Business Process Management – In-Depth Guide
Business process management is a layered approach to improving internal and external processes to generate business revenue and serve customers at the same time. Workforce diversity and increased profits are some of the others factors that are related to business process management. Several methods are related to business process management. It analyzes the process developed, change management, working of the model in different conditions, and its continuous improvement to ensure that the outcomes are as per the requirement. Business process management has a very broad perspective and it changes as per organizational roles, rules, tactics, and the changes that are encompassed. Many methodologies are related to business process management and include six sigma, lean management, and agile to improve the processes even further.
As the organizations grow the business processes become too complex to deal with. It is never possible to deal with the processes with automated tools. BPM tools have been developed to support large-scale businesses and the related processes. Automated workflows are being developed and the BPM tools are evolving with time. These tools are now integrated with AI, machine learning, and intelligent technologies to increase the reach further. The rise of digital business has now shifted the focus to front-end processes that include customer and employee engagement.
How does BPM work?
Business process management is something that has a difficult task for the organization. The implementation depends on the organization’s size, processes, culture, technical advancement, resources, and the prevailing culture. The business process can be narrow or large in scope and it can be applied to a single change or a myriad of changes. From onboarding new customers to changing a group of processes BPM works perfectly depending upon the situation. The value that the process change has is something that urges the organizations to implement the change.
To help all sized businesses this guide has been developed to explain the benefits, the challenges it has, and the processes that make its use more effectively. The automation processes and the improvement in implementation have been explained in full. The overview of the BPM and the automation tools that foster the process has also been explained in full.
Importance of Business Process Management
Business process management is important for any organization as it allows businesses to get success in the long run. Some of the most common examples of the processes that drive business goals are as follows:
- New product development and launch
- Order fulfillment
- Customer service Management
- Onboarding a new employee
There are hundreds or even thousands of approvals that are related to completing the processes mentioned above. Several stakeholders are related to the process including IT, BPO, and other machinery within the business. A good business process not only repeats these steps but also replicates the success as done for the processes that are producing constant results. These steps assure the organizations achieve the results and know the resources that are required to get the work done. There is no risk involved in under or overutilization of the resources. Process improvement is also done by continuous gauging so that gray areas are highlighted and processes are refined if required.
If the processes are not well defined and gauged for productivity not only the company suffers but the productivity and efficiency are also hampered. If an inefficient process is implemented then it not only undermines the business goals but also reflects poor planning on the management’s part.
BPM is continuously engaged to ensure that poorly managed processes are never implemented. If the BPM is done well and in line with the business goals it ensures that the product and services are delivered within no time and at a reduced cost. Process improvement integrated also ensures that the steps that are lagging are improved and they become productive. The changing needs and demands of the corporate sector are also met. The other strong reason that is related to this is:
Stages of BPM Lifecycle
BPM as described before is a large topic to cover. There are total 05 phases that must be followed to efficiently describe the BPM project:
- Design: Analyze to see the loopholes in the current process and then develop a new one using automation and standardization.
- Model: Simulation of the process developed should be done to see in which scenarios it works the best.
- Implement: Execute improvements to include standardization and quality control.
- Monitor: Make sure that the plans implemented are also checked to see how the work is being effected
- Optimize: Make necessary changes to ensure that you get the best business process automation without any issues or problems.
In some terminologies, there is a 6th process that is also included and it refers to as business process reengineering. It refers to the process where the changes are reinvented if they do not work at all. It usually includes the use of automation to drive the process on autopilot rather than intervening time and again.
The BPM lifecycle is not as simple as it seems and there are several months required to keep the processes up to the mark. Careful planning and inclusion of the other departments are also required. For instance onboarding, an employee not only involves HR but the IT department to issue credentials and systems and finance department for tax documentation.
Business Process improvement includes but is not limited to:
- Specialists for business goals align with the business processes
- Process development by professionals
- Business process owners
- Employees that use the process and provide feedback
- IT professionals that are responsible for the implementation of the related tools and processes
From planning to test and from implementation to feedback the BPM is a methodology that generates thousands of documents. BPM must be well arranged and well managed otherwise there is a large room for failure.
