What is Business Process Management Anyway, and Why Do Companies Need It?
By Kim Scott
There’s a lot of information to be found on the internet about what defines Business Process Management (BPM). Ranging from ‘a structured approach to improving processes,’ to ‘methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve and optimize business processes’ and more. Ask ten people, and you’ll likely get at least 11 answers to the question. BPM is about finding ways to become more efficient, effective, and responsive to changing business needs through better management of business processes. Given that a process is what your business actually does, and defines the key advantages your enterprise brings to the market, BPM is about truly knowing how your operations are running and managing them more effectively to improve business performance.
Lacking Process Understanding & Transparency
One challenge that many organizations face is that they don’t really know, at any detailed level, how they get things done. And you can’t change what you can’t see. So, core to BPM is first bringing transparency to what’s happening; being able to visualize your processes, and who and what is performing them. So, often, discovering what you do in the first place is the beginning of your BPM journey. Process Mining and Process Design (mapping/modeling) can help tremendously with this. Process Mining uses data from your systems to discover how processes are performed ‘in the real world’ (you will be ‘taking the red pill’ with Process Mining). With Process Design, you can visualize how the process should be performing. Having both mined and mapped your processes, you can compare the two, verify or better understand how things are done, and effectively chart the best way forward.
Leveraging a Digital Twin of an Organization
Once you’ve discovered and documented your processes, and built a model of the workflows, then you can begin to measure, analyze, and improve. One of the terms ‘in vogue’ currently is ‘digital twin’ of an organization, which is the virtual model of a physical process, product, or service. While the idea of a digital twin has been around for a while, the reality is only beginning to take flight. If you move from map to model, or digital twin, you can understand across your business who is doing what, with which systems, using or producing which data, in conformance to which controls, meeting which Key Performance Indicators, and so on. This allows you to effectively understand and manage the impact of changes, and align your strategic direction accordingly. You can more effectively manage processes, mitigate risks within those processes, and make meaningful improvements to process performance.
Process Simulation & Predictive Analytics
Next, you can use discrete event simulation to build a virtual model of your processes; enabling improvement by testing different ‘what-if?’ scenarios of how processes will perform in the future. Using models, you can improve and optimize your processes to perform more efficiently and effectively. Having clear documentation on the improved way of working, you can easily deploy that knowledge to workflow or other automation, to ensure more efficient and proper performance of processes. Finally, with Process Mining, you can use the real-world data and model created to predict the future performance of in-flight work, and of course connect the mining ‘real-time’ to your systems to ensure that prediction remains accurate.
All this discovery, documentation, measurement, analysis, improvement, automation, and prediction provides effective management (governance) of your processes. With complete transparency into your business processes with your ‘digital twin,’ you can effectively manage the work performed by your enterprise. Business Process Management becomes possible through the methods and capabilities described above, and BPM software and solutions can help you accomplish your BPM goals.
Get Started Now
Want to learn more about how (and why) iGrafx can help your business achieve success with BPM? Reach out to us! iGrafx provides Process Mining, Process Design, and Automation solutions (software and services) to support organizations in their BPM efforts.
You may also want to check out our free iGrafx University platform, which offers overviews of our Process Design and Mining capabilities, as well as detailed courses for those who want to learn more. We’re developing content all the time, so check iGrafx University regularly. In addition, we have experienced Services consultants available to tailor an approach to using iGrafx to your needs, and help you accomplish a successful BPM journey.