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A detailed guide to business process management (BPM)

David Hartshorne 13 min read
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No matter the size, business processes form the backbone of any organization. What sets them apart, is the quantity and quality each employs and manages. With the right processes in place, your business will run like clockwork and outperform your competitors through reduced costs, increased profits, improved efficiency and productivity, and a superior customer experience.

The key to achieving this is through business process management (BPM). Whether running a small business or a multinational enterprise, you need to manage your business processes properly. And that involves continuously fine-tuning and refining them to ensure they remain in tip-top condition.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the three types of business process management and the five stages of the BPM lifecycle. We’ll also explain the differences between business process management, project management, and workflow management and highlight the benefits of BPM and automation. Finally, we’ll show you how you can transform your business with BPM software like monday work management.

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What is business process management (BPM)?

A business process is the sum of the activities needed to achieve a particular business outcome, as well as the logical progression these activities must follow. For example:

  • Onboarding new clients
  • Creating proposals
  • Sourcing raw materials
  • Shipping finished goods
  • Invoicing customers

Business process management (BPM) is a structured way of improving business processes. It involves analyzing, modeling, implementing, measuring, and optimizing business processes to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and agility of business operations. 

BPM helps organizations — of all sizes in any industry — streamline processes, eliminate bottlenecks, reduce costs, and improve the quality of products and services. For example: 

  • Scoring leads based on specific actions and criteria, like clicks and past purchases.
  • Creating standardized forms and templates to help speed up new client onboarding.
  • Automating routine tasks like data collection and reporting.

What’s an example of business process management?

One example of business process management could be how a company handles IT requests. The process would cover: 

  • how employees report issues and requests 
  • how the IT team assigns and resolves tasks 
  • how the IT team communicates with the requesters throughout the process

On monday.com, that would look a little something like this:

One example of business process management is the IT requests and approvals board on monday.com

Any time you standardize and make a process more efficient, you engage in business process management. However, it doesn’t have to include investing in automation technology — most companies can achieve good results by using the right software for the job.

It’s all about finding ways to make everyday activities as efficient as possible for your team.

What are the types of business process management?

There are three main types of business process management (BPM).

  • Human-centric BPM: Deals with processes that are heavily dependent on human interaction. For example, work that requires human approval, like hiring new talent or signing off creative work.
  • Document-centric BPM: Revolves around the management of documents within processes, like checking, revising, and signing contracts and legal agreements.
  • Integration-centric BPM: Handles processes that primarily jump between your existing systems, like human resource management (HRM), customer relationship management (CRM), or enterprise resource planning (ERP) without much human involvement.

What are the five steps of business process management?

The five steps of business process management (BPM) are as follows:

  1. Design: Work with stakeholders to review the current process, workflow, and tasks, spot areas of weakness, and understand how you can address them in line with company objectives.
  2. Model: Next, identify, define, and present a model of the new process to stakeholders. Describe specific details, like timelines, task descriptions, and data flows. You should also establish metrics for measuring the success of your project. [Hint: Using BPM tools during this stage is helpful.]
  3. Execute: Before implementing the newly designed and modeled process to everyone, perform a proof of concept and test it on a small group first.
  4. Monitor: Observe the new process, measure improvements in efficiency using the predefined metrics, and identify any areas for improvement or optimization.
  5. Optimize: Make final adjustments to the process to improve business activity based on the monitoring results, increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

The five steps of business process management (BPM)

[Image source]

These steps provide a structured and cyclical approach to improving business processes, ultimately leading to more efficient and effective operations.

What’s the difference between business process management, project management, and workflow management?

The main difference between business process management (BPM) and project management is that BPM focuses on improving the efficiencies of day-to-day business processes, while project management involves one-time events that typically have a defined start and end point.

That said, these two management techniques can overlap. For example, companies often create several new business processes during projects. After project managers implement these processes, it’s the process managers who assess, adjust, and optimize them daily.  

Workflow management involves organizing, documenting, tracking, and optimizing a sequence of tasks to ensure they are completed efficiently and effectively. 

While workflow management focuses on completing individual tasks within a process, business process management comprises multiple workflows and focuses on optimizing business operations as a whole.

Business process management (BPM) vs. business process automation (BPA)

Business process management (BPM) provides the framework for gaining maximum productivity and efficiency in day-to-day activities and is usually implemented as an organization-wide approach. On the other hand, business process automation (BPA) focuses on automating repetitive manual tasks within the broader scope of BPM. 

