Business Process Management (BPM): Definition and Getting Started

Benjamin Babb
getting the most out of business process management

Processes are one of the core pillars of any business. Understanding, evaluating and optimizing business processes — in other words, performing business process management — is critical for driving business success.

Business process management, or BPM, ensures that companies keep their processes running efficiently as they evolve and priorities change. BPM can help your business improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase employee and customer satisfaction.

Defining Business Process Management (BPM)

Business process management is a formal approach to analyzing and optimizing the processes that power a company’s operations. BPM begins with identifying processes on which an organization depends. Businesses then analyze those processes to understand how they can be improved, implement these changes, and measure the outcome.

Business process management is distinct from project management, which ensures that specific projects — such as implementing a new marketing campaign, or designing a product — are completed efficiently. BPM may be helpful in identifying and optimizing the processes that drive project management. However, BPM involves more than just enhancing project management operations.

Likewise, BPM can be useful for streamlining task management — how a business structures the individual tasks that its employees perform. But task management is only one aspect of the business that BPM can improve.

The benefits of BPM

Businesses gain a number of advantages with BPM, including:

  • Cost savings: BPM reduces costs by streamlining and automating processes. Making processes more efficient can save thousands of person-hours per year
  • Error reduction: BPM helps businesses find ways to make their processes more reliable and decrease the risk of errors caused by human oversight or excessive complexity.
  • Customer satisfaction: By streamlining business operations, BPM reduces the risk of problems that could impact customers, such as shipping delays or communication failures.
  • Employee satisfaction: Efficient business processes lead to less repetitive work, resulting in a more enjoyable and less tedious job experience for employees.
  • Increased agility: With transparent processes, organizations can easily see what needs to be tweaked, and can adjust on the fly.

How expensive is BPM?

The BPM industry as a whole is worth nearly 200 billion dollars, and a traditional BPM solution can cost tens or thousands of hundreds of dollars per year, depending on the scale of your business.

However, to properly assess the cost of BPM, you need to look beyond the price tag of your BPM platform to consider how much value it delivers in return. Ask whether it offers the advanced features necessary to ensure a healthy return on investment. Data from Gartner shows that 80% of businesses achieve an ROI of at least 15 percent, and more than half of businesses see an ROI of $100,000 to $500,000 per project.

Traditional BPM solutions relied heavily on manual analysis and oversight to map, analyze and improve business processes. They required stakeholders to identify and review processes by hand, and they offered little in the way of automated features for mapping or analyzing processes. As a result, these solutions were costly and failed to deliver the returns needed to justify their expense.

Modern BPM software, in contrast, takes full advantage of automation features to make BPM efficient and maximize ROI.

BPM software features

Modern BPM software empowers businesses to gain a holistic understanding of their processes and improve them in a cost-effective way. Look for a solution that includes:

  • No-code automation: Modern BPM software lets all stakeholders automate key processes without requiring special technical skills.
  • Centralized communication mapping: BPM tools make it easy to map communication flows for employees, partners, vendors, and anyone else involved in your business.
  • Integrations: Modern BPM solutions complement existing digital investments by integrating with leading business software.
  • Data analytics: The best BPM tools facilitate continuous analysis of data and offer customized dashboards, providing real-time visibility into the state of your processes.
  • Scalability: With secure hosting in the cloud, today’s BPM solutions scale easily along with a growing business.

BPM in 6 steps

Once you’ve selected a BPM platform, follow these six steps to get started.

1. Analyze

First, analyze your business’s needs and identify the processes that are necessary for its success. Whether your organization is already up and running or you’re building a new business, analyzing your company’s process requirements lays the foundation for effective BPM.

2. Design

Once you’ve analyzed and understand your needs, you can design processes to meet them. Don’t expect your initial designs to be perfect — later steps will help you to optimize them.

3. Model

Business process modeling allows you to build a representation of how individual processes fit together. You can map the ways processes feed into each other, identify shared resources that multiple processes require, and so on.

4. Execute

After modeling your processes, the next step is to execute them by going live. You’ll likely want to roll out new processes to a subset of team members to iron out any kinks before introducing them to the larger team.

5. Monitor

Monitor the processes you’ve introduced by collecting data on them, such as how long each takes to complete and how many resources they consume.

6. Optimize

The data you collect allows you to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks that you can address to optimize your processes. Through optimization, you can build processes that deliver the expected result in as short a timeframe as possible while requiring the least amount of resources.

Using BPM in your organization

Building a successful business requires understanding the processes that make it run. BPM protects your organization’s resources while keeping processes agile as business requirements change.

Pipefy is a modern, intuitive BPM solution that provides everything your enterprise needs to implement effective, cost-efficient business process management. It empowers all stakeholders with the ability to automate routine processes using a no-code approach. And with its robust data analytics capabilities, Pipefy helps your organization improve the processes that drive all types of business units — from HR and finance to sales, marketing, and beyond.

Request a free trial today to see for yourself how Pipefy enables modern BPM.Request a demo
Written by
Benjamin Babb
Senior Writer at Pipefy, where I focus on helping businesses manage workflows, optimize processes, and deploy automation. I'm also a ghost story aficionado who listens to more Enya than anyone should.

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