A business process is, essentially, a series of steps performed by business process management leaders to achieve a specific goal. They’re a crucial component of the overall business strategy for any large enterprise, as they ensure that resources are being used as efficiently as possible.
Of course, processes can become outdated, just as technology can, and it’s important to regularly revisit business processes to ensure they’re contributing to the workflow optimally. This is done through a practice called business process management (BPM).
Business process management looks at business processes individually, as well as how they work together, to get a true view of the big picture behind a business. It differs from project management, which is a practice that seeks to conduct one-time or irregular processes as efficiently as possible. BPM also differs from task management, which focuses more on individual performance. While task and project management are both important, business process management is more concerned with repeatable, ongoing processes. It looks for ways to automate predictable processes, and it’s a necessary part of any successful digital transformation.
Due to the volume and velocity of big data, organizations can’t afford to rely on legacy systems or traditional data analysis methods anymore. BPM software is capable of analyzing business processes and reporting on them in real-time, and it can help you plan process improvements across your entire enterprise to reach better business outcomes. It does this through the following set of activities.
Design: A big part of process management is analyzing existing processes and identifying bottlenecks in the workflow and other problems with business activity. Once a BPM system records operational inefficiencies, it can start designing a new process to correct them.
Modeling: In this stage, the new process is presented in a visual layout, like a flowchart. Thanks to data virtualization, it’s also possible to test the new process in a virtual business environment to ensure it will perform business tasks correctly.
Execution: Once a new automation process is past the modeling stage, it can be introduced to a real business environment. This usually starts in a limited capacity to see how the new process works in practice before adopting it across the entire organization.
Monitoring: Similar to how you analyze your existing processes in the beginning, BPM tools will now use various methods to measure efficiency and define the progress of the new process based on preset business rules.
Optimization: In this final stage, potential areas of improvement will be addressed for the new process to make sure it’s fully aligned with business goals and operational efficiency.
You can use business process management to accomplish a wide variety of goals for your own company. Just be aware that there are a few types of process automation that you may need to accomplish different goals.
This BPM methodology focuses on your processes that tend to pass through multiple electronic systems. System integration is crucial for any modern business since it saves you from having to manually transfer data between systems to gather insights. Your HR department can certainly benefit from integrations via an HRM system. This can help collect all your digital application and interview requirements in one source, making things more convenient for your HR employees and applicants alike.
Another great example of integration BPM could be how your CRM system collects and shares data. For example, if you could share customer demographics information with your sales team, it would speed up the creation of more relevant promotions. Not only that, but customer support agents having instant access to a customer’s past interactions with the company could lead to more personalized service and increased customer satisfaction.
No matter how much automation you incorporate into your business, you’ll still have plenty of jobs that require human intervention. While you can’t replace humans (nor would it be a good idea), you can incorporate better workflow management by cutting down on unnecessary steps in the work process. For example, a simple employee dashboard where employees can report their progress on individual tasks can free up time that would normally be spent contacting a supervisor.
No matter how you implement it, remember that the goal of BPM is to improve operational performance at every level. Once you have more experience with process automation tools, you’ll likely find even more creative uses for them.