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Simplifying and Streamlining Process Improvement With BPM

Appian Contributor
January 4, 2018

The business process management (BPM) world is going through a period of transition as process management tools are increasingly built into large-scale platforms that complete a wide range of functions. Low-code development platforms and similar solutions that fuel digital transformation stand out here. As organizations build their operations around digital technologies, they need to ensure BPM functionality does not end up slipping into the background. Companies that neglect BPM can end up in a situation where chaotic processes undermine the benefits of the underlying technologies being deployed.

Businesses that want to embrace digital transformation need process excellence to spur value creation. BPM tools can make process improvement easy, laying the groundwork for long-term efficiency and sustainable innovation.

The Changing BPM World

With process management capabilities frequently attached to workflow and low-code development platforms, businesses are finding themselves with more opportunities to refine their processes on an everyday basis. As this trend expands, an Aragon Research study found that organizations are embracing BPM largely because of demand for better case management and improvements in end-to-end journeys among customers and employees.

When it comes to case management, the study found that organizations are looking for solutions that help them deal with the complexities of processes. In many instances, case management ends up involving specialized knowledge, long relationship life cycles, and strict process milestones. These demands are making process excellence essential in case management and are pushing businesses to implement solutions to simplify everyday operations and connect stakeholders.

"Organizations are facing mounting pressure to coordinate data, people, and content across complex workflows."

In a similar sense, businesses are focusing on customer and employee journeys as they work to coordinate data, operations and interactions across the entire relationship. As case management puts the focus on connecting stakeholders over multiple inter-reliant processes, creating effective customer or employee journeys is similarly reliant on managing operations over a complex set of goals, the study found.

In both of these situations, organizations are facing mounting pressure to coordinate data, people, and content across complex workflows, making process management essential, according to the news source. These demands emphasize the importance of BPM solutions in the modern enterprise, something that CIO reported is becoming evident in today's digital age.

Changing Expectations Around Processes

CIO explained that many organizations tend to create processes in isolation from one another. Even worse, companies will sometimes neglect formal process creation and simply operate in light of long-held traditions or because of how underlying technologies work. Businesses that find themselves with these types of process problems can end up in situations where they run into significant efficiency and agility roadblocks.

With the downside of poor process management in mind, let's consider the opposite - how organizations can use BPM tools to simplify and streamline process management in entirety. Dedicated BPM technologies lay the groundwork for sustainable operational success by:

    • Automating repeatable processes: Many organizations have tasks that are handled the same way every time they happen, with the specifics of the activity depending on specific data parameters surrounding the incident. For example, having a manager follow up with a customer service representative every time a support ticket goes a certain amount of time without a response. Typically, managers have to manually track alerts, but BPM can be used to set up automatic notifications that can be customized per client and ticket type, making life much easier for managers and customer service representatives alike.

    • Coordinating processes across teams: Businesses often rely on specialized, siloed technology solutions for various business units. Because of this, users must defer to email or similar tools when they need to pass tasks between users in disparate departments. These limited process coordination capabilities can prevent organizations from streamlining operations across the business, allow key tasks to slip through the cracks and limit visibility into processes. BPM tools formalize processes throughout the organization and serve as a hub for inter-departmental communication, reporting and task tracking.

    • Adapt as the business changes: Change is almost never easy for an organization, but companies often fall into a trap where they think new technology or a new leader will inherently change the business. In action, however, change can only really happen when the underlying processes have been adjusted to reflect new goals and priorities. Companies that lack formal, documented and optimized processes can run into major struggles when they try to analyze how to adjust those tasks. Conversely, BPM platforms provide visibility into processes, including insights into how those operations are structured and performing. As such, businesses can make changes quickly and easily put those adjustments into action.

    • Align technology and processes: Just as organizations can't expect technology to fuel positive change, they also can't assume that technology will deliver value if processes aren't adjusted based on new functionality. Employees can't be asked to jump through hoops to use new technology. They shouldn't have to jump back and forth between legacy and new solutions because key operations can't interact with both systems. Adjusting processes around emerging technologies is critical in the era of digital transformation, and BPM solutions make it possible.

Organizations can implement state-of-the-art technologies. They can bring in the best leaders in the industry. They can even go all-in on new recruiting pushes to bring in talent. All of these conventional strategies fall apart when companies don't have their processes in order. New solutions are inherently limited by how well a business can adjust the way people actually work in light of emerging corporate goals and market demands. This is where BPM technologies are coming into play.

Modern BPM systems are increasingly housed in low-code app development platforms, combining the underlying process management tools companies need with simplified development interfaces that let users customize apps with ease. The result is a situation where technology and processes can be constantly tweaked based on the demands people have on the business. Appian is leading the charge in helping organizations achieve this goal for full flexibility. Our long-held expertise in BPM has been baked into our low-code platform, giving organizations the tools they need to make a complete transformation around digital technologies and avoid getting stalled because their processes aren't in order.

Modern BPM with Appian