In the final blog in this series, we review what a business process management solution offers to improve your business processes.
A business process management solution or business process management software (BPMS) brings technology into the business process management (BPM) equation by providing a platform to model, manage, optimize and rapidly adjust business processes.
These technology solutions are toolkits for solving multiple process-related issues through automation, collaboration and visibility. BPMS enables process automation to orchestrate routine, manual tasks across various workflows, freeing your teams to focus on the more complex work at hand.
When examining the different business process management solutions options in the marketplace, it is important to understand the different features of these tools to ensure you select the proper business process management tool for your organization. In the final part of our BPM blog series, we’ll explain these features.
Core Components of a Business Process Management Solution
There are a few core components of a BPMS you want to know when choosing to add it to your organization.
- Process Repository – Provides a central location to store, categorize and access processes, sub-processes and related artifacts (e.g., services, dashboards, controls or widgets). A process diagram representing the human and system activities defines all processes within the repository.
- Workflow Engine – Allocates tasks to different end-users, business process participants and systems by communicating data amongst these participants. Generally, a workflow engine can execute any arbitrary sequence of steps or activities based on the process flow and related routing rules.
- System Integrations – Links or integrates data from other computing systems, software applications and databases into the relevant business processes and human interactions needed to complete them (typically through services).
- Process Metrics – Gathers business process performance data (e.g., resource cycle times, task queue times, overdue process tasks) and offers enhanced visibility of processes via basic reporting components related to this data.
Typical Components of a BPMS Presentation Layer
A business process management solution is typically a component of a broader end-to-end process and user solution. Given that these solutions intend to link human interactions together via process automation, a BPMS depends on a presentation layer to ensure adoption.
- Human Interfaces (End-User Portal) – This offers an interface where human workers and the process or back-end data and systems can interact. Early on, a BPMS only provided a basic user interface. Still, user interfaces are becoming more robust as vendors expand their solutions beyond the back-end workflow engine and into the end-user experience.
- Mobile Access – This extends the end-user experience to mobile devices through application development and publication capabilities. Most BPMS options, at a minimum, allow people to access their end-user portal through a mobile browser, while increasingly more offer convenient access via mobile apps. Many platforms offer native low-code development for field workers to access their processes easily from their phones.
- Collaboration (or Social) – This enables more effective team communication and problem solving through task sharing, email integration, instant messaging and social sharing.
Additional Components That Differentiate BPM Solutions
Here are a few more elements to consider when selecting a BPM solution.
- Process Modeling – Facilitates robust business process definition beyond the process diagram. Captures key characteristics or behaviors of the process and its activities, often leveraging business process modeling notation (BPMN).
- Analytics and Reporting Engine (Business Data Management) – Summarizes process and business data into defined reports and dashboards or makes this data available to develop ad hoc reporting. Many solutions that do not offer full analytics and reporting capabilities ensure other reporting tools (e.g., SQL Server Reporting Services, Power BI or Tableau) can easily access data.
- Business Rules – Provides a consolidated approach or library to define more robust rules or parameters for use within a business process (e.g., underwriting rules, product quoting or costing). A BPMS provides, to varying degrees, support for routing, escalation and other rules. One increased benefit to rules management BPM solutions provide is that the business can edit these rules without coding and can often see the results of rule changes in their business flows.
- Simulation and Optimization – Illustrates the effects of alternative conditions and courses of action within a business process or analyzes the performance of an active process.
- Event Monitoring – Analyze business processes and data to trigger appropriate events (e.g., activities, escalations and notifications).
Additionally, you may require key integrations for a successful BPMS implementation. The most important of these are a system of record (SOR) and a content and document management solution.
An SOR can be as simple as an underlying database or as complex as an ERP solution, and many BPM solutions can also serve as your SOR. Many paper-based processes now rely on intelligent document processing (IDP) to help classify, route and extract the correct information from the documents. A BPMS with built-in IDP capabilities or partnered with a strong document processor can help organizations mature and automate.
A BPMS offers various capabilities your organization can leverage to meet a variety of needs spanning multiple business processes and areas. When selecting a BPMS, you must be diligent in identifying the most important features that align with your organization’s specific business needs.