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  • Sutherland White Paper

What Is BPM? An FYI Guide to Business Process Management

How can your business achieve noticeable gains in both efficiency and profitability? It starts with business process management (BPM). BMP, by definition, is TK. By rethinking and redesigning complex business processes and systems, you can better achieve your business goals and reap noticeable gains in workflow management.

BPM Process Management

BPM is a methodology for making business processes and workflows more effective and efficient. A business process is any activity that sets out to accomplish a specific goal within a business. Rather than a piece of technology or software that revamps how a business process is carried out, BPM is a tactical practice that works to affect change and improve business processes in order of the following steps:

1. Design

If a process isn’t working up to your business’ standards, then design a new way of doing that process. This grants you greater control of how a given operation is conducted within your business. You can then tweak or model this process across different scenarios so that it remains effective and efficient. When it comes to designing a new business process, think about how it should ideally function and build around that. Remember when designing business processes to always keep the business outcome in mind. That focus will ensure the success or failure of all processes.

2. Implement

Once you’ve mapped out and designed your business processes, it then comes time to implement them across your organization. These processes should be executed based on your business process management modeling, with assigned owners for each. Once you begin implementing business processes, you can work on standardizing them so they’re more easily managed and understood. This means making sure that any employee could conceivably perform a given process.

3. Analyze

As business processes are implemented and executed, your focus should shift toward monitoring their rate of success. To properly analyze a process, you need data systems in place that can report on the metrics, KPIs, and performance goals of each. This step is all about learning what a business process is doing well and where it needs improvement in order to achieve your desired outcomes.

4. Optimize

Arguably the most crucial component of business process management is when it comes time to optimize. BPM executed strategically will constantly deliver process improvements. Optimizing a process based on insights from continuous monitoring and analysis will ensure that it’s always performing up to standards. And because standards evolve and business goals change, you need to constantly optimize your processes so they can go about producing results despite these shifts.

5. Manage

This is where you take steps to ensure that every business process you design, implement, and optimize functions within a given workflow. Workflow management is all about making sure the assigned owner of a process can do their job productively and efficiently. If you’re finding that’s not the case, it may be time to go back to one of the previous steps to ensure smoother management of a process moving forward.

6. Automate

Last but certainly not least, it’s now time to automate processes. Of course, optimizing and improving processes should be done well in advance of automation. Any mistakes a human can still make conducting a business process are magnified ten-fold if it’s automated before it’s fully optimized and managed. But once that’s done, you can start introducing BPM software, tools, and technology like robotic process automation (RPA) to achieve even greater levels of speed, efficiency, and business value.

By following these steps, your business can then better observe and control all business processes and systems throughout your organization, enabling them all to work better together. The practice of BPM can be bolstered by business process management software and technology that results in more streamlined workflow management and greater business outcomes.

It’s important to note that BPM isn’t just a one and done solution. Business processes are in constant need of re-engineering in order for a business to meet their changing goals and performance metrics. With business process modeling, you can institute an adaptive, always-on BPM strategy that will continuously improve processes and bring about a higher rate of efficiency.

The Benefits of BPM

Now that we’ve answered the question of what BPM is, let’s take a look at the benefits it can provide your business.

Integrating and automating the management of business processes can help you eliminate repetitive tasks, collapse cycle times, and reduce operational costs. BPM offers end-to-end visibility in every process and workflow, resulting in more focused, effective management of each. By employing BPM tools and software, you can automate repetitive tasks, which in turn frees up your talent to focus on more strategic work.

For example, introducing process automation for a common business task like financial reporting can improve efficiency, speed, and accuracy. These improvements can translate into greater employee productivity on more creative, strategic tasks, like customer care and support. Thanks to the automation of this repetitive business process, employees can now focus on providing a better experience that results in greater levels of customer satisfaction.

Starting Your BPM Journey

A clearly defined strategy for business process transformation is the best first step to starting your BPM journey. Next, consider what BPM software, technology, solutions, or tools you want to adopt to help achieve the goals you’ve defined for this process. Then, consider how a new or refined approach to a given workflow can improve the business outcome associated with it. Once all of that is done, you can start in on those six BPM steps outlined above to reap better performance from all business processes.

It’s also important to note that your BPM and workflow management approach must incorporate a data and analytics platform that provides you with actionable insights around business activity. These insights will help inform how you continuously improve, optimize, and automate processes moving forward.

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