Wondering what business process management (BPM) is all about? Although the BPM concept has been around for quite some time, not many people fully understand what it means. At its core, BPM is a process strategy that helps businesses identify inefficiencies, streamline workflows, and optimize operations.
Simply put, Business Process Management involves analyzing and improving the way work is done within an organization. By breaking down processes into smaller components and evaluating them, businesses can identify areas where they can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase overall productivity.
BPM tools and software can help organizations automate their workflows, monitor performance, and ensure that all processes are operating at peak efficiency. With the right BPM software, businesses can achieve more efficient and optimized operations, which ultimately leads to improved profitability.
If you’re new to Business Process Management and want to learn its benefits and how to use BPM software to improve your business processes, you are in the right place.
Let's get started!
What Is BPM (Business Process Management)?
Business Process Management focuses on helping businesses manage, analyze, monitor, and improve processes and workflows with the goal of achieving greater productivity and profitability.
By adopting a business process management strategy, you can identify weaknesses and bottlenecks in your processes and take practical steps to eliminate them. This may involve automating certain tasks, creating workflows, or streamlining collaboration between teams or departments. BPM can be used in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, retail, tech, and so on.
For example, let's say you own a small online retail business. You notice that your order fulfillment process is taking longer than it should, and you're losing customers as a result. After using a Business Process Management Consultant or tool to analyze your process, you identify a bottleneck in the packaging and shipping stages. You decide to invest in new packaging equipment and automate the order-to-shipping process which leads to faster order fulfillment. Ultimately, your customers are happier, and sales increase. That’s the magic of BPM.
In other words, BPM is a powerful business tactic that can help companies of all sizes be more competitive by improving productivity and increasing profitability.
Why Business Process Management Is Important for Every Business
Business process management is important for every business, and adopting it can help you achieve your business goals faster. Here’s why:
- By analyzing processes and identifying areas where improvements can be made, businesses will not only speed up their processes but ultimately save time and money.
- BPM can help businesses reduce errors and improve the consistency and reliability of their output, resulting in happier customers and improved customer retention rates.
- BPM can help businesses looking to improve the quality of their service to customers, including faster response times and better communication.
- BPM can help to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
- By adopting BPM or hiring a Business Process Management Consultant, you’ll be able to identify and address inefficiencies in your processes and save money on labor, materials, and other resources.
Stages of BPM
Since Business Process Management is a process-centric approach to managing and optimizing business operations, its primary goal is to identify, design, and implement the most effective and efficient business processes. BPM typically has several stages and can be broken down into the following:
- Process Discovery: This is the first stage of BPM, where you identify your existing processes and assess their performance. This may include collecting data on process times, costs, and quality. The goal is to identify any inefficiencies that need to be addressed.
- Process Modeling: In this stage, businesses use BPM tools or a Business Process Management Consultant to create a visual representation of the existing process, including its inputs, outputs, and activities. This helps to identify areas where improvements can be made. For instance, removing redundant or unnecessary steps.
- Process Analysis: Once the process model is complete, your team or a Business Process Management Consultant will analyze it to identify areas where performance can be improved. This may involve using statistical analysis to identify trends or patterns in the data, or conducting simulations to test potential changes to the process.
- Process Redesign: This is where your company comes up with a new design and process that incorporates the improvements identified in the analysis stage. This may involve removing or adding steps, changing the order of activities, or introducing new technology to automate certain tasks.
- Process Implementation: The redesigned process is then implemented, typically through the use of BPM software that automates and streamlines the process. You may need to train your employees on new processes or technology.
- Process Monitoring and Optimization: Once the new process is implemented, it's important to monitor its performance and identify any areas that can be further optimized. This may involve collecting data on performance metrics, such as cycle time, quality, and cost, and making further improvements as necessary.
Let’s go through an example together.
Imagine that you own a small manufacturing business. You notice that your production process is taking longer than it should, and you're experiencing higher costs and lower quality as a result. You decide to implement a process management strategy to optimize your production process.
- In the process discovery stage, you identify that your bottleneck is assembling products. In the process modeling stage, you create a visual representation of the assembling process, where you spot several unnecessary steps.
- In the process redesign stage, you remove these unnecessary steps and introduce new automation technology to speed up the process and assemble your products with less human input.
- In the process implementation stage, you train your employees on the new process and technology.
- In the process monitoring and optimization stage, you collect data on performance metrics and identify further areas for improvement. This can include reducing setup times and improving quality.
