BPM is a practice that involves modeling / designing, executing, monitoring and optimizing an organization's business processes, including end-to-end ones. Optimally tuned process management helps departments to work effectively, efficiently and smoothly. Ultimately, this improves the quality of service to external and internal customers of the company.
Business Process Management (BPM): Life Cycle, Trends and Benefits
BPM is used to manage primary and secondary business processes. The former are focused on creating the main product - for example, development and sales, the latter - on supporting the main processes: accounting, procurement, HR, etc. Typical business processes include the production of a product or service, processing user requests by technical support, delivery of goods, office work.
BPM doesn't have strict rules and standards. Common approaches to process management have been developed by organizations such as BPMInstitute and Workflow Management Coalition. BPM practice also uses Lean techniques and the recommendations of the ISO 9000 series of standards.
Difference between BPM and project approach
A project is a one-time job, a unique and non-repetitive process. The project is limited by start and finish dates, budget and resources. Examples: launching a new product on the market, working under a contract, marketing event.
A process is a set of sequential actions that are repeated regularly. The process requires typical costs and a certain number of participants. The content of the next process, in contrast to the content of the next project, usually does not change. Examples: Processes of the purchasing department, accounting department, HR.
Hence the difference in the tools that are used for the project and process approach to management. For project management, SaaS solutions like Trello or Asana are suitable, which are of little use for a BPM approach.
The BPM implementation process is usually broken down into five stages.
1. Design. Detailed development of a business process for a specific department or task - for example, for a purchasing department or a sales department. This stage includes defining the participants and the order of operations, assigning roles, describing areas of responsibility, approval stages, escalation conditions, tasks that can be automated, and so on.
2. Modeling. Most often - visual modeling of a business process in a BPM software system (iBPMS) and, if the software functionality allows, preliminary testing. In modern iBPMS, this is usually implemented in the form of a graphical editor and other low-code tools.
3. Execution. Integration of BPM into real business processes.
4. Monitoring. Track the effectiveness of simulated business processes. Analysis of metrics and KPI indicators (for example, in the form of graphs and charts).
5. Optimization. Refinement and improvement of business processes, taking into account the data obtained at the monitoring stage, feedback from employees and customers.
BPM implementation is impossible without the appropriate software today. This class of products is called iBPMS (Intelligent Business Process Management Suites). There are many iBPMS options on the market, including Russian ones.
Analytical agency Gartner publishes ratings and reviews of BPM software vendors. The last "magic quadrant" of iBPMS was published in 2019. Among the world leaders, the agency noted the products of Pegasystems, IBM and Appian.
RPA technologies (Robotic Process Automation) are being introduced into BPM systems to automate typical processes. Robots are useful where simple but labor-intensive operations are performed faster than humans. Example: RPAs fill out standard contracts, instantly copying data from another document, when an employee would have spent minutes or even hours on it.
Artificial intelligence is used in BPM for various tasks: processing large amounts of data and generating analytics in real time, working with standard documents, customer requests. This also includes, for example, tools such as chat bots.
Another trend is a visually oriented IDE with a low-code platform. BPM solutions that implement low-code tools are easier to learn and maintain: employees who do not have programming skills can model processes in such iBPMS.
BPM solutions are moving towards versatility, combining functions that are usually implemented as separate software products. Full-featured iBPMS includes modules for working with clients (CRM), document management (EDMS), project management and more.
- Efficiency. BPM helps automate common workflows and optimize complex ones. Extra steps (operations) are eliminated, interaction between employees and departments is simplified, productivity is increased.
- Flexibility. The company remains competitive in a rapidly changing market. With BPM tuned, it's easier to adapt to change and make progress.
- Saving. By streamlining processes, the company reduces operating costs.
- Transparency. It is easier for management to control business processes, identify and eliminate bottlenecks.
- Effectiveness. Employees devote more time to specialized work and less to unnecessary one.
- Satisfaction. It is easier for employees to solve even complex problems when there is a streamlined workflow, when this process is clear and logical, and unnecessary actions are minimized.
When implementing BPM, it is important to understand that this is not a one-time “set and forget” type of work. Some business processes require continuous and sometimes continuous optimization. Choosing the right iBPMS is just as important.
The market and customer preferences change quickly, you need to be prepared to change with them. In this sense, Business Process Management is an approach that helps a company maintain performance at the proper level.