In today’s global economy, organizations face intensified competition from companies both large and small. Business leaders are under immense pressure to remain competitive, decrease costs and increase productivity by improving business processes. In the face of these challenges, many organizations are seeking the benefits that business process management (BPM) can provide, such as enhanced operational efficiency, improved customer service and increased product and service innovation.
Business process management can help organizations prepare for global competition by assisting business leaders to improve organizational performance by analyzing, designing, implementing, monitoring, controlling and modifying operational business processes. BPM helps managers:
BPM incorporates Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma and uses them in conjunction with BPM technology to optimize processes. BPM can act as the catalyst to accelerate the application of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies and can increase organizational efficiency and profitability by enhancing business processes with three important elements – agility, visibility and efficiency.
With the business environment in a constant state of change, it has become increasingly important that business processes adapt to new conditions quickly. BPM helps make processes more agile through a framework that requires rigorous documentation of the steps in a process. The rigor of the BPM process helps provide a clear comprehension of each step in the workflow process. Detailed knowledge can allow organizations to understand the impact that change may have on their business processes. An organization that understands the impact modifying its business processes may have on the organization’s profitability may be better able to adapt to change and rapidly deploy the best option.
BPM uses sophisticated software programs to automate processes, monitor their performance and reveal the details of how well processes operate in real time. Process automation reveals how the process is functioning without requiring labor intensive manual monitoring techniques. This greater transparency can give management a better understanding of the processes they monitor and also gives them the ability to directly modify the structure and flow of processes while tracking the resulting outcomes.
Organizations that employ BPM principles may find that they can decrease costs and increase productivity. Benefits can result from determining how the process would function under optimal conditions, adjusting the process to help it achieve optimal performance and implementing controls to monitor the process’s future output. Optimizing processes also includes enhancing productivity by eliminating redundancies and automating manual tasks to decrease the potential for errors and rework.
As organizational leaders experience increasing pressure to improve business processes and realize that BPM can be used to complement and enhance Six Sigma and Lean efforts, BPM may become more widely used, as its focus on continued process improvement complements Lean and Six Sigma methodology. The transparency and agility that BPM brings to improving processes helps organizations monitor their current processes, make needed changes to maximize productivity and profitability and align business processes with business objectives.