The term business process management (in short: BPM) refers to a method for discovering, modelling, analysing, optimising and automating business processes. Now here’s something to boost your heart rate: All studies show: process management contributes to the achievement of strategic goals. But what exactly is business process management? What does it all entail? And how does a digital workspace boost your business process management?
What is process management?
Process management is a methodology for aligning business processes with strategic goals through the end-to-end discovery, modelling, analysis, optimisation and automation of these processes. Think of it as a long-term strategy that continuously monitors processes with the aim of achieving optimal efficiency and effectiveness.
As an aside, we should not confuse the concepts of Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Process Management Suite (BPMS). The abbreviation BPM refers to a methodology mainly applied by people, where BPMS predominantly concerns the applications used to support BPM projects (for example, by enabling IT and business professionals to collaborate better within the entire process management chain).
Process management is particularly useful for repetitive and/or continuous tasks, such as purchasing, expense approval, accounts receivable, invoicing, processing orders and onboarding new employees. To get the most out of this management method, it is important to establish the right process measurement tools and train your managers in effective process management.
The importance of process management
Organisations are dealing with more digital processes within a large variety of applications and systems. A growing number of companies is in the process of a digital transformation, in order to become a truly digital company. Once an organisation sets of on a digital transformation journey, this also expands its potential for process management. After all, the more processes are digitised and systems are connected, the easier it becomes to automate various processes and tasks linked to these very systems.
Process management opens the door to numerous benefits. Organisations that continuously automate and optimise their processes can increase their productivity and efficiency, reduce operational costs and errors, optimise their customer experience framework and offer better products and services to their customers. In addition, process management allows them to maximise their digital transformation wins.
And there is another advantage. Digital organisations focus more on projects and outcomes, instead of departments. Streamlined processes often play an important part in safeguarding an organisation’s structure.
The various stages of process management
Process management can be implemented in various ways. We distinguish the following implementation stages:
In order to improve processes, they must be mapped first. The discipline of Business Process Discovery (BDP) – related to process mining – uses event logs to generate a representation of the current business processes.
A thorough analysis of the current processes identifies the problems and inefficiencies, and reveals how the task or process is connected to other tasks and/or processes.
During this stage, you design the ideal setup of your processes. The model that is created, is used to uncover how business processes perform under different scenarios and in combination with other variables.
Standardisation offers one way to optimise your business processes. This allows you to minimise human error and guarantee a certain quality level.
If, during the optimisation stage, it turns out that a certain task consistently goes well, you may want to automate it. We call this business process automation. Gartner describes it as “the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies. It focuses on ‘run the business’ as opposed to ‘count the business’ types of automation efforts and often deals with event-driven, mission-critical, core processes.”
Business process automation is usually achieved with workflow systems, XML business process languages or packaged ERP systems. As mentioned above, dedicated software for business process management also exists. The advance of low-code and no-code Rapid Application Development (RAD) has boosted the use of this type of software, as RAD can be used to create custom software relatively quickly and cheaply. Business process automation helps to reduce the costs, complexity and the number of errors of business processes.
Process management and the digital workspace
A digital workspace like Workspace 365 helps to simplify and streamline business processes, because it unites everything in a single environment: applications, documents, information, tasks, processes and (parts of) the intranet. Everything you need at the office can be easily accessed and searched. Bear in mind that research shows that users switch up to 1,100 times a day between applications. Just the step towards a single environment is an enormous process optimisation leap in itself!
But Workspace 365 is so much more than an application portal. For example, you can retrieve information, sections and tasks from other systems and process them from your dashboard. You do this with Micro Apps: tiny applications in the digital workspace that help you quickly find and handle information and tasks from different systems. You can also integrate the most important tasks and notifications in your Activity Feed.
Both primary processes (think of accessing work schedules, data or documents) and secondary processes (for example, filing expense claims, support tickets or leave applications) can be integrated and optimised with Workspace 365. To minimise the run time of secondary processes, we frequently integrate application such as TOPdesk, AFAS and Zendesk.
Finally, an observation. As we explain in our guide to digital transformation, successful process management is not only a matter of the right technology. It is also very important to establish a culture in which everyone in your organisation embraces this type of digital transformation initiatives.