Business process management (BPM) is a specialized field of operations management that focuses on improving performance by managing and optimizing a company’s business processes. BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective, and more capable of change than a traditional management approach.
The objective of BPM is to reduce human error and miscommunication, allowing stakeholders to focus on their roles. Today there are innovative companies such as Adeptia, who provide business solution software that will enhance the performance of an organization by bringing together BPM and integration in a single solution. Typically, BPM spans five stages: design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
Process design involves both the identification of existing processes and the design of the required new processes. The areas of focus include,
- Representation of process flow
- Alerts and notifications
- Standard operating procedures
- Service level agreements
- Task hand-over mechanisms
The proposed design could be in human-to-human, human-to-system, or system-to-system workflows.
This stage takes the theoretical design and introduces combinations of variables. This could involve changes in costs, which determine how the process might operate under different circumstances. It may also involve running a “what-if analysis” on the processes.
This involves the use of an application that executes the required steps of the process, with developed software that enables the full business process to be defined in a computer language, which can be directly executed by a computer.
Monitoring encompasses tracking individual processes, which provides data on the performance of the process. One example of this would be to determine the status of a client order (order arrived, awaiting delivery, invoice paid) in order that problems can be identified and rectified. This data can be used with suppliers and customers to improve their connected processes. The level of monitoring depends on what the business wants to evaluate and analyze. Process mining is a collection of tools and methods related to process monitoring, which helps a company identify bottlenecks.
Process optimization involves gathering process performance information from either the modelling or monitoring phase to identify potential or actual bottlenecks, along with the potential opportunities for cost savings or other improvements. These enhancements are then incorporated into the design of the process, creating greater business value.
A multitude of practical uses
BPM is widely used in business today to improve performance in the following areas,
- Stock / inventory management systems
- Document management systems
- Employee evaluation
- Quotations and sales proposals
- Marketing and sales
- Product life cycle management
The importance of integration
BPM and integration go hand in hand, and a good software package can bring the two together, allowing the collaboration between your business and IT to occur. Business process management is considered to be a bridge between business and IT, and it addresses issues such as,
- Managing end to end, customer facing processes
- Establishing a common language for business / IT alignment
- Existing systems integration
- Improved data access
BPM has become an essential tool for the modern business, as it provides a method to organize and automate processes, improving business performance.