Professional Services

Business Process Management

Overview

Business process management (BPM) has dramatic business and technology effects. It provides organizations with the ability to save money, save time, and deliver value through real return on investment (ROI).

BPM is about change management and system implementation methodology that enables the continuous comprehension and management of business processes that interact with people and systems, both within and across organizations. It is a methodology based on the following assumptions:

  • Business processes are ever-changing and developing.
  • Processes cross-cut each other.
  • Processes must flow between multiple organizations and interested parties.
  • Processes interact with systems and people. Those people can be employees, partners, customers, or suppliers.

Successful deployment of a BPM suite can benefit both lines of business and the IT department. For the organization as a whole, BPM can ensure business process transparency and visibility, which can lead to higher productivity, reduced errors, and tighter compliance with legal requirements. This directly impacts an organization’s ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace (e.g. introduce new products), reduce operational costs, and improve customer service.

Demand for Improved Business Processes

After several years of heavy investment in technology, many organizations are cynical about the capability of IT functions, and the technology vendors and consultants that support them, to deliver the benefits they promise. They are wary of investing more in IT, yet continue to expect more out of IT departments. Not only are organizations placing greater demands on IT, they are also expecting IT to respond faster and faster.

Many of these requirements are driven by the demand for new or improved business processes. Improving customer service, bringing new products to market, and reducing cost inefficiencies all push business processes and their effective management to the top of the priority list. One aspect of the response to these pressures on IT has been a change in the way that organizations are looking to approach process automation. Increasingly, CIOs are looking for a different way of improving business processes, avoiding investment in large, expensive, and risky new application projects that have so often led to disappointment in the past. Instead, they want to leverage the existing assets and investment and concentrate their efforts on the automation of processes across those assets. This new approach has been labeled business process management (BPM), and is being addressed with a collection of technologies that make up the BPM suite.

For the IT department, BPM can connect disparate systems, thereby squeezing more value out of current investments. Successful deployment of BPM can also allow IT to future-proof the infrastructure so that additions or changes to the system do not require reinvention or significant changes to the business processes. The service-oriented nature of such an infrastructure allows quick development and deployment of new applications and processes. This allows IT to be more responsive to the changing demands of the organization.

How Is BPM Technology Different from Existing Technologies?

Viewed from a purely technical perspective, BPM is arguably not that new at all. Rather it is a convergence of a number of existing technologies and approaches. Its primary roots are in the process management capabilities of workflow tools but it also includes capabilities that derive from process modeling, application integration, process analytics, rules management, and collaboration portals. However, a BPM suite is not just a sum of these parts. It brings together all these technology elements into a single platform that manages the lifecycle of a process starting from definition, through deployment, execution, measurement, change and re-deployment. More significantly, it involves a fundamental change in the way that we think about the structure of IT systems, applications and infrastructure. In essence, BPM promotes a process-centric view of IT where the management of end-to-end processes is separated from the underlying applications, their connections and the data. It involves the creation of an independent process layer.

 

 

This layer contains a complete view of all the activities .necessary to execute a particular business process and it can manage the flow of these activities whether they involve different applications, people, or a combination of both. It is an essential aspect of BPM that this independent process layer complements both existing and future investments in applications, content repositories and integration tools.

Why Is the Independent Process Layer Important?

This process-centric approach overcomes two key obstacles that have impeded the ability of IT to respond to business demands. First, packaged applications represent a hardwired set of cookie cutter process elements, whose implementation is generally slow and expensive and while sometimes configurable, are generally difficult to change particularly post implementation. The alternative, which is to develop your own application, has the advantage of being tailored to your initial requirements, but is even more expensive, probably slower, and just as inflexible once created. Second, a complete process for any business function, for example fulfilling a customer’s order, is rarely captured within a single application. Typically many applications and groups of people are involved. This has led to the addition of integration connections between these different systems. Unfortunately these tend to further embed processes into the infrastructure, increasing the rigidity of the overall IT environment.

By separating the management of processes into an independent process layer, BPM provides a number of advantages. First, it allows an organization to quickly improve the degree to which processes are automated by linking existing systems together, and filling the gaps between systems that have previously been difficult to automate and manage. Often this is because certain process elements cannot be easily handled by systems and requires human intervention.

Business Process Management

Second, it enables a more disciplined approach to process management. Processes can be clearly defined; they can be actively controlled and executed by the independent process layer, and they can be measured at every step. Best practice processes, and the knowledge that underpins them, can be deployed across the whole organization, not just where the more skilled individuals are involved. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the original process can be easily changed. So BPM is not just about automating existing processes better; it also provides an effective environment for continuously improving the processes. The independent process layer therefore allows more value to be extracted from existing investments in applications, integration, and people. It also enables the IT organization to be far more responsive to business demands at a lower cost. The bottom line is that a well-deployed BPM suite enables faster, easier and more cost-effective process improvement for a company. As you can see the problems that BPM solves are not fundamentally new, but BPM provides a new and exciting approach to solving them.

xn i-solutions BPM Expertise

xn i-solutions has experienced and certified engineers with in-depth knowledge of  BPM solutions across banking, insurance, telecommunications, utilities, general commercial, manufacturing, and government sectors. xn i-solutions has a deep understanding of and unique insight into the complex people-to-people, people-to-application and application-to-application interactions that make up business processes.

 

 

“Each company’s unique way of doing business is captured in its business processes. For this reason, business processes are rapidly becoming the most valuable corporate asset. BPM provides companies the ability to model, manage, and optimize these processes for significant gain.”

 

 

 


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