Business Processes are a group of activities which are recurring in nature and contribute significantly to the growth and development of the business. Managing these activities efficiently so that maximum business benefit can be captured is better known as Business Process Management. If you think that Business Process Management deals with mundane tasks, you are very far from the truth. Large organizations with good business process management skills have even managed to put an abstract activity such as Innovation as part of their process management cycle. Even thinking or strategizing for the future is part of a Business Process. Thus the first step in understanding Business Process Management is to understand the range of activities which qualify as Business Process and only then can they be documented and subsequently managed.
The first step when implementing Business Processes in any organization is to understand the lifecycle of a business process. Key questions which need to be answered are ‘when does the process get triggered?’, ‘which business activity does it impact?’, ‘what are the steps in business process?’, ‘What the key parameters against which they can be measured?’ and so on.
Once these key questions are answered and documented, you can put see the outline of a defined business process. All business activities are made up of multiple business processes and business process management is to make sure that these processes are working together for the greater benefit of the organizations. Some of the key points to consider when setting up business processes are discussed in the rest of this article.
Keep in mind that these processes will be managed by people. A business process should not be very rigid; neither should it be too open ended. There should be some room for innovation within the process as well as that is the business process can be improved over a period of time. Many management gurus consider successful organizations those which have captured the DNA of a business process within their working framework.
Simple documentation and automation also makes business process automation work in the long run. If you are using software to automate your business process, it should be made sure that people have been suitably trained on it and rather than change the way of working of the company, the software conforms to the process that you already follow. The automation should be complimentary to business and not anti-productive. It is imperative to remember that Business Process Management is suppose to save time and resources in an organization and should be approached with that principle in mind.
Adherence to Business Process throughout the organization is a must for any organization to gets it full impact. Developing or outlining a business process without true permeation with the company, is like giving a bird wings but asking it not to fly. It is successful implementation and following of a set business process which will save time and money in the organization and bring about greater efficiencies. Following business processes also helps in getting the most out of the people employed in the company without going back to the drawing board each time a familiar situation comes up.
The term Management in Business Process Management makes this activity an ongoing one. One a business process has been set and put in automated or semi-automated motion, it is critical that the process is reviewed at regular intervals to evaluate the affectivity of the process. A facility to maintain feedback from users of the process much be implemented and periodical review of the process and feedback from users will help in implementing changes and improving the process on an ongoing basis. A mature organization is one which has managed to implement the Business Process of Managing Business Processes effectively.
The Business Process Management process has been an established business activity for quite some time. If you are keen to ensure that you harness the complete benefits of Business Process Management in your organization, you can bench mark it against some of the leading standards such as ISO 9001:2000, SEI CMM and Six Sigma. Some industries have industry specific business process management certifications. Benchmarking allows you to go full throttle in business process management as well as provide you excellent ammunition to increase the value of your organization in front of customers, suppliers and employees.