BPM: Bridge between Business and IT
Blog: BPM Leader
Most business solutions are based on technical requirements formulated by business users and translated into code by developers. Unfortunately, it often happens that the code meets the requirements only partly.
Yet a successful relationship between business and IT is a key factor in increasing company efficiency and improving competitiveness. An IT solution must satisfy real business need, while not being an expensive entertainment for IT department.
We have been developing and implementing BPM software for 10 years, and over this time, we have formulated four main criteria that turn BPM into a solution capable to build a bridge between business users and information technology. Here they are:
We believe business users should take an active role in solution evolvement, since they are aware better than anybody of real business needs. For that end, the solution must provide visual tools with a simple graphical environment.
What does it mean? In terms of BPM, it implies that business processes are not only lines of code. Each process is an easy to understand flow chart, which provides a visual representation of the process steps and shows the logic of interactions between participants. Non-technical users can evolve processes without any programming knowledge.
The solution should be flexible and implement any process logic. This is particularly useful when it comes to automation of the core processes (you can read more about process types in this article).
Here is a real-life example. The company that produces industrial yarns receives an order for supplying blue yarns for a high profile customer. The stock list of the company does not include yarns of blue color, so they have to refuse the order and lose their profit. The same situation repeats with a number of other goods. To solve this problem the company implements a BPM system and creates a process for handling non-standard customer requests. As part of the process, a non-standard order is analyzed; process participants determine whether it is advisable to accept the order and provide resource necessary for order fulfillment. As a result, the company has managed to expand the customer base and increase profit.
3. Real–time monitoring
After the solution is developed and put into operation, a user should be able to monitor its effectiveness in real time.
Why is it important? Because it makes it possible to move from reactive management to a more proactive style. Reactive management refers to a situation in which you do not plan in advance for potential risks or benefits. Instead, you react to them as they happen.
In contrast, proactive management approach implies that you plan ahead to avoid or manage problems. A BPM system must be a tool for managing operational risks.
Generally, there are three types of risk that should be considered:
- Human risks: potential losses caused by a human mistake
- IT risks: potential losses caused by system failures
- Processes risks: potential losses caused by inaccurate processing of information
A BPM system user should be able to detect potential risks and prevent difficulties.
Here is an example. A bank has automated a loan origination process. As part of the process, a KPI is set to evaluate how much time bank employees spend considering a loan application. If the KPI values are systematically higher than acceptable, it means this process step carries the risk of losing a customer.
Businesspeople understand how important it is to keep in contact with customers and quickly adapt to their changing demands. However, it is one thing to recognize the need, but an entirely different thing to change your business model and make your company work in a new way. The larger the company, the more complicated it is to modify the well-established work procedures.
With a BPM system, a company can enjoy an outstanding agility when it comes to changing and evolving the company business processes. BPM offers the easiest path from idea to solution. Once a process bottleneck is identified, a user can quickly modify a business process and create process versions. Thus, a BPM system keeps the company up-to-date, allowing for a well-timed respond to changing business requirements.
A good BPM system helps to establish seamless collaboration between business and information technologies. It provides a convenient visual environment where business requirements are translated into business processes. Users can easily improve processes without coding and always keep up with changing market conditions. BPM helps to find a common language between business and IT and offers solutions for real business problems.