Business Process Management evolved out of workflow software, Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), and document management; however, it is workflow that I find is most often overlooked after a BPM Suite has been implemented. Workflow, simply put, is an automation tool for directing documents and tasks to the responsible users in a business process for further actions. As it plays into the bigger picture of a BPM Suite, workflow software accounts for two key phases of process improvement:
- Automation- evolving your process from a manual process to an electronic process where data is collected in web forms and easily transferred to/from your existing third-party applications
- Management- Gaining insight into your processes, the business data in those processes, and the effectiveness of the process participants through advanced tracking and reporting capabilities
Where I see many companies fall short is in failing to take advantage of their BPM Software and use its many capabilities. While a BPM Suite can customize processes to fit a specific department or solution it can also be used to meet simple workflow needs like such as:
- Online data capturing through web forms
- Eliminating human error (often part of manual process execution)
- Automatic task escalations
- Increasing visibility into processes
It is important to remember the evolution of BPM as a technology and what it is capable of doing as it relates to process automation and process improvement. You may find that your BPM Suite can satisfy more of your business needs than just complex integrations, greater visibility and control of human-related tasks across vertical and horizontal boundaries. BPM can be a valuable asset for simple business processes and department workflows.
Is your company currently using a BPM Suite for its process improvement initiatives? Did you know BPM is also a solution for workflow needs? Are you making the most use of the features and functionalities your BPM Suite has to offer?
Mary Katherine Strupe