The comprehensive guide on business process management (BPM)

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  • What is business process management (BPM)?
  • What is the need for business process management in organizations?
  • What are some BPM examples?
  • What are the benefits of business process management?
  • What are the different stages of BPM?
  • What are the challenges of adopting a BPM practice?
  • What are the features to look for in business process management tools?
  • How can a low-code platform help companies with BPM?
  • FAQs on business process management (BPM)

What is business process management (BPM)?

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach to improving the operational efficiency and effectiveness of an organization's business processes. For example, a company uses BPM to streamline its order-fulfillment process, resulting in faster delivery times and lower shipping costs.

What-is-business process management (BPM)?

What is the need for BPM in organizations?

To improve efficiency and effectiveness:

Business process management helps organizations identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement in their repetitive and ongoing processes. This can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness in their processes management.

To improve customer satisfaction:

By improving existing processes and by making the business strategy more efficient, organizations can improve customer satisfaction. This can lead to increased business outcomes and repeat customers.

To reduce costs:

Applying business process management can help organizations identify areas for cost savings. This can lead to increased profitability for the organization.

What are some BPM examples?

Business process management can be applied to any business function following the various stages that were discussed earlier.

BPM for human resources

Say you're a chief human resources manager or an HR manager, BPM would involve defining the core operation of sub-processes like employee onboarding or employee management. You could also apply this to your master process, which is human resource management.

BPM for finance

For the finance department, BPM can be applied to processes like business expense management, corporate travel management or complete business finance management.

BPM for operations

The business operations function can benefit from BPM by streamlining sub-processes like facility management, vendor management, inventory management and order management.

BPM for sales and marketing

Business process management need not be limited to inward processes alone. Processes like sales management, quotation management or content proofing can also come under its purview.

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What are the benefits of business process management?

Better process visibility:

Organizations can use business process management to keep track of all workflows across teams. This can help identify bottlenecks and make recommendations for stakeholders to take necessary actions.

Improves the business's flexibility:

The BPM framework lets businesses identify, track, and optimize their internal processes. This helps them to be more agile in their decision-making and operations because they can quickly adapt to changes in their environment.

Seamless communication:

BPM lifecycle can help businesses improve their communication and collaboration, as well as their overall efficiency.

Learn more about the benefits of BPM

What are the different stages of BPM?

The five stage approach to business process management involves the steps below:


Process identification:

In this stage, organizations identify which processes need to be improved or created. This is usually done through process mapping, which helps them visualize their current processes.


Process improvement:

After identification, organizations need to analyze their business processes and identify ways to improve them. This can involve streamlining steps, automating tasks, or making other changes to improve efficiency.


Process implementation:

In the process implementation stage, organizations put their automated business processes into place. This may require changes to organizational structure, technology, or other areas.


Process monitoring:

Implementation is followed by monitoring where organizations track the performance of their business automation to ensure they are working as intended. This requires setting up KPIs and other metrics to measure process performance.


Process optimization:

This stage is where organizations continuously ensure process improvement. This means that businesses will make small tweaks to business automation on an ongoing basis or making more significant changes periodically.


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What are the challenges in adopting a BPM practice?

Lack of governance framework and standards:

There is no one-size-fits-all governance framework or standards for BPM. Organizations need to define their own governance framework and standards according to their business rules, needs, culture, and maturity level.

Limitations in integration and coordination:

BPM should be integrated with other enterprise systems and processes, such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and supply chain management. However, many organizations struggle with integrating BPM with other enterprise systems.

Availability of skilled resources:

BPM requires a new set of skills and knowledge. Many organizations lack the necessary skills and knowledge to implement and manage a business process management system.

Identifying the right tools and technologies:

The main challenge of identifying the right tools and technologies for business process management (BPM practice is the lack of a clear and agreed-upon definition for what constitutes a "BPM tool." This lack of clarity leads to a wide variety of tools and technologies being marketed as BPM solutions, which can make it difficult for organizations to identify the right solution for their needs.

