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Business Process Management is more than just another corporate buzzword that gets thrown around as an excuse for training days, restructuring and promises of internal transformations that never actually happen. Initially, there might be some skepticism from the side of the staff and the stakeholders – which is understandable. Business change can be hard & scary for everyone. Once they see how BPM works & can benefit their business, however, most are converted, understanding that is it an essential step of the road to growth.
This potential lack of understanding or confidence in it means that the first stage in implementing it as a strategy can often be winning employee buy-in internally by demonstrating how BPM works for businesses of whatever shape or size.
What Is Business Process Management & How Does It Lead To Growth?
BPM is a systematic approach to ensuring that a company’s processes and workflow are more effective, efficient and adaptable, with the BPMInstitute describing it as:
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“The definition, improvement, and management of a firm’s end-to-end enterprise business processes in order to achieve three outcomes crucial to a performance-based, customer-driven firm: 1) clarity on strategic direction, 2) alignment of the firm’s resources, and 3) increased discipline in daily operations.”
The Association Of Business Process Management Professionals spells it out even further:
“Business process management (BPM) is a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results aligned with an organization’s strategic goals. BPM involves the deliberate, collaborative and increasingly technology-aided definition, improvement, innovation, and management of end-to-end business processes that drive business results, create value, and enable an organization to meet its business objectives with more agility. BPM enables an enterprise to align its business processes to its business strategy, leading to effective overall company performance through improvements of specific work activities either within a specific department, across the enterprise, or between organizations.”
How BPM Works
There are three main ways to explain how BPM works: horizontal, vertical and full service. These are broken down like this:
- Horizontal: This is a broader approach, focused on developing new processes with the help of BPM software solutions.
- Vertical: This uses established templates that are modified to fit specific targets.
- Full Service: This, as the name suggests incorporates many, if not all, of the main categories of BPM.
These main categories make up the Business Process Management Life Cycle: design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
Designing a process can involve working with existing processes or starting new ones from scratch, as well as the visualization of a process as part of the analysis of how the business workflows are functioning and where improvements can be made. This is very much the start of the BPM life cycle and it focuses on aspects of how the workflow processes are monitored and escalated. Often, businesses will create visual flowcharts, whether manually or using software, that will guide the whole BPM journey.
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Anyway ... we'll continue from where we left off above.
Once the design stage is done, the business process modeling stage is where BPM processes are put to the test by theoretical situations that can involve changes in financial circumstances or any other variable that can impact on a business and can show how BPM works. If the new processes are solid and agile enough, they will cope with these situations and if not, they can be refined to be more fit for purpose.
This stage is where BPM is brought into action through software that automates the processes, usually using one of two computer languages: Business Process Execution Language and Business Process Management Notation. These were created to provide a common ground between business and IT for process development and automation, allowing for the easy creation of new processes that can be automated, allowing for all of the benefits that this brings. Of course, almost all processes still require an element of human involvement for the execution, and the most successful businesses are those that manage this blend seamlessly.
A key aspect of how BPM works is the monitoring, which isn’t so much a stage as an ongoing necessity. Each individual process should ideally be monitored to determine how well it is functioning and to identify any trends that should be of particular concern or which represent an opportunity for growth. It can be done in real time or ad hoc, depending on the process and the business requirements, and the data collected must be analyzed and used to improve the processes on an ongoing basis.
That is where this stage of the cycle comes in. There is almost always room for further optimization in BPM, particularly as circumstances change and processes that were fit for purpose need adjusting to meet the new criteria. Bottlenecks can be resolved and opportunities can be maximized and these results can be monitored to demonstrate how successful the strategy has been and how BPM works to ensure further buy-in from key stakeholders.
How Does BPM Lead to Business Growth?
In layman’s terms, BPM takes a look at the way a business tries to achieve its goals and then finds ways to do it better and help enable growth. The benefits of it being done well are obvious, but can be summed up as:
- Reduced Costs: Inefficient processes waste time and money both in terms of resources and also delays in production and service delivery. How BPM works is to cut down on these and the benefits are soon obvious. Learn more about reducing operational costs here.
- More Flexibility and Agility: Having processes that are outdated and not fit for purpose means that your business can be too rigid to sustain growth in the future. BPM will leave you ready to face the challenges to come.
- Less Risk: BPM automates processes that were previously manually-run, reducing the risk of human errors, while the increase in documentation helps with compliance.
- Higher Productivity: The time savings from BPM allow staff to focus their energies on being more productive in other areas, which can only help improve the way the business operates in general.
- Better Employee Satisfaction: The best companies run with the happiest staff, and BPM can bring much-needed clarity and satisfaction for employees, not to mention eradicating some of the more menial and repetitive tasks they previously had to do themselves.
- More Focus on Customers: No business can grow while ignoring the needs of its customers and the focus on customer outputs that BPM brings is a sure-fire way to enable growth.
- Measurable results: As monitoring is a large part of how BPM works, it is straightforward to measure the results that come from going through this process and demonstrate how successful it has been and what growth has been made.
Business Process Management is a clear and transparent system that delivers measurable results on the road to business growth. There are, of course, several different ways to handle this. Until recently, the best way to do this was to map and optimize your processes through flowcharts and workflow diagrams.
Today, however, there are countless different software solutions that can do this (and more) for you.
Tallyfy allows you to set up workflows without using spreadsheets, outdated charts or graphs. Learn how using business process management software can help you increase productivity and cut costs by setting up a free demonstration.