What is Business Process Management_1

Whether you are looking at a startup or a well established business, the approach you take to optimisation and maximisation of efficiency across business functions and processes is crucial in ensuring long term success.

This is where business process management comes into play – essentially, this term refers to the action of improving a specific business process from end to end. This means that business activities can be optimised through analysis, modelling, testing, implementation and monitoring, thus allowing for improved effectiveness of business operations and achievement of organisational goals and objectives.

When it comes to the task of business management and achieving operational effectiveness, many leaders and managers fail to take a well thought out approach – an appropriate and measured approach is crucial in maximising business competitiveness, performance and growth. In achieving this, managers will be required to focus on achieving a good understanding of management through approaches such as Monarch business courses, but also through effective practical application of this knowledge.

Why Business Process Management Initiatives Fail

Knowing what business process management means is one thing, however implementing it well requires research, planning and expertise that are often overlooked by managers and business leaders.

If a business process management initiative fails, it is often misunderstood to be a result of a lack of effort or poor dedication – whilst these factors can come into play, problems more often stem from a misinterpretation of the initial problem to be solved, the implementation of an inappropriate solution, and a poorly planned approach to implementation as a whole.

Focusing more on the poor definition many managers have of business process management, a common problem is that the importance of technology is often over emphasised. Whilst technical solutions can be extremely useful in approaching business process management initiatives, they are often utilised without a broader understanding of the improvements that need to be made to business processes. As a result, technology can be implemented ineffectively with little improvement as a result.

In terms of having a lack of understanding of the initial problem, management may implement BPM initiatives with certain intentions that can mean the proposed solution is inappropriate. Whether this is in an attempt to mirror competition or in order to solve an unrelated problem, it indicates that management should focus more on starting with the problem, rather than first aiming to implement BPM initiatives and subsequently finding issues.

How to Implement Business Process Management Effectively

Whilst avoiding mistakes is one thing, taking measures to maximise the likelihood of success is another. There are a few considerations in particular that managers should focus on in order to minimise the likelihood of problems impacting BPM success.

Firstly, well implemented approaches to business process management require an ongoing plan of action, rather than a short term outlook. In avoiding mistakes and keeping BPM projects on track, a comprehensive long term plan should outline the process as a whole, and needs to consider potential problems and solutions, control and monitoring measures, and final outcomes to be achieved.

Another thing to consider is the way in which managers view the definition of a business process – it is important to note that BPM can be applied whether processes are ongoing and structured, or one off and unstructured. While managers will often focus on ongoing processes, they will overlook the effectiveness that BPM can have in regard to one off processes, thus missing out on valuable outcomes.

Finally, successful implementation will require change management, as well as control and monitoring measures – these are aspects of implementation that should be outlined from the initial planning stages, and overlooking these measures can mean that business process management is ineffective or even detrimental to the success of the business. For example, this can be because employees are required to adapt to new working processes and approaches – when a change like this is implemented on a company wide scale, it is important that communication measures, training and automated processes are implemented.

Taking a Structured Approach to Business Process Management

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Ultimately, success can often be achieved by implementing tried and tested approaches, whilst retaining flexibility and alteration given the business and process contexts.

In particular, there are well recognised BPM implementation methodologies that can be implemented, ensuring that no aspect of the process is overlooked and that effectiveness is maximised. For example, common steps within the BPM process can be split into three sections. The initial planning stages should include analysis, modelling and designing. Once the process is underway, managers should focus on implementation and monitoring. Finally, focus should then be shifted towards management, automation and implementation of changes based on performance indicators.

Well thought out business process management approaches will mean that key business operations are efficient and optimised, thus improving on measures of performance across a range of business areas. Furthermore, this allows decision makers within a business to focus on delivering value and meeting the needs of the market.

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