A management practice that provides for governance of an organization’s process environment toward the goals of driving consistency, increasing agility, and improving operational performance.
Technology that automates, executes, and monitors business processes from beginning to end by connecting people to people, applications to applications, and people to applications.
Technology that delivers a variety of process, knowledge, and analytics functionality in a single platform, enabling organizations to quickly and efficiently build and launch custom applications that encapsulate process, data, collaboration, and other capabilities.
How BPM Creates Value
BPM not only can improve profitability, it also can expand competitive advantage. How? By using BPM platform technology, an organization can rapidly develop and deploy custom business applications to magnify what sets them apart. These applications ultimately enable a faster response to changing market, customer, and regulatory demands. A BPM-driven organization is not just better positioned to address current challenges; it’s better prepared to take advantage of future opportunities.
Benefits of BPM
In the short term, BPM helps organizations decrease costs and increase efficiency. This can mean more revenue and growth for companies, as well as increased speed, organization, and efficiency for government agencies. In the long run, BPM helps create competitive advantage by improving organizational agility. BPM platform technology can make any organization—in the private and public sectors—more efficient, more agile, and more successful, no matter their mission.
At first glance, BPM seems to deliver the same major benefit as traditional enterprise application technology like ERP: increased workforce productivity (as a result of streamlining business operations and automating repetitive tasks). BPM platforms, however, go far beyond creating efficiency. Knowledge sharing capabilities and embedded collaboration help improve decision-making. Process performance reports (and even continuous process improvement help optimize workflows. Notifications and triggers help reduce errors and eliminate waste. And an intelligent rules engine enforces best practices. Thus, BPM platforms not only help organizations increase workforce productivity, but they also improve product quality and reduce corporate risk. The result? Within months of deployment, these improvements deliver substantial cost savings to companies.
In addition to decreasing costs, BPM platforms also help an organization raise its overall revenues by increasing product output, accelerating cycle time, and improving customer service. Straight-through processing helps accelerate delivery times. Dashboards help prioritize business activities by their influence on sales. Process performance reports help identify bottlenecks and reduce hand-offs. Centralized enterprise knowledge helps speed decision-making. And closed-loop customer feedback processes help track performance. Over time, these enhancements result in a faster time-to-market and an improved company image, which ultimately increases sales and revenues.
While decreased costs and increased revenue are the two most immediate and tangible benefits of business process management, the real value BPM delivers is intangible. In the long run, composite process applications built with BPM platforms help organizations become more agile. Intelligent rules ensure that processes adapt automatically to changes in the business environment. Collaborative tools bridge department boundaries while improving and speeding decision-making. And in-flight process modifications accelerate response to change by dynamically rerouting processes in real time. With these capabilities, a company is better equipped to switch gears and respond to its changing business environment – faster than its competitors!
Features of BPM
Leading BPM platforms deliver a variety of capabilities in a single package. Process management technology allows an organization to streamline its operations by automating, executing, and monitoring business processes from beginning to end. Knowledge management and collaborative tools enable it to leverage information by managing its documents and content and facilitating employee interaction in collaborative, knowledge-based communities. Integrated analytics help increase visibility by delivering extensive reports on key business operations and process execution to managers.
Following are high level capabilities a BPM platform should have:
Process is simply sets of activities and transactions conducted regularly to achieve business objectives. It can be:
Simple (e.g., order fulfillment) OR Complex (e.g., new product development)
Short-term (e.g., employee on-boarding) OR Ongoing (e.g., regulatory compliance)
Function-specific (e.g., proposal management) OR industry-specific (e.g., energy procurement)
In a single department (e.g., billing), across an enterprise (i.e. strategic sourcing), or extend across the value chain (i.e. supply chain management)
Every organization has business processes—it’s how work is accomplished. But, too many organizations rely on outdated procedures, with paper forms or other manual steps. By becoming comfortable in their procedures—how work gets done—leaders and workers cost their organizations more than lost efficiencies. They lose sight of the opportunity cost of getting work accomplished the way “it’s always been done.”
Embedded process—with BPM at the core—automates to improve operational efficiency, but it also can drive more growth, manage governance, risk, and compliance effortlessly, and improve customer and employee engagement.
A BPM platform should have knowledge management capabilities to converge information on from across the organization.
The most current, complete, and accurate data are the lifeblood of good business decisions. Using complete, accurate data in business processes drives better results. So what happens when the data is not up-to-date, complete, or accurate? Bad decisions.
The best BPM platforms can pull together all data on any particular topic from across all enterprise systems in a single place. In doing so, decision-makers are better informed to take the most appropriate action in any circumstance.
Business rules are the logic that in large part drives process automation. Rules provide the structure for consistent, automated process.
Consistency is the key to optimized process. That’s why Rules are a core component of any BPM platform. But, business is never simple. There are exceptions. There are changes that must be addressed; circumstances that drive different approaches and variety in process steps.
BPM platforms typically have a dynamic business rules engine to automate not only processes that are the same time and time again, but also those which are complex with many variables. Business rules help ensure consistent, optimized process around virtually any circumstance.
Social Collaboration is a way to share information across an organization and interact to achieve a common goal. It drives awareness of any circumstance while adding to an organization’s knowledge base. Social collaboration is considered different from traditional collaboration in that it is inclusive by definition—involving anyone/everyone in a group or organization. It embraces a concept that good ideas are everywhere and anywhere.
The single greatest business advantage in any organization is largely untapped. It’s contained within the brains of all knowledge workers. Unfortunately, traditional collaboration is exclusive by nature. You must be added to that email chain…asked to participate in a meeting or phone call…and at the very least, have knowledge of something to be able to participate and add value. Conversely, social collaboration is inclusive, uncovering information and ideas that may otherwise go unnoticed and unrecognized. It helps organizations fully tap the intellectual capital that often never surfaces.
Mobility represents the ability to use a business technology solution the same way on any mobile device as on a desktop computer. Mobile is a lifestyle. The explosion of smartphones and tablets in our personal lives has crossed into our professional lives as well. But with it is an unintended consequence—the need for control.
Enterprise mobility is about giving workers more control to get more done. It’s about expanding the toolset beyond the desktop to any device, without a degradation of functionality, usability, or impact.
The best business technology embraces the needs of those that it is intended to help. That means enabling mobility—usage on any device at any time, interchangeably.
Security is about keeping data and operations safe from anything that could possibly threaten it, including disaster, hackers, or anything else you can think of. When BPM technology helps drive the core processes of an organization, security must be a prime consideration.
It’s the reality of our world today. You can never be too secure. With major hacks making headlines seemingly every other day, there must be comfort that any particular solution protects against threats known and unknown. Make sure your BPM platform technology is continually monitored and security-tested.
Flexible Deployment Options
The ability to house and run your BPM platform on-premise and/or in a cloud environment interchangeably provides ultimate flexibility for organizations with a need to house sensitive data and/or processes behind their own firewall.
Organizations have unique needs. This is especially true when it comes to management of systems that house sensitive data. By making sure you can run all aspects of your BPM platform technology in any environment, however it suits your organization, you can be sure your process and data needs are met.
BPM can be a complex. Enablement is the combination of programs, tools, and people to make sure your BPM technology initiatives are successful. A Center of Excellence is a proven way to drive success.