What Is Business Process Management | 7 mins read

What is Business Process Management? The Story Behind It All

what is business process management the story behind it all
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

What is Business Process Management, Really?

What is business process management? Marketers sometimes use business jargon that sounds similar to other terminology. However, BPM is one of those terms that any organization truly needs to understand.
Projects, tasks, and workflows are the foundation of an organization.

One cannot exist without the other(s). Both small and large businesses have a list of requirements they need to complete each day to maintain operations. To increase profits and deliver value to customers, it's critical to optimize processes and adapt to new circumstances.

This requires BPM managers to tweak, design, and monitor existing business activities. Typically, they invest in a set of BPM tools to replace manual processes and eliminate errors. And that's what business process management is all about.

Digital transformation continues to impact the way businesses operate. With new, intuitive technologies widely available, organizations can't afford to not take advantage of them.

Those who implement continuous process improvement can harness big data and strengthen internal processes to produce higher quality outputs. This helps to improve the quality of output, comply with business rules, and deliver an excellent customer experience.

Here are the 6 phases of business process management

  • Assess and Strategize - In this stage, a BPM manager creates a strategy to optimize processes. He/she needs to know exactly what the company needs are and how BPM methodology should align with them.
  • Process Design - BPM managers use data from phase 1 to create solutions to any inefficiencies in processes. It's best to generate multiple designs and work with various stakeholders to identify the best option.
  • Process Modeling - The process modeling phase requires the use of diagrams and modeling to rework inefficient workflows and optimize existing activities. Specific modeling techniques such as Six Sigma or flow design are used, depending on the needs of the company. It's also important to manipulate variables (i.e. fewer workers, another tool) to see how those factors impact processes.
  • Implementation - Next, BPM managers implement the best design and test it. They create a specific change management strategy to detail all of the new procedures in the new process. This can include people, technologies, or a sequence of events.
  • Monitoring - Stakeholders regularly monitor the performance of processes after they are implemented. They use data modeling, dashboards, and other technologies to assess performance. It's critical to pick a set of KPIs to track progress accurately.
  • Modification - BPM managers continue to adjust and monitor processes as time goes on. Processes need to change as external conditions or customer needs evolve. If another change is required, the BPM managers may restart the entire process improvement system again.
If experts are sometimes confused about what BPM is, then businesses probably are too. Here are some of the immutable assumptions and functions of business process management as a discipline

  • Detail every step of individual end-end processes
  • Use a minimalist approach
  • Use modeling software or other BPM software
  • Create labels and suggest necessary actions
  • Detail alternative routes in process workflow
  • Ask for feedback from end users

1. Business Process Management is a Discipline

BPM and improving processes requires action and a business strategy. Companies of any size can employ BPM, and practices vary depending on the needs of the organization. Some individuals still view BPM as an automation tool, but it is much more than that.

While businesses typically invest in business process management software to optimize processes, BPM in itself is a holistic practice. It encompasses all of the business activities within an organization and focuses on improving them. BPM managers understand company goals and create a set of strategies that aligns with them. This may or may not require an organization to implement a robotc process or use a new piece of equipment.

2. Business Process Management Improves Processes

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So, what exactly is a business process? Process refers to the flow of projects, tasks, and other set activities. Owners and unit supervisors design all business processes to fulfill some form of a business transaction.

For example, the employee onboarding process in Human Resources encompasses a series of steps for the purpose to hire and train an individual. These steps include background checks, filling out tax forms, checking references, and a few different training procedures.

Each process flow varies depending on the size and scope of a department/company. An effective process management system pinpoints inefficiencies in processes and optimizes them with the help of an automated management system and a new design.

3. Business Process Automation, Execution, and Control

When most owners hear the word automation, they think of BPM software or machines. While automation certainly encompasses robotic process automation, it also refers to the work done to ensure the smooth execution of a process.


This may require IT professionals to write a BPM systems' software for an organization, or a machinist to build a new piece of equipment. Restaurants automate business activities such as advertising and customer service when they invest in digital signage solutions. BPM solutions includes all of the different automation techniques, as long as they optimize a specific process.

Execution means that an organization enacts all aspects of a process. This includes any technologies or other automated elements. Execution requires process modeling to ensure a smooth and successful outcome. Managers also need to control the process from start to finish to ensure all activities follow the model. They may incorporate guidelines, enact a set of metrics to optimize project management, or offer training.

  • Employee analytics
  • Employee help desk support
  • Hootsuite
  • Slack
  • Salesforce
  • Mail Chimp

4. Business Process Management Requires Measurement

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To ensure a BPM strategy is successful, business owners need a way to measure performance. Typically, stakeholders pick a set of key performance indicators. They then define specific metrics to track the progress towards meeting those KPIs.

Supervisors can view performance status on a dashboard and print out reports that display data in an understandable way. Measurement is quantitative in that it requires statistics and data to track progress.
Supervisors also collect quantitative data to gauge the users' experience with a new technology system.

For example, a supervisor may ask a group of participants how the new business process management model has made their work-life easier or harder.

5. Business Process Management Must Align with Business Goals

An organization needs to define what it wants from BPM before it invests in any BPM tools. Questions to consider include

  • What are the company's short and long-term goals?
  • What are the problems with existing processes?
  • What manual processes does the company want to replace?
  • What automation tools do competitors use? How do those tools help them?
  • What kind of features does the company need in a BPM tool?
  • How much can the organization afford to spend?
Any BPM strategy must make sure to align with the organization's goals. Perhaps the HR department still uses timesheets to track employee time. This generates compliance concerns and inaccuracies that cost money and resources.

One of the company's goals is to decrease labor costs and improve the accuracy of timekeeping. An automated accounting system that integrates with timekeeping software can help to achieve those business outcomes and goals.

  • Define quantifiable goals that are easy to measure
  • Ensure all goals are specific and not vague
  • Work with stakeholders and commit to goals in specific timeline
  • Make goals public to ensure accountability
  • Reward team members when they complete goals

Key Takeaways What is Business Process Management?

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In conclusion, here is what to know about business process management

  • BPM includes strategies, process design, modeling, implementation, and monitoring.
  • BPM is a discipline. It requires a group of individuals to act and work together. It also uses management tools to optimize processes or the various tasks and requirements in an organization.
  • BPM involves automation, execution, and control. Automation includes any work done to optimize processes. This may encompass the use of artificial intelligence or a piece of equipment. Once an organization models and designs a process, the organization can implement it. Stakeholders need to monitor and measure the process to track its performance. They may use a set of KPIs, metrics, and a dashboard to do so.
  • A business process management system needs to align with business goals. The organization should ask itself several questions before it invests in any new BPM initiative or designs a robotic process.

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