Business Process Management
Business Process Management (BPM) is the long-term strategy of analyzing and improving processes within a company to improve the organization’s efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance. It studies, identifies, changes, and monitors business processes to ensure that they are running optimally within the organization’s workflow.
It is an ongoing activity that often involves automating tasks, but does not always require automation or the use of technology. Ultimately, business process management is about institutionalizing better ways to get work done, using whichever method is most appropriate.
Processes vs. Projects
So, what’s a process? A business process can be defined as a repeatable set of activities that help accomplish a specific organizational goal. “Repeatable” is the key term, and a business process is something that an organization regularly does, like onboarding new employees or shipping a product.
A process is not a project or a task. A project is usually a one-off activity, such as creating a webpage for a client or planning an event. Even though you may follow the same steps as you would for any other project, the end result is unique and the project will close once the product has been delivered. A task is a specific step involved in a project or process.
Business process management therefore focuses on improving the performance of your company by managing business processes: a “process optimization process”, if you prefer.
Benefits of Business Process Management
The goal of business process management is to allow the organization to gain a better understanding of the processes that occur within the organization, as well as analyze them from end-to-end in order to make continual improvements.
The benefits of continual improvement of business processes are manyfold. If executed well, BPM can:
- Improve alignment of processes with customer requirements
- Reduce waste and costs
- Cut down on errors
- Save time
- Generate better services or products
- Increase process transparency
- Promote efficiency
- Increase employee potential and morale
- Better gather and leverage information
- Improve business agility
- Develop a culture of innovation
- And much more…
If you’re constantly analyzing and trying to improve business processes, that’s BPM. As it involves constant evaluation and action-taking, organizational leaders are required to focus on finding new ways to optimize processes as industry advances and emerging technologies introduce new opportunities to support or automate different parts of the process. More formal definitions of BPM exist, and often a ‘business process management activities life-cycle’ is defined as design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
The first step involves the analysis of existing processes, identification of areas of improvement, and the design of the processes as it should ideally exist.
Modeling considers how the theoretical improved business process operates in different scenarios by introducing various variables. It may also include running a “what-if analysis”.
Execution involves implementing the re-designed and modeled process either manually or automatically (manual processes are human-driven, automated processes are software-driven). At this stage you execute the improvements, which include standardization of business rules and automation.
The process is monitored as it runs through the workflow and previously determined metrics are used to identify progress, measure efficiency, and locate bottlenecks.
As processes are monitored and analyzed, the information gained is used to identify areas of improvement (thus taking us back to step one – Design).
How to use Zenkit for BPM
Business process management is the methodology of improving processes. There are many different business process management methodologies such as Lean or Six Sigma. Business process management software (BPMS), on the other hand, is a means of execution—a way to manage the BPM itself.
While Zenkit is not designed as a BPMS directly, it’s flexible enough to support any workflow, including a BPM workflow. Zenkit can help you:
The mind map and kanban views in Zenkit are particularly well-suited to creating digital models of your business processes. Having a visual representation of the process makes it significantly easier to analyze them, as well as identify key stakeholders and bottlenecks. It can also provide a solid base on which to map your improved processes.
The collaborative aspect of Zenkit’s collections mean that you’re able to gather feedback from all stakeholders in the process, so that nothing is overlooked during the design and analysis of the process.
Automate repeated processes
Using Zenkit’s ‘clone collection’ function, you can create templates to ensure that each time a new project, onboarding, job application, or whatever other process begins, the responsible person has all the relevant tasks and steps clearly laid out.
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