What is Business Process Management?
Business Process Management (BPM) is defined by Gartner as a discipline that uses various methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve and optimize business processes. A business process coordinates the behavior of people, systems, information and things to produce business outcomes in support of a business strategy. Processes can be structured and repeatable, or unstructured and variable. Though not required, technologies are often used with BPM. BPM is key to align IT/OT investments to business strategy.
It is important to note that while there are thousands of tools, applications and markets devoted to BPM that BPM itself is not a software product, application or a market segment. While BPM is a process of improving your business workflows over time, using software products and applications, it also entails changing how the business itself, its employees and even customers use the business process as much as it is a technology solution.
How BPM Works
BPM works by walking through steps to improve your business processes. First, the processes are observed, mapped, analyzed and documented. Next, a plan for improving the business process is put together. Once a plan has been thoroughly vetted and approved, the organization implements changes to the processes based on the plan. The business process is then observed for a period of time, tracking performance metrics to analyze the improvement. Finally, depending on the outcome, the process may be repeated to improve the results.
Keys to Successful BPM Implementation
- Commitment by the organization from the top down and bottom up to improving workflows and processes. Everyone must be willing to change, adapt and improve. Often the key reason BPM does not succeed is that the commitment is not there from start to finish. While it may appear to be there initially, when large changes are required and teams are entrenched with the “old way of doing things”, then commitment to process changes starts wavering. There are many reasons for this, including fear of change, unwillingness to learn new processes, employees feeling that their position is threatened by the changes, inability to properly frame the reasons for the required changes, etc. These must be acknowledged and discussed at the onset of the BPM transformation so as to be promptly addressed when identified. Commitment until the very end is vital to BPM success.
- Transparency is very important to successful BPM integration. Lack of transparency will lead to false assumptions resulting in BPM implementation failure. It is important that management and employees feel empowered to share all details about a workflow or process without judgement or penalty. Workflows and Processes evolve over time and it is normal for them to be inefficient and wasteful. The team needs to feel free from condemnation to provide as much detail as possible and focus on improving the workflow and processes to make them as efficient as possible. Being transparent will allow a business to achieve the goals they set for BPM integration.
- A trusted partner who can guide an organization through BPM is vital. Trusting that the partner has the experience, expertise, skills and knowledge to lead the organization to a successful BPM implementation is absolutely vital. It is inevitable in the journey to BPM that there will be challenges to overcome, but continuing to place trust in the partner your organization has chosen will lead you through the times of crisis that almost every successful BPM project will encounter.
We’re available to discuss your goals and how BPM can achieve them.