Business Process Management | 9 mins read

BPM 101- A Guide to Business Process Management

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Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

What Really is Business Process Management?

Business process management is the practice of modeling, implementing, controlling, monitoring, and refining business activity flows. Business process management is widely abbreviated as BPM. BPM is essential to optimize business processes and business outcomes overall. The benefits business process automation offer can be applied everywhere from project management to customer service processes.

As concepts like digital transformation and robotic process automation increase in popularity, BPM is evolving. The BPM discipline can even involve digital transformation and robotic process automation components. There are virtually endless opportunities for the BPM discipline to further evolve. Consistent process improvement is essential for businesses to maintain a competitive advantage and contains multiple stages. The 5 stages of the BPM life cycle include-

1. Modeling

The modeling phase of the BPM lifecycle examines the details of a business process from beginning to end. Then, process modeling or workflow management can be applied. BPM software or BPM tools can create an easily referencable visual representation of the business process in its entirety. Throughout the modeling phase of the BPM lifecycle, it is crucial for pain points and improvement areas to be identified. Identifying potential future issues allows businesses to initiate set activities for risk management purposes.

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2. Implementation

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After the modeling stage of the BPM lifecycle is the implementation stage. The primary 2 types of implementation are systemic and non systemic. Non systemic implementation uses BPM software or BPM tools during the implementation stage. Non systemic implementation does not use BPM software or BPM tools during the implementation stage. The objective of the implementation stage is to carry the workflow management designs of the previous stage to completion.

3. Execution

The execution stage of the BPM lifecycle enacts the modeled business processes from the previous 2 stages. Properly examining the end to end process will identify any pain points, bottlenecks, and possible problem areas. Without understanding the end to end process properly, major future issues will likely arise.

4. Monitoring

The next stage of the BPM lifecycle is the monitoring stage. Key performance indicators, often abbreviated as KPIs, are measured during the monitoring stage. KPIs typically monitor a variety of business process outcomes. With data collected during the monitoring stage, improvements and corrective action can be administered.

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5. Refining

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The refinement stage of the BPM lifecycle aims to address any disparities between process modeling and actual performance levels. Importantly, the BPM life cycle does not consist of one time set activities performed. Alternatively, the BPM lifecycle is constantly completed and restarted. As such, once the refinement stage step is finished, the BPM life cycle can start anew.

The Main Importance of Business Process Management

Business process management is crucial to optimize business processes and achieve strategic objectives. Proper BPM boosts productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness for all business processes. All too often business outcomes reflect absent benefits business process management offers. Organizations can use BPM to support business operations while also gaining a competitive advantage. Mastering processes business professionals execute and heightened consistency empower businesses to optimize customer service and the customer experience overall.

A great BPM system helps support business outcomes through better choices made. A very important BPM benefit is supplying the support business decision making initiatives require. As a result, both initial decision making and eventual business outcomes are more likely to have innovative solutions. Decreasing wastefulness further results in leaner management capabilities. Leaner process management posits businesses as leaders for sustainability initiatives. Although business process management provides a wide variety of benefits for businesses it can be difficult to implement and maintain.

The 5 Biggest Challenges with Business Process Management

The benefits business process management offer is worth the challenges faced. Obtaining a better understanding of common BPM system challenges is recommended. 5 common challenges of business process management include-

1. Adaptability

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Excellent BPM demands constant process improvement which requires both agility and adaptability. Focusing on previously set activities instead of evolving business objectives can significantly hinder progress. Businesses must make sure to have the BPM tools and BPM software available for optimal adaptability.

2. End User Buy Ins

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Any BPM system is useless without end user buy ins. A common concern is that BPM systems are going to eliminate the need for human labor. Employees that have this fear may worry digital transformation or process automation will end their employment. It is essential for management professionals to address this concern before BPM tools and BPM software are implemented. Any BPM software or BPM tools should support business employees, not replace workers entirely.

There are various ways that management can help ease end user buy in anxieties. Management can request demo BPM software or BPM tools for employees to try out. Employees can then be encouraged to provide feedback on these digital business tools. A one time comprehensive training course that incorporates process modeling is recommended. A one time training session is a great way to introduce workers to recently implemented BPM software programs.

3. Executive Buy Ins

Some organization business leaders hold an unfavorable outlook towards BPM. This is particularly likely if an organization business leader had negative BPM experiences in the past. Even top level executives can be hesitant to buy in to BPM software and BPM tools.

With more advanced BPM software and BPM tools available than ever before, success is more likely. Organizations should make sure that set activities align with business objectives to ease concerns. Additionally, organizations should present measurable process improvement solutions to maintain executive trust.

