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What is BPM and Why Does it Matter?

Apr 6
Post Masthead

There is a reason why 20% of businesses fail in the first year, and another 30% in the second year. These statistics prove that managing a business is no easy feat. The most common reasons many businesses fail are because of poor management or the lack of efficient and effective processes. And here lies the importance of Business Process Management (BPM).

What is BPM?

BPM refers to business process management, an integral part of business success. It’s a process-centric solution approach that involves viewing, analyzing, and improving business processes or workflows, both individually and as a whole. The goal is to identify inefficiencies and points of improvement and to come up with solutions that help streamline processes, which ultimately will improve a company’s efficiency and effectiveness.

What is the Purpose of BPM?

What makes up a business is a set of processes that come together to accomplish tasks and achieve corporate goals. When one or more of these processes are ineffective or cause issues, it affects the entire business model. This is why businesses need BPM.

Through BPM, a business can identify certain steps of a process that may be causing a hindrance to efficiency and success. For example, upon research, a business finds that their communication method within the company is causing confusion among team members and delays in the completion of a project. Having identified this barrier, the organization is put in a much better position to find a remedy to solve the current process issue.

BPM has one core focus: improving processes that make up a business and, by doing so, streamlining workflow in the organization to make achieving corporate goals easier and more efficient. Through the use of certain process management tools, BPM paves the way for better business performance and agility.

How Does Business Process Management Work?

Business process management aims to streamline and standardize effective processes within an organization that is repetitive and ongoing. Because the solution approach refers to the makeup of an entire company, it necessarily means that every department within a company has a role to play.

Departments are in charge of collecting data and information about the processes that are within their scope. They then determine which ones are wreaking havoc to their operations and usually implement BPM tools as a solution to help streamline their procedures, address the issues within workflows, automate admin tasks, and shorten work cycles, among others. Ultimately, the utilization of these BPM tools makes a company department more efficient and can even reduce their operational costs.

What are the Types of BPM?

There are different categories of Business Process Management and each of them serves a different purpose in a company. The three types of BPM are document-centric BPM, human-centric BPM, and integration-centric BPM.

Document-centric BPM

This type of BPM requires a certain piece of document or paperwork at the center of the process. For example, a process where a contract or agreement passes around a streamlined workflow can make use of a document-centric BPM. This type of business process management solution is most commonly seen in settings like law firms, health institutions, contract management and procurement services, etc.

An effective document-centric BPM allows the stakeholders to optimize their processes and understand the flow of the document along a specific workflow. It helps avoid any obstacles that can constrain the flow and hinder the document from being where it needs to be at a specific point in time.

Human-centric BPM

Processes that are executed first-hand by people in an organization are referred to as human-centric BPM. Under this category, the solution involves streamlining procedures that require human action. It considers the skills, decision-making capabilities, and activities that involve individuals and how these manual tasks can be automated to support individual work.

Human-centric BPM would require the use of platforms that allow individuals within an organization to make their jobs easier simply. A solution would be to adopt a suite or platform that has notification features, enables quick tracking, has an easy-to-use interface, and enables individuals to assign, move, or hold tasks in the workflow.

Through a human-centric BPA approach, workers are supported by platforms that make their jobs easier, reduce time spent on tasks, eliminate risks and mistakes, and improve interaction across departments.

Integration-centric BPM

In stark contrast to human-centric BPM, integration-centric types are for processes that require minimal human involvement. It is fully integrated, concerning processes that interact with different program computing systems, developing applications on desktop and online to smoothen out wrinkles and create a more streamlined integrated workflow.

Through integration-centric BPM, a company can connect their software systems to improve the performance of their applications, speed up procedures, and reduce the need for human involvement. Because of its technical nature, IT teams take charge of managing connectivity for the proper utilization of integration-centric BPM.

BPM Life Cycle/ Main Steps

The life cycle of business process management comprises 5 essential steps:

  1. Design

The first step in business process management is identifying the particular process that you want to improve. The current process needs to be broken down to its core, segregating them in this manner:

  • Current steps
  • Specific tasks or actions
  • People in charge of those tasks
  • Decisions that need to be made

If your business process management suite has a form where you can input your workflow data, use it to segregate and build your process.

