BPM (Business Process Management) standardizes business processes to make business efficient and reduce costs.
For implementing BPM, as well as continuing a cycle of optimizing business processes, you need to introduce appropriate tools for the business process improvement activities to take root in the organization.
What you need to get started with BPM
BPM is a means of management control that optimizes business processes to aim for continuous improvement.
BPM aims to eliminate tasks that are assigned to only one person and promote standardization of BPM, which can reduce errors and the need to send back work to increase productivity and reduce costs. By utilizing BPM, improvement of cooperation among divisions, risk reduction, and competitiveness enhancement are expected.
As the first step to implement BPM, you must define its purpose. For example, if you want to make the application work and routine work by the back office more efficient, you need to start to clarify the issues in these jobs and the scope of targeted business improvement activities by BPM.
Next, in order to achieve your purpose with BPM, you should run the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle. In the first phase (“Plan”), where you design the business process, you draw the flow of business into a workflow diagram to organize and understand who is working on what and when. In this phase, you can optimize the flow of business, comparing the current state (As-Is) with the ideal state (To-Be).
After you design the workflow, enter the second phase (“Do”), where you share the business process within your team, and implement the process. In this phase, you check the time required for the specific task and the percentage of defects that occur while handling the task in practice. At that time, defining *KPI will help you make decisions.
After that, enter the third phase (“Check”) to analyze whether there is room for further business improvement. In the fourth phase (“Act”), you review the business process. After going through these phases, you go back to the Plan phase again to redesign the business process. Optimizing operations by repeating the phases is one of the characteristics of BPM.
There are various notations for business process diagrams. In BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), an international standard, you should make a diagram of the process with Tasks using round-cornered rectangles and connect them using arrows.
That is the biggest benefit of visualizing business processes by representing events, Tasks, business rules, etc., with stylized shapes to communicate in a common language, from analysis of business processes to implementation of systems.
*KPI … A quantitative indicator for measuring the progress of day-to-day operations.
Analyze business processes at different granularities
It is recommended that business processes be analyzed at different granularities.
In a workflow diagram that depicts an overview of a business process, you clarify the flow of business that is composed of multiple tasks based on deliverables and values provided to customers. For example, starting with rough granularities such as estimates, negotiations, orders, and billing, will help you understand the scope of your target analysis.
On the other hand, in a detailed workflow diagram, you analyze it based on the representative’s work. You describe the tasks in detail, such as the sales representative sending the estimate to the customer, the administrator approves the estimate, and the accounting representative stores the invoice.
In this analysis, it is also important to clarify the systems with which each task will interact. For example, understanding events such as registering a history with your company’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management ), saving a file to online storage, or sending an email can enhance the effectiveness of your analysis. In addition to that, the operations that the system is involved in have the potential for automation, therefore you can consider it for operational efficiency.
BPM starts from a small start
The implementation of BPM is a continuous thing and you improve it gradually by developing business processes and tools.
Gartner, a U.S. research and advisory firm, defines the maturity of BPM in five phases.
- Phase 1 (Process Aware) … Identify business issues that are identified and start business process documentation.
- Phase 2 (Organized Process) … Standardization of work in progress and starts automation of routine work.
- Phase 3 (Process management across departments) … Representatives or management methods are assigned to processes across departments: efforts to improve the quality of deliverables and to reduce time are in progress.
- Phase 4 (Strategy-based process) … Everything from business strategy to business flow is closely linked by the KPI. Monitor indicators in real time and facilitate their improvements.
- Phase 5 (Optimized process) … Organizations in this phase can respond to rapid changes in the business environment and optimize the flow of business. They can achieve high business results with advanced technology.
As the definition indicated, you can start with a small-scale strategy in BPM because handling sudden changes in business processes throughout the company is quite hard for organizations. In BPM business improvement activities, you should prioritise making the scope of operations to be efficient and reduce costs. After confirming the outcome, then expand to other operations.
BPM also can affect organizations and corporate culture. The idea of visualizing operations, eliminating wasteful work, and practicing continuous improvements is not effective unless all members within the organization share the same awareness. Considering that, BPM teams should be trained on BPM concepts and methods as needed.
What tools are required for BPM?
The appropriate tools are essential to implement BPM. There is a possibility that visualizing business processes can be in vain without the tools to integrate them into actual business operations.
BPM tools (BPMS/BPM Suite) are software that helps you to easily draw workflow diagrams and automatically build systems accordingly. They also accumulate work data and analyze work conditions to help optimize business processes.
With the help of BPM tools tasks such as handover of the work or application and approval automatically process in accordance with the system, making it easy to update and share. And the visualized process provides information about the representative of the current task and you can understand it at a glance, making it easier to track the progress and backlog of work.
If you apply BPM tools to the system of paper documents, they help speed up processes that used to take time because of signatures and seals. These tools will dramatically increase the effectiveness of business improvement activities that follow the BPM concept.
Getting Started with BPM via the Questetra BPM Suite
Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based BPM tool that helps you solve the problems of working with paper and e-mail and understanding the ideal flow of business.
Questetra BPM Suite integrates the design, execution, and management functions of BPM. Therefore, tailoring data and cloud integration can be systematized by mouse operation, based on a workflow diagram that depicts the ideal form.
Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud service and as long as you are connected to the Internet you can easily access work on the same system as your office. While many BPM tools take time to implement due to the requirement of being set up on a server, Questetra BPM Suite is available right after you apply for it.
With the trial version (60 days for free) of Questetra BPM Suite, you can implement BPM in practice, making it easy to take the first step toward streamlining your work and reducing costs.
We recommend you try it now.