The Discipline of Business Process Management (BPM)

Business Process Management (BPM) is a methodology for managing a set of repeatable business activities delivering a valuable outcome with the goal of continuously improving every outcome. When compared with Business Process Improvement (BPI) initiatives that are typically a set of one-time unique improvements in processes, BPM is an ongoing organizational commitment to managing processes.

To effectively manage business processes, an organization must first understand their current processes. Documenting or modeling current business processes using an approach that is widely understood by both technical and non-technical audiences in an organization has always been a challenge. There are a few visual business modeling notations that have tried to address this exact challenge over the last decade.

One of the prominent visual business modeling notations widely used is the Business Process Management and Notation (BPMN). Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work your way back to the technology”. This probably explains why BPMN has gained such prominence, as it is a human-oriented graphical notation for business and IT to effectively communicate, without letting technology dictate the conversation.

Based on the BPM discipline, and BPMN standard, a number of BPM enterprise software technologies have evolved that allow an organization to effectively manage business processes. These technologies typically involve tools to visually design and model business processes, control and measure them, report on process performance, integrate with legacy systems, and provide mobility of enterprise processes. Many organizations have begun to recognize that the technology can be leveraged to develop applications faster and at a lower cost than traditional methods.

It is clear that the industry’s awareness and understanding of the topic continues to mature. BPM is an exciting space that has the promise to help organizations better fulfill their missions in creating value for their customers.

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