A guide to process transformation: boost efficiency and innovation

Understand how process transformation works, and why it's necessary for business to thrive.

You’ve identified a system that isn’t working. It’s negatively impacting your business, and you can’t afford to overlook it any longer. 

It’s time for a process transformation.

This isn’t just change for the sake of it. 

It’s change for the purpose of continued business growth and innovation. It leads to more efficient operating models that drive your company forward. 

Here we’ll discuss what a business transformation is, why you might need it, the challenges ahead, and how to come out on top.

What is business process transformation?

Business process transformation is a comprehensive and long-term change management process. The goal is to make significant improvements to operations. External pressures drive this transformation, as businesses must adapt to changes to achieve their goals.

Cutting costs and improving customer satisfaction are some examples that can push a company toward business process transformation. The transformation process involves major overhauls of workflows, processes, and technology. 

To dive into business process transformation, we must understand the greater concept of business process management (BPM). BPM models, analyzes, identifies, measures, optimizes, and streamlines ineffective processes to promote business growth. Business process transformations are the intricacies of this bigger picture.

What commonly drives business process transformation?

Let’s break down common reasons that push businesses to decide it’s time to transform a process.

1. Reduce costs: In today’s competitive landscape, businesses often find it essential to cut costs to stay competitive and weather economic challenges successfully.

2. Improve customer satisfaction: Happy customers are the lifeblood of any company. Retaining customers and attracting new ones takes work.

3. Increase competitiveness: The business world is rapidly changing. Staying ahead of the competition is a must, whether this means pivoting your services or optimizing products.

4. Comply with changing regulations: Regulations are constantly evolving. You must adapt to meet compliance requirements to avoid penalties and legal action.

5. Modernize processes: Embracing technological advancements maintains your relevancy and efficiency. Keep up with the rapid pace of technology by modernizing processes.

6. Streamline core business functions: Improve overall performance and save money by implementing more efficient processes. Streamlining core business functions is an effective way to achieve these benefits.

7. Accelerate time-to-market for products and services: Speeding up development and delivery is necessary in today’s fast-paced market. Be sure you meet customer demands and stay ahead of competitors.

8. Adapt to new business goals: Your goals evolve with time. While your mission stays the same, your more immediate goals will change year to year as you scale.

What are some challenges that occur during a process transformation?

Process transformation can be a complex and demanding journey, requiring significant dedication. Along this path, several common challenges may arise, and awareness of them is crucial for a successful transformation.

Employee resistance to change

As with any significant shift, employees may naturally resist changes to their established work systems. Your staff might think the old way of doing things works fine, or learning a new process will slow them down. Before presenting the change, figure out what reasons your staff will have for not wanting to participate. Be prepared to provide clear responses as to why the change is necessary. Most importantly, listen and get them involved in the process.

Insufficient training and communication

Once your staff understands the need for change, ensure they’re prepared to implement it. If you begin the process transformation before it’s fully developed, you risk leaving your staff confused and overwhelmed. Help them commit to the changes with adequate training and clear communication.

Lack of leadership and support

Your employees will be looking to leaders for support during this time. You could lose them if they don’t feel supported, or if leadership lacks a strong presence. Your staff will look to their leaders to answer questions, lead by example, and encourage them through changes. Have the right people in the right places to inspire change.

Inadequate resources

Process transformation demands considerable resources regarding time, finances, and skilled personnel. With inadequate resources, the transformation could fall short of its potential or fail to bring about meaningful change. To avoid this, look closely at what’s needed when you design the ideal workflow.

Lack of clarity and alignment

You could be doomed from the start if you lack clarity and alignment. Confusion can arise if the purpose of the transformation is not effectively conveyed. Clear and well-communicated goals and objectives are essential to keeping everything aligned.

Having a decentralized workforce

Deskless employees pose a unique challenge when implementing sweeping changes. It can be hard to know if everyone is clear on the new process and if they are implementing the changes. In fact, companies with deskless employees very frequently fall into a habit of operating with tribal knowledge— or info that isn’t formally document, and instead is known by one, or very few key members in the team. If they leave, then this knowledge goes with them.

Having a straightforward approach with an accessible mobile training platform will reach those working in the field. Combine that with online evaluations to ensure you’ve reached everyone.

Technology limitations

If your transformation is digital, you must look at the technology involved. Outdated technology can stop you in your tracks. Be sure your current technology infrastructure can support the new processes and systems required. Addressing technological constraints is vital for a smooth transition. 

To overcome these challenges, you must proactively plan and address each one. And these challenges are just a guideline— your business may not have all of them, or it may have more specific ones that apply to your industry. By acknowledging and managing these obstacles with care, you can navigate the complexities of business process transformation and unlock its full potential.

How training drives process transformation

Embrace the idea that continuous learning and development should always be a part of your employee growth plan. When your organization goes through big changes, this becomes even more important than ever! 

Presenting your staff with the reasoning behind the change is one important piece. Providing them with high-quality training is another.

By offering training as part of the process transformation, employees see the transformation as a benefit, because the change also brings the opportunity to upskill or reskill. 

It also allows management to train all employees on the fundamentals of your business so that they understand why the change is necessary. Training helps employees feel more involved and empowered in the process. It creates an organization where everyone is aligned towards the same business goal, regardless of their position in the company.

