Process & Workflow

Business Process Management vs. Process Management: What is the Difference?

Aug 10, 2021
Post Masthead

We all rely on processes every day to get things done. Most of the time we just do them without giving them much thought.

For example, you may complete the same steps of preparing for a client call, generating a report, nurturing a new lead or prospect, or billing existing customers.

Think about your day-to-day processes for a moment. How many of them could be more efficient? Think about the last time you had to deal with an unhappy customer, or a stressed team member or coworker, or a dysfunctional product.

These are common signs and results of inefficient processes.

This is the primary reason why building efficient processes is so important for a successful business. In this article, we will explain the importance and differences between business process management and process management, and why your business needs both.

Why Does Process Management Matter?

All this talk of process stuff… What does it mean? What difference does it make? Why should you care?

If you are reading this and thinking, “nah, our processes work just fine,” then, by all means, feel free to close this article.

But that means you probably also enjoy:

  • Angry or dissatisfied customers
  • Low team morale
  • Frustrated team members
  • Redoing or duplicating work
  • Wasting money
  • Getting stuck in bottlenecks
  • Missing deadlines

Process Design Whiteboard Session

Believe it or not, process management is incremental to remaining competitive and successful. Here are some reasons why:

  • Maintain customer or client satisfaction
  • Improve productivity and efficiency
  • Reduce costs and overall bottom line
  • Streamline the way you and your team work

Needless to say, process management shouldn’t be overlooked. The continuous practice of improving and optimizing processes is a good ritual to adopt. In addition to good process management, businesses also need business process management, which brings us to our next point…

What is Business Process Management (BPM)?

We know what you’re thinking… What is the difference?

According to Gartner, business process management (BPM) is “a discipline that improves enterprise performance by driving operational excellence and business agility.” It involves continuously reviewing processes, identifying gaps and weaknesses, and improving them to ensure processes continue to work smoothly, efficiently, and drive desirable outputs or outcomes.

Here’s a good way to think about BPM:

You get into and drive your car every day, or maybe a few times per week. You rely on your car as part of your daily or weekly process for getting to and from places.

Your car is essentially a machine, and it needs a “tune up” every once in a while to ensure it continues to operate efficiently. This could include ensuring the tires are properly inflated, the spark plugs are functional, and that your engine is firing on all cylinders (literally).

BPM is a lot like this.

BPM is the process of continuously measuring, analyzing, and optimizing existing end-to-end processes and functions to ensure they continue to drive desired results, outcomes, and remain relevant. BPM is very iterative and requires ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and re-engineering.

Business Process Management vs. Business Process Automation

Now that you understand what BPM is, what is Business Process Automation, or BPA? Isn’t it the same thing? As you will find out while discovering more about this topic, BPM and BPA are different—and here are the core differences:

BPA focuses on automating business processes, particularly with the use of technology.

BPM focuses on managing these processes – with or without technology and automation.

In short, BPM can include identifying processes that can be streamlined or improved with automation, but it isn’t a requirement of BPM. On the other hand, BPA can be considered a close family member of BPM.

BPM and BPM have similarities, are interrelated, and both work toward the same organizational goals, which include:

  • increase efficiency

  • improve productivity

  • reduce errors

  • reduce overhead costs

  • increase ROI

    Process Management

Which Types of Business Processes Are Good Candidates for BPM?

Processes don’t necessarily require specific criteria to benefit from BPM; it really comes down to which process you need to implement, improve, or optimize. As mentioned above, any business—regardless of industry, organization type, size, and scope—can benefit from BPM.

With that being said, if you are unsure of which process(es) that are within your organization that could stand to use a little BPM TLC, we recommend beginning with the following:

Your Customers

Any process that directly contacts, interacts with, or impacts customers is a great candidate for BPM. After all, the customer experience should always be a top priority for businesses. In fact, customers “rate” their experience and overall value with a particular company, brand, or product by the quality of the process, and whether that process meets their needs, solves a problem or delivers something of value. Therefore, well-thought-out and efficient processes should delight customers and exceed their expectations.

Your Team

If you or your team members are stressed out, overwhelmed, and overworked, then this is a sure-fire sign that it’s time to look at your existing processes. By reviewing internal processes and listening to team member feedback, you can identify processes to optimize, improve, and streamline to reduce the workload and burden.

After all, happier team members mean happier customers, and better business.

What is Process Management?

Doesn’t BPM and process management mean the same thing, with two different names?

Not quite.

If you read our other article, “What is a Process?”, we explain the difference between process and process management.

Essentially, process management is the management or the act of overseeing existing processes, particularly focusing on who is responsible for executing each process as well as the end outcome, and what activities are involved.

On the other hand, business process management involves optimizing and improving those processes to reach a common end goal, such as improving efficiency, productivity, or reducing production or overhead costs.

Business Process Management vs. Process Management: Which One is Better for My Business?

When considering BPM and process management, you might wonder which one might benefit and yield the highest return for your business.

But here’s the kicker. This is a trick question… The answer is both.

As mentioned above, both BPM and process management are interrelated. And when combined perfectly, they can help any business in any industry achieve operational excellence.

Above all, process management and BPM are both crucial. At a high level, both help businesses operate more accurately, efficiently, and competitively by “fine-tuning” performance. (Remember that car example?)

Build and Improve Your Processes with Business Process Management Software

Regardless of whether you need to map out and build new processes, or are looking for ways to improve your existing processes, business process management software to track all your projects, processes, and workflows.

Rindle is an awesome example of BPM software. Rindle provides you and your team with the tools you need to not only pinpoint which processes can be improved and how, but it can also be leveraged to achieve better process management, greater efficiency, and just better—and smarter—business.