Business process management (BPM) is a holistic management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. BPM attempts to improve processes continuously. It can therefore be described as a "process optimization process." It is argued that BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach.
An empirical study by Kohlbacher (2009) indicates that BPM helps organizations to gain higher customer satisfaction, product quality, delivery speed and time-to-market speed. An empirical study by Vera & Kuntz (2007) conducted in the German hospital sector indicates that BPM has a positive impact on organizational efficiency.
Monitoring encompasses the tracking of individual processes, so that information on their state can be easily seen, and statistics on the performance of one or more processes can be provided. An example of the tracking is being able to determine the state of a customer order (e.g. order arrived, awaiting delivery, invoice paid) so that problems in its operation can be identified and corrected.
In addition, this information can be used to work with customers and suppliers to improve their connected processes. Examples of the statistics are the generation of measures on how quickly a customer order is processed or how many orders were processed in the last month. These measures tend to fit into three categories: cycle time, defect rate and productivity.
The degree of monitoring depends on what information the business wants to evaluate and analyze and how business wants it to be monitored, in real-time, near real-time or ad-hoc. Here, business activity monitoring (BAM) extends and expands the monitoring tools generally provided by BPMS.
Process mining is a collection of methods and tools related to process monitoring. The aim of process mining is to analyze event logs extracted through process monitoring and to compare them with an a priori process model. Process mining allows process analysts to detect discrepancies between the actual process execution and the a priori model as well as to analyze bottlenecks.
Process optimization includes retrieving process performance information from modeling or monitoring phase; identifying the potential or actual bottlenecks and the potential opportunities for cost savings or other improvements; and then, applying those enhancements in the design of the process. Overall, this creates greater business value.
When the process becomes too noisy and optimization is not fetching the desired output, it is recommended to re-engineer the entire process cycle. BPR has become an integral part of organizations to achieve efficiency and productivity at work.
BPM Suites on market
Forrester Research, Inc recognize the BPM suite space through three different lenses:
integration-centric BPM (Enterprise Service Bus)
document-centric BPM (Dynamic Case Management)
However, over the past few years, standalone integration-centric and document-centric offerings have matured into separate, standalone markets that include BPM plus much more.
Some define the BPM System or Suite (BPMS) as "the whole of BPM." Others relate the important concept of information moving between enterprise software packages and immediately think of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Still others limit the definition to "modeling" (see Business modeling).
BPM is now considered a critical component of Operational Intelligence (OI) solutions to deliver real-time, actionable information. This real-time information can be acted upon in a variety of ways - alerts can be sent or executive decisions can be made using real-time dashboards. OI solutions use real-time information to take automated action based on pre-defined rules so that security measures and or exception management processes can be initiated.
These are partial answers and the technological offerings continue to evolve. The BPMS term may not survive. Today it encompasses the concept of supporting the managerial approach through enabling technology. The BPMS should enable all stakeholders to have a firm understanding of an organization and its performance. The BPMS should facilitate business process change throughout the life cycle stated above. This assists in the automation of activities, collaboration, integration with other systems, integrating partners through the value chain, etc. For instance, the size and complexity of daily tasks often requires the use of technology to model efficiently. These models facilitate automation and solutions to business problems. These models can also become executable to assist in monitoring and controlling business processes. As such, some people view BPM as "the bridge between Information Technology (IT) and Business.". In fact, an argument can be made that this "holistic approach" bridges organizational and technological silos.
There are four critical components of a BPM Suite:
Process Engine – a robust platform for modeling and executing process-based applications, including business rules
Business Analytics — enable managers to identify business issues, trends, and opportunities with reports and dashboards and react accordingly
Content Management — provides a system for storing and securing electronic documents, images, and other files
Collaboration Tools — remove intra- and interdepartmental communication barriers through discussion forums, dynamic workspaces, and message boards
BPM also addresses many of the critical IT issues underpinning these business drivers, including:
Managing end-to-end, customer-facing processes
Consolidating data and increasing visibility into and access to associated data and information
Increasing the flexibility and functionality of current infrastructure and data
Integrating with existing systems and leveraging emerging service oriented architecture (SOAs)
Establishing a common language for business-IT alignment
Validation of BPMS is another technical issue that vendors and users need to be aware of, if regulatory compliance is mandatory. The validation task could be performed either by an authenticated third party or by the users themselves. Either way, validation documentation will need to be generated. The validation document usually can either be published officially or retained by users.