Benefits of BPM
Business process management (BPM) is an essential practice that many businesses overlook even though it can help them achieve bigger operational goals. To get your team on board, take a look at some benefits of BPM:
- Improved Efficiency: One of the key benefits of BPM is that it enhances operational efficiency. BPM allows for the automation of tasks, the reduction of manual work, and the streamlining of processes. These ultimately improve productivity and reduce operating costs.
- Increased Agility: BPM also promotes business agility, making organizations more responsive to changing market conditions, customer demands, and business opportunities. By implementing BPM, organizations can quickly adapt to changes, maintain a competitive edge, and gain a better position in the market.
- Enhanced Visibility: BPM also provides enhanced visibility into business processes, enabling organizations to better understand their operations and identify areas that require improvement. With insights into performance, organizations can make data-driven decisions and take proactive steps to optimize their operations.
- Better Compliance: Compliance is a critical issue for many businesses, and BPM can help ensure that organizations meet regulatory requirements and avoid penalties. BPM solutions enable companies to monitor and enforce compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of fines, legal actions, and reputational damage.
- Improved Customer Experience: BPM can help organizations provide better customer experiences by reducing response times, and improving the accuracy and quality of services. BPM tools can be used to automate customer-facing processes, such as customer service, order fulfillment, and billing, improving the overall customer experience and satisfaction.
The benefits of BPM go beyond operational improvements. If you are looking to draw from its pool of numerous business benefits, consider implementing a BPM solution.
List of Top BPM Tools
BPM tools are software applications that help you implement BPM strategies. They offer features such as process modeling, automation, and analytics. However, when selecting a BPM tool, it's important to consider factors such as the size and complexity of your organization, the specific processes you need to manage, and your budget. Each of the tools listed below has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the right choice will depend on your unique business needs.
This is a low-code BPM software that helps businesses create secure, scalable, and efficient business processes. With Pipefy, you can develop service portals to centralize your processes and standardize forms to make your processes error-free. This tool includes a request tracker that enables customers, workers, and vendors to monitor the status of their requests. It also has a customizable dashboard that allows you to pull and analyze data from various workflows. Want to learn more? We’re certified experts in this tool. Book a discovery call with us today to see if Pipefy is the right tool for you.
Appian is a cloud-based Business Process Management tool with features such as low-code development, process automation, and analytics. It's designed to be easy to use and offers a range of pre-built connectors and integrations. Businesses use Appian to automate repetitive processes, integrate with other business solutions, and build custom workflows. It provides numerous features like mobile app development, chatbots, AI assistants, and more.
This is a cloud-based Business Process Management software that offers features such as workflow automation, document generation, and digital forms. Nintex helps to plan business processes, create them in partnership with your team, and manage them for ongoing improvement. This software also allows you to automatically generate documents and enable e-signatures. It's designed to be easy to use and offers integration with other systems such as Salesforce and SharePoint.
Pega is a BPM and CRM platform that offers features such as process automation, case management, and predictive analytics. It's designed to support complex and dynamic processes and offers integration with other systems. Pega enables you to create scalable, enterprise-grade CRM, robotic process automation (RPA), BPM, case management, and AI solutions on a single unified platform. Pega turns business stakeholders into citizen developers through a no-code, visual app creation experience, while enabling professional developers to architect apps in a low-code environment using a model-driven approach.
How to Choose the Right Business Process Management Tool
Choosing the right BPM tool is a critical decision for any business. With so many options available, it can be somewhat overwhelming. Before you take the step, it’s ideal to ask a Business Process Management Consultant. But if you’ll decide on your own, these are some key factors to consider when selecting a BPM tool:
- Identify your specific needs: Before selecting a BPM tool, it's important to identify the specific needs of your business. Consider factors such as the size and complexity of your organization, the processes you need to manage, and the overall goals of your business.
- Evaluate the features: Different BPM tools offer different features, so it's important to evaluate each tool based on the features that are most important to your business. Some common features to consider include process modeling, automation, and analytics.
- Consider the ease of use: The best BPM tools should be easy to use and should require minimal training. Look for tools with intuitive user interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality.
- Check for compatibility: It's important to ensure that the BPM tool you select is compatible with your existing systems and tools. This will help ensure smooth integration and reduce the risk of errors or delays.
- Evaluate cost: BPM tools can vary widely in terms of cost, so it's important to evaluate the pricing models of each tool. Consider factors such as upfront costs, ongoing fees, and any additional costs for customization or integration.