Keep in mind that the training you create and share doesn’t have to interrupt your employees’ work day. By creating on demand training you’ll equip employees with the information they need, and in a format that they can access at the moment they need it.

A better-trained staff leads to a smoother transition as employees are better equipped to adapt to the changes.

Create training resources that your employees can take anywhere

Deliver learning and development resources that employees can access directly from their smartphones.

What are the steps for process transformation?

  • Identify the goals of the transformation
  • Establish baseline metrics
  • Brainstorm with stakeholders
  • Develop a new process
  • Implement in a controlled environment
  • Monitor and optimize 
  • Measure results

By approaching business process transformation with a well-considered strategy and addressing potential obstacles, businesses can maximize their chances of success and achieve the desired improvements in their operations.

How to make your process transformation a success

Define your goal

To kickstart your business process transformation, begin by clearly defining your objectives. Determine whether you want to upgrade systems, introduce new technology, or adapt to a new organizational structure. Understanding the reasons driving this need for change is crucial in shaping your transformation strategy.

Typically, business process improvement starts with collaborative efforts from business leaders. Together, they reimagine existing processes from the ground up.

Adopting a customer-centric approach, viewing your product from their perspective, will be your guide.

As you proceed, identify redundant tasks and outdated systems. Gather input from relevant team members. Remember to ensure that your transformation efforts align with regulatory compliance requirements.

Measure your current performance

Use data to establish a baseline for the process you want to transform. Factors like cost, time spent, and error rates are needed. 

Your baseline will help gauge the success of the transformation and identify necessary tweaks after implementation.

Get everyone involved

In the business process transformation journey, engaging all those involved is crucial. Seek their feedback on the existing processes, understanding what worked well and what they want to achieve moving forward. Valuable insights from those regularly involved in the process can improve outcomes.

It’s essential to listen to the objections of those resistant to change actively. Effectively communicate the benefits of change, supported by data. Explain the decision-making process behind the proposed changes, new business models, and how they align with the organization’s primary goals.

Design the ideal workflow

When devising your process transformation plan, comprehensively document what you’re currently doing. 

This includes:

  • Current processes
  • Technology that is used
  • Plans for migrating infrastructure
  • Employee learning and development

You’ll need to develop a plan to facilitate a smooth transition. Consider how normal business operations will continue while implementing new processes. Share this transition plan with those involved, providing a clear timeline for completing different phases.

An effective approach when designing a new workflow is reverse engineering your process. Start by defining your end goal, and with that vision in mind, craft a streamlined workflow that incorporates both human and system tasks. This forward-thinking approach helps your transformation efforts align with the desired outcomes.

Test before implementing

Conducting thorough testing is crucial before implementing any significant changes to your business processes. One effective approach is to create a mock process in a controlled testing environment involving real people and using actual data. Simulating the proposed changes in this controlled setting lets you observe how the new process functions.

During the testing phase, encourage active participation and feedback from the individuals involved. Their insights and firsthand experiences will provide valuable information about potential challenges, areas for improvement, and any unforeseen issues.

Testing before implementation is a proactive and precautionary measure, helping you avoid costly mistakes and disruptions once the changes are rolled out on a larger scale. It allows you to validate your ideas, mitigate risks, and ensure a successful transition. 

Implement and monitor

It’s up to your leaders to decide how to implement your new process best. It’s common to begin with a small-scale rollout. This approach could be with a pilot program or in phases. 

A pilot program allows you to implement your new program with little disruption to the rest of the company. Once proven successful, it can be rolled out to the entire organization.

A phased approach brings in changes incrementally. This helps minimize disruption and ensures that the changes are sustainable.

By implementing your process transformations in these ways, you can monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary. 


What is the purpose of business process transformation?

Business process transformation aims to implement lasting positive change in the company. The change happens by identifying a system or process that isn’t working and then improving or completely overhauling that process to be better.

What are the 4 phases of the transformation process?

Each process will look slightly different, but all should include identifying the problem, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What is an example of a transformation process?

Your HR team may receive a specific frequent request from employees. They may decide to transform their response through automation. This change saves time and optimizes the flow of information.

Why is process transformation important?

Process transformation helps organizations reach their full potential. By identifying a system that isn’t working and reworking it, you can achieve higher customer satisfaction, save money, and increase operational efficiency.

Remain relevant with meaningful transformations

Businesses can stay relevant and adaptable to changing market demands by taking on process transformations. This isn’t a matter of making changes for the sake of it. Instead, it’s about embracing a culture of continuous improvement to drive the company forward. Implementing more efficient operating models will streamline workflows, optimize resources, and enhance overall productivity, leading to sustainable success.

Key takeaways

  • Engage your employees and seek feedback. Their insights and perspectives can provide invaluable information and gain support for the transformation.
  • Have clear communication from the beginning. Share the benefits of change and show data-driven evidence explaining the changes’ advantages.
  • Thoroughly test the proposed changes in a controlled environment first. Use real people and allow observation, feedback collection, and necessary adjustments. You will ensure a smoother implementation and reduce the risk of disruptions.
  • Throughout the transformation, keep the end goals in mind. Aligning the process changes with the organization’s objectives is key. 
  • Don’t neglect your training approach. Microlearning and a quality mobile training platform will best serve your deskless workforce.