What is Business Process Management?

Enhance your business's operational efficiency with business process management, and streamline your workflows to reduce cost and minimize risk.
By
Feature image for What Is Business Process Management
  • Blog
  • >
  • What is Business Process Management?
TOPICS

30 Day Free Trial

Bring together legacy systems, RPA bots, microservices and more with Camunda

Sign Up for Camunda Content

Get the latest on Camunda features, events, top trends, and more.

TRENDING CONTENT

Have you ever wondered how the most successful organizations seem to run their operations so smoothly? That seamless performance is often thanks to something called business process management (BPM).

Over the past 20 years, BPM has become the backbone of many modern organizations. It’s the discipline that combines various strategies to manage and improve company processes.

Throughout this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of BPM. We’ll also cover some key considerations essential for anyone who wants to implement BPM successfully.

And to give you a taste of what BPM can look like in action, we’ll introduce you to Camunda, a process orchestration platform designed to help businesses automate their critical processes.

Unpacking business process management

What exactly is BPM? It’s a systematic approach to making an organization’s workflows more effective, more efficient, and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment.

BPM involves the deliberate and collaborative management of end-to-end business processes. That can include anything from defining processes to improving them to innovating new ones. As a result, BPM can drive substantial value by improving customer satisfaction, cutting operational costs, and ensuring overall business agility.

Now, it’s important to recognize that BPM is not the same as task management or project management:

  • Task management: Revolves around handling individual tasks effectively.
  • Project management: Focuses on the successful delivery of a one-time project.
  • BPM: Improves the processes that involve these tasks and projects on a continuous basis.

BPM is the big-picture approach to understanding and improving the repetitive, ongoing processes that make your business tick. But how does it work?

It’s a journey that involves several phases, each critical to the BPM lifecycle:

  1. Design: Identify existing processes and pinpoint areas that need change or improvement. Define the as-is state of your processes, set goals for the to-be state, and establish the standards and guidelines for the new process.
  2. Modeling: Describe what these processes will look like in action. This might include creating detailed process maps or flowcharts to visualize the steps involved. During this phase, you might also want to  consider what-if scenarios to understand the impact of changes before you implement them.
  3. Execution: Execute the new or improved processes. These days, you’ll probably rely on the use of automation software, like Camunda, which automates the process and helps ensure that it runs as intended.
  4. Monitoring: Track the performance of processes to ensure they’re meeting the desired outcomes. You’ll want to gather process metrics to understand efficiency, effectiveness, and areas that may require further improvement.
  5. Optimization: Use the data you gathered during the monitoring phase to identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies. You can then tweak or redesign processes to improve performance, reduce costs, or increase customer satisfaction.

Going through these phases isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s a cycle. Once you optimize, it’s back to the drawing board to design again, ensuring that your processes stay up to date with the latest business needs and technologies.

This loop is the essence of BPM—a continuous pursuit of process perfection.

The goals of business process management

While BPM is a journey in itself, what are the destinations you’re aiming for? How can BPM help you hit out of the park?

Let’s discuss some of the primary objectives of BPM and how it propels organizations toward not just meeting but exceeding aspirations.

Increased agility

BPM aims to make businesses nimble and adaptable—able to respond quickly to market changes, new regulations, or technological advancements. By having a solid BPM strategy in place, companies can adjust processes in a snap, ensuring they’re always playing at the top of their game.

Better compliance

With a myriad of regulations out there, staying compliant can feel like navigating a legal labyrinth. By clearly defining and managing processes, BPM helps ensure that every step taken is within the bounds of regulatory requirements, helping businesses avoid costly penalties and maintain reputations as rule-abiding players.

Improved productivity

Who doesn’t want their team to be more productive? BPM streamlines processes to remove unnecessary steps, automate repetitive tasks, and reduce the chance of errors. This leads to a more efficient workflow, which means employees can spend their time on what really matters—driving the business forward.

Enhanced customer satisfaction

At the end of the day, if the customer’s not happy, nobody’s happy. BPM focuses on understanding and improving customer-facing processes to deliver a better experience. Happy customers tend to stick around longer and spread the word about their positive experiences,—a win-win for businesses looking to grow and thrive.

Alignment with business functions and strategy

BPM isn’t just about improving processes; it’s about making sure those processes are in perfect harmony with the overall business strategy and customer needs. It involves breaking down silos and aligning various business functions—from marketing to sales to customer service—so that everyone is working toward the same goals.

