Repeatable business processes allow your organization to survive, thrive, and grow in our increasingly competitive business landscape. Even single-person businesses create standardized workflows that contribute to the success of the brand.
As your organization grows, those processes become more complex, which can lead to inefficiency, waste, and impacted communication among departments and with clients.
In this article, you’ll learn about the basics of business process management, and how to optimize it for sustainable, long-term success.
Business process management (BMP) is a systematic approach to designing, executing, monitoring, and optimizing an organization’s business processes.
BPM initiatives involve auditing internal workflows, measuring performance based on established benchmarks, identifying opportunities for improvement, and making actionable changes accordingly.
For the purposes of BPM, in this article we define a business process as a repeatable series of linked tasks performed to achieve an organizational goal.
Unlike task or project management, the business management process is not concerned with specific tasks that arise from projects, or even with the current status of tasks within a process. Instead, it takes a holistic approach to ensure the efficiency of repeatable, scalable workflows.
We can categorize BPM initiatives into three main focus areas.
Document-focused business process management emphasizes the central role of documents within an organization’s processes.
This approach recognizes that many processes involve the creation, distribution, review, approval, and storage of various documents, such as invoices, contracts, reports, and forms.
For example, if your business initiates a vendor contract, a document-focused BPM project involves establishing the necessary forms and approvals on the road to the final agreement.
Human-centered BPM activities require human input, often in the form of document and task approvals.
You can incorporate interactive platforms where users can manage processes and tasks across systems and departments. Creative development, onboarding, and hiring are all examples of human-centered BPM.
Integration-based BPM focuses on systems with limited human involvement.
Integration-centered BPM projects depend on integrations across apps and systems, such as customer relationship and human resources management tools.
Unlike some other process improvement methodologies, BPM is not intended as a change project. Instead, it is a continuous discipline with several processes that make up a larger lifecycle.
We can group these activities into several key process management categories:
This stage focuses on process planning, either in response to a new need or to reimagine an existing workflow. The design includes every component of the process, including the system, responsible departments and individuals, the flow of tasks and information, necessary data and analytics, operating procedures, escalations, notifications, and more.
BPM involves predicting and analyzing the likely results of proposed process changes with a visual depiction called a model. This document includes comprehensive process details, tasks, timelines, data flow, and other components.
You can also model the impact of changing industry or market conditions. For example, a BPM model could show you how forecasted personnel limits would impact productivity.
This category includes all manual and automatic tasks required to successfully execute an established workflow.
BPM strives to shift human inputs to the digital space and incorporate automation to fulfill its goal of improved efficiency.
The activities in this category relate to the implementation and use of data measurement systems, an important aspect of BPM.
Tasks in this phase include establishing and optimizing data sources, setting key performance indicators, and tracking progress toward these metrics.
Using a combination of metrics and human analysis, BPM pinpoints inefficiencies within a given process. You can use that insight to suggest and implement changes that optimize your organization’s efficiency for stronger revenue and reduced costs.
When existing processes significantly underperform, the tweaks you make during the optimization phase aren’t sufficient to achieve the desired results.
In these instances, BPM can include business process reengineering, which involves overhauling and renovating a process from start to finish.
Every organization has standard processes, and can benefit from BPM. Here are some examples of where smart process optimization can bring you value.
|Sales||BPM automates lead tracking, nurturing, and conversion. It ensures that sales representatives follow a consistent approach, improving efficiency and boosting revenue.|
|Customer onboarding||BPM ensures a smooth and compliant process for opening new accounts, verifying customer information, and managing required documentation.|
|Supply chain management||BPM optimizes supply chain operations, from procurement and inventory management to order fulfillment and logistics, enhancing visibility and efficiency in the goods movement.|
|Human resources||BPM automates HR processes like employee onboarding, leave requests, and performance evaluations, reducing administrative overhead and ensuring compliance with HR policies.|
|Healthcare||BPM helps manage patient appointments, streamline billing and insurance claims, and maintain compliance with healthcare regulations.|
|Quality control||BPM automates quality assurance and documentation processes.|
|Compliance||BPM ensures regulatory compliance, helping with reporting requirements, audit trails, and documentation control.|
These are just a few cases of how BPM can be applied to streamline and optimize various business processes in different industries. The list is bigger, as BPM is applicable to any industry.
Many business processes emerge organically based on the organizational needs of the company, but even carefully planned workflows may fall short of meeting changing goals and circumstances.
As a result, companies suffer from the impact of inefficient processes on productivity and revenue.
While workflow innovation requires an up-front investment, most companies experience favorable outcomes. Solutions Review reports that BPM projects drive a return rate of more than 15% and improve customer satisfaction by an estimated 30%.
Effectively managing business processes can help you drive greater operational discipline, allocate organizational resources for optimal growth and minimal waste, and establish clear, strategic objectives.
Nearly all businesses rely on solid processes for effective operation, and BPM creates significant advantages for that.
BPM strives to maximize the productivity of every process. As you work toward this goal, you will eliminate redundancy, remove bottlenecks, and otherwise improve your operations for the benefit of customers, team members, and the organization as a whole.
You’ll also increase revenue by reducing waste and boosting production.
For effective BPM, you need to continuously monitor key performance indicators. As you gather this data, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of how well your business activities serve your core objectives.
Companies often engage in BPM to drive overall improvement as part of a broader change management strategy.
Through this process, you can improve the agility of your internal systems, so you can easily pivot in response to market conditions and take advantage of opportunities to scale.
If your industry requires legal, government, or internal compliance, BPM can help you consistently adhere to changing regulations.
You can incorporate system controls and maintain detailed documentation to provide reporting and audit support as needed.
Redundancy and delays can sap financial resources. By improving efficiency, BPM can significantly cut the costs of normal business operations, enhancing bottom-line performance.
Team members are often frustrated with red tape and inefficiency. BPM allows employees to focus more of their time on work that produces clear benefits, thus improving satisfaction and encouraging growth.
Business process management supports compliance by establishing standardized processes, automating workflows with compliance checks, maintaining detailed audit trails, and offering reporting and analytics.
It can help your organization adapt to changing compliance regulations by facilitating rapid process updates and change management. Role-based access control ensures data security and privacy, while task assignment and notification features enable efficient compliance-related task management.
Using a dedicated BPM platform, for example Fluix, simplifies staying compliant. Automated document management tools, risk management, and employee training features, reduce the risk of non-compliance-related issues.
With a process management strategy, you can create the flexibility you need to respond to changing regulations quickly and develop detailed data to demonstrate compliance to the necessary authorities.
AI innovations, such as robotic process automation, need a strong, strategic foundation. BPM informs the efficacy of automation initiatives by refining workflows and removing inefficiencies.
In other words, for best results, use BPM to streamline operational processes to prepare them for an RPA initiative, which can further cut costs and accelerate productivity.
Most of the projected industry trends in BPM involve some form of automation. Exciting emerging areas for innovation include:
Improving workflows with a business process management tool like Fluix can help your business thrive and scale.
Fluix is a mobile document and workflow management platform that enables organizations to streamline processes, enhance workflow automation, and ensure efficient document and form management. Additionally, Fluix aids in data collection, task assignments, and real-time updates, and reporting, helping you stay compliant and in line with regulations.
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