Businesses are always under pressure to optimize. Often, organizations look to use business process management (BPM) methods to streamline operations. The most direct benefit of this is to reduce costs by decreasing human labor and errors.
But the benefits of BPM are much broader. BPM software and BPM methods don’t just allow you to shed the excess in the system—they can help you build real, long-term benefits that pay dividends down the road. The benefits of BPM can help with both top-line growth and bottom-line profitability (as well as offer a long-term competitive advantage).
This post will cover four advantages of business process management that help business leaders optimize nearly any activity, leading to both short-term gains and long-term competitive advantages.
[Business process management works best when using a systematic approach. Learn the details of the DMAIC method with The Ultimate Guide to Continuous Process Improvement.]
Before we get into the advantages of business process management, we should define the term. Business process management is the practice of designing, analyzing, executing, monitoring, and improving practices to meet business goals. BPM includes a broad umbrella of practices, methods, and processes to promote effectiveness and efficiency across business operations, and it is a critical element of process automation. Here are some examples:
Outlining and defining current key processes.
Planning for future processes to meet measurable KPIs.
Executing business processes, often with an eye toward automating as many repetitive tasks as possible for increased efficiency and fewer human errors.
Monitoring the process lifecycle to pinpoint any inefficiencies or areas for improvement.
Iterating to improve over time.
Deploying automation technologies where possible to continuously reach and exceed key metrics on complex processes.
At first glance, the primary benefit of BPM methodologies and BPM software is to foster extreme efficiency. By removing obstacles in work streams and offloading repetitive processes to digital workers, you free up workers for productivity gains without increasing expenditures. Automating document processing with artificial intelligence, for example, can help reduce labor costs spent processing invoices, completing onboarding paperwork, or updating inventory based on orders.
But this goes beyond traditional efficiency and productivity. BPM enables you to foster better communication and knowledge sharing across departments, particularly when using the other tools in a strong process automation platform. You reduce errors stemming from convoluted, inefficient processes—which can be information errors or typos on the one hand or scrapped products on manufacturing floors on the other. In the end, this helps improve service and product quality, and greatly reduces labor costs. Expenditure reductions can have material impacts on the bottom line.
[ Learn how you can successfully implement an end-to-end process automation strategy. Get the Process Automation Guide. ]
With streamlined processes, productivity and output grows substantially. This enables teams to increase product output, accelerate cycle time, and improve customer satisfaction. Think about customer onboarding—the faster you can sign a contract and get someone up and running, the faster you can start delivering service and collecting payments. The increased efficiency from BPM also frees up employees to take on more work, including serving more customers. This can expand your revenues without having to hire more workers.
An underlooked benefit of BPM is that it can often open doors to new lines of business for your organization. By recouping investments normally spent on wrestling with process inefficiencies and manual tasks, you can funnel this budget into new areas not normally covered by your organization.
The right BPM method paired with a strong process automation platform allows you to create more flexible processes and ultimately become a more nimble organization. This is absolutely critical—with the rapid pace of change (that will only continue to increase), being flexible is crucial for long-term success. When market forces change, being able to swiftly shift processes to adapt can often spell the difference between success and failure. Beyond that, when businesses reorganize, it can be beneficial to quickly adapt processes to maximize the output of the new organizational structure. In a world of frequent change, adaptability is the key to survival.
Shedding some of the more weighty processes in your organization helps you gain a long-term advantage. Like an aerodynamic design helps a plane or a car travel more quickly, optimized processes ensure you can go faster in the long run (and ultimately go further). You produce more. You accomplish more. You keep costs lower over the long haul. This alone gives you a clear advantage over your competitors.
More importantly, BPM methods help you recoup money thrown at a wasteful process and reinvest it elsewhere so you can gain value and leapfrog your competition. For example, if you were to automate some low-level software development work, you could free up staff to investigate new software frameworks or develop new products they wouldn’t have time to unlock otherwise.
Business process management isn’t only for optimizing processes—it can help transform an organization from the inside out. The benefits of BPM go beyond immediate productivity boosts and cost reductions, truly allowing for a culture of continuous improvement and generating a long-term competitive advantage. By refining processes, enhancing agility, and reallocating resources from inefficient tasks to high-value projects, companies evolve, adapt, and innovate with rapid speed.
Learn more about optimizing and managing business processes with the BPM Guide: The Key to Workflow Automation.