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What is Business Process Management?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois

The term business process management is used to explain how the tasks and procedures followed to complete the functions of each position in a business are done. The management of the business process is usually the responsibility of the department head or team manager. Within a large company in a highly regulated industry, he or she may have an office dedicated to business process management.

There are five categories of activities in the business process management life cycle; design, modeling, execution, monitoring,and optimization. These categories apply consistently to all business process management, regardless of scale or industry. Each activity must be completed in order.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

The design aspect of business process management requires a review of the current process, known issues and the design of an ideal business process. The process design should not be limited to computer systems, but should incorporate interpersonal processes, human interaction with systems, and system to system connections. Be sure that the new design covers standard operating procedure, service level agreements, escalations and process work flow.

Modeling involves a number crunching analysis of the proposed business process management. In this process, staff take a close look at the details of the design and complete performance analysis under a series of possible scenarios. This activity tests the impact of various decisions on the business process and the overall business.

The execution or implementation phase is where the impact of the decisions made in the design and modeling phases are felt. Very often, systems are selected to address business process management issues. The appropriate use of technology can yield huge benefits for the company, assist in the enforcement of the accepted business processes management, and ensure consistent application of the new process across the organization.

The actual implementation of a business process management system is a complex project, large in both scale and cost. To improve the business process management across an organization involves changing accepted business practices and routines that staff are familiar with and comfortable doing. This type of change is never easy.

Monitoring of the changes made in the execution stage is often neglected. At this stage, there is a certain amount of "change fatigue" that has set in. Staff can only absorb so much change within an organization in a certain time frame. Failure to devote appropriate level of resources to this stage results in missed opportunity to make adjustments in a timely manner. Delays in adjusting the business process management system or the staff use of the tool costs money in mistakes and time, as well as increasing the risk to the business.

Optimization of business process management usually begins six to 12 months after the implementation of the system, At this stage, firms can begin accepting recommended improvements to the process from staff and management. These changes improve the performance of the system, as well as the effectiveness of the changes and the success of the business process management.

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