As a software developer, I tend to view business as software. The processes are often significantly more complex than a machine could reasonably do; as a result, we have people in the system. While I do not believe that every part of every business should be viewed as software, I do believe that many parts can be.
As an example, in my own business I have a procedure used to generate leads. It is a simple process. That said, it requires a person to work the system (see the image below). Portions of the process are completely handled by software – these tend to be data storage and tracking tasks that are much better handled by a computer than a person. I can keep a close eye on the leads coming into my business, and not be concerned with managing the people who chase them down.
While this particular process is a very simple example, there are many applications for this type of thinking. Building formal procedures and installing software to manage them eliminates the need to micro manage. At the end of the day, a report is generated showing how many new leads had been processed and how many were simply not an actual part of my target market.
Using systems like BonitaBPM, Alfresco and Activiti – I can document and develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) that require a fraction of the management overhead of existing systems. The volume of work will increase and profits will as well.