From Archaic to Agile: Your Path to Business Process Improvement

“Change is the only constant,” says Hariharan KP, Head of Service Operations at solverASSIST. Faced with this reality, businesses find themselves at a crossroads: evolve or risk obsolescence. Yet the prospect of overhauling their operations for the elusive gains of modernization can be an overwhelming one. 

The daunting upfront costs of new technology, the fear of operational disruptions, and the specter of failure loom large. This reluctance is further compounded by internal barriers – from a lack of expertise to cultural resistance against abandoning time-honored methods. 

Yet, as Hariharan KP points out, these barriers don’t need to be insurmountable. Successful business process improvement begins with a forward-looking perspective and incremental progress over seismic shifts. The journey takes time, but as Hariharan KP discusses in this article, the results will increase revenue and efficiency. 

What We Cover:

The Harsh Reality Without Business Process Improvement

Without business process improvement, you’re left with outdated systems and processes that heavily rely on manual tasks, leading to a cascade of inefficiencies across resources. These inefficiencies can manifest in your business in several detrimental ways:

  • Increased Operational Costs and Slow Turnaround Times: The heavy reliance on manual input not only slows down operations but also escalates costs associated with these processes. This inefficiency impacts your company’s bottom line and its ability to compete in fast-paced markets.
  • Reduced Productivity and High Error Rates: Manual processes are inherently prone to human error, leading to inaccuracies in financial reporting, decision-making, and overall operational efficiency. Such errors diminish customer satisfaction and trust, further negatively impacting your business.
  • Incompatibility with New Technologies: Legacy systems and archaic processes often face significant challenges integrating with new, innovative technologies. This incompatibility hinders the adoption of solutions that could actually improve your operations and customer engagement, and drive growth.
  • Increased Security Risks: Archaic processes increase the risk of security vulnerabilities and financial exposure, making your business more susceptible to cyber threats and data breaches. 
  • Limited Data Insights for Decision Making: The siloed nature of data in legacy systems, combined with a lack of real-time analytics, severely restricts your capability to make informed, data-driven decisions. 
  • Constraints on Business Scalability: Outdated processes become significant bottlenecks as you attempt to scale operations. These bottlenecks prevent your business from responding adequately to market demands, expanding its offerings, or experiencing growth. 

How Archaic Processes Hurt Revenue

When your company sticks to old ways of doing things, launching new products and services becomes a slow, cumbersome process. Efficiency and productivity take a nosedive, which means you earn less money. “Reduced productivity and efficiency have a direct impact on revenue,” confirms Hariharan KP.

One of the biggest problems with clinging to the past is how it affects time to market. In today’s fast-paced world, being slow means missed opportunities and lost sales. Customers won’t wait around; if you’re not quick and responsive, they’ll turn to competitors who are, and who can provide a better customer experience

But it doesn’t stop there. Outdated processes can make your operation costly and wasteful. Imagine running an old, inefficient machine that uses more energy and breaks down often, compared to a sleek, new model that does the job faster and with less expense. That’s what old processes do to your business operations. They not only reduce your workforce’s productivity but also inflate your costs. 

How to Identify Areas for Business Process Improvement

Hariharan KP emphasizes that identifying areas for business process improvement is not a one-off task but a continuous effort. If you invest in continuous improvement programs, adopt new technologies, and prioritize ongoing training for employees, your company can stay competitive and reduce inefficiencies.

Hariharan KP shares several strategies for you to identify areas for improvement:

  • Monitor Key Performance Metrics (KPIs): Regularly monitor KPIs to pinpoint areas falling short of targets. Metrics such as cost per transaction and error rates are crucial indicators of inefficiency.
  • Audit Regularly: Conduct audits to reveal bottlenecks and outdated methods; this gives you a clear picture of areas needing improvement.
  • Perform Gap Analysis: This strategic tool helps in comparing actual performance with potential or desired performance. 
  • Gather Feedback: Conduct surveys and interviews with employees to gain insights into inefficiencies and areas negatively affecting productivity.
  • Customer satisfaction levels, gleaned from social media and online reviews, can also signal where processes might be falling short and impacting the customer experience.
  • Review New Technologies: Benchmark current technologies against new tools, such as automation tools and digital platforms, to identify gaps in efficiency and opportunities for business process improvement.
  • Financial Analysis: Examine financial reports to identify rising costs; this will indicate inefficiencies or bottlenecks within your operations.
  • Security Testing: Regular security assessments can uncover vulnerabilities tied to outdated processes and will emphasize the need for modernization to safeguard against cyber threats.