BPA is just one of the many tools available under the greater scope of BPM, and it works together with BPM to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and enhance the value of both staff and systems in achieving organizational goals.

In summary, BPM is a strategic discipline that encompasses the overall management and optimization of business processes, while BPA is a tactical approach that specifically targets the automation of individual tasks within those processes.

The benefits of business process management and automation

Business process management and automation have compelling benefits that can transform your business from the ground up. Here are some of the most significant:

1. Reduces costs and increases profits

By identifying and eliminating unnecessary processes, BPM helps reduce costs and improve an organization’s overall financial performance. Automation minimizes the need for excessive human intervention and reduces the likelihood of human error, leading to significant cost savings and ultimately increased business profits.

For example, Falkbuilt, an interior construction company, used monday.com to save 40,000 human actions per month throughout the manufacturing process. They built a seamless workflow to automatically:

  • Alert the right person for new pricing requests.
  • Create work items based on new contracts.
  • Match new design requests with designers.
  • Move production items from one stage to the next.

2. Improves efficiency and productivity

BPM and automation streamline workflows, drive greater operational efficiency, and increase productivity by automating repetitive processes.

For example, firms use robotic process automation (RPA) to automate simple, repetitive, judgment-free processes, improve speed and accuracy, and free employees from mundane tasks. According to Gartner’s research, a single RPA bot in finance can often complete the task in half the time it takes a human. This allows employees to focus on more strategic and fulfilling work that requires critical thinking, creativity, or the human touch, leading to improved employee morale.

3. Greater business agility and scalability

BPM contributes to greater business agility and scalability, allowing organizations to adapt quickly and more effectively to changing market demands, technological advancements, and emerging opportunities. Automating and optimizing underlying processes also enables them to speed up digital transformation projects. As a business grows, BPM facilitates the addition of new employees and processes more efficiently, allowing organizations to stay competitive.

4. Boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty

Efficient and accurate business processes improve the customer experience. For instance, BPA facilitates real-time data access, personalized interactions, smoother order processing, and faster query resolution, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Provides more accurate data

Automation and coordination of tasks lead to better data tracking and analysis, enabling informed decision-making based on accurate information. Businesses also have more visibility into the details of tasks and the timeline within which they were completed, contributing to greater transparency. BPM also helps ensure greater compliance with industry regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

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Strategies to master business process management (BPM)

To master business process management (BPM), you can employ the following strategies:

1. Clarify goals and objectives 

Before diving into BPM, it’s essential to understand the desired outcomes. Do you want to reduce costs, improve efficiency, or enhance customer satisfaction? Ensure you clearly define the goals and objectives you wish to achieve and ensure they tie into your overall business goals.  

2. Involve stakeholders

Ensure you involve key stakeholders in designing and managing business processes to gain their support.

3. Map out current processes

Start by documenting and analyzing the existing processes to unearth inefficiencies and identify areas for improvement. Use tools and techniques like workflow diagrams to visualize processes and identify potential bottlenecks.

4. Standardize processes

Standardization reduces errors and makes it easier to onboard new staff, so they hit the ground running. Without standardized processes, you’d need to train them for weeks before they could start working. Create templates and checklists to ensure process steps follow the correct order and, where necessary, implement approval workflows to get deliverables signed off.

5. Embrace automation technology

Use automation tools to handle mundane, repetitive tasks, like data collection, and free up your teams for more complex, value-added tasks. Automated workflows allow organizations to streamline and optimize processes, which reduces labor costs and improves efficiency.

6. Start small and scale

Begin with smaller, less complex business processes to allow for a more manageable and effective implementation, and then scale as the team becomes more adept at BPM.

7. Invest in training

Provide adequate training and support for employees to navigate the new processes and implement change management strategies to ensure a smooth transition.

8. Track process performance

Monitor and measure the performance of your new business processes to identify and address any issues or problems.

9. Establish a culture of continuous improvement 

Business process management is cyclical, so make sure you establish a culture of continuous improvement to stay agile and adaptable to internal and external changes. 

By following these strategies, you can effectively master business process management and realize its benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity, and agility.

What is business process management software?

Business process management software helps organizations define, deploy, and manage automated business processes, turning time-consuming manual processes into streamlined workflows within business applications. It supports the entire BPM lifecycle, from design and modeling to execution and continuous improvement.