By doing so, BPM helps ensure that the company’s day-to-day operations are contributing to the big-picture objectives.

The role of BPM software

While the human element of BPM is indispensable, technology plays a pivotal role in facilitating these components. Software that can fully harness and execute BPM , like Camunda’s process orchestration platform, acts as the catalyst that accelerates process mapping, analysis, and reengineering. These sophisticated tools offer a digital playground where businesses can design, simulate, manage, and optimize their processes.

With features like workflow automation, real-time analytics, and process optimization capabilities, BPM software is the powerhouse behind the scenes, making process management more fluid and responsive to change.

Camunda’s platform in particular stands out as a beacon of process automation and orchestration. It empowers organizations to not only map and analyze processes but also execute them with an incredible level of precision and control. By integrating with a variety of systems and supporting complex decision-making, Camunda is paving the way for businesses to transform their processes into strategic assets.

Benefits of business process management

Implementing BPM is like giving your organization a superpower. It’s a strategic initiative that can lead to many advantages, helping businesses not only survive in today’s competitive landscape but soar above it.

Let’s explore some of the major benefits that you can reap by embracing BPM practices.

Reduced costs

One of the most attractive perks of BPM is its ability to cut down on costs. By smoothing out processes and eliminating inefficiencies, businesses can significantly reduce waste and lower expenses.

Streamlined workflows mean less time and resources are spent on unnecessary or duplicated tasks, leading to a more cost-effective operation. Additionally, automation of repetitive tasks can save on labor costs and reduce the likelihood of costly human errors.

Mitigated risks

Risk is an ever present entity in the business world. BPM shines a light on potential risks by providing a clear framework for processes, which in turn helps identify and address vulnerabilities before they become problems.

With BPM’s emphasis on compliance and monitoring, you can ensure your organization is following best practices and regulatory requirements, thus reducing the risk of noncompliance penalties and other legal issues.

Streamlined operations

Efficiency is king when it comes to BPM. Streamlined operations are about doing more with less—less time, less effort, and fewer resources.

BPM helps organizations get rid of bottlenecks and improve the flow of information and materials through various processes. This leads to faster turnaround times, improved productivity, and the ability to respond quickly to customer demands or market changes.

Enhanced visibility

BPM tools provide unparalleled visibility into business processes, allowing for real-time tracking and analysis. This visibility ensures that managers and team members can see how processes are performing at any given moment, making it easier to make informed decisions and quickly address any issues that arise.

Improved quality and consistency

Consistency is king when building trust with customers and maintaining a strong brand reputation. BPM ensures that every process is carried out in a consistent manner, which leads to higher quality outcomes.

When processes are well-designed and properly executed, the chances of errors reduce dramatically, resulting in a better end product.

Boosted collaboration and communication

BPM fosters an environment of collaboration by breaking down silos and aligning all areas of the business toward common goals. This collaborative spirit, supported by clear communication channels, ensures that everyone is on the same page and working together to improve processes.

Greater customer satisfaction

Ultimately, the driving force behind most business initiatives is customer satisfaction. BPM directly contributes to happier customers by enabling businesses to deliver products and services faster, with higher quality, and with a more personal touch.

Satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal, repeat buyers and to recommend your company to others.

Challenges in business process management

While the benefits of BPM are many, it’s not all smooth sailing. Implementing BPM can come with its own set of challenges that you’ll need to navigate carefully.

Understanding these obstacles is key to developing strategies to overcome them and ensure the long-term success of BPM initiatives.

Resistance to change

One of the biggest hurdles in implementing BPM is the natural resistance to change that exists within every organization. People are creatures of habit, and altering the way they work can cause discomfort and pushback.

To combat this, focus on change management and communication. Engage with employees early on, involve them in the process, and help them understand the benefits of the changes. Training and education can also play a significant role in easing the transition.

Complexity of processes

Business processes can be complex beasts, often with multiple layers and interdependencies. Simplifying these processes can be a daunting task, and it’s not uncommon for BPM initiatives to fail when faced with this complexity. To overcome this, start small with manageable projects that deliver quick wins. This approach can build confidence and momentum.

Additionally, employ process modeling tools that can help you visualize and untangle complex workflows.

Technological integration

Integrating BPM software with existing systems can be another significant challenge, especially in organizations with legacy systems or a patchwork of different technologies.

To address this, it’s crucial to have a strong IT strategy in place. Work closely with IT teams and software vendors to ensure the BPM tools you choose can integrate well with your current systems. Consider leveraging APIs or middleware solutions to facilitate smoother integration.