- Read reviews and talk to other users: Finally, it's a good idea to read reviews of each BPM tool and talk to other users to get a sense of their experiences. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each tool extensively and make a more informed decision.
In all, remember that the right tool will depend on your unique needs, so it's important to carefully evaluate each option before concluding.
Examples of BPM in Action
Business process management (BPM) can be applied to a wide range of processes and industries, from manufacturing and healthcare to finance and government. Here are a few examples of how BPM works in different industries.
- Manufacturing: A car parts manufacturing company experiences a significant amount of defects in their production line, leading to customer complaints and costly recalls. With Business Process Management software, the company creates a model of its production process, identifies bottlenecks, and improves quality control measures. As a result, the number of defects in its production line reduces, and there’s improvement in product quality and an increment in customer satisfaction.
- Healthcare: A hospital notices that patient discharge times were taking longer than necessary, causing delays in bed availability and lower patient satisfaction. By using a Business Process Management framework, the hospital creates a model of its patient discharge process and identifies areas where availability is properly monitored and documented. The hospital implements automated reminders for doctors to complete the necessary paperwork and introduces a new internal communication tool between the care team and discharge planners. As a result, the hospital significantly reduces patient discharge times, improves bed availability, and increases patient satisfaction.
- Finance: A financial institution is struggling to comply with regulations related to loan approvals, leading to compliance violations and costly fines. Using Business Process Management software, the institution creates a model of its loan approval process, identifies areas of risk, and implements controls to mitigate those risks. The institution automates document routing and introduces electronic signatures, which allows for faster processing and easier tracking of approvals. As a result, the institution reduces compliance violations, improves risk management, and avoids costly fines.
- Government: A government agency responsible for processing passports is experiencing a backlog of applications and lengthy processing times, leading to frustration among citizens. With the help of a Business Process Management Consultant and tools, the agency creates a model of its passport processing process, identifies weaknesses, and creates and optimizes a new workflow. The agency implements online application forms, automated document routing, and electronic signatures, allowing for faster processing and reduced errors. As a result, the agency significantly reduces processing times, improves citizen satisfaction, and reduces costs.
- Customer service: A telecommunications company notices that customer service complaint calls were taking longer than necessary, leading to high costs and frustrated customers. With assistance from Business Process consultants and BPM software, the company creates a new structure for its customer service processes, eliminates loopholes, and optimizes its operation. The company implements automated call routing and introduces a self-service option, which allows customers to resolve their issues without speaking to a representative. As a result, the company reduces call times, improves customer satisfaction, and reduces costs.
In each of these examples, BPM was used to create the infrastructure of a specific process, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes. By doing so, businesses were able to solve specific problems and get improved results.
Shortcomings of BPM
While BPM provides significant benefits to organizations, it also has some shortcomings that should be considered before implementation. Some of these shortcomings include
- Resistance to Change: One of the main challenges of implementing BPM is possible employee resistance to change. Some employees may resist process changes, leading to a lack of adoption, low engagement, and poor performance. Therefore, it's important to provide adequate training, communication, and support to employees to ensure their buy-in and participation.
- Cost: Another challenge of BPM is its cost. Implementing BPM requires a significant investment in software, hardware setup, and employee training. The cost of BPM software can vary greatly depending on the provider, the features, and the level of customization required. As a result, the cost of implementing BPM can be a significant barrier for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Complexity: Business Process Management can be complex and require specialized skills and knowledge to design, implement, and maintain. This complexity can also make it difficult to customize processes, integrate with existing systems, and modify workflows. The easy way out here would be to hire Business Process Management Consultants.
- Technology Limitations: Another Business Process Management challenge is that the technology used to implement it may not be suitable for all business processes. Some business processes may require specialized software or hardware, which may not be compatible with your BPM tool. This can limit the effectiveness of BPM in addressing such business processes.
BPM provides a strategic approach for business owners and leaders that are keen to streamline their operations, improve efficiency, and increase their bottom lines.
When choosing a BPM tool, it's important to consider your specific business needs and goals. Make sure to adopt a tool that is user-friendly, has the necessary features, and can easily integrate with your existing systems.
Still, it's important to keep in mind that there are potential shortcomings of BPM that need to be considered.
By taking the time to understand the stages of BPM, selecting the right tools, or better still, hiring a Business Process Management Consultant, you can help your business achieve its goals in the short and long term.