9 min read

What is Business Process Management (BPM) and Why Is It Important?

May 11, 2021 11:04:16 AM CEST

All businesses always have at least one business process. A simple trading business could have just one business process and other companies, however, can have multiple complex business processes that are interconnected to each other. 


How successful a business is, is essentially determined by how efficient and effective it is in executing its business processes, and this is where Business
Process Management comes in.
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Business Process Management, or BPM, will provide various benefits to the organization, including but not limited to: 

  • Identifying the most efficient way to execute a business process and documenting it for onboarding and training purpose

  • Reducing or eliminating the risks of human error 

  • Improving efficiency and productivity, reducing operational costs while maximizing profitability

  • Ensuring your projects stay on time and budget

  • Allowing employees to focus on their core competencies rather than dealing with administrative tasks so they can contribute more to achieving business objectives and growth

What Is Business Process?

Before discussing business process management (BPM), we should first discuss a business process.

Simply put, a business princess is a collection of interrelated tasks performed to achieve a specific business objective. A key characteristic of a business process is that it is repeatable and can be repeated as many times as needed. 

Here are a few examples of common business processes: 

  • Invoicing and billing process

  • Order processing

  • Product development/product assembly process

  • Quality assurance

  • Cost estimating process

  • Marketing research process

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In general, we can divide business processes into three different types: management processes, operational processes, and supporting processes. 

  1. Management Business Processes

    Management processes focus on planning company operations and planning for the future, like defining timeframes, resource allocation, etc. An example of management processes can be a marketing manager planning a marketing strategy for 2022 to map out the best way to organize the marketing time’s resources and time for achieving the marketing objectives.  

  2. Operational Business Processes

    Operational processes are the execution of business tasks to achieve the organization’s core objectives. For example, in a restaurant, cooking the signature dish is an example of operational processes. Making operational processes more efficient and effective would typically impact the business’s profitability the most.  

  3. Supporting Business Processes

    Supporting processes, as the name suggests, support both management and operational processes. Employee training/onboarding is an excellent example of a supporting business process. Supporting processes ensure both operational processes and management processes as friction-free as possible.  

What Is Business Process Management?

Now that we’ve understood what business process is, what is BPM?

Simply put, Business Process Management is the effort of managing business processes to ensure they are as efficient as possible. 

Not all business processes are going to be perfect in achieving their objectives. Some processes might not achieve the results at all. BPM is a managed, step-by-step plan to ensure a business process is as effective as possible in achieving its goal(s). 

A common misconception is to think that BPM is a software or tool. While it’s true that in most cases, a Business Process Management software is required to perform BPM, BPM is not the tool itself but rather the method of optimizing the business process to achieve its goals.

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Why Is Process Management Important for Any Business?

Business Process Management is about optimizing the efficiency in executing business processes to achieve the process’s objectives faster and more accurately. 

In turn, this can produce five core advantages for any business:

  1. Identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks to improve productivity


    Improving business process efficiency can be quite challenging, and quite often, we’ll get some resistance from those who prefer the status quo. This is why many businesses usually only change their business process or workflow when there’s a specific issue or visible problem. 

    On the other hand, with the proper implementation of BPM, we can objectively evaluate the business process and identify critical inefficiencies and bottlenecks. This way, we can communicate what’s wrong with the process and what improvements can be made, and we’ll get less resistance in applying the changes.

  2. Better visibility of your business process

    The bigger your business is, the more business processes you’ll have, and the more complex they’ll be. If you are just a small startup with a straightforward process, it might be reasonably easy to micromanage everything and remember all the process details. However, as you have more business processes and more employees involved in different tasks, it will be more difficult. 

    Business Process Management allows you to map your processes from start to finish correctly. With a BPM solution like Aproove, you can put all of these workflows in a centralized place, making it easier and more accessible for employees to understand each workflow. 

    With Aproove, you can have a real-time, comprehensive view of your business processes, allowing you to monitor the status of each process as you operate. Also, it’s going to be much easier to implement changes to business processes by having proper workflow automation and management software.

  3. Optimizing resource usage and maximizing cost-efficiency

    Business Process Management (BPM) allows you to reduce the cost to execute a business process by eliminating redundancies and bottlenecks. 

    BPM starts with visualizing the business process by creating a workflow diagram mapping the business process.  This allows us to have a closer look at the business process to identify areas that need improvement and provide us with a better insight into how we should allocate the available resources. 

    BPM software like Aproove can also provide analytics to identify elements of your business process that aren’t efficient or even don’t add any value to achieving your objective. 

  4. Faster onboarding and new process implementation

    Another significant benefit of Business Process Management in today’s demands for an agile business environment is that it allows you to design and implement new processes faster. With proper BPM in place, you’ll have a better understanding of each business process and how these processes correlate with each other. 

    With a BPM solution like Aproove, you can use various analytics tools and testing tools to gain insights into how new business processes will impact your existing workflows, allowing more seamless implementation and preventing potential issues. 

  5. Allowing informed business decisions

    Business Process Management can allow us to map the workflows or even automate them accurately. This will enable us to gain more information about the business processes that we can use to make more informed business decisions.

    On the other hand, by allowing processes to run more seamlessly or even automating them, we can free ourselves and our employees from performing redundant administrative tasks to allocate more of our time for more crucial aspects of the business. 

Key Aspects of Business Process Management
  1. Proper Allocation of Manpower and Resources

    An essential aspect of BPM is assigning ownership. Business processes should be assigned to the right people to improve transparency and accountability for all operations in the company. 

    Transparency and accountability are essential not only to encourage collaboration but to ensure optimal productivity. It is human nature to easily slip into complacency when they don’t feel that they are accountable. However, even a small mistake or a single person neglecting to perform their task can be the bottleneck for the whole company.

    With a proper BPM solution like Aproove, every stakeholder can view the business processes and even offer their feedback and suggest updates when needed. This will help promote transparency and accountability throughout the whole organization. 

  2. Data-Driven Optimization

    The end goal of BPM is to optimize the business process to ensure it is as efficient as possible. 

    In proper Business Process Management, optimization is achieved by collecting as much data as you can regarding: 

  1. The starting conditions and end requirements of the business process

  2. The objective or goal of the process

  3. The tasks/activities that move the process forward

  4. Who or which department are involved

  5. The information being transferred between tasks

By considering the five factors above, we can optimize the process by: 

  • Identifying which process needs optimizing

  • The tasks and other elements of the process

  • The method currently used. Consider whether better techniques/methods/tools can be applied

  • Eliminate unnecessary steps

  • Improve inefficient steps

  • Implement automation when possible

3. Implementing Automation Only When Needed

Before anything else, it’s essential to understand that Business Process Management is not always about automation. There are specific tasks or even whole business processes that are more efficient when executed manually.

Thus, it’s imperative to identify whether automation is necessary, and this is where tests and simulations can come in handy. 

Conclusion

Business Process Management is a continuous effort rather than a one-off thing. Also, implementing BPM and using the right software like Aproove may only allow us to identify bottlenecks and room for improvements in your business process. However, we still need to be proactive in implementing the changes and improving the business processes. 

Ultimately, BPM is about leveraging the data you get from using the right BPM tools and information to make your business processes better and more efficient. 

 

Sylvain Doré

Written by Sylvain Doré