BPM is a discipline. It is something that you do. It is not a product.
Fujitsu put together a poster on Business Process Management. In it, they say ‘BPM Business Process Management is a discipline involving any combination of modeling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.’
I see a company as a collection of processes. At the very least, they have a process that starts with a quotation and ends with collecting the cash. Often, this process happens informally. A company may not have a process flow diagram to document this process, but it still happens.
Business Process Management
You don’t need to purchase any software to document and improve a process. Whether you purchase software or not, the following path has worked successfully for many companies.
- Documenting your process – You can draw a process flow chart on a napkin. You can document a process in text form. It is important to double check your documentation to make sure you have it documented correctly.
- Measure your process – If you don’t have any metrics in place, it will be difficult to determine whether you have improved your process. This also helps you show success.
- Improving your process – You can look for non-value add activities within your process. If an activity does not make you more efficient or make more revenue, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. You may determine that there is a better way to move through your process.
- Measure the improved process – Measuring allows you to see what changes worked and what changes didn’t work.
In the 90’s, HP was looking for a 10 fold improvement in efficiency. Following this path they claimed to have achieved that.
Business Process Management with software
BPM software provides 2 key benefits: Control and Visibility. Another name for BPM software could be business process execution software.
In a paper based environment, everything is passive. You don’t know whether an activity has been started or finished without someone manually notifying someone of the status. Who is the someone? How timely are the notifications?
With software, the action of starting a task and completing a task is documented by the software. At any time, you can see who is working on what. You have a complete audit trail of all of all activities within the process.
In a paper based environment, you may have a notebook or a spreadsheet with the notifications recorded. The accuracy of this is questionable at best.
With software, you can query the system and see everything that is happening within your process at any time.
There are plenty of experts out there that can help, count me as one…