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An Introduction to Business Process Management (BPM)

BPM can be defined as a discipline or disciplined approach oriented to business processes, but with an integral approach between processes, people and information technologies.

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Introduction to Business Process Management

The objective of this article is to briefly present the fundamental concepts of the BPM discipline, why it should be adopted in companies and finally how it relates to IT technologies to provide value-added solutions to the business of company.

It is designed for an audience that does not know about this topic and with the need to want to learn it quickly and easily.

What is BPM?

BPM can be defined as a discipline or disciplined approach oriented to business processes, but with an integral approach between processes, people and information technologies.

BPM seeks to identify, design, execute, document, monitor, control and measure the business processes that an organization implements. The approach contemplates both manual and automated processes and is not aimed at a software implementation.

Something important to keep in mind is that BPM is not a software technology, but it is supported and makes use of them for its effective implementation.

Depending on the use of the approach and its application, BPM can be seen as a methodology, as a strategic tool or as a set of technological tools, there is no precise definition, everything depends on the prism we use to see reality. However, I personally believe that the definition of “disciplined approach” is the best approach to describe it.

Why should an organization implement this new discipline?

An organization could use this approach for many reasons, but I personally believe that the fact that BPM brings processes, people and information technology together is the main reason for adopting it.

Previous approaches dealt with these three elements separately, producing a sometimes insurmountable gap between IT and business technologies. This gap in the medium / long term results in losses (millions in many cases) that companies must face.

Process orientation is a more real approach to the modeling of organizational situations.

An organization is regulated by processes, and these are what make the organization have life. Depending on how they are implemented, this life may be shorter or longer.

If a company knows about its processes, it can then model, study, measure and finally optimize them to meet business objectives.

If in this modeling of processes, in addition IT technologies are integrated intelligently and the human resources that are part of the processes, the final product will be more integral, consistent and with fewer cracks

What benefits would be obtained from implementing BPM?

BPM is based on many principles or considerations that attack typical day-to-day problems in companies and the development of information systems within them. All these considerations taken into effective practice mitigate these daily problems.

BPM considers the monitoring of the process to be essential to measure its performance and detect possible shortcomings. Through monitoring, you can determine if the process generates the expected results based on the business objectives. The creation and use of metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), is key to perform a detailed control of each process.

Given the external dynamism to which companies are exposed, it is necessary to have a detailed documentation of each organizational activity. BPM promotes the understanding and modeling of all processes through documentation. Relying on process modelling software tools this point can be efficiently achieved.

Another important aspect is the automation of processes. This is something that every company wants to achieve to improve their operations, reduce costs and increase profits.

The key issue that many forget, is that before automating any process, it must first be understood and improved. Well worth remembering the words of Bill Gates on this subject:

  • The first rule of any technology used in a company is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify efficiency.
  • The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify inefficiency.

Many lessons can be learned from this phrase throughout the IT discipline (it could be a full article on the subject), but going to the specific process modeling is the point is that automation is useless if it is not fixed or improved the process from the business point of view. By means of BPM it is easier to understand the processes, therefore to model them, understand them and optimize them, for later a subsequent automation.

As previously mentioned, the joint vision of processes, people and technology, in order to improve the performance of processes is key to the success of any company.

Many studies on companies that have applied GMP have shown the benefits are greater than traditional attempts of other methodologies or approaches. Personally, I believe that the key to success was to channel the language of business (processes and human resources) and IT language, and jointly define an approach to improve the profits and benefits of the business.

Remember always that it is vital never to lose the interrelation of the artifacts that occur in the different stages, this is key to the maintenance stage of the system (the stage that consumes the most time of the life cycle of the system).

Hope this post has been interesting for you and looking forward to your comments and recommendations!

An Introduction to Business Process Management (BPM)
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