Processes are some of the most fundamental building blocks of every business. Your business processes define how you do your business.
Remember the old adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? The existence of business processes implies that you are doing everything to make your operations run smoothly, with no hiccups whatsoever.
While some improvisation can be useful here and there, most of your activities need proper planning and management.
Enter business process management.
Let’s shed some light on this discipline and explore the essential ways it can help your business grow.
Defining Business Process Management
Business process management (BPM) is a discipline that involves using various methods to identify, develop, implement, analyze, and improve business processes.
Its purpose is to help boost operational efficiency, improve performance, increase productivity, and reduce operational costs.
In a nutshell, it means taking a step back to look at all your core processes objectively and uncover opportunities for improvement.
But that’s not a one-time job. BPM should be an ongoing process. If done properly, it can help you streamline everything you do and turn your organization into a well-oiled machine.
How BPM Works
As BPM is an ongoing process, it means it operates in a cycle. The BPM lifecycle consists of five main stages, including:
Let’s dive deeper into each to help you get a firm grasp on how BPM works.
The design stage involves identifying processes that might need improvement or starting new ones from scratch. You may want to restructure a particular process, re-engineer another completely, or automate a set of recurring activities.
When designing a process, make sure you identify the desired outcomes. This is a crucial step!
This is the part where you visualize the process. Create a flowchart that maps the workflow and gives a clear picture of all the business rules that the stakeholders will follow.
The visualization should include all the tasks within a process, a series of steps used to perform them, dependencies, milestones, deadlines, and anything else necessary for effective process execution.
Such an illustration will give the stakeholders a crystal-clear idea of what to do to improve the process in question and achieve your goals and objectives.
Now for the fun part. Quite self-explanatory, the execution stage of BPM is where you put the new or adjusted process into action.
You can do it manually or, alternatively, you can hire a BPM consultant who will set you up with an adequate software solution. The latter might be a better choice, as it helps you automate and streamline BPM, eliminate the risk of human error, establish accountability, and boost efficiency.
We recommend testing every new process with a small team before deploying it across departments. It’ll be easier to fix potential problems on a smaller scale.
Just like BPM itself, the monitoring part of it is an ongoing process that plays a significant role in growing your business. It helps you uncover ways to drive positive change.
It’s the part where you keep a watchful eye on all the KPIs (key performance indicators) that show how your business processes perform.
BPM tools provide real-time monitoring, analytics, and reporting features that give a clear insight into the progress, performance, and potential bottlenecks.
Once you gather relevant information about your key processes, you can make data-driven decisions to optimize them and make them more efficient.
Business process optimization can help you streamline activities, improve team communication and collaboration, save time, cut costs, increase productivity, boost employee morale, and improve customer satisfaction.
Business Process Management Isn’t the Same as Task Management
It’s easy to confuse BPM with task management, so it’s vital to understand how they differ.
But wait, aren’t processes and tasks one and the same?
A process is a series of steps that lead to achieving certain goals and objectives. They’re made up of various repeatable tasks or procedures. That’s why many of them require optimization, as you repeat them day in and day out.
A task can be defined as an activity that consists of specific, actionable steps. If you manage the tasks of a project poorly, it affects only that specific project. If you fail to manage business processes properly, it affects your entire organization.
Types of BPM
Depending on the nature of business processes, you can use three different BPM types to optimize them. Most BPM solutions support all three types, but some offer features designed for one specific purpose.
- Integration-centric BPM
Integration-centric BPM systems handle processes that don’t require human interaction. They rely on APIs (application programming interfaces) to streamline the communication between ERP, CRM, HRMS, and other systems within an organization.
An example is ensuring a smooth data flow between marketing and sales tools.
- Human-centric BPM
As the name suggests, human-centric BPM optimizes the processes that humans perform. Those can be reviewing data and reports, creating proposals and contracts, screening job candidates, hiring and onboarding employees, and more.
Human-centric BPM systems are user-friendly and help employees be more efficient and productive. They automate repeating, time-consuming tasks, and improve accountability and transparency.
- Document-centric BPM
Document-centric BPM is a must for any business that focuses on managing documents, such as creating contracts, clinical testing reports, budget requests, legal documents, insurance policies, and more.
Document-centric BPM systems help organize a company’s document flow to ensure there are no bottlenecks, unified formatting, verification, and routing to approval and signing.
Why Business Process Management Is Important
As you’ve probably gathered by now, BPM can provide many benefits to your business. We like to think of it as the holy grail that every organization needs for long-term success, especially for large enterprises with multiple teams that juggle a wide range of processes.
These are some of the most significant benefits of BPM.
Increased operational efficiency
When you automate repetitive processes and their various tasks, monitor delays to ensure no time is wasted. This approach can streamline your entire organization.
With higher efficiency comes higher productivity. Your teammates can perform more tasks in less time and help you tackle the core competencies that bring value and grow your business.
Improved employee morale
Productive employees are happy employees. When you automate arduous, time-consuming, repeatable processes and take a huge load off their shoulders, they’ll be more satisfied with their jobs. This will reflect on the quality of their work and your bottom line.
Lower risk of human error
Clearly, automation translates to fewer errors. While there may be some risk of mistakes in human-centered processes, a BPM solution can help you eliminate them by flagging any inconsistencies.
With fewer errors, you don’t need to worry about repeating a process that wasn’t performed well the first time. That will save you time, money, and resources, especially since there will be no delays or missed deadlines.
With more time and productivity, fewer unnecessary steps, and lower costs, you can turn your company into a revenue-generating powerhouse.
Better customer satisfaction
When you improve your delivery timelines and service quality, you’ll make your customers happier. When you’re as efficient as can be, and your teammates have time to focus on excellent customer support, nothing will stand in your way of inspiring long-term customer loyalty.
Who Needs BPM Services?
Every organization that strives to achieve long-term growth needs BPM services.
Certain departments will benefit more from BPM, but a company-wide implementation might be the smartest choice.
Teams that can benefit most from BPM services include:
- Customer support
The marketing department can use BPM to forge stronger customer relationships. A BPM system stores a history of customer interactions so that marketing teams can have a clear overview of every customers’ profile.
They can also automate emails, streamline follow-ups, and collaborate with the sales department to automate their workflow and help them close more deals. Sales teams can also automate invoices and shorten the sales cycle.
HR professionals can use BPM systems to streamline the hiring process, manage employee onboarding and training, and improve any other HR process.
They can communicate seamlessly with the finance teams, efficiently managing all the cumbersome paper forms, emails, requests, and other documentation. Thanks to automation, they can quickly handle invoices, purchase orders, salaries, finance receipts, and other expenses.
Business process management can help you seize a world of growth opportunities and take you on the road to long-term success. But you have to be smart about it and do your BPM properly.
How you manage your business processes will make a difference between a great business and an exceptional one. Which one do you want to be?
We can help you make smarther decisions and guide you to becoming a great business.