MSP Today Expert Feature
May 10, 2018

How to Solve Business Problems with BPM Automation


Business Process Management (BPM) is an approach for improving business processes by harnessing technologies and governance methodologies. It is a standardized way of streamlining people, processes, and technologies and aligning them with business objectives. You can simplify this part by deploying automation technologies that help you set up an accessible, affordable, and effective business model. Success with BPM depends upon deploying the right automation technology. The right solution can help you automate workflows, setup documentation, and drive down operational cost. Here is an overview on streamlining BPM it with the right automation solution.

Business Process Management: What is it, and Why it is Important?

Viewing BPM as a one-time meeting or activity can do more harm than good. It is a continuous process where several things need to be evaluated. BPM inherently involves controlling the sum total of processes and technologies in an organization. Processes are simplified to make them more cost effective and efficient. The people, processes, and technologies are aligned seamlessly with business goals. Here are some keys to effective business process management:

  • Centralization: As an industry leader, you need to centralize BPM from a single interface. You need to combine both human and technology elements to achieve lasting success from the initiative and make the BPM implementation fast and smooth.
  • Understanding: Most BPM initiatives fail when teams lack clear understanding about it. For harnessing more value from your BPM, provide clarity about the structure, processes, and applications. It enables easier analysis and achievement of improvement objectives.
  • Zero Silos: You need to break down existing silos if you want to pursue BPM. Haphazard business processes and technologies should be orchestrated in an orderly fashion for smoother flow of data. You should look out for Any-to-Any connectivity for integrating those processes and solutions.
  • Real-time Tracking: Successful BPM depends upon correct estimates, process simulations and tracking. Organizations cannot afford rough work when so much is involved.
  • Security: Data is a strategic and primary asset and it should be handled as such at every level of BPM initiative. You should keep triggers to safeguard information related to finances, processes, and designs.
  • Scalability: Lack of scalability results in sub-optimal utilization of resources. You should have native scalability to allow partners in a network to collaborate and share data.

Automation to Simplify Business Process Management

An end-to-end BPM solution simplifies the path to effective Business Process Management. With enterprise class BPM solutions, smarter organizations are setting up overarching business benefit models in less cost and time involved. They are transforming their business operations in few simple clicks.

Analyze → Re-design and model → Implement → Monitor → Manage

A good solution helps users to model, automate, and monitor business processes in an effective and seamless manner.

  • Model: The right solution enables rules-based routing to automate complex processes in real time. Business users can enable process simulation for identifying bottlenecks and fixing them in a standardized manner. Comprehensive and easy-to-use templates are available to create and document process flows.
  • Workflow Automation: Modern day BPM suites automate manual human workflow in simple steps. They offer advanced design capabilities to bolster electronic data interchange between partner networks. 
  • Monitor: Activity monitoring is critical for business process management. It helps in staying on top of priorities and preventing downtimes. A dynamic BPM solution offers dashboards that allow users to create rich reports and pre-defined templates.

BPM Workflows Use Case

With these features, you can solve many unsolvable problems. And access many benefits downstream like ease of use, faster implementation, cost effectiveness, and maintenance. These features provide a process centric approach and help you confront critical business problems quickly and easily. Here are three use cases to explain how a BPM solution supports business needs.

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Use Case 1: Manufacturing Order to Cash

Order to Cash process in a manufacturing company is not well organized and complex. If you draw it on a whiteboard it looks like this.
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Use Case 1: Manufacturing Order to Cash

A normal Order to Cash process entails various steps that involve receiving purchase orders, invoicing the customer, etc. Conventionally it is difficult for users to embed process rules and govern workflows at run-time. However, with an automated process Modeler, users can design the entire process with Drag and Drop ease.

The illustration below shows how a business user can build an Order to Cash process that verifies customer order, forwards the data to a shipping system, confirms order and execute it using automation. You can define various types of business rules and functions that you want to perform with your partners. The parent process can be further scaled or extended with a sub-process for handling exceptions.
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Use Case 2: Purchase Requisition Workflow

Purchase requisition involves validation and authentication of purchase orders. In this workflow, an employee fills a requisition form which is routed to Supervisor for review. A conventional requisition workflow looks very complex. Here is an example.
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Use Case 2: Purchase Requisition Workflow

The same workflow can be simplified with a business process management solution. Here you can check the validity of a Purchase Requisition for employee ID, Department, Amount, item type, etc. Define additional routing rules to notify a requisition that doesn't fit into the price rule. Use Decision nodes for routing the requisition back to the previous step for more information.
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Use Case 3: Employee Data Onboarding

Employee data onboarding has multiple steps. Each step involves several substeps for provisioning new employee, i.e., changing the hire status, accessing badge, etc. In MS Visio, it looks something like this.
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Use Case 3: Employee Data Onboarding

This can be simplified with a Business Process Management solution. The same diagram can be imported into a process Modeler and transformed for making things faster. You can integrate cloud based applications like Workday, BambooHR, online Payroll services with internal systems and notify managers or supervisors about the employee onboarding status. Without writing a single line of code, you can convert manual business processes into automated workflows.

A next generation BPM solution provides the key to improve efficiency, minimize overheads, and increase cash flow.  However, picking up the right solution can be challenging as there are a lot of technological behemoths and new entrants in this industry. I urge you to closely evaluate your use case before investing in a BPM solution. 

 



Edited by Erik Linask