A Full Overview of Business Process Management
October 7th, 2018 • BPM
What is Business Process Management (BPM)?
Business Process Management is how a company creates, edits, and analyzes the predictable processes that make up the core of its business.
Each department in a company is responsible for taking some raw material or data and transforming it into something else. There may be a dozen or more core processes that each department handles.
With Business Process Management, a company takes a step back and looks at all of these processes in total and individually. It analyzes the current state and identifies areas of improvement to create a more efficient and effective organization.
Okay, so what is a business process?
A business process is any sequence of events or tasks that must be performed for a business to operate. For example, a customer’s purchase resulting in delivery is a key business process that exists in many organizations. To know more about a business process, the steps to define it and the examples of a business process, check out this post.
So, wait, is this like task management with Trello and Asana?
Business process management is neither task management (which focuses on individual tasks) or project management (which handles one-time or unpredictable flows).
Task management is about handling or organizing a set of activities that arise out of a project. These projects are often one-time and non-repeatable. When these projects are well-organized like in construction work, a project management software like ‘Microsoft Project’ is used. Trello and Asana are good tools for managing tasks in ad-hoc projects.
Business Process Management is focused more on repetitive and ongoing processes that follow a predictable pattern, or process management.
Learn more about Project vs. Process vs. Task Management
Why Does Business Process Management Matter?
When left unorganized and unsystematized, poor business processes can lead to mayhem. At the individual level, people only see one part of a process, and very few can scan out and see the full effects of a process, where it starts and ends, the key data needed, and where potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie.
Unmanaged, chaotic processes hurt business and lead to one or more of these scenarios:
- Time wasted
- More errors
- Increased blame
- Lack of data
- Demoralized employees
Applying business process management organizations can improve their processes and keep all aspects of operations running optimally.
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Business Process Management Life Cycle:
Here are the Steps in Business Process Management:
Most processes include a form to collect data and a workflow to process it. Build your form and identify who will own each task in the workflow.
Represent the process in a visual layout. Fix details like deadlines and conditions to give a clear idea of the sequence of events, and the flow of data through the process.
Execute the process by testing it live with a small group first and then open it up to all users. Make sure you restrict access to sensitive information.
Keep an eye on the process as it runs through the workflow. Use the right metrics to identify progress, measure efficiency, and locate bottlenecks.
As you analyze, notice any changes that need to be done to your form or workflow to make them more efficient. Consider business process improvement steps.
What are the various types of business process management?
BPM systems can be categorized based on the purpose that they serve. Here are the three types of business process management:
This type of business process management system handles processes that primarily jump between your existing systems (e.g. HRMS, CRM, ERP) without much human involvement. Integration-centric business process management systems have extensive connectors and API access to be able to create processes that move fast.
Human-centric BPM is for those processes that are primarily executed by humans. These often have a lot of approvals and tasks performed by individuals. These platforms excel at a friendly user interface, easy notifications, and quick tracking.
These business process management solutions are required when a document (e.g. a contract or agreement) is at the heart of the process. They enable routing, formatting, verifying, and getting the document signed as the tasks pass along the workflow.
Most business process management systems will be able to incorporate elements of each of these, but each one will usually have one specialty.
What are the benefits of incorporating Business Process Management into a business?
Here are some of the primary benefits of using BPM in your business:
- Gain control of chaotic and unwieldy processes
- Create, map, analyze, and improve business processes
- Run everyday operations more efficiently
- Realize bigger organizational goals
- Move toward digital transformation
- Improve and optimize tangled operations
- Closely track individual items as they move through a workflow
Features Every Competent Business Process Management Tool Should Have
1. Visual Process Diagramming Tool
This allows users to create the primary path of the business process including parallel branches and conditional tasks. Each task is assigned to a system or individual.
2. Drag and Drop Form Designer
Every business process needs a way to carry the payload through the process. The form designer should collect multiple types of data and auto-populate information based on the user.
3. Role-Based Access Control
You may want to hide or restrict editing of information based on the task in the workflow. The BPM Suite you choose should be able to easily handle all of these situations.
4. Mobile Support
Every good business process management system will allow for tasks to be completed and checked on through a mobile device. Choose a cloud business process management solution that supports and offers complete functionality for mobile users.
5. Powerful Administrator Features
You should have complete control over your account without needing to call an expensive consultant for every change. Make sure you can create reports, manage users, reassign tasks, and edit forms as needed.
6. Single Sign-On (SSO)
SSO allows a user to log in with one set of credentials across multiple independent software platforms. This helps IT teams grant access and track activity.
7. Integration with Existing Software Systems
Very few companies have any use for a business process management solution that cannot communicate with other core software systems. These integrations should include detailed API support, webhooks, REST APIs, and many others.
8. Reports and Analytics
The best business process management tools offer ready-to-use and customizable reports to analyze important data. Reports should include the time taken to complete tasks, a snapshot of open items, and stats on rejections and rerouting.
9. Performance for Large User Bases
Do your research to find out how many customers your potential business process management software provider has. What systems have they built the product on? Will they be able to scale as your user base grows?
10. Process Performance Metrics
In business process management, the Process Performance Metrics are automatically captured system data that is evaluated by the process administrator to identify whether a problem is a result of poor process modeling or execution.
You need to understand what a good business process management system should have, and what you should be looking for. Search for key features from different vendors and discover your unique requirements.
Business Process Management Examples:
Have you ever felt your organization’s onboarding process is too complex and chaotic? Is your HR department asking the candidates to fill out paper forms that make them exhausted? This is because your HR department lacks the principle of Business Process Management (BPM). Applying business process management, helps you automate your HR processes end-to-end, thereby cutting down on cost, time, and paper forms. Given below are a couple of examples as to how business process management helps your HR department to improve their processes:
In most organizations, the sales team spends a significant amount of time in coordinating with the Accounts Receivable (AR) team, to get sales invoices approved. Even a small typo in invoices, ruins the lives of the salespeople. This is where business process management comes into the picture, since it automates the invoice approval process, thereby eliminating the chances of manual errors and the back and forth clarifications between the salespeople and the AR team. Given below are a couple of scenarios in the sales department, where business process management can help them streamline their processes:
Finance team is the one that is bombarded with paper forms and emails every day, since anything that involves money has to go through them. For instance, if the asset management team wants to purchase 50 laptops, they send the quotation that they received from the vendor to the finance team, for them to approve it. This is just one case. Imagine, how many such emails or paper forms they would be receiving on a daily basis from various teams. Without a system in place, it’ll be cumbersome for them to manage all of these. The one that helps them manage these processes is essentially the business process management (BPM) system. Given below are a couple of scenarios in the finance department, where business process management comes as a saving grace:
Sounds like a lot of expensive software, right?
Usually, yes. Business process management (BPM) system can get quite complex. Installing an on-premise solution might cost more than $250,000 after technology and consultant costs are included. But SaaS solutions like KiSSFLOW are priced at just $9/user/month to make BPM much more affordable. Plus, there’s no extra fees for support.
Why don’t you give it a try? There’s a free 14-day trial. Pick a process that has been hard to automate in your company and see how easy it can be.
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