The true benefits of BPM go beyond mapping and automating business processes

The origins of the concept of Business Process Management (BPM) go back to the 1960s. However, BPM has gained a higher profile in recent years. Many companies have begun to look to this area for support in order to gain greater efficiency.

The paths that lead organizations to BPM concepts can oftentimes be long and tortuous. This gives them a fragmented understanding of this area. There is an intense operational focus, resulting in organizations only using part of the mechanisms and concepts for support. This means they do not take full advantage of the benefits of BPM that come with full adhesion.

One of BPM’s main premises is continual improvement

It is important to understand that it has a beginning, middle and end. It is not enough to just automate processes and call it a day.

One common question when people initially come into contact with this solution is: how do I know if the efforts connected to BPM are successful?

This is where a classic Peter Drucker quote applies: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Measurement is one way to assess the success of changes involving business processes.

When processes become electronic, it is important that they be correctly automated. Otherwise, day-to-day tasks can become more complex, in addition to the risk of generating incorrect or irrelevant indicators, further hampering those involved.

In this sense, the market is packed with tools offering management dashboards through various graphic resources. They show the estimated time for processes to end, how many activities are pending, which are behind schedule, how the workload is being distributed and more.

However, does this really show the true benefits of BPM? There is a vast difference between the real goals of this solution and a dashboard with statistics on processes.

The true measure of success

Automation is an inevitable step of BPM. This is mostly done to keep people from becoming stuck doing manual and repetitive tasks, wasting time and resources. Yet, to understand the true level of success of a BPM program, it is important to reflect on some basic issues in this area:

  • With BPM, can the organization focus more on its employees?
  • Do people stop worrying about manual tasks and are the able to spend more time on activities with greater added value?
  • Does this improve the quality of products and services?
  • Does the company then provide better service to customers?

Attaching BPM to goals such as increasing revenue may not be a good idea. This could distort your expectations of the program. Lowering costs can be an indicator of success, but it is not effective proof.

BPM should help to deliver greater value to the end customer. Products and services account for just one part of this value. The degree of customer satisfaction and loyalty is directly connected with the experience they have with different interactions with the organization. BPM should help to provide this positive experience.

It is essential that processes make things more simple for stakeholders

When the BPM concept is used comprehensively, it promotes regular gains. As improvements are implemented, processes enter into a continual condition of improvement and place the company on the path to excellence.

Building a customer-focused company that is more efficient for employees, using the right structuring and management of business processes, is the height of success when implementing a business process management program. It is important to keep this in mind to achieve the true benefits of BPM.

Marcelo Becher

Author

Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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