The BPM Life Cycle
Business Process Management activities can be arbitrarily grouped into the following categories: design, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.
Process design encompasses both the identification of existing processes and the design of the future processes. Areas of focus include representation of the process flow, the factors within it, alerts and notifications, escalations, standard operating procedures, service level agreements, and task hand-over mechanisms. Whether existing processes are considered, the aim of this step is to ensure that a correct and efficient new design is prepared. The proposed improvements could be in human-to-human, human-to-system, or system-to-system workflows, and might target regulatory, market, or competitive challenges faced by the businesses.
Modeling takes the theoretical design and introduces combinations of variables. For example: changes in rent or materials costs, which determine how the process might operate under different circumstances. It may also involve running “what-if analysis” on the processes to predict how the new system will react. Such as “What if I have 75% of resources to do the same task?” “What if I want to do the same job for 80% of the current cost?”.
Business process execution is about enacting the discovered and modeled business processes. Enacting the business process is done manually or automatically or with a combination of manual and automated tasks. Manual business processes are human-driven. Automated business processes are software-driven. Business process automation encompasses methods and software deployed for automating business processes.
BPM software suites such as BPMS are positioned at the business process layer. Software has been developed that enables the full process to be defined in a computer language which can be directly executed by the computer. The process models can be run through execution engines that automate the processes directly from the model (e.g. calculating a repayment plan for a loan) or, when a step is too complex to automate, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) provides front-end capability for human input.
Monitoring encompasses the tracking of individual processes, so that information on their side can be easily seen, and the status of their performance of one or more processes can be provided. In addition, this information can be used to work with customers and suppliers to improve their connected processes and measures information of three categories: cycle time, defect rate, and productivity.
Process optimization includes retrieving process performance information from modeling or monitoring phase; identifying the potential or actual bottlenecks and the potential opportunities for cost savings or other improvements; and then, applying those enhancements in the design of the process. Process mining tools are able to discover critical activities and bottlenecks, creating greater business value.
When the process becomes too complex or inefficient, and optimization is not fetching the desired output, it is usually recommended by a company steering committee chaired by the president / CEO to re-engineer the entire process cycle. Business process reengineering (BPR) has been used by organizations to attempt to achieve efficiency and productivity at work.
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