What is Business Process Management (BPM)? 

What is business process management? 

Business process management (BPM) is the mapping and analyzing of business processes to align them with overall business goals and identify areas for improvement. The discipline enables organizations to gain deeper insight into their processes using supporting technologies.


Why is business process management important? 

Understanding and optimizing business processes is key to the overall performance of any organization as inefficient processes can cause errors and delays that impact business operations. Business process management enables organizations to identify areas of a process that are not working optimally and determine where changes need to be made for greater efficiency.


What is BPM software? 

BPM software is technology used to create process diagrams detailing each step within a process and the related tasks, stakeholders etc. required to perform it. BPM software gives you the process insight and control you need to deliver real value to the business. Using BPM software to optimize processes allows organizations to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks, improve employee efficiency, reduce time to market, and provide a better customer experience.


What are the benefits of business process management?  

- Increased efficiency: Gaining a better understanding of business processes allows organizations to locate and fix bottlenecks and inefficiencies. BPM can also help identify tasks that could benefit from automation. Bizagi customer adidas mapped out their business processes before automating them across several departments, resulting in a 60% increase in operational efficiency.   

- Increased business agility: Business process management allows organizations to adapt business processes quickly to respond to external changes such as market fluctuations or amends to regulations, or internal factors, such as a change in strategy to provide a more competitive service. BPM software enables users to share, reuse, and adapt process elements to rapidly respond to changes in the market and maintain competitive advantage. 

- Increased compliance: By predetermining rules in business processes, compliance, and best practices are baked straight into the organization’s business processes. This helps to prove compliance to external parties, and process maps can be used internally to identify non-compliance and prevent fines. Bizagi customer BNP Paribas Cardif Japan used BPM to ensure that insurance payments were accurate and made within the regulation deadlines. 

- Increased collaboration: Using process as a common language enables more effective collaboration between business and IT, resulting in faster development of business applications. BPM also promotes collaboration between employees across departments on a day-to-day basis as business data can be stored in a centralized repository, so everyone can see the same information. 

- Reduced risk: BPM software allows standardization of processes and provides greater visibility and control over process execution reducing the likelihood of human error. Access management features also provide control over who can view and edit information, aiding organizations with data governance and preventing security issues. 

- Continuous improvement: Mapping and reviewing processes with BPM software provides greater visibility and a deeper understanding of how business processes are performing. Users can repeatedly review them and identify opportunities for improvement to enhance performance. 

- Automate dynamic and complex processes enterprise-wide: Business process management enables organizations to identify areas that could benefit from automation. Automating these elements reduces the manual effort involved in any type of business process to lower costs and increase efficiency. 

- Monitor business process performance: BPM software provides access to real-time and historical reports that show how processes are working and allows users to monitor business process performance and identify opportunities for enhancements. 

- Integrate business systems: By mapping out processes and gaining an understanding of what is required for them to run effectively, users can get a view of all of the different systems involved and connect modern applications, databases or legacy systems to provide a centralized view of business data.

The business process management lifecycle  

BPM Lifecycle management.jpg

1. Design

Choose which process most requires improvement and define the steps needed to achieve the desired outcome. Identify who and what is required at each step of the workflow. Define how the success of the improvements will be measured. 

2. Model

Map out the current (‘as-is’) process and design the improved (‘to-be') version. 

3. Execute

Implement the redesigned process and test with a small group of users to gather feedback on the changes. Once a final version is agreed upon, roll the new process out to the whole organization. 

4. Monitor

Track the performance of the new process to measure whether the improvements are achieving the expected results. 

5. Optimize

Look for ways to improve the process further – The aim of business process management is to continually find ways to improve business processes and enable the organization to work smarter.


Business process management examples 

Business process management can be applied across departments and use cases to optimize process performance. Common BPM examples include: 

- Approvals: Create workflows to send documents to the right people and notify them when action is needed to speed up signoff. 

- Compliance: Build compliance checks into processes to ensure regulations are followed at each step.  

- System integration: Connect data sources to reduce inefficiencies and inaccuracies caused by silos and speed up decision-making. 

