While organisations set out on their business process management (BPM) journeys with many objectives, from driving organisational transparency to productivity enhancement to digital transformation, many fall short in achieving their objectives.
Amid the potential that business process management programs bring lies a key factor that separates the successful ones from the ones that did not deliver on promise: a well-defined roadmap based on best practices.
In this blog, we look at the relevance and importance of business process management for modern business and share ten best practices that are cornerstones of successful BPM projects.
The Relevance of Business Process Management (BPM) for Modern Businesses
Given the pace of change, continuous improvement has become imperative for organisations. It can no longer be an afterthought; it needs to be ongoing, a part of organisational business-as-usual activity. This is where the business value of Business Process Management (BPM) lies. Below are the key ways BPM empowers modern organisations:
- Streamlines processes to give insights into bottlenecks and redundancies, leading to smoother operations.
- Ensures resources like time, manpower, and capital are utilised effectively, contributing to cost savings.
- Aligns processes with customer needs, enhancing satisfaction through timely and consistent interactions.
- Enables businesses to swiftly respond to market changes and trends, ensuring relevance in dynamic environments.
- Provides actionable insights through data analysis, aiding informed decision-making and strategic planning.
- Helps maintain adherence to industry regulations and standards, reducing compliance risks.
- Allows for clear measurement of key performance indicators, validating the impact of process improvements.
- Supports long-term growth by instilling disciplined and efficient operational practices.
10 Best Practices for Successful Business Process Management (BPM) Projects
Clearly, BPM is no longer a choice but a must-have for modern businesses. So, what are the winning strategies for BPM? How can organisations maximise results? Below are the best practices for unlocking the true business value of BPM:
Clear Goal Setting:
Without a clear goal or objective, organisations risk the Business Process Management project losing direction or momentum. Clear goal setting lays the foundation for decision-making in any BPM project, including resource allocation, focus and prioritisation. Clear planning and objective setting ensure that the BPM project is aligned with the strategic goals and priorities of the organisation and prevents siloed or disorganised efforts across the teams. Hence, organisations must define their objectives, whether it’s cost reduction, productivity improvement, or customer satisfaction and ensure they are communicated to all the stakeholders. Moreover, it’s important to establish short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals to track project performance effectively.
Select and Stick to a Methodology:
Business Process Management projects may be approached differently by different team members and project managers. Hence, to ensure consistency, it is important to adopt a methodology. Choosing an appropriate BPM methodology, such BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), brings a framework for process analysis, redesign, and implementation. This streamlines project execution, minimises confusion and aids in achieving desired outcomes. Moreover, a recognised methodology provides a common language and set of tools for the project team, enabling effective collaboration and communication.
Build a Team with the Right Mix of Resources:
Achieving success in BPM requires more than just methodologies and tools – it necessitates building a dedicated team with the right blend of resources. A well-constructed Business Process Management team comprises individuals with diverse skills, perspectives, and expertise, each contributing uniquely to the journey of process optimisation. Must-have roles for the BPM team include process modeller, process analysts, business strategists, subject matter experts, IT professionals, and change management specialists. Apart from this, it is crucial that the team has effective communication, clear role definitions, and a shared commitment to the project’s goals.
Quality of information in process maps:
It’s important to build an accurate process map for the current state process and gather data on surrounding process information, such as tasks, roles, documents and applications. This gives a 3D view of the process and helps clearly pinpoint issues, pain points and improvement opportunities in processes. Ensuring consistency and depth of information in process maps not only supports process analysis but also serves as a baseline to track improvements over time, ensuring that progress is quantifiable and meaningful.
Focus on Process Analysis:
While many organisations allocate significant time and resources for process mapping, the analysis phase is often overlooked. To understand the right improvement opportunities, it’s crucial for organisations to leverage various analytical techniques, such as value, time, cost, efficiency and root cause analysis. These techniques help effectively understand possible improvement opportunities and help in redesigning the process.
Balancing Dedicated and Collaborative Efforts:
Without a dedicated team, Business Process Management is likely to lose momentum as it will fall off the priority list of team members with their set BAUs. On the other hand, only having a handful of team members to undertake process mapping, analysis, enhancement, and monitoring will impact stakeholder engagement and they will not feel involved in the BPM initiative. The key lies in balancing dedicated and collaborative efforts. It’s crucial to have a dedicated BPM team to drive the project while involving team members from across various layers of organisations to work collaboratively to suggest changes and improvements. BPM is a collaborative effort, and all the relevant stakeholders, from team leaders and managers to front-line employees, must be involved for the desired result.
Using Simulation to Validate Future Processes:
Simulation allows organisations to test potential changes before the future state process is actually implemented. Some specialised Business Process Management (BPM) tools like PRIME BPM come with an in-built simulation capability to allow organisations to carry out what-if analysis and create as many future state scenarios as required, just with a click of a button. This helps organisations gain a complete understanding of the impact on cost, efficiency and customer service with the redesigned process. Using these insights, organisations can understand which process changes will deliver maximum value.
Executive Support and Engagement:
For the success of a Business Process Management project, leadership commitment stands as a pivotal factor in determining the success and impact of Business Process Management initiatives. Executives provide the strategic context by aligning BPM efforts with overarching business goals, ensuring that the improvements made are directly contributing to the organisation’s long-term vision. Furthermore, their endorsement lends credibility and urgency to BPM projects. Beyond their strategic role, executives possess the influence to allocate the necessary resources, both financial and human, that are vital for the execution of BPM strategies. Their support also expedites decision-making.
Building a Continuous Improvement Culture:
BPM is not a one-and-done initiative, it is an ongoing journey. Hence, it’s crucial to build a culture of continuous improvement. Successful BPM projects have a defined mechanism for periodically reviewing and implementing incremental improvements to processes to ensure optimal performance.
Focusing on Change Management:
The success of BPM initiatives hinges on the effective adoption of new processes. Your redesigned process must be saving significant hours or costs on paper. However, until they are implemented and adhered to by employees, the improved processes are no good. To address this, organisations must involve employees from the beginning and communicate the benefits to make them feel connected to the Business Process Management goals. Training and support should also be provided to help them seamlessly transition through change.
Ensuring Business Process Management (BPM) Success
A critical element to drive the Business Process Management (BPM) best practices is the appropriate toolset that aligns with the organisation’s goals. From standardised documentation to analysis and simulation to continuous monitoring, many of the must-haves for BPM success can be ensured with the right tool.
One such Business Process Management software that combines many powerful functionalities to drive BPM best practices is PRIME BPM. The software has in-built BPMN 2.0 for standardised process documentation and allows capturing detailed process maps with the ability to capture a number of process attributes, such as RACI matrix, roles, documents, KPIs, etc. PRIME BPM also has simulation functionality to enable creating as many process iterations as required.