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Business Process Monitoring: Definition, Examples, and 3 Secrets to Success

Rachel Nizinski, Appian
March 31, 2023

Imagine your business is an ocean. Under the surface, a rich ecosystem of processes, people, and technology needs to work together to create a healthy environment. Above the surface, constant waves can make or break your business, either propelling you to new opportunities or sinking you under pressure. 

Business processes are an integral part of your organization that keep things moving against that pressure. But even if you know the desired steps and outcomes, business process execution usually isn’t perfect. By monitoring core business processes continuously, you can prepare to address potential issues, see how your processes do or don’t support business goals, and make informed decisions about improvements. Let’s explore some expert advice on using business process monitoring to your advantage.

[ Ready to optimize your business processes? Read the Business Process Management Guide. ]

What is business process monitoring?

Business process monitoring is the continuous analysis and review of how processes run to measure performance, find issues, and identify opportunities for improvement. By regularly monitoring a process, you can reduce inefficiencies and quickly uncover problems before they cause disruptions to your business.

How does process monitoring work?

Business process monitoring uses data generated during process activities alongside pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the performance of the process. A typical project will involve defining the process, setting performance metrics, collecting and analyzing data, reviewing findings, implementing changes, and continuously monitoring.

4 steps for monitoring a business process: 

  • Define the process and KPIs. Identify the process that will be monitored as well as the inputs, outputs, and steps involved. Then, establish metrics to measure its performance, such as cycle time, error rates, throughput, and other KPIs.

  • Monitor and analyze. Observe the process to collect and analyze performance data using tools including process mining software and manual observation.

  • Find and fix issues. Based on the insights gained from data analysis, take corrective action to address the issues. This can include process redesign, training, or strategically applying technology like process automation.

  • Commit to continuous improvement. Continuously monitor the process over time to ensure that it is performing well and identify any new areas for tweaks and growth.

Benefits and examples of business process monitoring.

Business process management involves orchestrating people, systems, and data together in streamlined workflows. And process monitoring is at the center of it all. By making small and iterative changes to your processes, you’ll improve operations, reduce costs, create better customer and employee experiences, and catalyze innovation. 

Improved efficiency.

Identifying bottlenecks and process inefficiencies helps optimize workflows and enhance productivity. For example, a financial institution could monitor its loan approval process to identify and resolve delays, reducing processing time and improving customer satisfaction.

Enhanced product or service quality.

Addressing errors and inefficiencies can lead to improved process quality that delivers better products and services to customers. For example, an insurance company could monitor its claims processing to identify and correct errors, resulting in fewer rejected claims, improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, and reduced costs from rework and customer complaints.

Better risk management.

Proactively identifying potential risks and vulnerabilities reduces the likelihood of disruptions to business operations. For example, a state government could monitor its procurement process to ensure compliance with regulations and reduce the risk of fraud or mismanagement.

Increased agility.

Continuous monitoring of business processes allows you to respond more quickly to changing business requirements and customer needs. For example, a life sciences company could monitor its drug development process to identify potential delays and changes in regulations and compliance requirements, resulting in increased competitiveness and faster time to market for new products.

Cost savings.

Optimizing processes can reduce the costs associated with errors, inefficiencies, and rework. For example, a retailer could use process monitoring to optimize their supply chain and reduce costs associated with inventory management and logistics, resulting in significant cost savings from waste reduction and increased productivity.

[ Learn how to successfully implement end-to-end process automation strategies. Get the Process Automation Guide. ]

3 secrets for business process monitoring success. 

1. Start with clear objectives and metrics.

Before implementing a business process monitoring project, define clear objectives and goals that align with your organization's overall strategy. And, make sure that stakeholders from all levels of the organization are represented to build a sense of shared ownership and include all perspectives.

2. Use real-time monitoring.

Technology can play a critical role in process monitoring. And it's important to select the right tools that will integrate with your existing systems and workflows. Process mining tools that offer real-time monitoring provide immediate feedback on process performance and business impact, enabling your organization to take corrective action quickly.

3. Automate wisely.

Automating process monitoring can reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies, improve accuracy, and save time. You can also look for ways to optimize your process through automation, such as areas with inefficiency resulting from human error. By using an end-to-end platform designed for process automation, you can go from insight to action all in one place. 

Discover the power of end-to-end process automation. Watch the video