Business Process Management – A Catalyst Between Business & IT
Â Business Process Management, a new tool or technique of Management which helps to curtail the gap between the booming business and irresistible IT – Information Technology. In this article I will give a glimpse about the utility of Business Process Management.Â
Â This is an era of competition, stiff indeed. No duopoly but a complete full phased oligopoly where the mantra is “survival of the fittest”. Organizations across the world are desperately seeking for skills, more flexibility and above all productivity.
Â The ever rising software industry is sought for better, durable and adaptable software applications. The omnipresence of the above will only help this IT to reach into the zenith. BPM vis-Ã -vis Business Process Management has come out as a messiah and helping this industry to attain those above mentioned attributes.Â
Â BPM, therefore, may be defined as a tool and practice of enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, and operational dexterity of an organization by automating, optimizing, and managing its business process. It further enables business processes to be planned and designed independently of any solitary application and then leveraged as shared business logic.Â
Â Before going for further explanation, let us give a light about Business Process.Â
Â Before knowing about the Business Process Management, first of all we have to have a little bit of knowledge about Business Process.Â Â
Â According to Wikipedia a “Business Process is a collection of interrelated tasks, which solve a particular issue”.
Â A Business Process can be further decomposed into various sub processes, which possesses their own merits. The analysis of Business Process typically includes the mapping of processes and sub-processes down to activity level.
Â In the 1990s, US corporations, and many companies all over the world, started the concept of reengineering whichb is an attempt to re-achieve the competitiveness that they had lost during the previous decade. One of the crucial characteristic of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the focus on business processes. Davenport (1993) in this regard defines a (business) process as:
Â ”a structured, measured set of activities designed to produce a specific output for a particular customer or market. It implies a strong emphasis on how work is done within an organization, in contrast to a product focus’s emphasis on what. A process is thus a specific ordering of work activities across time and space, with a beginning and an end, and clearly defined inputs and outputs: a structure for action. … Taking a process approach implies adopting the customer’s point of view. Processes are the structure by which an organization does what is necessary to produce value for its customers.”
Â Apart from Davenport, Rummler & Brache (1995) used another definition that clearly encompasses a focus on the organization’s external customers. It states that
Â ”a business process is a series of steps designed to produce a product or service. Most processes (…) are cross-functional, spanning the âwhite space’ between the boxes on the organization chart. Some processes result in a product or service that is received by an organization’s external customer. We call these primary processes. Other processes produce products that are invisible to the external customer but essential to the effective management of the business. We call these support processes.”
Â Above all Business Process is one that helps us to define, automate,Â implement, manage and smoothen business process in an organization.Â
Â What exactly Business Process Management is ?
Â Wikipedia says BPM “is a field of knowledge at the intersection between management and information technology, encompassing methods, techniques and tools to design, enact, control, and analyze operational business processes involving humans, organizations, applications, documents and other sources of information”.
Â In nut-shell Business Process Management is nothing but a management model that helps the organizations to manage their processes as any other assests and enhance and further manage them over the period of time. In every medium and large scale organizations, a competent Business Process Management System enables business to accommodate day to day activities and changes in business processes because of immensely competitive, regulatory or market challenges in business processes.
Â Moreover Business Process Management provides goverenance of a business’sÂ process atmosphere to improve agility and operational performance.
Â The Life-cycle of Business Process Management
Â The overall activities of BPM can be shortlisted in the following names:
a) Process Design
b) Process Modeling
c) Process Execution
d) Process Monitoring &
e) Process OptimizationÂ
Â Now let us give a glimpse about the above mentioned systematic phase of BPM alias Business Process Management.
Â Process Design:Â It is the most important ingredient of BPM. It is basically documentation of design in the forms of Process Map/Flow, Actors, Alerts & Notifications, Escalations, Standard Operating Procedures etc. For example if somebody plans to construct his/her sweet home, he first goes to the professional architect for drawing the design of the same in a scientific and most rational way. If the design is good, definitely the first lap of the marathon has been run successfully. A good design reduces the number of obstacles over the lifetime of the process.Â
Â Process Modeling:Â Process Modeling is another important step which takes the process design and further introduces different cost, resource, and other constraint scenarios to determine how the process will undergone under various circumstances.
Â Process Execution: Once the design and modeling part are over then and only then this phase has become due – the process execution. Execution is nothing but to implement the above mentioned parts namely designing and modeling.
Â Process Monitoring: Monitoring is basically the tracking of individual processes by which the information on their state can be easily visible. For example it helps to determine a consumer or customer order which includes coming of order, delivery notice, invoice, payment option etc. so that anything pertaining to this can be detected easily resolved.
Â Process Optimization:It is a retrieving process performance information from modeling or monitoring phase and identifying the potential of the project. Cost savings and other improvements that can be properly applied in design and modeling are the key things in this optimization phase.Â
Â Advantages of Business Process Management
Â BPM has got many attributes. These days it has almost become an utmost for the booming IT vis-Ã -vis software industry. From BPM the organizations derive multifaceted benefits. This includes:
a) Increased customer retention;
b) Reduced process time;
c) Improved regulatory compliance:
d) Improved efficiencies across organizational boundaries;
e) Create new IT assets and further use of those;
f) More personal productivity and satisfaction;
g) Reduced risk;
h) Increased agility
Challenges associated with BPM
Â A successful BPM requires both short and perfect long term planning and goal setting. And that has to be properly designed, optimized and executed. Without clear alignment on the goals BPM cannot be successful.
Â Â Both the business analyst and the IT developer must ensure that the selected BPM system fits with existing systems and is capable of supporting current business practices. One of the primary goals is to integrate processes across people and systems. Moreover the BPM solution should be flexible enough to ensure that integration efforts can meet across the divide that has traditionally separated business and IT, otherwise it will fumble and the whole process will crumble into pieces.
Â Â Conclusion
Â Â Â Â Above all it is crystal clear that the importance and utility of BPM is unquestionable, and it further acts as a bridge between business and IT. Besides, a competent catalyst between business and IT. The only part needs to be taken care of – is proper planning, designing, modeling, implementation and optimization. If these are ok, success is guaranteed not warranted
The writer is a Senior Lecturer at NSHM Institute of Media & Communication under West Bengal University of Technology, Kolkata India. He teaches media in the post graduate level in leading Indian universities. A board of studies member & member of the PHd. committee, instrumental for framing the syllabus in media in undergraduate and post graduate level, and also a regular contributor (articles) in leading journals, newspapers and magazines across the world. He can be contacted at www.nshm.com & www.wbut.net