BPM software can save time and money for your business by:

  • Mapping current processes
  • Simplifying complex processes — which is especially useful for enterprises
  • Designing and documenting new business processes
  • Automating processes and workflows — reducing human error
  • Integrating with your tech stack and centralizing your data in one place
  • Gaining insights and visibility into process performance 
  • Improving communication and collaboration

Let’s take a closer look at monday work management to see BPM software in action.

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Why using monday.com will transform your business processes

Built on monday.com Work OS, monday work management enables organizations to streamline crucial business processes, from strategy to execution, and reach shared goals at scale. Using powerful building blocks such as automations and dashboards, teams and departments can quickly build any workflow for any work process.

Here’s how TodayTix Group (TTG) used monday work management to transform its business processes.

Problem

TodayTix Group (TTG) is a global ticketing platform for live theater shows, selling millions of tickets in major cities around the world. It launched in 2013 as a mobile app and quickly grew into a portfolio of brands and partners.  

But that expansion meant they had more stakeholders to engage, more brands to keep track of, more people in different time zones, and more complexity overall. So in 2020, when theaters closed during the pandemic, they used the downtime to examine their workflows by mapping every stage and stakeholder on a whiteboard. 

The exercise showed they had outgrown their business processes in a number of ways:

  • Unclear ownership led to a lack of accountability.
  • Multiple sources of truth across teams led to duplicate work and inaccuracies.
  • Manual, repetitive work led to inefficient time and resources.
  • Limited visibility into data led to information silos and tracking difficulty.

Solution

Having evaluated several platforms, they landed on monday.com as it aligned with their company values:

  • Transparency: breeding collaboration, trust, and more accurate work.
  • Flexibility: taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  • Scalability: creating a strong foundation with easily repeatable workflows.
  • Single source of truth: ensuring everyone works from the latest information.
  • Constant evolution: responding to business and team needs by listening to the people who use the workflows.

Here’s how TTG used monday.com to improve its business processes.

Promo pitch board: Allows internal stakeholders and external partners to instantly track the status of each pitch, including: 

  • Participating shows and the status of conversations.
  • A file column for storing posters or publicity photos.
  • Number and date columns to track each show’s promotional and on-sale dates, which automatically kickstarts the ticketing team’s workflows.

Promo pitch board: Allows internal stakeholders and external partners to instantly track the status of each pitch.

Partner submission form: Allows partners to complete the monday.com request form to work with TTG. Previously, someone had to manage an email inbox and forward requests to relevant people. Now, based on the selected category, the right team is automatically notified on Slack.

Partner submission form: Allows partners to complete the monday.com request form to work with TTG.

Creative request board: Helps managers spotlight the most important work in the pipeline, from request statuses to owners and target markets. This makes it easy for managers to determine what skill sets TTG requires when hiring new staff.

Helps managers spotlight the most important work in the pipeline, from request statuses to owners and target markets. This makes it easy for managers to determine what skill sets TTG requires when hiring new staff.

Editorial budget board: Automatically pulls and combines updated budget reports from each brand’s content calendar into one consolidated board. Previously, the finance team spent time manually collecting and adding the budgets from each brand. Now they can quickly and easily monitor the spend without the tedious extra work.

Editorial budget board: Automatically pulls and combines updated budget reports from each brand’s content calendar into one consolidated board.

Customizable dashboard: Enables the marketing team to track, analyze, and share progress with other TTG stakeholders and senior leadership. For example:

  • A battery widget visualizes how many shows are confirmed to participate and who is still in conversation.
  • Workload bubbles show the amount of work each team member takes on.
  • A filtered view shows only related assets to help the team avoid duplicate work and allow managers to quickly review the details and status of any creative asset.

Customizable dashboard: Enables the marketing team to track, analyze, and share progress with other TTG stakeholders and senior leadership.

Outcome

Overall, switching to monday work management has helped TTG transform its internal processes. By implementing these additional automations, integrations, and connected boards, TTG has saved 14,729 hours and $496,000 per year.

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Streamline your business process management with monday work management

With monday work management, you can streamline crucial business processes, set goals and strategies, and navigate projects and everyday work. Using powerful building blocks such as automations and dashboards, teams can quickly build any workflow for any work process. 

Want to see how monday work management can streamline your business process management and drive real efficiency savings? Try it for free today.

David Hartshorne is a writer for leading B2B SaaS and tech brands, creating detailed, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller or roaring on the Villa.
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