Beginners’ Guide to Business Process Management

Introduction

Albert Low, the Author of Zen and Creative Management provide the following definition of a company:
“A company is a multidimensional system capable of growth, expansion, and self-regulation. It is, therefore, not a thing but a set of interacting forces. Any theory of organization must be capable of reflecting a company’s many facets, its dynamism, and its basic orderliness.”

Though many of the interacting forces discussed above are often beyond human control, the introduction of a comprehensive Business Process Management (BPM) solution would enable an organization’s management to align key business processes in a manner suitable for responding to and benefiting from rapidly changing market conditions. BPM is certainly not a separate process, but actually a convergence of various aspects of leading industry practices such as Six Sigma, business engineering, total quality Management (TQM) as well as various technologies including Web-enabled Services, XML coding, transaction management, workflow design, service-oriented architecture, system integration and application development, which can provide greater flexibility to a company’s operations and aid in its overall growth.

As BPM is not a separate process/application entire in itself, it is combines several operational facets including Business Process Automation (BPA), which is often an initial step towards implementing an enterprise-wide BPM process. Depending upon key organizational requirements, custom software development companies configure BPA processes to align with end-user requirements by introduction of customized interfaces or new coding. The requirements served by such solutions as well as the development procedure of BPM processes implemented in an organization are often documented by enterprises in their business process management journal.

The BPM solutions provided by most software development companies in India are designed to be comprehensive, flexible and user-friendly to facilitate easy adoption by business users. The main benefit of such solutions is the relatively short learning curve, which is suitable for even the most novice users and the support for various user generated/configured customized interfaces as well as processes. The comprehensiveness of these BPM solutions ensure collaborative, consistent process management along with integrated analytics as well as reporting capabilities, which are aligned with other enterprise-wide solutions.

Key BPM Deployment Benefits to Organizations

Superior Compliance

The custom software development procedures of many companies ensure the availability of relevant logging and audit information pertaining to the actions performed by all members of the staff. Availability of such information ensures that the company’s operations comply with all relevant regulations including various Services Level Agreements.

Real-Time Information Management

BPM systems can be configured to record every transaction carried out using the system and such information may be retrieved by authorized personnel as and when required. This real-time recording/retrieval system is an integral part of the business process management methodology, which allows the accurate analysis of various activities. Such information is usually presented through user-customized dashboards and features various capabilities to ensure detailed analysis of all available information.

Collaborative Workspace Support

BPM solutions may be customized to support a collaborative workspace structure, which allows IT and business users to co-operate in designing, creating as well as implementing executable business processes. The collaborative workspace design enables multiple users to contribute significantly in designing, creating and implementing executable business processes, to facilitate a significant reduction in the overall time to market. This type of workplace design allows reassignment options as well as the use of various tags and memos, which enable business users to collaborate with members of other teams. Key benefits include a decrease in overall costs and lead times required for developing/improving new or currently operational business processes.

Improved Flexibility and Agility

In the current market situations businesses need to be flexible and agile in order to keep pace with rapidly changing market conditions. BPM solutions provide organizations with a flexible environment, which allows business users to rapidly adjust processes and fulfill emerging market requirements. This functionality is achieved by providing enterprise users with support for re-assignment of tasks between employees, supporting the alternative routing of work as well as the creation and compliance with existing or new rules/regulations for conducting business.

Superior Process Visibility

Leading Business Process Management systems developed by companies globally are customized according to the requirements of a single specific environment to provide complete visibility as well as transparency of all processes in the organization. Subsequent to implementation of BPM solutions, authorized personnel are provided access to a customized dashboard, which displays critical business data to facilitate refinement as well as improvement of key business processes. The use of BPM solutions helps significantly in the identification of process exceptions and bottlenecks, while simultaneously improving efficiency as well as control of the business processes.

Conclusion

In the current business environment, no company can be complacent about the way they operate and special attention to implementing suitable business process management methodology is necessary for an organization. The implementation of BPM tools and systems help companies overcome potential as well as existing problem areas while simultaneously improving process visibility throughout the enterprise. In the short as well as long term, BPM processes provide companies with increased flexibility and agility to help them gain a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing business landscape. Considering the global crisis we are currently facing, implementing a proper BPM solution may actually be the deciding factor in a company’s continued growth and existence.

