Processes Need Management - and Vice Versa
Processes are Everywhere, and We Can't Escape!
This sounds a bit like a nerdy horror scenario but there lies a truth in it. In fact, there is no company without business processes, and even we are part of processes every day. Either we are directly involved as a responsible participant or we trigger them in other companies as soon as we send a request, calling a support hotline or placing an order. For a company, a dedicated management of all these processes is crucial to react quickly to changes and ensure the efficiently of the business performance.
What is BPM?
If you asked a doctor, you would probably get the answer BPM stands for "(heart)Beats Per Minute". Although business process can also increase the (heart)beats per minute (especially if something went wrong), BPM is also the abbreviation for Business Process Management.
Managing Business Processes
Goals of BPM
More concretely, Business Process Management is an ongoing and iterative management discipline to:
- Capture relevant process information (e.g. through interviews)
- Design processes (visualize tasks, decisions and responsibilities)
- Execute processes (e.g. by systems or employees)
- Document processes (e.g. by creating a handbook)
- Measure processes (e.g. cycle times, costs, other KPIs)
- Monitor and control processes (e.g. automated and non-automated execution)
End-to-End Process Management
Business Process Management enables companies of all sizes and industries in applying a process-oriented management perspective on processes, but put them into an 'end-to-end' focus.
A comprehensive end-to-end process organization ensures that all operations in a business process work together in the best possible way and are optimized and aligned for the common purpose: meeting customer needs.
These processes that range from the customer inquiry to the delivery of a product or the provision of a service. Such a process centric focus helps to break departmental silos as end-to-end processes doesn't stop at department boundaries but requires the collaboration of different departments to accomplish the process goal.
Three-Level Focus of BPM (on processes)
Besides the process centric focus on its end-to-end character, BPM also considers different levels to align and support processes in order to make sure, it follows the companies' strategy on the one hand and is also efficiently executed on the other hand.
Select each level in the figure for more information.
Three-Level Focus of BPM
Overall Goal of BPM
The overall goal of business process management is to improve business performance. This can only be achieved by using a BPM software solution (e.g. SAP Signavio Process Manager), which provides features to structure, model, and analyze business processes.
Process Management Support
A good BPM software solution supports process management with:
- A central object repository for reusing the same business terms across all processes
- A (folder) structure to store and find processes
- A reporting functionality, which aggregates all information on selected processes
- A version control of processes if changes need to be reversed
- A diagram comparison (As-Is vs. To-Be comparison)
- Collaboration / commenting features to get feedback and collaborate on processes
- Functionality to capture additional information on processes and tasks, like risks & controls.