Though everyone’s talking about business process management, it’s clear that this practice tends to take various meanings, application methods, and directions in different organizations. Everyone’s either implementing it or thinking about doing so, but nobody’s actually certain what exactly BPM is.
To remove all confusion, we’ve compiled a list of common myths associated with this discipline. Hopefully, it will help you understand BPM better and employ only those strategies that will skyrocket your business to a whole different level of productivity. Here’s what BPM isn’t, and what it should be.
Business Process Management is Undefinable
The true meaning of business process management has been debated for almost a decade before it was finally enveloped by a concise and complete definition. In 2014, experts from all industries and professions have come to a mutual conclusion – BPM is not some kind of a product, but a discipline.
According to the official definition that can be applied to all operations, “Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline involving any combination of modelling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”
Sure, the practice of BPM can and should be custom-tailored to specific business needs, but that still doesn’t mean that it is undefinable and open to interpretation. A process must always be considered in the scope of interrelated activities that holistically cooperate in order to meet a business objective.
Furthermore, modelling doesn’t imply a single standard that all organizations must comply with, but the very existence of a model that encompasses the process. The same uniform variable can be dedicated to automation, execution, control, measurement, and optimization, which always have a conjoint goal.
BPM Is Complicated to Implement and Maintain
BPM sounds complicated, but it’s anything but. Being designed as a discipline that streamlines business operations, this practice should by rule facilitate every activity and process within the organization. Its main purpose is to make things easier, not to bring more confusion or stem difficulty.
At McDonald’s, “Everything has a system and a process. They tell you exactly how to pick up a bag of French fries and hand it to a customer. It is a very specific way, and if you do it wrong, you are corrected by a manager”, according to their former employee. “They have a reason for everything they do.”
This is a very simplified, yet very accurate way to explain BPM. It is about identifying the reason – something that makes work less time-consuming and more cost-effective, while also improving the quality of end result at the same time – and finding the best method of realizing it in everyday practice.
Business Process Management Equals Automation
While some entrepreneurs wrongly believe in the utter complexity of implementing and maintaining BPM, others consider it as the mere equivalent of automation. The introduction of automatic technology to the office is a huge part of business process management, but it is still only one part of the equation.
In BPM, automation refers to all those activities that are completed beforehand to assure a smooth execution of the process. It can be manual in a sense that the aforementioned activities can be done by employees in advance and scheduled for later; in most cases, though, it is allocated to BPM tools.
With this in mind, we must stress out that BPMs as software system cannot manage business processes on their own – it’s up to organizations themselves to establish the best models. They are, however, essential for the execution of BPM as a discipline, which is why we equate them in the first place.
BPM Is Way Too Expensive to Be a Necessity
BPMs used to be very expensive, but many of today’s solutions are designed for the little guy and made affordable to startups and SBMs. When on the cloud, they are completely installation and maintenance free; the only cost of implementing one is the cost of software, and that’s pretty cheap.
Moreover, these BPM solutions are very intuitive, flexible, and easy to use, which means that they yield high ROI even when they don’t fall into the low end of the product spectrum. Also, you can choose to buy individual tools and make your own suite or to opt for a customizable all-in-one system.
BPM Requires Complete and Thorough Overhaul
It’s true that BPM requires some restructuring, but isn’t that what all ambitious organizations need to do when they start scaling? This practice will make you revisit the way you’ve been doing business for a long time and thus determine what needs to be fixed, accelerated and optimized for better results.
Small Businesses Don’t Have the Need for BPM
Again, not true. Business process management is for everyone, regardless of how small or understaffed they are. A department of one may not have any problems with collaboration and productivity, but three is already a crowd. Without BPM, the mistakes always lurk behind the corner.
Even if your organization doesn’t require real-time connectivity or process performance, it is in great need of efficient operations that contribute to the quality of products and services it provides. It is the only way of meeting your day-to-day goals, staying ahead of the curve, and growing at the stable rate.
In simple terms, BPM is the ongoing practice that asks and answers the most important questions in any business – what do you do, why and how do you do that, who does which part and for what duration, and when must it all be done. The sooner you demystify it, the sooner it will be able to help.