- Employee onboarding: Streamline onboarding processes such as asset provisioning and scheduling training so that new employees reach productivity faster.


What are the different types of business process management?  

- Human-centric BPM: Human-centric process management focuses on the human activities required to execute a process and automates supporting functions. This ensures that tasks are carried out by the right person at the right time. 

Example: Employee onboarding 

- Document-centric BPM: Document-centric process management manages the approval workflow of documents, avoiding email chains and allowing better version control. 

Example: Contract management 

- Integration-centric BPM: Integration-centric process management connects the different software systems within an organization to enable data to flow between them, reducing the need for manual data transfer from one system to another. 

Example: Connecting SAP to other systems


What features should you look for when choosing BPM software?  

- Visual process modeling: An intuitive drag-and-drop interface allows users to easily visualize processes and quickly identify better ways of working across the organization. 

- Customizable UI: The ability to customize the user interface dependent on end-user needs facilitates more efficient processes and better adoption of the application across departments. 

- Integration capabilities: Connecting BPMS to core business systems avoids the need to manually input data from one system to another, reducing time wasted on data transfer. 

- Mobile functionality: Enabling users to access business information from anywhere is key to preventing process delays and sustaining productivity. 

- Reporting and analytics: The ability to view metrics and generate reports enables businesses to monitor process performance and use the data to inform business decisions. 

- Security: Increasing regulations in data security and privacy require a system with stringent security features. 

- Scalability: As usage increases a BPMS needs to be able to handle the large volumes of data and documents needed to support multiple processes across the enterprise.


BPM best practices: 

- Create fusion teams to bring diverse knowledge, skills, and perspectives to the project allowing for a more comprehensive analysis of the issues and a wider range of potential solutions. 

- Use a tried and tested BPM methodology to guide the project and ensure consistency, manage risks and align with organizational goals. 

- Define KPIs to drive accountability and track the success of the project and it’s impact on organizational performance. 

- Establish feedback loops to gather insights from users and make changes based on their observations. 

- Implement effective change management practices to help employees adapt to new processes and technologies. 

- Continuously monitor improvements using real-time data and insights to make adjustments and optimize further.


Business process management challenges 

Resistance to change 

Employees can often show some opposition to the adoption of BPM software as it is an unfamiliar way of working and can bring up questions about job security. Organizations need to communicate the benefits new technology can bring to processes as well as provide training on new tools to provide reassurance and foster buy-in.

Lack of visibility into existing processes 

Complex processes that span multiple departments, stakeholders, and systems often operate in silos and lack proper documentation. This lack of collaboration and transparency makes it difficult to understand the current state of a process and identify opportunities for optimization. The relevant teams need to work together to map out the process to combat this.

Integration issues 

Connecting BPM software to the multitude of systems already managing processes across the organization can be a timely and costly operation resulting in a loss of productivity rather than a boost to it, especially if custom integrations are needed. Selecting BPM software that offers robust integration capabilities can mitigate the risk of any issues and make the process simpler. 

Undefined goals 

A lack of measurable goals makes it impossible to gauge the success of a BPM project and track whether you are delivering value that aligns with wider organizational goals. Therefore, it’s important to define what it is you want to achieve from the outset.

Choosing the best software 

With so many options on the market finding the best BPM solution for your organization’s requirements is no easy task. Key things to consider are: usability (consider the current skills available within your team and whether the software would be a match), integration capabilities, reporting capabilities, hosting (on-premise or in the Cloud), cost and support options. 


Future of business process management 

Low-code BPM 

Gartner predicts that low-code will account for 75% of new application development by 2026, making it the norm for the majority of application development in the enterprise. BPM projects will continue to be supported by low-code platforms that offer greater agility and faster time-to-value than more traditional development tools.   


Utilizing AI in business process management enables organizations to process vast amounts of unstructured data quickly and gain insights into available actions to aid decision-making and speed up processes.  

Cloud BPM 

By 2025, Gartner estimates that over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms. Many organizations are moving BPM to the cloud to take advantage of greater accessibility, security, and scalability as well as fewer maintenance updates and lower costs.  


Discover how Bizagi's low-code platform can help you manage your business processes more effectively.