Business process management (BPM) is a big concept. It incorporates analysis of business processes, automation, optimization, workflow design, and business strategy. Understanding BPM and devising a plan beforehand are essential to successful BPM implementation, but once it’s been properly implemented the benefits can be tremendous.
Organizations of all sizes and types use BPM to improve business processes from end to end. A particular BPM implementation usually starts by defining the steps involved in a work process so you can determine what can be improved, what can be automated, and how it can be tracked. With the right BPM software solution, BPM can be completely customized, which is critical because no two organizations operate exactly the same, and differentiators are keys to competitiveness. The following are 5 keys to successful implementation of BPM.
1. Qualify Your Goals Beforehand
Before implementing BPM, you have to ask: “Why are we doing this?” The answer should cover things like:
• What process(es) are we focusing on?
• What should come from that process?
• Does the process meet its goals?
• What aspects of the process need improvement?
• What changes would improve those aspects of the process?
Many organizations choose to start small, with a process they know they can get their arms around. Succeeding with a pilot BPM implementation builds confidence and courage to expand BPM into other processes.
2. Obtain Buy-In from Up and Down the Org Chart
Obviously management and executive buy-in and approval are important. But so is buy-in from the front-line users who will deal with the process every day. Everyone involved should understand the goals of BPM and should feel comfortable providing feedback during planning and implementation. Educate and communicate. Some may be put off BPM because it threatens the status quo. Find out what their concerns are and make clear the advantages that BPM is expected to bring. Communicate with your IT team from the very start. Even if they’re not directly responsible for designing workflows, they need to know if any changes to IT infrastructure will be required.
3. Select Your BPM Software Carefully
Ultimately, you and your team are the only ones who can determine which BPM software solution is the right one for your needs. Just as plenty of outsiders have an opinion on what type of car you should drive, there are plenty of people ready to tell you which BPM software you need. Your software should allow easy collaboration and communication, and it should allow you to define workflows without having to hire a programmer or pull someone from your IT team. It should also offer you extensive customization options because your processes are unique, and your BPM solution must be uniquely implemented in light of them.
4. Monitor and Measure After Implementation
BPM is built on a foundation of commitment to continual improvement. So that means you can’t just implement BPM and walk away. Understand your baseline performance before implementing BPM so you’ll have something against which to measure your performance afterward. Plan for documentation of BPM implementation from the beginning. Know exactly who is affected by which stage in a process and ask for feedback from them. If you monitor, measure, and fine-tune in a manageable, tactical fashion, you iteratively make your BPM process better and ready the organization to expand BPM to other processes.
5. Don’t Think of BPM as a “Project”
Finally, don’t think of BPM as a project with a definite beginning and end. Yes, there are definable steps involved, but BPM is more about a journey toward process optimization and an approach to making that happen. A “project” is too limiting for what BPM actually is, which is a system for anticipating and managing changes as circumstances change or technology allows. Implementing BPM requires planning, communication, and hard work, but once people see their ideas come to life and processes become optimized, they will understand why BPM exists and what it actually does.
BPM is designed to help your organization gain business value and hone its competitive edge. It requires hard work and planning, but most worthwhile endeavors do. ProcessMaker is open source BPM software that allows your team to define processes intuitively with your goals in mind. It includes an impressive collection of built-in tools, and because it’s open-source and is followed by an active user community, it can be perfectly tailored for your business case. We encourage you to test out the ProcessMaker Enterprise Edition. Or you can download the Community Edition of ProcessMaker for free. It’s a terrific first step toward successful BPM implementation.