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BPM - moving beyond the buzzwords

Ben Farrell
April 11, 2013

The business process management industry abounds with buzzwords. As a whole, BPM is extremely difficult to pin down to a single definition, especially since it can be applied in diverse ways and for a variety of purposes. However, companiesthat want to engage in BPM projects successfully have to look past the buzzwords and figure out how they can use the technology to improve their business process capabilities. To get beyond marketing hype and industry jargon, it is important to understand what BPM really is, and what it actually accomplishes within an organization.

What is BPM?

Business process management is a management scheme that focuses on maximizing process efficiency. This stands in contrast, for example,to emphasizing results in management. A results-focused approach encourages business leaders to analyze the final product that customers see and making sure it is up to par. BPM focuses on the processes performed in an organization and looks for ways to optimize and automate them wherever possible.

BPM is often discussed as a technology, but it is not. Organizations can deploy BPM software, which is technology that enables companies to put BPM strategies into action, but BPM itself is focused more on ideas and practices. The technology does much of the work when BPM plans are in place.

Because BPM is primarily a management methodology, it is difficult to pin down exactly what it entails. This is why the buzzwords are so popular in the sector-they are used as an attempt to quantify what BPM can do. However, organizations working toward a BPM strategy have to understand that BPM is, first and foremost, about transforming management ideals to improve processes. BPM requires meaningful change.

What can BPM deliver?

A good BPM strategy can create almost any benefit a business wants. BPM's role as a management paradigm allows organizations to apply process innovation wherever applicable. Automating and improving processes can have a variety of results, including better governance, improved transparency and more operational efficiency. BPM can also empower workers by eliminating inefficient or mundane process from their day.

The technological side of BPM comes in handy when trying to achieve these goals. As the engine that drives process innovation, BPM software can give organizations the ability to automate processes and create a more social business process environment. Effective BPM strategies can accomplish a great deal within a business, and the right software solution can help companies put those strategies into action.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications