Impactful Work Environment Tools

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WorkPlace Tools - Processes

Available information suggests that optimized processes play an important role in helping organizations in the United States make effective use of digital workplace tools. Processes are a crucial component of the digital workplace; the adoption of new digital workplace tools are, in most cases, prompted by changes or improvements in processes. When processes remain ill-defined, there is a good chance that the introduction of new digital workplace tools will only result in rework and new problem silos.


We started off our research by reviewing what was already covered in the completed research on "important work environment tools." We understand that, for this particular request, we are to focus on the 'process' aspect. To find how important processes are in leveraging digital tools and getting work done, we employed a number of strategies. First, we looked for recent reports, surveys, or studies on process management or process improvement. We figured that these sources will likely have some insights on the importance of well-defined processes. True enough, with this initial strategy, we were able to find BPTrends and Capgemini's reports on business process management and Forrester's report on process excellence. Though all reports are global in scope, they both provide some clues as to the value of processes, and they all had survey respondents from the United States. We assume that the findings are representative of what is happening in the United States.

Second, we searched for materials tackling the topic of process and productivity. Since the important of processes in getting work done is of interest, we figured that sources covering both process and productivity will likely offer some helpful inormation. Through this second approach, we were able to find information specific to the United States in the reports of Nintex and the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC). The APQC was particularly helpful as we were able to find relevant details on digital transformation and processes in its report.

Third, we researched about digital tools or workplace tools and the things that make them effective or ineffective. This third step led us to insightful articles and reports on digital workplace tools and the digital workplace and their success or failure determinants. Among the sources we found were CMSWire's articles on digital workplace tools and Dimension Data's report on digital workplace.


There are indications that organizations find well-defined processes are crucial in ensuring the effective use of digital workplace tools. The APQC states in its recent report on process management that the lack of processes is the biggest challenge organizations face when it comes to digital transformation. For 38.7% of the APQC's survey respondents, the lack of processes is a key digital transformation challenge. "Effective digital efforts require organizations to include their process teams for process discovery and optimization work," according to the APQC. Process optimization is necessary if rework post tool launch is to be avoided, and there should be periodic check-ins between the information technology team and the process team. Debbie Qaqish, the Pedowitz Group's chief strategy officer, states as well that "the digital workplace is about more than just tools; it’s about process and culture."

Riley Gibson, vice president at Colorado-based marketing platform provider Kapost, explains that launching digital workplace tools with ill-defined processes will result in the emergence of new problem silos. The lack of clear processes will hamper the effective use of digital workplace tools such as collaboration tools and will result in employees retreating to their silos. Dimension Data's survey of 15 countries, including the United States, reveals that it is actually the need to change business processes that triggers the adoption of new workplace tools or technology. Sixty-nine percent of Dimension Data's survey respondents report that they check first which processes have to be changed before introducing any new tool or technology. Only 31% report that it is the other way around.


Processes play an important role in organizations, as a number of reports suggest. BPTrends's latest report on the state of business process management underscores just how important processes are in getting work done in organizations. Page 13 of the report shows that 65% of organizations agree or strongly agree that business process management practices have helped them become more efficient, versatile, and capable of satisfying customers. Respondents to BPTrends's survey reveal that business process management and consequently the processes themselves help break down silos, standardize the way things are done, and provide employees with a common language by which to understand relationships between activities. Though the survey was global in scope, premier business process management resource BPTrends clarifies that, as far as the usefulness of well-managed processes is concerned, there are no notable regional differences. As can be seen on page 33 of BPTrends's report, most of the survey respondents were based in either North America or Europe.

Pages 11 to 14 of Capgemini's recent report on business process management also indicate that more than half of organizations expect that process improvement will have the biggest impact on cost efficiency. Of the organizations Capgemini polled, 55.8% think that process improvement will affect cost efficiency the most, 38.8% think that process improvement will affect time-to-market the most, and 29.7% think that process improvement will affect customer self-service the most. A positive impact was reported by 74% of organizations that utilized business process management to reduce manual work, 78% of organizations that utilized business process management to improve flexibility, and 77% of organizations that utilized business process management to improve risk management and compliance. Capgemini's survey was global in scope, but some respondents were based in the United States.

Moreover, figure 6 of Forrester's report on process excellence shows that, based on the responses of 326 organizations from around the world, the most significant impact of process automation can be seen in cost reduction (47%), customer experience improvement (41%), and compliance improvement (38%). Thirty-two percent of Forrester's survey respondents were from North America.

Broken processes appear to be strongly associated with employee churn as well. Workflow automation expert Nintex reports that, in the United States, employees in the United States who are seeking new jobs are more inclined to think that information technology, onboarding, and administrative processes in their respective organizations are broken. Of employees in the country who are seeking new jobs, at least 70% think that administrative, onboarding, and information technology processes are broken. Getting work done will be difficult if employees are leaving as a result of broken processes.