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What is a Business Process Management System?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

A business process management system is a computer software program designed to help the organization identify and measure the responsiveness of the organization to the needs of the client. The term business process management describes a management theory that focuses on continuous loops of improvement, evaluation, analysis, and improvement. The primary drivers are business effectiveness and overall efficiency.

Many firms that attempt to implement a business process management system are very large, decentralized structures. Upper management has no tools to effectively and objectively evaluate the performance of each aspect of the business from a client's perspective without assistance. The target client group is often quite diverse, and may even have overlapping requirements. Although each area can conduct user focus groups, there is no simple way to create a holistic picture.

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The creation of this overall image of the firm is the purpose of a business process management system. The process required to implement and configure this type of system is substantial, both in terms of staff time and actual hard dollar costs. However, for a large organization, the potential benefits are huge. A responsive firm can manage the life cycle of the various products with surgical accuracy. This information creates the possibility for a streamlined, efficient, and effective organization.

There are four main aspects to any business process management system: modeling platform, analytics, content management, and collaborative tools. The modeling platform is the actual software engine used to create and manipulate the models of the business processes. This tool must be configured to accurately represent the firm's current business practices, its areas of weakness, and strengths.

Analytics uses powerful data manipulation tools to identify patterns and trends in huge data sets. The patterns can then be used to drive further analysis about customers' needs, preferences, likes, and dislikes. This information can be used to predict the success rate of a new initiative and determine how much effort is required to support a product that is already launched.

Content management tools are used to ensure that corporate messaging is consistent across all internal publications. This includes online and print communication. Staff members need to feel the firm is focused on meeting the needs and priorities of the client at every level.

Collaborative tools allow staffers from different areas of the firm to participate in joint projects, create documentation of current business processes, and work as a team. In large organizations, the greatest threat to efficiency occurs when departments feel disconnected from the rest of the organization. Team work and information sharing is a great way to make sure that this does not occur.

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