Business process management

The beginning of Business Process Management evolved from 1993, when Michael Hammer and James Champy published a book on the name of “Reengineering the Corporation”, Entrepreneurs and business owners came to know that managing an organisation needs managing its processes. Few experts have gone so far as to assert that an organisation is nothing more than the summation of its processes. The unstated inference was that the primary reason to study a Business Process Management is to eliminate waste. Another alleged assumption is that the environment will persist adequately stable so that improvements to a process have enough time to give a return on investment. However, it became obvious that the business environment keeps on changing may never be as static, and that organisation would require changing at least as rapidly with respect to the circumstances. The Business Process Management and Business Process Management Systems are meant to strike a new connection between process efficiency and process agility. The optimal result is now bias towards more agility rather than efficiency alone.

What is Business Process Management?
Business Process Management is the closed loop, iterative management approach of business processes over their entire lifecycle of business. It includes designing the process, optimizing it, documenting, communicating to stakeholders, implementing, monitoring, updating frequently, and retiring processes. Well-managed firms have always had robust, but time consuming mechanisms for performing all of these functions.

For decade, these mechanisms usually involve:

  • Papers or software applications like Visio or MS Word were used for designing and documenting process.
  • Simulation process had been done by using specialized products like Crystal Ball before implementing them.
  • Implementing processes by creating new applications and by customizing existing applications.
  • Specialized products were used to evaluate the performance of processes, and to find areas for improvement.

Any improvements to existing processes required changes to be done to the application code. Business Process Management Systems is a new software system that automates and simplifies the job of managing business processes throughout the entire life-cycle. As long as, Information technology enabled business processes were deployed within the boundaries of specific software applications such as Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) and Supply Chain Management Systems. Even when some of the processes needed multiple applications to be integrated, the focus of control would remain within a particular application, which would call others when required. With a Business Process Management Systems, the process management system specialized in coordinating every business process, and will call on other necessary applications for services, as required.

What Business Process Management is NOT?
Business Process Management (BPM) is NOT Business process reengineering (BPR): BPR is a methodology that gives special importance on creating a product from scratch. This will result in more improvements in effectiveness and efficiency, but can be time consuming. A firm’s processes depict its whole wisdom, and existing applications often contain highly customized algorithms that are company’s assets. The main factor is to ensure that these assets are conserved, and are available for use whenever and wherever they may be needed. Business Process Management, on the other hand does not need the use of any specific methodology. It automates and reiterates existing processes, and thus benefit from past investments. Business Process Management (BPM) & BPR are complements, rather than alleged as substitutes. Each of the approaches maximises the value of each other.

Business Process Management (BPM) is NOT Enterprise Application Integration (EAI): EAI refers to a group of technologies that are utilized to get applications to work together. These may be utilized simply to transfer data between applications, or to develop complex applications that rework functionality that is already available from existing applications. A Business Process Management system, however, located above the EAI or Services layer, and request on these resources when needed as it executes a business process. Some Business Process Management system vendors argue that their systems work even without an Integrations.

Business Process Management (BPM) is NOT Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): ERP is different enterprise applications which carry value chain functions that automate many standard business processes. Deploying such a system is generally a complex and costly process that can take years. While they implemented many best practices will be in to confusion, they can be inflexible, and generally require the company to adapt the processes which is already defined within the system, rather than the system adapting to the business practices related to the company. As like BPR, here is also the high risk of losing highly customized algorithms that are company’s assets when replacing legacy applications by implementing ERP. Business Process Management systems are relatively modest deployment that can be rolled out rapidly. These are very low-cost, and easily adaptable. Processes can be added and improved incrementally, and recombined into simple processes.

Business Process Management (BPM) is NOT Six Sigma (6σ): Six Sigma is a methodology which is used for developing and improving processes by producing less defective products adding customer value. It is independent of any technology. It is measure of quality that strives for perfection. Six Sigma is an organised, statistical data and facts driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process in manufacturing from product to service. The key objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the deployment of a measurement based strategy that focuses on process improvement and reducing variation in products or service. The DMAIC process in Six Sigma is a development system for existing processes which inspects and determines the products or services falling below specification and looking for incremental change. As like BPR, Six Sigma is a great complement to Business Process Management systems.