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What does business process maturity mean for SMEs?

By Jodie Korber on 3/02/17 3:37 PM

All companies, big and small, have processes. They’re the structured business activities that produce value, serve customers, and generate income.

 What is business maturity business processes

When they are regularly reviewed and continuously improving, your business will be functioning optimally. If not, performance will be impacted.

How important are business processes?

Your business, just like all others, is built on 3 pillars:

1. People

Having the right people, motivated and performing is naturally a key requirement to performance. 

2. Technology

Providing the people with the right tools to do their jobs well is vitally important. Technology has transformed the work environment, and with digital technologies such as cloud and mobile we are all becoming much more efficient. 

3. Process

Business processes are what hold everything together. They establish formal lines of communication and promote cooperation between units

Making a sale, for example, involves multiple departments, from marketing to production to accounts.

Processes are essential because they ensure that business tasks are carried out in the right way, at the right time, and by the right people.

What is process maturity?

As a small or medium enterprise (SME), growth is likely to be one of your main business goals. So, if growth has slowed and you’re falling behind your competitors, ‘immature’ processes could be to blame.

Process maturity is an indication of how close a developing process is to being complete and capable of continual improvement.

As an organisation becomes more mature, so too does its processes. But this doesn’t mean they necessarily mature at the same rate – some may still be at the lower levels.

A process’ maturity level can even drop if it’s not monitored or the documents are not updated as the business changes.

Maturity levels

There are 6 levels of maturity for business processes. 

Level 0: Person-dependent
The activity being performed is not documented. It’s entirely person-dependent and the sequence, timing, and result may vary during repetition.

Level 1: Documented
There is a document that has been reviewed and approved by an authority as the standard process, but the activity being performed may not be carried out as per the document.

Level 2: Partial deployment
The documented activity is being deployed, but there are inconsistencies. For example, it may not be deployed at all the intended locations, or though all functions, or by all the intended owners, or all the activities defined in the process are not being performed.

Level 3: Full deployment
The process is consistent and shows seamless linkage between functions and other processes wherever there needs to be any interaction.

Level 4: Measured and automated
The process is measured against goals such as adherence to timelines, customer satisfaction, and cost. It is system-driven by custom-made software.

Level 5: Continuously improving
The timelines, cost targets, and satisfaction levels are being achieved consistently and performance objectives are regularly updated.

Becoming More Mature for Business Growth

So, how do you get your processes to maturity level 5?

It varies across businesses and industries. Process maturity in a fast-evolving market such as financial technology will mean something totally different from maturity in a more traditional field such as legal services.

Regardless, one thing all organisations have in common is that they should start with a business process review. In next week’s blog, we’ll run through what this involves.

Start by getting expert advice and putting the foundations in place, and you’ll set yourself up for digital success.

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