BPM Best Practices
Since its inception, BPM has improved a lot and it is all to keep the process on track and in line with the business goals. One thing is for sure BPM is a business process and not an IT management workload so it should be treated as such said Morris in his article “16 BPM best practices to ensure project success.
Each BPM initiative is an amalgamation of IT process development and business process enhancement. The primary focus should always be business process development and organizational management. It ensures that as the business evolves the BPM is also improved and polishes itself from time to time to meet the organizational needs.
If a BPM center of excellence is developed it will monitor all such changes for all mid and large-sized organizations. Some other Morris tips included:
- Interdisciplinary team management and creation
- Using a formal BPM methodology
- Use simulation modeling
Performance management with defined KPIs integrated within the workflow models.
What are the BPM Pros?
Improving processes and quality of work is something that lies at the core of BPM implementation. This is also one of the main reasons why the companies adopt BPM. A well-planned and executed BPM will not only resolve the operational challenges but will also cut waste and errors to increase agility, support change, and save time to ensure that the overall better product and services are delivered to the customers.
Following are some of the reasons for which BPM is a very effective management tool:
- Less human interference leads to fewer errors and reduces risk
- The analytics dashboards allow the managers to look into the process more closely and identify the gray areas
- Automation tools ensure that the efficiency is increased and employees only interact with the systems when required.
- BPM also gives more time to the employees to identify the process loopholes that lead to continuous improvement and enhancement.
BPM is not only infused into every process step and in the business operations as well. You can read more about how companies can benefit from BPM by clicking here.
The dilemma of Business Process Management
Several reasons can lead to BPM implementation failure and some are as follows:
- Lack of top-class buy-in and support
- Business goals and objectives that are not clear
- Inadequate testing facilities
- Confusion about the tools that are required for a particular job
- Process gray areas that are that break down the processes
- No process visibility and poor log maintenance
- Third-party contracts and incentives that are not clear to the organization
You can also read Lawton’s articles to check how to overcome the above challenges in case they are faced.
Business Process Management Certifications
IT certifications ensure that not only your skills are enhanced but the implementation is also done with perfection. Check out the Top 10 Business Process Management Certifications of 2022 to not only enhance your skills but help your career as well.
Business Process Management Categorically
Note that BPM is a very broad perspective and it uses many tools and processes for full implementation. Some professionals categorically designate types of business process management. These are as follows:
- System Centric: These are automatons that are integrated within the processes and do not require human intervention. The ERP and the CRM are some of the prime examples of BPM that are system-centric
- Human-Centric: As the name suggests it is a form of BPM that has been designed to interact with humans. These process applications provide detailed dashboards, notifications, and alerts. In short, it is a human-centric approach
- Document Centric: This approach relies on verifying and signing the contracts. The process includes formatting, signing, and verification. The BPM in such a scenario focuses on one approach at a time for instant document verification.
Levels of Concern in BPM
The levels of concern must be gauged in BPM and distinguished at the same time. Different levels are related to this topic and these are business process level, enterprise-level, and implementation. There are different activities at different levels that require different participation from other departments. The supply chain management where BPM is implemented is a prime example. The enterprise level may be of the view that the supply chain is not working as planned or as it should. It means that a redesign is required. The related department offers different ways outs that are to be approved with by the senior management. Here a CRM is brought on board, the IT department is engaged, and new jobs are created that also bring in HR. You can also take a look at the three-level model of Harmon which has been very popular among the business process management professionals.
BPM Examples and Applications
BPM applications are used in many departments within an organization. Some of the examples in this regard are as follows:
- Human Resources: HR can become more efficient by using BPM. From onboarding, and new hires to KPI management HR can perform the functions with great ease. The timesheet management and implementation of new processes can greatly improve the working and even cut the paper use by signing up for electronic forms of documents.
- Finance: Such departments receive a variety of documentation from any BPM form that has been implemented. For the financial processes, such departments receive too many emails and paper forms. From purchasing process to fast processes of medical reimbursement can be done with ease and perfection.
- Sales: BPM tools can coordinate with the exchange of sales quotes and raising RFQ instantly so that the sales lifecycle is shortened. As sales processes are also a mixture of human and system-centric processes so the use of BPM will further foster the process.
