A survey by RedHat examining the reasons why companies invested in process management and improvements found that 42% aimed to improve customer satisfaction, 65% wanted to improve efficiency and agility, and 37% had process change projects underway.
Managing business processes and excelling in them are high on the agenda of companies that prioritise growth and aspire to become industry leaders.
But what is Business Process Management (BPM)?
It refers to a concerted approach to examining business processes and their interplay with one another. It analyses the steps, mechanisms, the people involved, and what sort of results they yield. From there, pain points are identified and corrective measures are taken to address them. The end result will be newly-improved and optimised business processes that can work cohesively to deliver better outcomes.
And what sort of processes should come under BPM? The ideal ones would be those that are predictable, ongoing, and have discernible patterns, like Leave Request, Invoice Reconciliation, and Supplier Onboarding.
Imagine a symphony orchestra where each musician and their instrument represent a business process. The musician needs to tune their instrument and practise the notes together with the rest of the musicians so that they can play in perfect harmony and deliver a heart-stopping masterpiece.
The same goes for your business processes. You need to fine-tune them and synchronise the execution and automation to produce positive outcomes for your organisation.
So, how do we do this? These 5 methods can help you craft a winning Business Process Management (BPM) strategy and implementation.
1) Tie to business goals
Be clear about what you aim to do with your Business Process Management (BPM) endeavour. While business processes are always about improvement and optimisation, there should be tangible goals tied to them.
In a bid to become more profitable, your company’s goals can consist of these:
- Reduce supply chain costs by XX%
- Increase customer conversion by XX%
- Boost total sales by XX%
Identify which business processes that have direct correlation to the goals. This way, it’d be easier to trace which of them contribute to the achievement. And if you still fail to achieve the target, you can pinpoint which business processes to improve and refine.
This brings us to the next point.
2) Continuous performance measurements (and course correct)
How exactly do we know whether a business process was positively or negatively contributing to your company’s goal? By measuring its performance, of course!
As the adage goes, “You can’t improve what you can’t measure”. That’s why you need to define KPI metrics for each business process so you can monitor its progress, identify bottlenecks, and gain an objective view of whether it’s on track to support your business goals.
If the KPIs are not met, you can proceed to study the nuts and bolts and find the weak links. Once the culprits are identified, fix them, re-run the process, and measure the performance. If there’s an improvement, good on you. But if there isn’t, then back to the drawing board.
Rinse and repeat for all other processes!
Continuous improvement is the name of the game here. To help you get used to this, you can adopt the Business Process Management (BPM) lifecycle methodology consisting of these 5 steps: Design, Model, Execute, Monitor, and Optimise. It’s a repeatable framework that helps you gain a detailed insight into the process landscape, unearth weak points, and plot out ways to improve or optimise them.
3) Form a multi-disciplinary team
While IT should be in charge of the implementation and integration of the Business Process Management (BPM) platform with the rest of the system landscape, other business teams should be involved right from the start too. Put simply, those that have a touchpoint with the identified operations.
True, it can be an exhaustive exercise to identify the right people and form the team. But the participation of a diverse group of business managers and domain experts results in multiple viewpoints and ideas. This synergy leads to more effective and efficient business solutions.
For example, to optimise the Inventory Control process, you need to consider different touchpoints from purchases, shipping, warehousing, and storage, up to receiving. It’s only logical to involve people from Procurement, Inventory Management, and Warehouse Management as they would be familiar with the underlying issues and can share insights towards improving the operation. They’d also have the relevant knowledge to define the right metrics to measure its progress. Bringing them together will do wonders!
4) Start small, incrementally go big
While it’s tempting to tackle the most problematic business processes to put your Business Process Management (BPM) platform to the test, it can backfire. It’s worth remembering that your people have a learning curve in navigating the new concept of BPM methodology as well as operating the technology platform. You don’t want them to bite off more than they can chew!
So, it’s better to choose smaller, less complex business processes for the team to plan a bite-sized approach and make them work. This is even more doable if you’re going for a cloud-based BPM solution where you can leverage its flexibility and practicality—without having to allocate big budget upfront.
Once they’ve gotten into the groove, your people are in a better position to take on more complex business processes that cut across multiple areas.
This is also how you rally support from the more pragmatic and risk-averse top management and secure funding from them to continue with your BPM efforts.
5) Pick the right supporting BPM platform
We know by now that the true focus is on the analysis, modelling, and improvement of our suite of business solutions. But it’s ill-advised to not exercise due diligence in choosing the right technology platform for these undertakings.
Your Business Process Management (BPM) platform of choice should be fully-equipped to support activities under the BPM lifecycle. It should facilitate the design and modelling stages, help you pinpoint the bottlenecks, and orchestrate the execution of the full suite of solutions. It should remove the bulk of the manual, repetitive work from your people so they can focus on what matters most—putting their heads together to optimise existing processes and build new ones!
In addressing the deployment, useability, and cohesiveness with the rest of your system landscape, you should consider these factors too:
- Fast and scalable deployment—cloud solutions are the way to go now.
- Low-cost and low-maintenance platform.
- User-friendly modelling capabilities, with low-code or no-code framework.
- Seamless integration with ERP and other systems.
- Collaboration capabilities.
This blog provides a detailed rundown of this topic.
MDO FUSE as the technology platform
Now that we know the winning steps in launching and sustaining your Business Process Management (BPM) implementation, what’s the right technology solution for it?
Enter MDO FUSE! It is a data-driven, process platform that can customise and automate discrete business-oriented solutions.
It’s a cloud-based SaaS solution, so it’s easy to configure and can be deployed quickly. You won’t need to buy additional hardware or set up new IT infrastructure, so it’s cost-efficient.
MDO FUSE has seamless integration with major ERP platforms and other systems. It has pre-configured business rules, workflows, role-based data security, and API frameworks so you can hit the ground running. It also has an easy-to-use interface to invite and collaborate with external partners and internal teams.
It employs a low-code framework, so your business users can create data models, data quality rules, and business processes without the need to have deep technical skills.
With MDO FUSE, you’ll have a robust foundation to start managing and automating your business processes. You can tackle complex business issues and transform them into game-changing business solutions that support your strategic goals.
Author: Shigim Yusof