Saturday, December 09, 2006

Defining BPM (Business Process Management)

An attempt to compile the various definitions of BPM floating around, on a rainy Bay area winter morning:

  • Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach to improving an organization's business processes. BPM activities seek to make business processes more effective, more efficient, and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment. BPM is a subset of infrastructure management, the administrative area of concern dealing with maintenance and optimization of an organization's equipment and core operations. A business process is a set of coordinated tasks and activities, conducted by both people and equipment, that will lead to accomplishing a specific organizational goal. (from,,sid19_gci1088464,00.html)
  • The BPM Group defines full cycle BPM as including:
  • Discovery – the ability to reveal the current situation around the organisations business processes including people skills and aptitude, systems usage and usefulness for process integration, managements understanding and process maturity.
  • Analysis – moving beyond ‘mapping’ of activities and tasks into aspects such as change capability within processes, ideas concerning business performance and the ways and means by which we understand our organisation and its objectives.
  • Design – turning the Discovery, and knowledge acquired, with the Analysis, and understanding developed into a meaningful design. Again this must encompass not just the visible process flows and interaction but the supporting and managing frameworks, from management communication mechanisms to approaches to change etc.
  • Validation – ensuring that what we are planning to do, what we actually do, and then how we learn and develop BPM further is logical and sound. At a simple level this may involve feedback loops, process audits, skills profiling and score-carding.
  • Implement – moving from Design & Validation, which may be related into conceptual, logical and physical, into roll out of new ways of working. The implementation again goes beyond the technology and includes such aspects as people skills development, organisation shape and objectives and utilisation of best practice approaches to help achieve optimum implementation.
  • Integration – one of the strengths of a full life cycle BPM approach is its ability to include and complement existing ways of working and at the same time migrate to powerful and compelling new ways of working. Contrast that with Process Re-engineering’s slash and burn approach with often disastrous consequences.
  • Control – ensuring that all that is done is complete, effective and sustainable. Many solutions misunderstand this stage and implement report mechanisms and measurement processes that inadequately link to people issues, management objectives and organisation capability.
  • Improvement – moving to a continuous and step change capable BPM Framework that allows and enables ongoing change and improving mastery of process.
More to follow...

Please feel free to add your definition(s)

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1 comment:

Alisa Addison said...

Thanks for sharing the post. Good information about BPM is given which helps us to know about what BPM stands for and its objectives like how it helps to make business process more effective,efficient and more capable of adapting to the changing environment.