Like many IT acronyms, BPM is often tossed about in conversation and used in countless business articles with the assumption that everyone knows exactly what it is and why it’s important. Unfortunately it’s a bad assumption; from business people to IT people, there are plenty that get a look of confusion on their face who are afraid to ask just what exactly BPM is and how it works. So here’s a quick primer on the key points to get everyone up to speed and ready to engage in discussion:
What does BPM stand for exactly?
In this context, BPM stands for Business Process Management (not to be confused with Beats per Minute or the BPM dance music channel on SiriusXM Radio).
What does BPM do and specifically, why would you want to use it?
BPM gives you a way to automate and optimize an otherwise manual process or a series of semi-automated processes into a single short or long running process.
How can you automate what people do? After all, they’re people, not machines!
BPM does this by either automating what people do, reworking what people do, or even eliminating steps by making the computer systems involved more efficient, say, through integration. In some cases it may be able to automate what a person does 100%, such as in the case of manual data entry of data into one computer system that already exists in another or partially by reducing the amount of duplicated effort by pulling partial information from one system into another. It can even do things like routing information across a global enterprise or creating an audit trail of who does what and when it’s done.
BPM acts like a bridge between different systems in some cases. From this perspective, you might refer to BPM as middleware.
Plus, it can also automate some of the decisions people have to make. In the majority of cases, the business has rules about how decisions are to be made – BPM is able to automate decision making by enforcing these business rules. This inherently also brings a level of consistency to rule enforcement that isn’t always present with people since you can make sure that the same steps get followed and that the same rules get executed the same way every time.
Doesn’t implementing BPM eliminate jobs?
The simple answer is yes. However, the good thing about it is that it eliminates repetitious jobs that add cost without value, which frees people to concentrate on the knowledge work. As we all know, the knowledge work tends to be more interesting and ultimately fulfilling for most staff. More importantly, it puts them in the value proposition which is critical to the business.
For more information about implementing business process management in custom applications, please contact Chuck Snyder at 402-391-9200.
New to Agility BPM? Learn more about this powerful solution at Business Process Automation .