Types of BPM Technologies
BPM is implemented to make the business life easier and process automation. It is also referred to as BPM systems and it is a suite of different technologies which includes the following:
- Mining tools that are used for discovery, representation, and task analytics that drive the business processes
- Graphical representation of data using BPMN tools
- Workflow management with the help of engines that automate the flow of tasks so that a business process is completed with ease
- Business rules engines so that the end-user does not have to contact the development team for any change that is to be made
- Testing of the processes to check how they work in real-time before they are even coded.
There is a new expanded definition of BPM that explains what the process is, how it works, and what can you expect from the software. Some of the most important developments in this regard are as follows:
IBPMS: The term is an intelligent business process management system. It is being used by the vendors to get make the clients to understand that once a purchase is made they would be using the state of the art technology. These technologies include real-time analytics, machine learning, and complex processing. The BPM is more data-driven and dynamic so that it can change when required. There are other capabilities such as collaboration and social media advancement.
LCNC: Low code no code is something that is one of the widely used forms of business process management. It means that the businesses are not dependent on professional coders to make changes to their processes. End users and the business process executives can also make changes that are required and it gives more freedom to the users and makes processes faster.
RPA vs. BPM: Robotic process automation and the BPM were considered by some as the greatest rivals and are now considered to be the best partners. RPA is one of the best ways to mimic repetitive tasks. They are always automated to ensure that the work is done just as the humans do. The legacy applications that do not have a user-friendly interface can also be accessed automatically. It is also one of the selling points of RPA. This type is more for the automated tasks but this feature is diminishing as the program evolves.
BPM is not a software program but a way of processing tasks for the business. The development that has been done keeps in view lean management, agile, and Six Sigma. BPM might not have been integrated with the automation. Companies that use the BPM are the ones that focus on the result rather than the process itself. BPM also involves continuous process improvement. BPM is evolving and this is making it possible for businesses to get the suite of tools that foster the process development. From agile transformation to implementation BPM is making life easier for businesses.
Bottom Line: RPA automation is becoming a backbone for businesses and making implementation easy. RPA is being offered as a part of the BPM toolkit. Click here to learn more about the BPM and the RPA and how they can work together.
How much does BPM Cost?
Experts are of the view that the cost of BPM depends on the following factors:
- Scope of the Project
- Number of Users
- Transactions Per Hour
- Number of Locations
- Annual Usage
Once the use of the BPM within an organization is defined it is only then the BPM capabilities are selected. It is done not to underuse any ability and eliminating such issues leads to cost-cutting as well. It requires complete working and delving deep into the software and it is always done by professionals.
Aside from software storage, the costs of cloud storage, data storage, training, and tech fees must be also kept in view. For small to mid-sized businesses, the cost can rise to $50,000 and for large corporations, it can soar up to $1 million. This all depends on the use of the program and the products that are being accessed. The price is though negotiable.
Future of Business Process Management
BPM is a structured approach to improving business processes. It is an evolving mechanism that will get the business to know how they would work in the 21st century. From the changing environment of this digital world to the remote work during the COVID 19, the businesses must review the processes so that they can work without any issues.
With the changes, the businesses are evolving and new trends are being focused on so that the BPM gets to work more effectively. Some of the trends that are being evolved and will surely be followed in the coming years are as follows. The same trends are also explained in Lawton’s 6 trends shaping the future of BPM.
- End-user development tools make it possible for the users to develop the BPM on their own. It is one of the best ways to improve processes by identifying and implementing new ways.
- The business processes are using intelligent technologies such as AI, RPA, and machine learning. It makes sure that the processes are efficiently used and developed as the business evolves.
- The major software applications are being used to integrate with the BPM and it makes sure that the effect of the BPM is far-reaching in terms of technology and BPM principles.
- Automated process mining tools will ensure that the processes are optimized and the gray areas are detected. The work that has been done in the past on the same BPM is adopted by the systems so that the mapping becomes easy.
- Adaptive process management, or the ability to do iterative process modeling in real-time, will vastly improve the flexibility of process automation.
The use of BPM to improve and optimize the front-end business processes that engage with employees and customers will become a competitive differentiator for companies.