Business process management software systems have been helping organizations refine and optimize their operations for a long time. Over this period, the underlying technologies and capabilities behind BPM have evolved and changed based on shifting enterprise demands. What started as a process refinement and automation tool has since evolved to keep up with a shift to social, mobile and cloud-focused businesses that are driving digital transformation.
At their simplest, BPM tools are about connecting people, processes and technologies into a cohesive whole. But what does that really look like in practice?
TO FIND OUT, LET'S EXPLORE THESE THREE PILLARS OF BPM:
Employees underpin just about every facet of business success. This is especially true as more businesses move into service-based operational models that emphasize creating positive customer experiences over delivering products. The ability to consistently keep customers happy and engaged is becoming the vital competitive differentiator between today's businesses, and people are the center of these relationships.
BPM software incorporates a variety of tools to help people have positive interactions within a business, and they accomplish this by:
- Incorporating task management functionality into operations so employees can focus on what they're actually doing, not trying to keep track of what they have to get done
- Providing visibility into both real-time and analytics data. In practice, this means your workers get information about customers during those interactions, leading to more productive and efficient interactions. Analytics data, on the other hand, provides vital performance feedback and big-picture visibility so workers can make better decisions on a day-to-day basis
- Routing processes based on employee skills so workers are assigned the best tasks for their competencies and are fully empowered to perform well at all times
- Building process capabilities into apps so workers can complete a wide range of operations without having to jump between different systems
All of these capabilities add up to create a people-focused work environment in which businesses can eliminate many of the tedious operations and red-tape procedures that can distract workers from customer interactions and value-focused tasks. Empowering people is a critical component of BPM software, something that is vital as happy, efficient employees who are well-positioned to meet customer demands.
A business process can mean any number of things, but, in a nutshell, it is a set of activities or transactions that are completed on a consistent basis. For example, completing employee on-boarding is a process. Signing up a new customer is a process. Analyzing and responding to a loan request is a process. In many cases, a process will:
- Require input from multiple stakeholders across teams within an organization
- Potentially involve both internal and external users
- Demand a variety of data types
- Incorporate repeatable workflows that can be automated based on preset decision engines
BPM software has its foundation in identifying what processes a business is doing (whether the organization is aware of them or not), mapping out how those processes interact with one another, identifying opportunities for automation and enacting the necessary scripts and data engines needed to put those automation systems into place. What's more, BPM solutions allow companies to establish internal policies and rules and enforce them based on the process frameworks they put into place.
"DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES ARE BECOMING ESSENTIAL IN THE MODERN ENTERPRISE."
In practice, this means that organizations gain a greater awareness of what actually creates value for them by having a clearer understanding of their process frameworks. From there, they can structure their everyday operations and technologies around the processes that are most important.
Digital technologies are becoming essential in the modern enterprise, but the value of IT innovation is directly associated with how well technology aligns with business needs. Putting resources into big data is going to have limited value if your users can't get to analytics information in actionable ways. Allowing your workers to create content and data to improve operations is invaluable, but only if that data isn't siloed in isolated parts of the business.
BPM has always centered on people and processes, and has since evolved into a digital transformation enabler by also adding technology to the equation. Three key ways BPM makes this possible are:
- Incorporating data into user dashboards. BPM systems gather data from throughout the organization and bring their process awareness to bear to organize that information in cohesive ways. From there, the data is put into visualizations on user dashboards that update in real time and ensure workers can get the information they need quickly.
- Aligning processes and application functionality. Process intelligence is brought into app development through cloud platforms that host low-code app creation functionality within a cohesive environment. The data and process frameworks can reside in the application development platform, allowing IT teams and citizen developers to ensure app functionality directly aligns with process needs.
- Accelerating app delivery. The app platforms used to fuel rapid development also allow for rapid deployment because they offer a solid underlying infrastructure foundation for API integration and native compatibility with a wide array of devices and operating systems.
"GREATER VISIBILITY LEADS TO BETTER COLLABORATION, WHICH IN TURN RESULTS IN FASTER DECISION-MAKING."
Bringing the full weight of analytics to bear. All of the information feeding into BPM systems allows the software to provide deep analysis into trends and patterns within the business. Built-in reporting tools enable users to create custom, dynamic reports built out from the platform. At the same time, the robust analysis allows for predictive modeling and helps organizations anticipate changing requirements and adjust process models accordingly.
Digital transformation hinges aligning business and technological requirements to eliminate paper-based barriers within an organization. BPM closes the analog gaps that have long existed in enterprise settings and helps companies work with greater intelligence.
BRINGING PEOPLE, PROCESSES AND TECHNOLOGY TOGETHER
When businesses effectively converge people, processes and technology, they are left able to streamline operations by giving users access to all the data they need, when and where they need it. All told, it adds up to an operational climate in which greater visibility leads to better collaboration, which in turn results in faster decision-making with reduced risk.
These capabilities are what make Appian truly unique in a crowded BPM and application platform market. Our long history of leadership in the sector has given us a foundation for integrating core business process requirements with technological needs to help companies organize their efforts, integrate their systems and take action in the most intelligent way possible. All at the speed of the digital enterprise.
Our BPM Guide provides a detailed, close look at all of these capabilities. Check it out to learn more about how BPM can impact your business.