Business Process Management
A business process comprises a "series or network of value-added activities, performed by their relevant roles or collaborators, to purposefully achieve the common business goal. These processes are critical to any organization, as they can generate revenue and often represent a significant proportion of costs. As a managerial approach, BPM considers processes to be strategic assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and improved to deliver value added products and services to clients.
The Business processes are driven by events and change frequently during the life cycle of a process. The state of services should be managed for proper integration during the execution of a business process. BPM goes a step further by stating that this approach can be supported, or enabled, through technology to ensure the viability of the managerial approach in times of stress and change.
BPM focus on the automation of business processes, and integration with people, information and process. BPM allows organizations to abstract business process from technologies; it is much beyond automating business processes or solving business problems. BPM enables business to respond to changing customer requirements, market needs, and faster time-to-market than competitors - creating competitive advantage.
Business process management activities can be grouped into six categories: vision, design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
The Design Process consists of both the identification of existing processes and the design of "to-be" processes. The key focus include representation of the process flow, the actors & role within it, alerts & notifications, escalations, SOP, SLA, and task hand-over mechanisms.
Modeling takes the theoretical design and introduces combinations of variables (e.g., changes in rent or materials costs, which determine how the process might operate under different circumstances).
A combination of software and human intervention is used to execute the processes as per the designed flow.
Monitoring encompasses the tracking of individual processes, so that information on their state can be easily seen, and statistics on the performance of one or more processes can be provided. An example of the tracking is being able to determine the state of a customer order.
Monitoring depends on what information the business wants to evaluate and analyze and how business wants it to be monitored, in real-time or ad-hoc. Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) extends and expands the monitoring tools in generally provided by BPMS.
Process optimization includes retrieving process performance information from modeling or monitoring phase; identifying the potential or actual bottlenecks and the potential opportunities for cost savings or other improvements; and then, applying those enhancements in the design of the process. Overall, this creates greater business value.
Business process management (BPM) tools can be used to implement business processes through the orchestration of activities between people and systems.
There are four critical components of a BPM Suite:
- Process Engine – a robust platform for modeling and executing process-based applications, including business rules.
- Business Analytics — enable managers to identify business issues, trends, and opportunities with reports and dashboards and react accordingly.
- Content Management — provides a system for storing and securing electronic documents, images, and other files.
- Collaboration Tools — remove intra- and interdepartmental communication barriers through discussion forums, dynamic workspaces, and message boards.