AIIM’s Chief Analyst Bob Larrivee believes that Business Process Management has become an important tool for business, but maintains that organizations could still get more out of their BPM systems to make sure all aspects of operations are running at their optimum level.
Business Process Management (BPM) is a very powerful tool, which Gartner sums up neatly when it describes it as ‘a discipline that improves enterprise performance by driving operational excellence and agility’. At AIIM we refer to BPM as a means to study, identify, change and monitor business processes and it is clear that BPM is emerging as a hugely important tool in business.
Within every organization there are business processes designed to meet objectives. But for any number of reasons they may have become slow, inefficient or come to the end of their days. BPM basically puts all these processes under the microscope using various metrics and analysis to identify where processes can be improved for maximum performance. When implementing new processes, BPM can ensure they are running as smoothly as possible.
Organizations are increasingly acknowledging the need to improve their business processes and understand the advantages that come from process automation. BPM can help reduce paper handling and inefficiencies in areas such as contracts and invoicing, and also improve performance of both people and systems by giving remote workers access to the same ‘ user experience’ as those working within the walls of the organization.
AIIM’s recently conducted research with business executives and found that 55% of respondents saw BPM as significant (38%) or imperative (17%) for their business. Business decision makers are learning that BPM provides a systematic approach to improving a company’s business processes, which in turn can give them a competitive edge.
When a process changes it impacts the employee’s interactions with others and with business information. BMP has the power to align these business functions with customer needs and help business decision makers plan, monitor, measure and deploy company resources where required. Properly executed BPM can enhance productivity, cut costs and minimize errors. But the key word here is ‘properly’. Business decision makers and employees have to understand BPM to truly optimize results.
Uncovering the ROI and business value
Organizations that have made the leap are already seeing a very real Return on Investment (ROI), according to the AIIM research – 41% said they are seeing payback within one year, of which 17% cite ROI within just six months.
Benefits beyond ROI include a decrease in review and approval cycles (33%), better routing to and between individuals (62%) and greater organisational agility and routing between processes (42%). But to step up a gear, requires a very different vision. One that not only looks at the way the organization works, but also one that examines solving business problems through process improvement and automation.
BPM investment on an upward curve
Organizations have already noted that BPM can help them improve efficiencies, reduce wastage and grow their bottom line. 22% of our respondents said they will be making a BPM systems purchase within the next year, with 12% of those doing so within six months. An additional 17% said they plan to invest in a BPM system within two years, so it is definitely on the radar.
For many purchasing a BPM system may be a daunting task. Here are seven tips that can help the buying decision:
1) Begin with your existing process maps. If you do not have process maps, create them. This will shed light on areas of opportunity for process improvement and bottle necks than can be eliminated.
2) Look to improve existing processes before introducing automation or extending the automation capabilities you may already have. Automating a bad process will not make it good.
3) Find the root cause to the business problem to recognize and eliminate inefficiencies.
4) Take inventory of your current BPM capabilities and look at the requirements missing. This way you only need to invest in the technologies that are missing.
5) Document the business requirements and then build your functional requirement based on these. Develop technical requirements based on the functional needs and map these against your current technology sets.
6) Look at how cloud and mobile device use, along with mobile apps, can help address your current needs and support remote workers and stakeholders in your processes. Also assess how these would be synchronised across the enterprise and the line-of-business applications. Don’t forget - BPM can also serve as the integrating mechanism.
7) Establish a continuous improvement program that will continuously review and refine changes you make now. BPM is not a one-stop project; it should be a cross-functional team effort that is on-going across the enterprise.
BPM enables organizations to retain their flexibility and quickly adapt to change. This is a powerful tool for competitive advantage in any organization and one that should be firmly on the agenda.
Latest posts by Bob Larrivee
- What’s the delay when it comes to content analytics? - December 21, 2016
- We are using less paper than ever – but there is still progress to be made - November 16, 2016
- Why every organization needs Business Process Management - June 13, 2016