Strategies for overcoming BPM challenges

Successfully navigating the waters of BPM implementation requires a combination of foresight, strategy, and persistence.

Here are some strategies to help overcome the challenges:

  • Communicate and educate: Make sure that everyone understands the why behind BPM initiatives. Clear communication and education about the benefits and goals can foster buy-in and reduce resistance.
  • Stakeholder involvement: Involve stakeholders from all levels of the organization in the BPM process. Their input and engagement can lead to more practical solutions and greater acceptance of changes.
  • Incremental approach: Rather than overhauling entire systems at once, aim for incremental changes that allow for gradual adaptation and learning. This can also demonstrate the effectiveness of BPM without overwhelming the organization.
  • Process ownership: Assign process owners who are responsible for the success of the BPM initiative. These individuals can ensure that processes are being followed and can be points of contact for any issues that arise.
  • Leverage expertise: Don’t hesitate to bring in external BPM experts who can provide valuable insights and experience to help navigate complex challenges.
  • Continuous improvement: Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. BPM is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey. Regularly review and refine processes to ensure they remain effective and aligned with business goals.

By anticipating these challenges and having a clear strategy to address them, you can ensure that your organization’s BPM projects are set up for success.

Business process management and Camunda

Having the right tools at your disposal can be the difference between a BPM plan that fizzles out and one that flourishes. This is where Camunda comes into the spotlight.

Camunda is not just a BPM tool; it’s a comprehensive process orchestration platform that can handle all the needs of BPM, while also scaling with your organization as it grows in both automation and complexity.

Handling BPM needs with Camunda

Camunda excels in managing the full spectrum of BPM requirements. It offers robust capabilities for designing, executing, monitoring, and optimizing business processes. With its user-friendly interface, Camunda allows teams to easily map out complex workflows and automate them.

The platform supports the gold standards for process, decision, and case modeling:

  • BPMN (business process model and notation)
  • DMN (decision model and notation)

One of the key features of Camunda is its ability to execute workflows that span across multiple systems, departments, and even organizations. This is crucial in today’s interconnected business environment, where processes often involve a variety of software applications and stakeholders.

Growing with process orchestration

As your organization matures in its BPM journey, your processes will probably become more intricate, and the degree of automation you need will increase.

Camunda is designed to grow alongside these evolving needs. The platform’s process orchestration capabilities enable businesses to coordinate complex sequences of processes and decisions across various microservices, external services, and legacy systems.

With Camunda, you can orchestrate entire end-to-end workflows, ensuring that each process is triggered at the right time, with the right data, and in the correct sequence. This level of orchestration is vital for companies looking to streamline operations and push the boundaries of what automation can do for them.

Taking the next step

Adopting Camunda isn’t just about improving current processes; it’s also about preparing for the future. As your organization becomes more adept at automation, Camunda’s flexibility allows you to incorporate more sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning into your workflows. This can lead to smarter, more adaptive processes that can anticipate needs and make decisions in real time.

Moreover, Camunda’s commitment to continuous improvement means that the platform itself is always evolving. New features and enhancements are regularly added, ensuring that businesses have access to the latest advancements in process orchestration.

Conclusion

Business process management (BPM) is essential for modern organizations striving for efficiency, agility, and excellence. It’s a systematic approach that streamlines workflows to ensure they’re effective and aligned with business objectives. The benefits of BPM are clear, and all of them lead to increased competitiveness and customer satisfaction:

  • Reduced costs
  • Minimized risks
  • Enhanced operational efficiency

BPM isn’t just about the present; it’s a driving force for continuous improvement and long-term success. It’s a way for businesses to stay dynamic, adapting to change and fostering innovation.

For those ready to embark on or advance their BPM journey, platforms like Camunda are invaluable assets. Camunda’s BPM tools are designed to grow with your business, handling everything from basic automation to complex process orchestration. With Camunda, you can ensure that your BPM strategy not only meets today’s needs but also scales for tomorrow’s challenges.

Try Camunda for free today.

Start the discussion at forum.camunda.io

Try All Features of Camunda

Related Content

Operationalize your processes with AI and machine learning to improve how your organization interacts with clients.
Useful process intelligence is important for evaluating whether your processes are putting you on track for your goals. Learn how Camunda Optimize and Process KPIs can help.
Wondering how to move a workflow from another application over to Camunda? Here's a real-world example for developers.