What are the features to look for in business process management tools?

Support for a variety of business processes:

BPM tools should support a variety of business processes, including common processes such as project management, order processing, and invoicing.

Flexible process modeling:

The software should allow users to model processes in a way that is flexible and adaptable to changing business needs—ideally following the business process model and notation (BPMN) standard.

Note: BPMN is a standard for modeling business processes in a graphical way. It is a standardized notation that can be used to visualize and document business processes in a clear and unambiguous way. BPMN is used to model business processes at different levels of abstraction, from high-level processes down to low-level details.

Process automation:

BPM software must support process automation to help users optimize business processes, improve business outcomes, increase efficiency, and productivity.

Process monitoring and reporting:

The tool should provide users with visibility into process performance through monitoring and reporting features.

Integration with other systems:

Business process management systems should integrate with other business systems to support end-to-end process management.

How can a low-code platform help companies with business process management?

Low code is a type of software development that emphasizes the use of graphical user interface (GUI) tools to enable rapid application development (RAD). Low-code platforms, like Zoho Creator, provide a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create custom applications without needing to write much code. Low code helps in business process management by allowing organizations to quickly develop and deploy custom applications without the need for expensive and time-consuming coding and skilled resources. Some of the better low-code platforms come with the option to create digital blueprints of the business process that companies are trying to digitize.

An in-depth look at low-code powered BPM software

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about business process management (BPM)

What is business process automation and how does it facilitate BPM?

The practice of identifying and automating repetitive and manual tasks across an organization is called business process automation (BPA), and it's critical to any successful BPM system implementation. If your aim is to improve productivity, reduce errors, and save costs, then BPA is a proven approach to efficient business process management. While a clearly mapped business process management blueprint in itself can result in business gains, adding the software layer of business process automation to this system ensures even greater business value.

How is business process automation (BPA) different from business process management (BPM)?

Business process automation (BPA) involves using technology to automate specific tasks or processes, focusing on streamlining and optimizing repetitive activities. It often employs robotic process automation (RPA) and aims to replace manual efforts with software solutions.

On the other hand, business process management (BPM) is a comprehensive approach that manages and improves an organization's entire set of processes, both automated and non-automated. It includes design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and continuous improvement to achieve strategic goals and enhance overall efficiency.

BPA is a subset of BPM, as it deals with automating specific tasks, while BPM addresses all processes within an organization.

What is a business process management system?

A business process management (BPM) system refers to a set of technologies, tools, and methodologies designed to streamline, automate, and optimize business processes within an organization. It's a systematic approach to improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance of business operations.

BPM systems help organizations identify, model, analyze, design, automate, monitor, and continuously improve their business processes. It allows businesses to manage both the sequential and parallel workflows involved in various processes, ensuring that they're executed in a consistent and standardized manner.

How to choose BPM software

Here are some key points to consider when choosing the BPM software for your organization:

  • Identify requirements: Begin by understanding your organization's specific requirements for process and application development automation. Then identify the business processes you want to optimize.
  • Evaluate user experience and ease of use: One of the main advantages of low-code BPM software is its simplicity. Ensure that the platform has an intuitive visual interface that allows you to automate complex business processes with ease.
  • Check for integration and compatibility: Check the BPM software's compatibility with your existing systems, such as your ERP, CRM, HRM, and other essential business applications.
  • Ensure security and compliance: Data security is a critical aspect of any BPM implementation. Ensure that the software adheres to industry-standard security protocols and has the necessary features to protect sensitive business information.
  • Compare cost and licensing: Compare the pricing models and licensing options of the different BPM software providers. Ensure that you understand the total cost of ownership, including any additional fees or ongoing expenses.

What are some of the uses of BPM?

Business process management tools can be used for business processes across various industries and business functions, such as:

  • Workflow management
  • Process standardization
  • Customer experience improvement
  • Risk and compliance management
  • Resource allocation
  • Supply chain management
  • Human resource management
  • IT service management