How to Prioritize Business Process Improvements to Maximum Revenue

Hariharan KP recommends conducting a comprehensive process audit to map out existing inefficiencies and bottlenecks that hinder your business’s ability to achieve its goals. Then, it’s crucial to assess the impact on revenue and customer satisfaction.

It’s also vital to use data and analytics to understand which processes are underperforming and generating the most complaints. This insight helps to pinpoint where improvements are most needed.

Hariharan KP recommends that businesses implement pilot programs to test improvements on a small scale; this allows you to gauge the effectiveness of changes before a full-scale rollout. Successful pilot programs can then be expanded, scaling improvements across the organization and optimizing processes as part of a continuous improvement strategy.

“Technology is very centric to this whole process. It helps to optimize inefficiencies; one way is to automate manual processes, streamlining repetitive tasks and freeing up individuals for strategic activities. This speeds up processes and reduces errors.” – Hariharan KP.  

Common Hurdles During Business Process Improvements

One of the most significant challenges in business process improvement is employee resistance to change. Once you suggest modernization and implement a new system or process, staff can react with skepticism and reluctance. 

Other common hurdles include: 

Lack of Vision and Leadership

For any modernization and business process improvement initiative to be successful, strong leadership and a clear vision are essential. Without these, the project may flounder. Leadership must be committed to the change and visibly support the initiative.

Inadequate Resources

You need the right people to drive the modernization effort. Inadequate or improperly skilled resources can lead to project delays, inefficiencies, or failure. Ensure that your team has the necessary skills and support if you want business process improvement to be successful.

Ineffective Communication

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, misinformation, and a lack of stakeholder buy-in. It’s vital to maintain open lines of communication with all stakeholders, regularly updating them on progress, addressing concerns, and soliciting feedback.

Complexity of Integration

Integrating new technologies into existing systems can be a complex and daunting task. Careful planning, consideration of compatibility and scalability, and engagement with the right technology experts are key to mitigating risks associated with integration.

Security Risks

Business process improvements, especially those involving digital transformation, can introduce new security vulnerabilities. Conduct thorough risk assessments, involve legal and compliance teams early on, and develop a strategy to address these risks if you wish to safeguard your organization in the long term.

The Key Stakeholders Involved in Business Process Improvements

Employee engagement is crucial in implementing technology and improving business processes. Invest in employee training and development to grow a skilled workforce ready to tackle new challenges. 

Engaging employees in decision-making processes not only cultivates a sense of ownership but also strengthens their commitment to your organization’s goals. Key stakeholders in this journey include executive leadership (responsible for guiding direction and approving budgets), and project teams who execute these initiatives. 

Customers or end-users, HR departments, legal and compliance teams, suppliers, and operational staff also play significant roles. Each of these groups contributes to the successful implementation of process improvements.

How to Measure the Impact of Business Process Improvement

Once you implement business process improvements, you must measure their success. Hariharan KP highlights that in the digital landscape, new metrics have emerged that offer a more nuanced view of business performance compared to traditional measures. 

Key metrics such as Cost of Acquisition (CoA), Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) provide your business with insights into financial performance and customer engagement. 

These metrics shift the focus towards understanding the revenue generated per user and the recurring revenue, which is critical for assessing the long-term sustainability of the business.

Monitor Customer-Centric Metrics

Customer-centric metrics like customer retention rates, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and customer churn rates have become indispensable in measuring the impact of process improvements. These metrics help you to determine the effectiveness of their operational changes as they pertain to customer experience. 