  1. Model

Next is the modeling phase. At this point, the segregated parts of the process are represented in BPM software. This involves reviewing the process and identifying its inefficiencies to come up with remodeled alternatives. Embarking on this stage of the BPM life cycle helps you better identify the flow of the process and integrate the best BPM practices to achieve the best results.

  1. Execute

Once everything is set up in the BPM suite, the process is ready for execution. It’s good practice to roll it out within a small group of people initially so as to eliminate risks and prevent issues on a big scale. Consider this as the testing phase, but make sure that the participant count is big enough for you to uncover accurate and reliable data.

  1. Monitor

The work does not end after a new process has been implemented. It’s important to track its performance to ensure that you are maximizing your new workflow. After implementation, monitor the performance, progress, efficiency, and potential risks involved in your new process with the use of BPMS tools.

  1. Optimize

Finally, address the issues and areas of improvement you have identified. It’s worth noting at this point that the optimization phase is an ongoing process that needs to be embedded in your business culture. Form the habit of innovating and further developing your processes to improve its performance and achieve its purpose of making your business more efficient and effective.

Benefits of BPM for Businesses and Why Does it Matter?

Creating an efficient and effective workflow in a business is crucial for success. Without it, everything ends up in chaos because there is no streamlined approach that minimizes time, risks, and worst of all, depletes resources.

While it may seem like a business is doing fine without BPM, there may be certain bottlenecks and gaps that aren’t being identified because people are only seeing one part of the process instead of viewing it as a whole and an integral part of the business operations.

If your business has ever encountered issues brought about by delays, human errors, the lack of data, and cost overruns, then you need a proper business process management solution. By utilizing BPM and understanding its importance, you can keep your business operations running smoothly, which is very cost-effective in the long run.

Some of the benefits of BPM for businesses include:

  • Streamline processes and eliminate gaps and bottlenecks
  • Map out and analyze the progress and performance of business processes
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of everyday operations
  • Achieve organizational goals with more ease and fewer costs
  • Paves the way to digital transformation and building a sustainable business model

What are BPM Tools?

BPM Tools help a business create their streamlined workflows and improve operational processes. These systems provide the features that business owners need to automate, optimize, and analyze their current workflows. Though there are many BPM tools and systems now available in the market, there are certain factors you need to consider before investing in one. The most important thing is to know what are the best features you need in a BPM tool.

Features of BPM Tools

To find the ideal BPM suite or system for your business, here are some features you should look for:

  • Capacity for software system integration
  • Drag and drop forms
  • Mobile-friendly interface
  • Reports, analytics, and process performance metrics
  • Role-based access settings and control
  • Supports a large user base
  • Unique features and controls for administrators
  • Visual process diagramming

BPM Examples/ Example Architecture

If you want to get a glimpse of how to implement BPM in your business and the benefits that it can help you yield, here are some ways you can apply BPM in different departments in your organization.

Finance

Numbers, paperwork, and forms are highly prevalent in finance departments. Everything involving money from other teams in an organization goes through finance, which bombards the department with a chock full of paperwork on a daily basis. It can be difficult to manage these tasks, considering that documents and human involvement are heavily relied on.

With BPM, a finance team can better manage their daily tasks. A business process management software can help them enjoy things like one-click approvals and customized workflows.

Human Resources

Anyone who has applied for a job knows how long it takes to get through the recruitment process and accomplish all the necessary paperwork. If it’s tedious for the applicant, imagine how much more complicated it is for the human resources department.

The HR is constantly bombarded with applicant paperwork, scheduling issues, employee requests, etc. — but BPM can help make their job easier through automated processes that help them reduce the time they spend on tasks and cut down on costs. A BPM suite allows an HR department to approve timesheets faster, onboard new hires on time, manage paperwork, set interview schedules with ease, and more.

Sales

Salespeople need to work with other individuals in different departments within the organization to carry out their tasks. And this is where cross-departmental communication and coordination becomes crucial, otherwise, it can delay the entire sales process or sabotage sales opportunities.

With a BPM system, the sales team can enjoy easier communication with other departments through automating approval and request procedures, reducing the tendency for mistakes and human error through integration, and keeping the entire sales process on track and on time.

Business process management is something that every business needs — even small organizations. After all, a company is only as good as its processes and operations. Investing in BPM can pave the way to a more efficient and effective business, which ultimately can reduce costs, eliminate risks, and contribute to the company’s bottom line.