What is Business Process Management?

Terry Schurter of IPAPI says that while BPM stands for “Business Process Management” the definitions of Business Process Management in use in the marketplace have dramatic differences in their meanings. The definition comes from the person or organization using the term as they place “BPM” within the context that they care about.

The biggest disparity exists between the commercial software market and the business pundits who define BPM in completely different ways. On a historical note, BPM did indeed start as a management practice, coming directly out of the more experienced practitioners of Business Process Reengineering. From these people, Business Process Management was originally conceived of as a way to better manage the business operations of large commercial entities.

My Thoughts…

In its simplest form, BPM the art or science of managing business processes.  Like Terry says – BPM started as a management practice. 

If you think about it, most business processes come into being almost by accident.  A new company that wants to produce goods or services will come up with a plan to accomplish that feat.  That plan will likely identify the steps of a process.  Over time, those involved in the production of goods and services will modify the plan – change, add or remove steps. 

The objective of managing your business processes is to be efficient as possible.  A company tries to provide goods or services in as few steps as possible.  They want all of the steps to add value to the goods or services.  They want low costs so that they can achieve larger profits.  And, it is in their best interest to provide the most positive interaction with their customers.

I see three different levels of BPM implementations.

Manage Business Processes – Document your process and improve that process by removing the non value added steps, improving steps or activities, and improving customer touch points.  This is an oversimplification, but you can easily make process improvements without the use of software.

Manage Business Processes with Software – Adding software to the mix provides control and visibility.  It can add a time discipline to the process.  It provides visibility into the state of a process.  Add these together and you can really shorten process turnaround times.  And, you can reduce human errors.

Business Process Automation – Allow the software to perform mundane manual tasks that it is able to perform.  This will further shorten cycle times that will provide more time to accomplish more tasks.

In today’s economy, we are all looking at ways to cut costs.  So even if you can’t get capital for software – It is the right time to manage your business processes to reduce costs. 

The road to the business ‘Triple Crown’ is paved with reduced costs, increased revenues and improved customer interactions.


One thought on “What is Business Process Management?

  1. Hi Scott,

    Enjoyed the post. It is clear, structured and gets the message across.

    I am posting blogs in the same area – clarification of Business, Process and Management. (e.g. http://antonvandenberg.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/business-process-management-footprint/)

    Is it possible to link what we do in some way (if you feel that our content supports one another)?

    I could not find a way in which I could mail you directly.

    I am on LinkedIn at http://za.linkedin.com/in/antonvandenberg

    Hope you have a good day.


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