Support and Simplify Internal Business Functions With Business Process Management System

Business process management (BPM) can be defined as the systematic approach to align the existing and future business processes of an organization. Various business enterprises are adopting this advance and highly productive business tool to achieve the maximum internal rate of return and quality customer service. It enhances the business efficiency and productivity, minimizes errors and risks and reduces the total expenditure when executed by the skilled professionals. Some of the key advantages of BPM are as follow:

· Business process management system models –

– BPM’s functions such as Automating, Analyzing, Monitoring, Modeling and improving the business processes help organization to achieve growth and profits within short duration.

– Its business models visualize the functions within the organization and business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

– The BPM’s process and data flow models visualize the process flows within the organization and business-to-business (B2B) transactions. The process flow model visualizes the process flow relationships between process flows as well.

– The decomposition diagrams for process flow diagrams, modeling and data flow diagrams visualize the processes and activities very precisely.

· Workflow –

Its workflow help to define, develop, deploy, automate and manage business procedure within the organization and business-to-business transactions to increase productivity and gain maximum profit.

· Documentation –

The business procedures can be documented in a shared multi-user repository which provides non-technical and technical human resources to understand the various processes of different departments. It helps to analyze the performance and overall profit of every process in business.

· Quality –

BPM improves the quantity and quality of the services or products of organizations.

· Reports –

The BPM reports are very important and useful for the high-rank executives of an organization and the people who require them.

· Resources –

It reduces the total working hours of the employees.

· Exceptions –

In comparison to the manual process, the BPM reduces the errors and exceptions.

· Regulations –

BPM helps the organization to abide by the regulations of the government.

· Business-to-Business transactions (B2B) –

BPM is one of the most important parts of B2B transactions to gain leverage with customers, vendors, consumers and suppliers.

· Competition –

It provides sharp competitive edge and advantages over competitors.

· Simulation –

The simulation techniques of BPM with different scenarios can be used on processes to explore the effect of change.

· Increase Accountability –

The foremost objective of BPM is to provide accountability for the different internal business processes, from tracking to monitoring expenditures to ensure the on time delivery of services and products. It creates a system of balances and checks by reducing the potential for frauds, loss, errors and affirming.

· Improve reliability –

The BPM improves the information reliability and its dissemination effectively. It records and monitors the business processes, locates the required data and produces relevant reports.

· Simplify regulatory compliance

The implementation of the best BPM solutions results in sound financial management with proper feedback on the organization’s performance. There are various business process management consulting firms offering smart advice with effective and advanced solutions.

Keeping Business Processes Simple

Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. This is true in every aspect of life including the way business processes or methods are implemented within the workplace. There are various ways to ensure that business processes meet the needs of the organization and the company in general. One great way is to make sure that all process improvements somehow make doing business simpler.

The key to process improvement is that simpler is better and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just as the wheel continues to turn and spin, so must business methods be continually reviewed and improved. Unfortunately, continuous process improvement sometimes leads to these methods becoming more complicated over time. Therefore, the implementer should always strive to make business methods simpler with each improvement iteration. In my experience, it is far easier to make processes more complicated than it is to keep them simple hence keeping things simple is more difficult than one might think. To help keep processes from becoming too complicated over time, process implementers should ensure that along with metrics to measure the effectiveness of the process, there should also be metrics in place to measure the efficiency of the process itself.

We have a saying around my house that applies not only to life, but even more so to any business process: “That which gets measured gets done.” While I repeat this to myself as I create my daily “to do” lists, this maxim is also meaningful in the life of business. In my opinion, all business processes should be measurable. If they are measured, they will get done. Just as many software applications have a built-in tracking system to measure their efficacy, business processes should have built-in process metrics to determine the effectiveness of what the business does.

At the same time, business processes can’t be too rigid. Flexible processes, ones that can be adapted and used in a variety of situations, are those that will endure. This is especially true for efficient and simple processes. It would be futile to create a process that is difficult to change and challenging to use. In order to attain process excellence, the process implementers need to remember Einstein’s quote and seek the simplest process possible within reason. With a little business process management practice, we can achieve outstanding business returns through the implementation of simple, yet measurable and effective processes.