By comparing these metrics before and after implementing process improvements, you can directly observe the benefits of technologically-driven business process improvements. These measures underscore the transformation in how businesses evaluate success in a digitally driven market.

How to Align Business Process Improvements with Business Objectives

Aligning business process improvements with your business objectives isn’t just about tweaking how things are done. You’ll need to craft a roadmap where every step, from setting crystal-clear goals to strategic planning and leadership, ensures your processes are not just efficient but also in perfect harmony with where you want your business to go.

Hariharan KP recommends the following:

  • Define Clear Goals: Start by defining your objectives. Knowing exactly what you aim to achieve sets the stage for all subsequent planning and execution.
  • Strategic Planning: Develop a detailed strategic plan that outlines how to achieve these goals. This plan should include milestones, timelines, and the resources required.
  • Effective Leadership: Leadership should inspire and motivate the team, ensuring everyone is aligned with the company’s vision and objectives.
  • Right People in Right Roles: Allocate human resources strategically, placing the right people in roles where they can make the most significant impact towards achieving goals.
  • Set KPIs: Establish relevant KPIs to measure progress towards objectives. These indicators should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  • Risk Management: Identify potential risks that could impede the achievement of goals and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.

Business Process Improvement: Success Stories

Numerous companies have transformed their operations and market position by embracing technological advancements and business process improvement methodologies. Hariharan KP recalls these notable examples:

Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time Processes

Toyota stands out as a pioneering example of business process improvement. The introduction of lean manufacturing and Just-In-Time (JIT) production processes revolutionized the automotive industry. By focusing on reducing waste and improving efficiency, Toyota not only improved its operational efficiency but also set new standards for manufacturing worldwide.

Walmart’s Supply Chain Innovations

Walmart has made significant investments in its supply chain management and logistics systems, including cross-docking and advanced inventory systems. Walmart leveraged technology to maintain lower prices than its competitors.

Amazon’s Retail Revolution

Amazon is a prime example of how technology can fundamentally change a business landscape. With innovation at its core, Amazon has continuously evolved to improve customer experience and efficiency. From cloud computing to AI and logistics innovations, Amazon’s commitment to technology and customer-centricity has made it a leader in the retail sector.

Apple’s Continuous Innovation

Apple’s success story is marked by its constant challenge to the status quo. Through relentless innovation and a focus on design and user experience, Apple has consistently introduced products that redefine markets.

Advice for Successful Business Process Improvement

Drawing from his own experience, Hariharan KP believes it’s crucial to recognize that employees naturally resist change due to comfort with existing routines or fear of the unknown. Directly addressing these concerns and ensuring transparent communication are vital for securing stakeholder support.

He advises businesses to consider the following: 

  • Provide training and support for employees. Acknowledge small achievements along the way to maintain morale and momentum and make the journey toward improvement feel more achievable.
  • Technology, while a significant efficiency booster, requires careful implementation and integration into current systems. This approach underscores that technology is a tool that, when used correctly, can drive substantial improvements.

At solverASSIST, we understand that outdated systems, labor challenges, and old processes can slow down your business (and revenue). We’re here to help streamline your operation, driving your profitability in your respective industry.  

Ready to begin business process improvements and move your business forward? Contact solverASSIST for a free consultation. Let’s discuss your needs.


Hariharan KP serves as Head of Service Operations at solverASSIST. He is an experienced business executive with years of experience in driving top-line and bottom-line growth for businesses across geographies. He also has decades of experience in the international shipping and logistics industries. 

Prior to solverASSIST, Hariharan worked with P&0 Nedlloyd, Maersk and Agility Logistics. He has a strong track record in developing new digital assets, marketing in the digital world, and converting opportunities into business service partnerships. 

Hariharan is known for his ability to inspire teams to deliver consistent and standardized service delivery, and a strong data-driven and technology-focused approach has helped him deliver successful business transformations and customer service projects. 

His skills include project management, IT services management, data science and analytics.

Connect with Hariharan on LinkedIn.