The Importance of Business Process Documentation in Times of Crisis

business document management in times of crisis

At one point or another, every business is bound to find itself in a moment of crisis. A crisis can be an internal or external event to your organization that calls for a sudden transformation of business operations. Applying a strategy of business process documentation will serve an organization well during times of crisis.

A large-scale crisis might be a corporate merger, a security breach, a stock market crash, a declaration of war, or a global pandemic like COVID-19. A smaller crisis specific to the organization could include significant reduction in workforce, change in market relative to business, and lost revenue. A crisis is an incident that substantially impacts the health of the business.

Though chaos can certainly threaten the viability of any organization, the most successful businesses are the ones that can step up to the demands of a crisis and emerge just as strong – if not stronger – than they were before.

At RTG Solutions Group, we help guide business to thrive even in the face of chaos. Our consultants advise leaders in document management strategy. Following, we highlight the importance to document all processes, maximize the use of technology, and stay ahead of the game.

Document all Processes

business process documentation team

Business process documentation is a vital tool to ensure survival in the midst of a crisis or preparedness for a possible future crisis. As the name suggests, business process documentation is the act of clearly delineating each task within a particular workstream or department from start to finish.

Let’s break this process down into two phases. First, document current-state processes for a particular task, complete with standard operating procedures (SOPs), for every sub-task. In other words, you track and map out exactly how a particular process is carried out under the status quo.

Once the current-state processes are mapped out, leaders and the project team review for inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and other areas in need of improvement. This is the foundation to develop a future-state process diagram with improved efficiency.

Documenting current state and future state processes is essential for disaster preparedness and crisis survival. A visual map of how things are currently done in your organization will help you assess how well – or poorly – your current process is ready for a sudden crisis.

Business process documentation will help you identify which steps in the process are redundant and unnecessary. The methodology will distinguish what can be transformed to meet the demands of a crisis, and which employees are essential in the process.

Most importantly, developing a current-state process map will help you create a crisis-proof future state map that still accomplishes all the same objectives while maintaining or improving upon past efficiency.

Business process documentation might seem like an overly tedious process. Specifically, if it’s undertaken in the midst of a crisis. If things need to change quickly, why take the time to map out every single step of a procedure that we might need to scrap? Can’t we just figure out what the new process should look like and adapt to it?

Though it might seem time-consuming, two-phase business process documentation is an invaluable investment. If you jump ahead to adopt a new process before examining the procedures in place, you risk sacrificing the integrity and quality of the process. This could result in yet another business crisis on top of the crisis you’re already facing. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t draw-up a fire-safety escape plan without first mapping out the actual building.

At RTG Solutions Group, our experts can apply our results-driven business process documentation strategy to ensure that your business has the procedural framework to survive any crisis. Check out our blog: 5 Steps to Improve Document Management for information.

Maximize Use of Technology

Business process documentation and technology with Remote work business team

Crises can deepen and complicate our reliance on technology. After all, if necessity is the mother of invention, we would expect to produce and adopt great innovations during times of great need. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the benefits of having a highly modernized, technologically integrated workplace. Businesses with strong remote-work technologies had the easiest time operating under pandemic conditions. Whereas, businesses with the fewest remote-work systems in place prior to the pandemic found it much harder to adapt to social distancing requirements.

For this reason, it is crucial – from a disaster-preparedness standpoint – to be proactive and strategic in your businesses’ use of technology. For example, subscribing to services that allow you to host interactive, web-based meetings can introduce a flexibility to your workplace that makes it better suited to face a crisis.

Additionally, maximizing your use of cloud-storage tools, such as OneDrive, Dropbox, and Confluence, can further strengthen your business’ readiness to face a time of chaos.

Finally, multi-purpose connectivity platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, HeySpace, and Wire can streamline your team’s information-sharing and have the added benefit of supporting a social environment in remote conditions.

However, avoid the common pitfall of adopting new technologies without discerning or being mindful of your current processes. If you are not strategic and methodological about which technologies you introduce into your workplace, you can end up spending a lot of money just to stir up a whole lot of confusion.

This is where process documentation plays a key role. It is also critical at this juncture to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment prior to implementing new technology.  This is a critical step to avoid jamming poor processes into new technology. This can create an even messier process. And that’s the last thing you need if you’re already in a crisis.

At RTG Solutions Group, we work carefully to assess your team’s technology needs and recommend the best possible resources. We are not affiliated with any specific technology vendors. Therefore, know that our recommendations are based purely on your business’ best interest.

Stay Ahead of the Game

business process documentation and technology towards future

This might seem like an obvious recommendation. Yet, keeping an eye on the future is the best way to prepare for a possible crisis. And it’s the best way to survive a current crisis.

On one hand, preemptively coordinating crisis-proof procedures and technologies will save you from having to scramble in the midst of a crisis to completely rearrange your company’s M.O. On the other hand, thinking about future goals and objectives, while undergoing a crisis, will help you make sure that your business is not simply surviving the chaos but actually thriving in spite of it.

Of course, these two things go hand in hand. If you have gone to lengths to prepare your business for the strain of a crisis, you are better positioned to trudge towards post-crisis goals while the chaos rages on. Alternatively, if you don’t have to focus efforts towards adapting to a crisis in real-time, you’ll have the luxury of aiming your resources towards important quarterly goals.

For example, businesses that reorganized under the COVID-19 pandemic might be tempted to return to pre-pandemic business operations after crisis restrictions fade. Some leaders in fact may claim that remote work, and technology like Zoom and Slack, are no longer needed.

However, scrapping the technological and organizational changes implemented under the crisis conditions will result in wasted resources, lost investments, and foregone opportunities for improvement. Rather, future-savvy businesses should think about how to move forward with their new technologies and procedures that enhances their pre-crisis operations.

So how do business leaders stay ahead of the game – before, during, and after a crisis? There is no one-size-fits-all approach to keep a business ahead of the game – and the competition.

At RTG Solutions Group, we believe that every business should be engaged in a process of continuous improvement. For this reason, we don’t simply implement generic changes and alter your operations.  By partnering with our clients, we teach proven problem-solving techniques that will keep their businesses ahead of the game.

Conclusion

Crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2008 stock market crash, and the 9/11 attacks did not just affect businesses in a temporary way; they permanently transformed business operations across entire industries.

At RTG Solutions Group, we’ve learned that, in the business world, it is always preferable to be proactive rather than reactive. Having a procedural and technological infrastructure in place that can be amenable to the strain of a crisis will save your business time, money, and resources. In order to prepare your business for a crisis, you should document all processes, maximize your use of technology, and stay ahead of the game.

Contact us today to start a conversation on how we can help your organization.

“A vision cannot be realized without the ability to execute.”

Khris K. Bhattan
PresidentPresident, RTG Solutions Group
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