My team was asked to redesign the internal invoice process for accounts receivable. This was our first business process design project. Duplicate systems and duplicate BPs caused problems that delayed invoice processing by several days. We worked closely with finance to review each step and identify duplicates and process and eliminate them. It took three days to create a simplified invoice process.
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It is a simple task to redesign BPs using artificial intelligence. I think back to that first BP redesign project.
The difference between BP design and AI is that you do more than streamline business processes. This is a radical change in the way employees work. This makes the BP Change Project both a human problem and a process/system change.
This is something IT and business leaders must be aware of. Otherwise, a completely new business process may fail if employees resist it.
Here are four best practices for using AI to design business processes
Do not initiate without a solid business use case
The end user departments that use the business process should also be able to identify and accept this use case. Are there any user problems or productivity goals that a BP redesign using AI could solve? Are the users supportive of AI and automation being integrated into the business process?
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Give the AI enough information to do its job.
Subject matter experts and end-user staff are the ones who provide the rules and data for an AI decision-making machine. They understand the details of an existing BP, as well as the operations and decisions that BP makes. If you don’t have sufficient expertise to create the AI’s rules and decision-making process, it is impossible to inject AI decision making into a business process.
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Assess the impact of AI systems
Each system that interacts in a revised business process with the AI must be modified to allow it to receive and send data to the AI. A common error in AI BP design is failing to recognize a downstream system that may be adversely affected by the AI.
Assess the human impact of AI
This step is most important.
Although users may be initially excited by AI and automation automating repetitive tasks, they will not be as excited if they believe that their jobs are being eliminated.
It is best to communicate with employees in advance if you expect job loss. You can reassign them into other positions within the company.
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If there is no job loss, but rather a new AI-infused BP for which employees must be retrained, then the retraining should not be slow and be enthusiastically supported.