When some people read or hear “business process management,” they think about process flowcharts and the various workflow models and pictures that business analysts create. While modelling is an important tool in business process management, (BPM) is much more than drawing some pictures with boxes and lines. Business process management is the set of skills and methods companies use to look at end-to-end processes and determine how to make them better.
Your business processes are the strategic and operational assets your company uses to help it deliver products and services consistently, effectively and efficiently. They are the backbone that integrates your operations and enables you to be competitive and profitable. Managing your process assets starts with understanding what they are and modelling them (yes, there will probably be some pictures), but that’s only the beginning. BPM also includes any automation you undertake, the execution of your processes and monitoring/controlling your processes to ensure they are doing what you expect of them. When your processes aren’t fulfilling your expectations, BPM will help you determine the cause(s) and the best course of action to make your processes better.
Business Process Management as a discipline
BPM is one of the disciplines within the field of operations management. It includes a set of techniques to improve end-to-end business processes by discovering and analyzing them, modelling and measuring how they work and improving them through optimization and automation activities. While almost anyone can draw a simple process-flow picture, trained BPM professionals have a broad set of skills that enable them to be experts in guiding business process improvement – the activities that create the most value for your organization. The insights they generate aren’t just informative, they are actionable!
BPM insights start with data
Modern organizations generate considerable data – customer data, sales data, finance data, market data and operations data are just the start. Locked inside your company’s data is a treasure trove of information about your company’s operations and how your business processes are impacting profitability and performance. Business process management can help you unlock this information and use it to identify opportunities for improvement – new product opportunities, ways to improve customer satisfaction and opportunities for cost reduction, for example. These insights are derived from connecting your operational data with the insights your process designs and models create, so your business analysts and operations leaders can see the impact processes are having on company performance.
The right set of tools makes all the difference
Skilled professionals can’t perform at their best if they don’t have the right set of professional tools to do the job effectively. Business process management is no exception. For your BPM team members to do their best work, they need not only a robust set of modelling tools, but also the ability to integrate the models with your operational execution and control capabilities. The information and telemetry generated from your monitoring tools serve as the basis for continuous improvement and process re-engineering activities.
Are you looking for some simple flowcharts to hang on the wall as artwork; or are you looking for actionable insights that you can use to improve many aspects of your company? Business process management is much more than drawing pictures, it is management of your end-to-end processes from when they are conceived through their entire lifecycle of design, development and execution. BPM professionals equipped with the right set of tools are the key to unlocking your company’s competitive advantage.