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BPM as a Critical Strategy for Business Efficiency: 3 Reasons It Matters

Business process management, or BPM, is a vital strategy for every organization. To meet demands and achieve goals, companies build intricate networks of processes, resources, and systems. BPM is the discipline that makes all these components work cohesively and efficiently: It’s how organizations create, manage, and optimize processes to continually improve business results. 

The idea of BPM was originally focused on developing mechanistic business processes, but it has since evolved. Now, BPM is a practice that focuses on people-resource integration. At its core, BPM is about streamlining business operations and optimizing the output-to-revenue cycle to reach its fullest potential. 

By giving structure to processes and overall business dynamics, organizations can do more, more easily. In addition, BPM enables businesses to respond to changing consumer, market, and regulatory demands faster than others, creating a competitive advantage.

Why you need a BPM strategy.

Business process management is more than just a school of thought. It’s a holistic management approach that marries business effectiveness and technology to meet and even anticipate customer demands.

There are three main benefits of BPM.

1. Cost savings.

A BPM strategy increases workforce productivity by streamlining business operations and automating repetitive tasks. It may seem like BPM provides the same efficiency benefits as other traditional enterprise application technology, like ERP, but the capabilities involved in BPM go far beyond these tools, for example:

  • Knowledge sharing capabilities and embedded collaboration improve decision-making.

  • Process performance reports and continuous process improvement help optimize workflows.

  • Notifications and triggers reduce errors and eliminate waste.

  • Business rules engine enforces governance. 

Yes, BPM improves workforce productivity, but it also improves the quality of your process outputs and reduces risk. And, within months of deploying a BPM platform, organizations see substantial cost savings. For example, these customers interviewed by Forrester have seen a payback on the Appian Platform in less than six months.

2. Revenue growth.

Thanks to increased product output, accelerated cycle times, and improved customer service, BPM helps organizations raise their overall revenues. When employees can review process performance reports to identify bottlenecks, and IT and business leaders can collaborate in one central location with a 360-degree view of enterprise knowledge, they can make faster and more informed decisions. Over time, organizations reap the benefits of this continuous improvement process. Faster time to market and improved customer experience ultimately lead to increased sales and revenue.

3. Increased agility.

In the long run, business process management helps organizations become more agile, especially when using BPM technology with low-code development, process modeling, and no-code data integrations. With an approach like this, your organization has the visibility needed to ensure the right resources are applied to the right jobs. Clear governance defined across the organization helps you securely address operational changes when they’re needed, letting you be more agile and nimble in response to market pressures.

[ Get more tips in The BPM Guide: The Key to Workflow Automation. ]

Implementing BPM as a strategy: 2 steps to get started.

1. Select the best BPM software.

BPM technology is a large part of modern-day BPM. Finding a platform that brings processes, data, and software together will allow work to move faster, more precisely, and more effectively. With a BPM platform, where a full range of business process management technologies seamlessly work together, you can choose the best-fit technology for the job every time. It’s simple for you to bring in digital workers to participate in workflows alongside humans as needed. And with a platform, you avoid high maintenance costs, complex integrations, and the need for skilled resources to manage each instance of automation technology.

Look for BPM software that includes these capabilities:

  • Content processing powered by AI.  

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) and API integrations to automate system interactions.

  • Business rules.

  • Workflow orchestration. 

In addition to finding the right technology, you’ll need to determine the best place to start implementing your BPM approach.

2. Plan big, but start small.

The benefits of process improvement affect just about every facet of an organization. But where you start can have a big impact on how successful your BPM initiatives are over time.

The key is to plan big, start small, and iterate. This means selecting an initial project that can be delivered quickly while having a high impact on the business, promoting your early successes, and pushing BPM best practices out to other areas of the business.

However, there are two key issues to consider before getting started with BPM: What is the impact that optimizing the process will have on the business (processes that directly impact revenue, cost, or customers, for example)? And how complex is the process (number of process steps, integration points, people involved, etc.)?

Ideally, you would start with a high-impact, low-complexity process to realize quick and substantial wins. Your BPM technology vendor likely offers services to get you up and running in no time. Promoting this early success (and best practices during that initial deployment) will help drive new BPM projects across your organization. 

To see BPM strategy in action, listen to Jim Reis, Vice President of Technology, Capital Group, share some best practices for implementing BPM along with process automation and the Appian Platform in his keynote at Appian World 2023.