While all organizations, irrespective of size, have processes that can be improved upon, many of them don’t have access to process expertise to do so. Business process management (BPM) tools can help, but without a basic understanding, even the most intuitive software won’t make sense.
A good starting point is to understand how the typical BPM life cycle works.
Stages in the BPM life cycle
A simplified version of the BPM life cycle features the following steps: modeling, implementation, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
Take a look at a more in-depth version below.
#1. Planning and strategic alignment
The first stage of the BPM life cycle involves gaining an in-depth understanding of how processes are aligned with the value chain.
Typical activities undertaken in this stage may include:
- Organization profiling
- Identifying primary, management, and support processes
- Noting key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Preparing for process analysis
Primary processes are an organization’s core operations. They directly bring value to the customers. All processes that involve designing, creating, and selling of products or services to customers are considered primary.
Secondary processes support the primary processes. Examples include human resources, IT management, procurement, office administration, and so on.
Management processes involve monitoring primary and secondary processes to ensure that the organization is meeting overall financial and operational goals. These processes also involve activities to ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines.
#2. Process analysis
In the analysis stage, one needs to observe the process as it is currently practiced in order to get a complete picture. It has to necessarily precede modeling if effective changes are to be introduced.
Based on the nature of the processes, the method of analysis chosen may be qualitative or quantitative. In general, however, the analysis includes interviewing process performers, analyzing available process documentation, and arriving at a complete picture of how processes are being executed.
#3. Process design
Observations from process analysis are put to use in the design stage. At this point, you should have awareness of bottlenecks, lags, and delays in detail.
The important question to answer is whether the process should be retained as is or redesigned to fix the issues identified. Based on the response, you may approach it in one of two ways:
- Continuous process improvement wherein the process is accepted in its current structure and issues are corrected one after another, or
- Redesign, wherein the entire process is remodeled in its entirety.
Once process modeling is complete, new procedures need to be approved. A deployment plan is created to ensure that relevant process performers are trained for the changes and transitions are smooth.
#4. Implementing the process
When it comes to implementing the new process design, there are two ways to execute it: systemic and non-systemic implementation. The former uses specific software or tools for implementation while the latter doesn’t.
The choice between the two types depends on the nature of the business process and resources available to the organization.
However, the goal remains the same–to put into practice the workflow designed in the previous stage.
#5. Process monitoring
In this stage, previously identified KPIs are monitored to ensure that the process is aligning with the organization’s overarching goals. Here, one would typically be tracking, measuring, and controlling on a continuous basis.
Some common KPIs that are monitored include the duration of the process, cost of the process, capacity or how much the process can produce, and errors or issues that adversely affect customer satisfaction.
Information gained during process monitoring will help you gauge if the process needs any changes or tweaks and the redesigned process is meeting goals and objectives.
#6. Process refinement
In the refinement stage, one makes the effort to close the gap between current performance and the modeled process with carefully measured changes.
The BPM life cycle is based on the notion of continuous process improvement. The cycle is repeated as the organization attempts to enhance performance and boost growth. Here is a 5-step guide to increase process efficiency.
A simple, powerful BPM tool
Ensuring increasing process efficiency can be overwhelming when you don’t have the expertise. Kissflow Process is a simple yet powerful BPM software that can ease your efforts. It features an intuitive design that doesn’t require coding knowhow. Customizable notifications improve accountability.
Powerful reporting capabilities facilitate valuable insights into process performance. The drag-and-drop form builder allows you to make improvements or add parallel branches to the workflow on the go. Kissflow also offers a convenient pricing model that will make the best of BPM available to you.