Business Process Management (BPM) – Definition

What is the Business Process Management concept about and it is used in companies to manage processes and performance ?

Business Process Management (BPM) is a global management approach. It aims to harmonise all aspects of an organisation and to improve the capture of its customers’ needs. BPM is highly customer oriented. It promotes business efficiency by focusing on innovation. But also, on flexibility and the integration of technology into business processes.

BPM improves processes continuously; it is called an optimisation process. BPM enables companies to become more efficient and dynamic. It increases the ability to make functional changes for a targeted approach to the market. It is more agile than the traditionally vertical, hierarchical business process management.

1. Definition of BPM for Business Process Management

A study by Kohlbacher in 2009 indicates that BPM, as defined on Wikipedia, helps organisations to better satisfy their customers. This is achieved by improving product quality, speed of delivery and speed to market. Another study by Vera and Kuntz conducted in 2007 focuses on the German hospital sector. It shows the positive impact of Business Process Management on the organisational efficiency of structures.

Business Process Management (BPM) is a global management approach
Business Process Management (BPM) is a global management approach

Description of BPM processes

A business process comprises a series or network of activities that add value. Performed by relevant actors or employees, to achieve the business objective set by management. These processes are essential to the organisation and contribute to revenue generation. On the other hand, they represent an important part of the costs. Indeed, as a management approach, BPM considers processes as strategic assets of the organisation. Controlled and continuously improved, they add value to products and services.

This approach is like total quality management. That is, methodologies or approaches to process improvement. Such as Lean or Six-Sigma. Business Process Management goes further, this vision allows technology to ensure the viability of the method. For management in times of stress or change. BPM is an approach that aims to integrate an organisational capacity for change. Both in a human and technological way.

Experts often approach BPM from one of two perspectives: People and/or Technology.

BPM is related to “business process management”. The term “business” is confusing because it is linked to a hierarchical and vertical view of the company.

We will therefore define BPM as integrated process management.

BPM is also Business Performance Management

If we add to BPM the second meaning of Business Performance Management, used by Professor Scheer in his article on the evaluation of BPM, BPM is defined as “Managing the performance of an organisation through processes”. Note the performance orientation and thus the quality improvement of this second definition. Business performance management via business processes defines it through a method. The aim is to improve the performance of the company in a complex and constantly changing environment.

For instance, Big Data tools also support decision making and are integrated into IT processes for data analysis.

2. BPM is a tool for Corporate Governance

It is the set of governance activities of the company which, through the allocation of resources to processes, achieves both operational and progressive objectives. Governance is also the supervision of all the management activities of a process to achieve the assigned numerical objectives. The definition and history is available on Wikipédia.

In summary, the idea of business process is like the concepts of departments, tasks, production, or inputs and outputs. The actual management and continuous improvement approach, with formal definitions and technical modelling, began in the 1990s. In the IT world, the term “business process” is synonymous with Third Party Process Management or “Middleware”. That is, the integration of software application tasks. This view is restrictive compared to the strategic purpose of process governance.

This limitation should be kept in mind when reading software engineering documentation that refers to “business process modelling”. Although the original purpose of BPM was to automate business processes using information technology, the term has been extended to include processes in which human interaction operates in series or in parallel with technology.

3. BPM as a component of IT governance

When different steps in a business process require human intuition or critical judgement to decide, these steps are assigned to skilled employees in the organisation. Managing complex human interactions links contributors to each other in the execution of a task within a workgroup. In this case, many people and systems interact in a structured way, and sometimes in a completely dynamic way through workflows.

Indeed, BPM allows organisations to be understood through an overview that allows the exchange of information flows or the hierarchical structure to be modelled. In a process model, these relationships allow for reporting and analysis to improve and optimise processes. BPM enables companies to respond to changing consumer needs, market fluctuations and regulatory requirements more quickly. It helps to create a competitive advantage.

Here is a definition of Decision Support Systems (DSS).

Decision Support System definition

4. Main advantages of Business Process Management tools

BPM-oriented IT tools enable the following functionalities:

  • Firstly, to develop strategies and model processes.
  • Secondly, to define the basis and improvement of processes.
  • To model changes in processes.
  • Analyse and compare different simulations.
  • Improve, select, and implement continuous improvement.
  • Monitor and measure their implementation.
  • Monitor improvement in real time using user-defined dashboards.
  • Enrich the performance information in the simulation model in preparation for the next improvement iteration.
  • Finally, restructure processes from scratch for better results.

5. Business Process Management and Six Sigma

To go further, since 2010, technology allows the coupling of Business Process Management with other methods, such as Six Sigma. This coupling allows the simulation of business process changes based on real data. The coupling of BPM to industrial methodologies allows for the continuous streamlining and optimisation of processes. To ensure that they are in line with market needs. Today’s BPM research pays increasing attention to the compliance of processes with local and international regulations. This includes accounting, tax, and regulatory requirements.

Flexibility is one of the key aspects of processes, as processes must be continuously adapted to changes in the environment. This must be done in accordance with the company’s strategy, policy, and regulatory standards.

About the BPM concept

Finally, current approaches to BPM in a governmental context focus on business processes. But also, knowledge representation. Many technical studies exist on business processes for the public and private sector. Researchers have rarely considered the notion of legal compliance. Such as legal implementation processes in public administrations.

Big Data Definition

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