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Holistic approach to BPM plays key role in operational success

Ben Farrell
August 14, 2012

The core tools that businesses use to function are changing. According to a recent BetaNews report, most companies, regardless of industry, have similar approaches to day-to-day operation - they establish a set of successful, repeatable processes and develop methodologies that allow them to follow those processes effectively. Those methods and the technological systems that organizations use to enable operations are shifting in response to new IT opportunities.

The news source explained that common business processes vary slightly from industry to industry, even though the overarching theme of repeatability is common. In retail, for example, the operations include making sales, processing payments and managing inventory. In manufacturing, on the other hand, the focus is often on obtaining raw materials, transporting freight, creating products and distributing them. Despite these differences, the common thread of repeatable business processes applies to just about every type of industry.

Increasingly, businesses are in a position in which IT provides the tools necessary to manage processes effectively, the report said. As more companies begin using cloud computing, mobile devices and social media to get the job done, the need for a holistic business process management solution is becoming critical.

Essentially, emerging technologies are enabling businesses to orchestrate and manage all of their processes from just about any location and at any time. The news source explained that this creates considerable potential when it comes to operational efficiency. However, the amount of data gathered and used by cloud, mobile and social systems to improve business processes can be overwhelming. Therefore, companies need to support these efforts with BPM software systems that holistically streamline operations.

In many cases, BPM solutions are effective because they manage many of the more mundane elements of the repeatable processes that businesses follow. However, companies have to be careful not to go overboard on automation. If too many tasks are handled electronically, companies can lose some of the personal touch that is so important to many customers. Furthermore, excess automation within data systems can lead to information becoming separate from its context. This makes it harder for employees to properly analyze data. BPM, while effective as an automation tool, needs to be used in such a way that it enables employees to work as effectively as possible, not to replace functions that are best performed by workers.