4. KPIs

KPIs are important for everything from project management to customer service processes. Some organization business leaders may not feel comfortable assigning KPIs. One reason is to avoid the uncomfortable feelings associated with not fulfilling KPIs. However, without KPIs it is difficult to quantify business process management success. Businesses must make sure KPIs are practical and achievable in order for them to be effective.

5. Technology

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Advanced technology involved in business process management can range from a process model to low code platforms. However, BPM must stay focused on the end to end process for success. A fixation on technological enhancements can detract from the end to end process focus.

The Top Benefits of Business Process Management

The benefits business process management offers are outstanding. Without the benefits business process management supplied it would not be a sensible or practical effort. The top 3 benefits business process management offers include-

1. Efficiency

One main intention of BPM is to increase business process efficiency. There various reasons a business process might be inefficient. Reasons can range from inadequate departmental collaboration to failed process automation solutions. BPM promotes comprehensive evaluation of where business processes can be improved. From there, businesses can take the corrective action required.

2. Effectiveness

After BPM makes business processes more efficient, the next challenge is making business processes more effective. Heightened business process effectiveness will benefit business outcomes in various ways. Unsurprisingly, effectiveness is often discussed everywhere from a business strategy to employee onboarding training. A vital part of making business processes more effective is the alignment of business strategy with business rules and objectives. The BPM discipline commands alignment for both efficiency and effectiveness.

3. Adaptability

BPM is not a one time event where set activities are performed and forgotten. In order to remain competitive, businesses must improve business processes constantly. Whether facing an internal or external change, an organization must be able to adapt business processes swiftly and effectively. Process improvement can even prompt exciting new business outcomes and opportunities. Potential opportunities for new business outcomes could range from a culture change to new business partners. Alternatively, outdated business processes can result in financial consequences, brand reputation damages, and even business closure eventually.

5 Clear Cut Examples of Business Process Management

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Business process management includes a variety of set activities and procedures. For many business professionals, it is helpful to analyze BPM examples. 5 examples of successful BPM include-

1. Business Strategy

Business process improvement should positively impact all aspects of a business. Using BPM to optimize business strategy helps make sure business processes are continuously improved. An effective business strategy is not a one time idea. A business strategy should be revisited, reevaluated, and revised as needed.

2. Contract Management

Contract management is broadly considered to be a challenging business process. Thankfully, there are BPM system solutions available for contract management concerns. A popular BPM system solution for contract management is workflow automation for contract creation. Workflow management solutions like workflow automation for contract creation minimizes human error.

3. Purchase Approval

There are various BPM system solutions to address the purchase approval process. Workflow management solutions that benefit business process contract management are also helpful for purchase approval. These workflow management solutions can produce easily referenceable vendor contracts. Data entry process automation can bypass human error resulting in expensive routing errors or inaccurate accounting.

4. Invoice Processing

Fraud and human error are issues that can negatively impact invoice processing. Process modeling can assign specific business rules regarding purchasing. Specific business rules can help deter rogue spending.

5. Vendor Management

Proper vendor management helps locate and contract affordable, consistent, and reliable suppliers. Improper vendor management results in notable consequences for business outcomes such as overpriced raw materials. A BPM system solution for vendor management issues includes a vendor risk management strategy. A vendor risk management strategy helps businesses create contracts with companies that align with their business rules and strategic objectives.

Why Every Business Should Use Business Process Management Software

BPM software embraces digital transformation to take businesses to the next level. BPM tools and BPM software are already being used to optimize business processes around the world. Due to the significant benefits business process management supplies, many organizations choose to invest in BPM software. Significant benefits of BPM software include-

1. Risk Management

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The transparency provided by BPM software is a risk management advantage. For example, process automation minimizes mistakes as business processes are standardized. Instead of confronting risk management issues, businesses can alternatively focus on further process improvement and business outcomes optimized.

2. Collaboration

Creating and maintaining communication channels can be remarkably difficult. Management software hosts a centralized platform for messages, file sharing, and notifications that team members can easily access. Collaboration is significantly improved via the communication channel that management software presents.

3. Agility

Agility is essential for business profitability and long term success. Organizations can use BPM tools included in management software to address changes. Additionally, BPM tools included in management software help businesses plan for the future. BPM software presents scaling opportunities that grow alongside a business.

Conclusion for Business Process Management

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  • The BPM lifecycle stages include modeling, implementing, controlling, monitoring, and refining.
  • Business process automation and workforce management are critical components of the BPM discipline overall.
  • Benefits business process management offers range from increased adaptability to heightened effectiveness.
  • BPM tools included in management software foster opportunities for business development and expansion.

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