WHAT IS BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT
How do we define Business Process Management (BPM)?
Business Process Management is a collaboration of processes or workflows which enables the business to define, measure, analyse, improve and optimise the organisational goals and make it more profit-centric.
BPM is not a one-time activity; instead, it is a continuous improvement process. Since there are multiple complex parameters which are under consideration, the process usually involves several distinct inputs which results in a unidirectional output. Data can include several cost drivers such as operational costs, overheads, technology costs and management processes. The resulting output should be a value-addition to the service or a product and also contribute in increasing the profitability to the organisation.
The most critical attribute in a business would be to identify the controllable which needs optimisation. Operations play a massive role in structuring the organisations. Management processes, Human Resources and Finance, constitutes the core business and services becomes the driver which controls the parameters as mentioned above.
Business Operations Management (BOM) is an area which has evolved over a while. A few decades ago, BOM conceptualised workflows; in the current era, those workflows need to be automated to ensure quality, repeatability and speed of delivery. Automation, in turn, resulted in developing algorithmic processes which are executed using a BPM software.
Why do we use BPM?
The most straightforward answer would be to achieve improvement in business processes.
The harbingers in any business include structure, access and efficiency. BPM tries to link these factors in the form of a workflow to reduce chaotic handling and attempts to eliminate an ad-hoc method of management. BPM optimises the workflow with an incremental structure which is accessible to all the concerned personnel. Bringing those key personnel on a common platform induces transparency in decision-making and improves efficiency.
BPM with its workflow management system helps an enterprise to take control over complex processes and in turn, optimises them to add value to a product or a service. It also assists senior leadership team to achieve business alignment and operational efficiency.
What are the steps associated with Business Process Management?
BPM follows a similar pattern which applied in Six Sigma. This methodology which is popularly known as DMIAC is a five-step process which helps any business to identify the components in a BPM lifecycle.
DMAIC is an abbreviation for Design-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control. However, BPM workflow is a little different from DMAIC, and it involves Design-Model-Implement-Commission-Optimize.
A BPM Lifecycle consists of the following steps which are followed in a progressive manner as mentioned below
Designing the business process in an ideal case scenario and listing down all the gaps which need improvement.
Defining a model which helps the business to follow a specific pattern and understand its reactivity in different scenarios.
Implementing solutions which aim to achieve standardisation, transparency and autonomy.
Commissioning or monitoring improvements depending on the incongruence and business reactivity.
Optimising the processes depending on the data available to ensure repeatability and efficiency.
Automating the optimised data would be the best practice, although organisations refrain themselves from taking the plunge.
Why is BPM paramount to a business?
Disorganised businesses without a vision can lead to anarchy. Individual stakeholders may not be affected. However, the industry as a whole is quintessentially affected resulting in backlogs, potential slow-downs and operational inefficiency.
Disorganisation results in disharmony within the enterprise and affects the following:
Redundancy in time
Frequency in errors
Data Loss/Lack of information
Loss of self-esteem for the employees
BPM facilitates an enterprise by addressing the gaps as mentioned above in a business process. It allows the senior leadership group to understand the previous issues with a particular method and helps them in analysing the same.
Since BPM is a continuous improvement activity, it considers various stakeholders, individual contributors, decision makers, ops managers and vendors which results in an end to end business solution.
BPM ensures everything falls under one giant umbrella within an organisation to drive efficiency, understand the current trends and define solutions which will accentuate the business as a whole.
If Business Process Management is correctly chalked out, it can eliminate redundancy in time and with proper data tracking which in turn reduces the frequency of errors. Once the process becomes more linear with appropriate use of technology, it would help all the stakeholders to have a better understanding of the end-to-end solutions.
As the adage goes, people love their jobs and not the organisation. If an organisation can make it easy for their employees, it results in increased self-esteem and a lower attrition rate. This will benefit the enterprise as they can utilise the skills of those employees for further growth of the organisation.
How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can revolutionise BPM
From the time AI came into existence, it has become one of the most preferred choices for businesses in the digital marketing and workflow process management platform.
AI-based data analysis helps in identifying the potential risks involved within a process and reduces human intervention. AI also helps the organisation to have greater control over its operations. AI can assist enterprises in carrying out a through predictive analysis and provide suggestions to facilitate decisions by considering the severity of the impact. This will benefit the enterprise by helping them in achieving process autonomy.
Machine learning is an application of AI. ML can educate the BPM tools by making them systematically understand the process and its variances and improve the experience over some time without explicitly programming it. AI develops the patterns and ML will make it know. This is going to drive the organisations in understanding the cost-drivers.
Since ML controls the reproducibility index, this will allow enterprises to use skilled resources in devising solutions to other complex processes which drives productivity and revenue for the business. This has a direct impact on the conversion rates.
BPM applications are going cloud, and this would result in easy integration with AI-based applications.
BPM and AI: How to collaborate?
Organisations need to develop a radical mind-set to venture in digital transformation activities using AI to scale up their businesses. Financially mature organisations can invest in AI to garner the following benefits as mentioned below:
Start by building confidence
Since AI would be an unknown commodity to work with, it would be better to start with repeatable tasks and other low-end data capture activities as a pilot. This would help the organisation to utilise its high skilled resources for complex activities and developing strategies.
Data usage for improved customer experience:
One of the significant challenges faced by the service industry is to assimilate the needs of the customer. AI can be effectively used to capture business data and link it to user experiences.
Accentuate Decision Making using AI
Since AI is a potent tool, using complex business data and developing algorithms with data analysis, will help organisations and particularly decision makers to make business decisions.
Trial and Error
AI-BPM combination is a relatively new one, and enterprises haven’t experimented with its capabilities. BPM works exceptionally well in digital platforms. Looking ahead into the future organisations should leverage specific actions using AI-BPM and try to find new solutions.
Finance functions are incredibly dynamic due to various responsibilities. Whether it is the sign-offs, approvals or invoicing, time is taken, and the process becomes extremely cumbersome. BPM can be effectively used to avoid much paperwork related to authorisations and sign-offs.
Insurance domain needs a whole lot of data capture and documentation. BPM serves as a perfect foil in such cases, where the documents can be uploaded in a single medium, and the data can be stored. Reminders can be created which will save time and disorderliness.
Workflows came into prominence because of banking. Banking workflows are incredibly complex and need attention to detail and very less human intervention. BPM perfectly fits the bill in such scenarios where a user is taken through a series of steps which are self-explanatory and instructs him to make prudent decisions.
Onboarding, documentation, policies need much coordination. These tasks have to be performed simultaneously, and BPM can assist in such cases. It will help the department by making an organised list of the employees on board/exit on a particular day. Since BPM is a one-stop medium, documentation remains accessible to all the concerned stakeholders.
What the future has to offer
If organisations have already embraced BPM, they would be benefitted with a whole lot of activities. AI and Machine learning will take BPM to the next level with its speed of delivery and quality in output. However, leveraging the capabilities of AI-BPM combination will help enterprises in achieving “Complete Process Management”.
CPM would bring the enterprise on a single medium and bridge the gaps within the organisation. Individual tasks, single-point signoff’s, performance metrics, admin support and process performance, can easily be controlled which drives towards operational efficiency.
In today’s digital era which has led to increased competition, CPM would be the way forward for organisations.