By Bob Larrivee
Business process management (BPM) can hardly claim to be the new kid on the block, but as enterprises move towards digital transformation it has become an important element in change.
In a recent AIIM survey, we found that 55 percent of business executive respondents view BPM as significant—38 percent, or imperative—17 percent, for their business. Stuck-in-process is the biggest operational problem for 58 percent of respondents. For 46 percent, it has to deal with compliance errors.
The majority of respondents see BPM as the combination of a systematic approach to improving business processes—97 percent, and workflow or BPM technology—79 percent. 66 percent see BPM as change management.
This comes as business leaders increasingly understand that information and process form an integrated component to the successful running of business operations. We see the importance of BPM being acknowledged in the way it can reduce paper handling, eradicate inefficiencies, and streamline operations. But how well is BPM really understood by business leaders and users and how open are they to changing their way of working and continuously improving business processes to get the most out of their investment?
Delivering Real Value
There is no doubt that BPM is delivering a return on investment already. According to our research, 41 percent of organizations surveyed have seen payback within one year. 17 percent said they had achieved ROI within just six months.
Additional benefits above and beyond ROI include a decrease in review and approval cycles—33 percent, better routing to and between individuals—62 percent, and greater organizational agility and routing between processes—42 percent. Faster processing of business-critical activities has provided the biggest value for 53 percent of respondents. 45 percent cite their biggest value from fewer errors and exceptions processing.
To ensure enterprises continue to reap the benefits of BPM, there must be a commitment to continuously improving business processes as an ongoing effort, as opposed to viewing it as a singular project. Ongoing improvements should be an embedded part of the business culture with periodic assessments to identify additional areas for improvement and automation as a follow-up to project completion.
Growing BPM Investment
According to 22 percent of our respondents, they will be making a BPM systems purchase within the next year, with 12 percent of those doing so within six months. In that same timeframe, those who have solutions plan to expand within a year—38 percent; and of those, 20 percent plan expansion within six months.
Planning BPM Deployment
Organizations looking to deploy a BPM system must take time to plan and map existing processes to identify areas of opportunity for improvement and tag bottlenecks that may be eliminated. The more mature your processes, the more capability you will get from BPM technology, maximizing the investment.
Be confident that you understand your processes before you start. It is important to improve existing processes and understand target benefits before automating them. You also need a clear view of how BPM can be implemented to solve the problem.
Map your business requirements first and build your functional requirement based on the business needs. Create technical requirements based on the functional requirements and map these against your current technology sets. Include cloud, mobile device, and mobile applications use and work out how they can be harmonized across the enterprise. Most BPM systems are very flexible and can be tailored to fit diverse business objectives.
Don’t Ignore BPM
The benefits of BPM to digital transformation are clear in its ability to optimize business performance. To squeeze the most out of your BPM you will need to have a good handle on your business requirements and business goals and objectives. Those that take the time out to plan their BPM system and commit to continuously updating it will be the ones that reap the biggest rewards. SW
Bob Larrivee is chief analyst at AIIM, and an internationally recognized subject matter expert and thought leader with more than 30 years of experience in the fields of information and process management. Larrivee is an avid techie with a focus on process improvement, and the application of advanced technologies to enhance and automate business operations. aiim.org
Jul2016, Software Magazine