Business Process Management
Business processes play a huge role in every organization. Even single-person businesses have repeatable processes that contribute to the success of the brand. As your organization grows, those processes become more complex. This can lead to inefficiency and unsatisfactory bottom-line results.
Business process management can help. With this discipline, you can better understand your processes and improve them. Learn about BPM and its benefits so that you can see how it fits into the long-term success of your business.
What Is Process Management?
Business process management is a discipline that focuses on creating, analyzing, changing and otherwise managing the processes at a business. A process is a repeatable series of linked tasks that result in the achievement of an organizational goal. Some processes deal with producing and delivering products and services. Others are related to other business functions such as bookkeeping and marketing.
Many business processes emerge organically based on the needs of the organization. Other processes may be more carefully planned but either lag behind the current needs of the organization or incorporate ad hoc changes in response to new circumstances. In short, the processes of many businesses are inefficient or suboptimal.
BPM focuses on identifying all the processes in an organization and managing them. Frequently, this includes measuring process performance and making changes to streamline results.
Unlike task or project management, BPM is not concerned with specific tasks that arise from projects or even the current status of tasks within a process. Instead, it manages repeatable processes, helping to ensure they can be continuously run efficiently.
What Are the Benefits of BPM?
Processes are at the heart of nearly all businesses. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the benefits of BPM are significant and far-reaching. These are some of the most noteworthy:
- Improved Productivity: The main goal of BPM is to find ways to make processes more productive. This can include eliminating redundancy, identifying and removing bottlenecks and implementing other optimizations.
- Deeper Analysis and Measurement: BPM works by measuring the business’s processes. This is a continuous undertaking. By applying BPM, a business can significantly improve its performance measurement and visibility.
- Increased Agility: In many cases, BPM is a type of change management. It is intended to help organizations get from their current state to a better, more efficient state. This can improve long-term agility.
- Consistent Compliance: Many industries have significant compliance concerns. Furthermore, complex businesses typically have internal controls that require compliance. BPM is a great way to ensure consistent adherence to those regulations and controls.
- Reduced Costs: By improving efficiency, BPM can significantly cut the costs of normal business operations. Redundancy, bottlenecks and general inefficiency can sap financial resources. The ultimate goal of BPM is to enhance bottom-line performance.
- Happier Employees: Team members are often frustrated with red tape and inefficiency. BPM helps employees to focus more of their time on completing work that produces clear benefits. This leads to more satisfied personnel.
What Is the Lifecycle of BPM?
Unlike some other process improvement methodologies, BPM is not intended to be a change project. Instead, it is a continuous discipline with several processes making up a larger lifecycle. The activities can be groups into several key process management categories:
- Design: This collection of BPM activities is focused on planning new processes. This may result from a new need or a proposed reworking of existing workflows. Designing processes includes planning the actors and system in a process, the flow, data, operating procedures, escalations, notifications and more.
- Modeling: To aid with better management of business processes, BPM often involves modeling the results of processes and various changes to them. Frequently, this includes analyses of what would happen with changing conditions. For example, modeling can help to predict what would happen if a process had less personnel available.
- Execution: This category includes all activities related to executing business processes. In some cases, this is entirely manual or automatic. In other cases, processes may be executed with a combination of human and system inputs. BPM often emphasizes trying to increase automation.
- Monitoring: BPM is highly focused on using data to analyze and monitor processes. The activities in this category relate to implementing and using measurement systems. This can include establishing and optimizing sources of data. It also involves setting key performance indicators and tracking them.
- Optimizing: Using a combination of metrics and human analysis, BPM attempts to identify processes and elements of processes that are inefficient. Then, that insight is used to suggest and implement changes to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s processes.
- Reengineering: In some cases, the existing processes are significantly underperforming. This may mean that tweaks and optimizations are not sufficient to achieve the desired results. In these instances, BPM can include business process reengineering. This is a bottom-to-top overhaul of a process.
What Is an Example of BPM?
BPM can be applied in every element of an organization that involves processes. For example, if you run a B2B brand, you may want to improve your customer onboarding process from proposal to payment.
Many organizations have entirely different systems used by the sales team to make proposals, the legal team to make and complete agreements, the billing team to send invoices and the product team to deliver to the customer. By designing a smooth process with integrated systems, you could pull proposal details directly into the contract and invoices. Additionally, the information could be automatically delivered to the product team to indicate what needs to be delivered.
BPM also involves continuing to monitor that process. Perhaps it makes sense to have more manual intervention when your business is relatively small. However, BPM could model a point at which developing a bespoke software tool for managing customer onboarding would net a positive return on investment. BPM can then be used to identify exactly when that point has been reached.
How Can Business Process Management Software Help?
As described, BPM is heavily focused on data and rigorous analysis of processes. Therefore, having the right process management tool can be very valuable.
With the right Business process management software, you can easily visualize process flows. This can aid significantly in planning, communicating and modeling processes.
Additionally, the right tools can help you to implement better data collection and analysis. For example, a BPM dashboard or reporting tool can provide you with a fast snapshot of the current state of your processes.
Software can also help directly with optimizations. By automating workflows, you can increase reliability, eliminate inefficiency and improve results.
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