. But you’d be wrong. In fact, you need to be sure you’re creating the best user experience in process management system you can. One that may not be a straight arrow, but that a user can understand and navigate through, easily and in a number of ways.

After all, what good is a process management system that appears straightforward to its creators, but isn’t deemed intuitive at all by the typical end users?

Processes are a means to an end

When it comes to selecting or designing a new process management system, try not to lose sight of the fact that it will be used by humans. It might be for staff working in a particular industry, or it might be the general public. Whichever group it is, you need to remember the importance of the user experience in process management – the process has to work for them, while still providing the information required by the business that’s installing it.

Of course, once a new process is in place you can always add fixes to prompt the end user if some details just aren’t working. However, a good user experience in process management system shouldn’t need to rely on those prompts – unless that’s part of your strategy. For some firms, the style introduced by those prompts can help create a better user experience. Your purposeful prompts might remind them of something they’ve forgotten, or encourage them to think about something in a different way.

If you have a narrow target end-user you need to carefully consider what they will want, need and understand. If they want to be able to use a system quickly because it’s a regular part of their role, then work to build or find a business process management system that fulfills that specific detail. Or, if the job of the process is to collect as much information as possible while still keeping them engaged and able to intuitively use the process management system, keep that detail in mind.

Remember, a process is rarely about the actual process itself. A process management system is there as part of a wider journey, being used to sell, teach or find something. If it doesn’t make achieving those end goals easier for the user, then, regardless of how seamless the idea behind the system is, or how straight-forward it might seem to you, it’s just not fit for purpose. Always keep the purpose of the process in mind, the right process management system should reconcile the needs of the business and the end-user.

That might sound difficult to achieve, but provided you remember the importance of those two details, you might be surprised at how often you can achieve it.

User experience in process management matters

More businesses are beginning to understand the importance of the experience their end-users are having when they engage with them. Level 3 Communications new chief information officer Atilla Tinic recently told the Wall Street Journal that one of his first jobs will be based on ensuring customers can understand and use their processes easily.

In his interview with the paper, Mr. Tinic said that his goal is to create a simpler and more consistent experience for both customers and sales reps and to give customers more control over their network services.

It’s not just us at Tallyfy who think Mr. Tinic is a good thing with focussing his plans on the user experience. A recent article on TechTarget has identified no less than 15 ways in which you can improve the customer – or end-user – experience of your online services.

The third on that list is ‘deliver consistent customer experiences’. One of the best ways to achieve this is by working to create/find and install a process management system that users can navigate through without having to search for acronyms, click on the online helpdesk button or search through your FAQs more than once!

Time is money – hence – better user experience is money!

Everyone knows the old adage ‘time is money’, which is credited to one of the founding fathers of the US, Benjamin Franklin. While this is true in business, it doesn’t just apply to business owners or leaders. It applies to customers too – their time is precious and they want to spend as little or as much of it as they want to on a particular activity or task, not as much as a poorly executed business management process dictates.

Therefore, it follows that it’s worth spending a little more of your own time and perfecting the right system for the end-user. One that will encourage them to remain a happy and loyal customer, perhaps even a customer who encourages new users of your systems or services because they’re so happy with what you’ve spent time on getting right.

This list from Inc.com highlights what drives customers away. Poor customer service and them spending more time than they want to on a specific task, both feature. Think about any service you use, be it as a consumer or in business. You know a new system is going to take a little longer to get to grips with, but when it’s taking you on a path you just don’t understand, even when you take time to think it through, you’re going to get frustrated and will likely put off using it again for as long as possible. Or, if you’re in consumer mode, you’ll quite simply move on to a different company, product or system.

And that is what you have to remember when you’re considering or upgrading your own business process management system. A successful process management system isn’t one that just achieves a tracking, collating or onboarding process. It’s one that the end-user can understand and navigate through and will be happy to use again or even regularly.

Work to understand what end users want

When it comes to thinking about a completely new business process management system, it might seem like a daunting task. However, there are ways to make sure you create or find one that can satisfy the business in question and their customers too.

One of those ways could be to integrate cloud technology designed to monitor and measure performance and usage. Then, after that’s in place you can then see what’s needed – and what isn’t – before completely updating or overhauling the existing process management system.

This is a great option if you’re working with a business whose legacy includes a number of separate entities around the globe. However, it would also work for a smaller business that is targeting a growth model as it can help them identify what type of process they might need in the future, dependent on what type of growth they can achieve.

Again, if you do opt for an interim cloud-based tech system to support a changeover, it needs to be the right one for the end-users involved. In the end, you must always remember the important details and one of the main ones is that the customer is king.

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