The ultimate guide to business process management 2021

Business process management (BPM) has helped organizations maintain business continuity and IT resilience during the pandemic. In 2020, nearly 70% of organizations implemented BPM to reduce operational expenses and boost productivity. At the same time, about 36% of these organizations were working on ten or more business process improvement projects. The large-scale deployment of business process management tools is driving the demand for business process analysts, data analysts, and other digital transformation professionals. In 2020, nearly 70% of organizations implemented BPM to reduce operational expenses and boost productivity. #nocode #automation @airSlateAcademy Click To Tweet

What is a business process?

The concept of a “business process” is essential to understanding the gist of business process management. In a very broad sense, a business process is everything that happens within an organization that has a clearly defined beginning and outcome. For instance, each time an applicant submits their CV for a vacancy, they become a part of an HR business process which may later result in employment and onboarding.

Why are business processes important?

The importance of business processes is especially evident at the enterprise level. Poorly managed processes result in wasted time and resources, multiple errors, lack of visibility, data leaks, and security issues. At the individual level, employees don’t see the big picture, so they don’t know the inputs and outputs of a business process and can’t assess the possible bottlenecks and inefficiencies. With this in mind, there are a number of reasons for an organization to streamline its business processes:

  • Set priority tasks to achieve larger business goals
  • Establish a scope of standard tools and procedures
  • Ensure accountability and optimal use of resources
  • Improve communication within the organization
  • Boost productivity

It takes time, resources, and thorough planning to ensure that business processes within an organization are running smoothly — and that’s exactly what business process management is for.

What is business process management?

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach that involves the design, execution, monitoring, and optimization of business processes to help organizations achieve their business goals. At the heart of every BPM initiative lies continuous process improvement, an ongoing sequence of efforts that aims to make an organization’s processes, services, and products more efficient in the long run. BPM is a systematic approach involving the design, execution, monitoring & optimization of business processes to help organizations achieve their business goals. #bpm #nocode @airSlateAcademy Click To Tweet

Business process management vs business process automation

It’s crucial to distinguish between business process management (BPM) and business process automation (BPA).

Business process automation uses technology to automate routine, repetitive business processes and tasks, thus minimizing or eliminating manual effort. BPA helps organizations reduce operational costs, improve efficiency, and streamline processes.

Business automation is closely tied to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Digital Process Automation (DPA):

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses software bots that mimic human behavior to fulfill recurring, rule-based tasks with pre-defined inputs and outputs. RPA is often used to complete labor-intensive intellectual tasks like data entry, data processing, and mapping, etc.In a very general sense, no-code business automation falls under the same category as RPA, since it uses no-code bots to automate repetitive business workflows such as document generation, contract negotiation, eSignature, payments, etc.
  • Digital Process Automation (DPA) primarily focuses on automating processes and optimizing workflows involving human interaction in management, sales, and marketing. DPA maximizes the efficiency delivered by BPM solutions to customers, contractors, and other stakeholders, thus improving user experiences.

Unlike BPA, business process management involves the management of complex organization-wide processes using different types of methodologies and tools.

What is business process management software?

Business process management software (BPMS) is a general term that covers a scope of tools meant to optimize an organization’s business processes and workflows to help achieve its business goals. BPM tools are used to collect and analyze information, automate and improve repetitive workflows, monitor and report on processes, etc.

The features and functionalities of most BPM tools can overlap with other solutions, so it’s important to differentiate among the offerings available on the market. Despite BPM and workflow management tools having a somewhat similar purpose, the former provides a more comprehensive picture of all the processes within an organization. When workflows are mentioned in the context of business process management, the conversation usually gravitates towards how repetitive, routine processes are executed.

Rapid application development (RAD) software, such as low-code/no-code (LCNC) solutions, allows businesses to build internally-facing applications to streamline processes and automate tasks. Leveraging low-code/no-code tools within an organization involves citizen developers – users with little to no coding experience, but are well aware of the company’s business needs. Low-code/no-code tools geared to build process automation applications are referred to as digital process automation (DPA) tools.

Finally, there’s also business process mining software, used to monitor if business processes are carried out properly. Apart from delivering a conformity check, process mining tools maintain visibility over the stages of a process that may go missing, get skipped, and even a specific employee. From there, it becomes possible to create data-driven improvements.

The benefits of using BPM solutions

Leveraging BPM tools on the enterprise level delivers palpable benefits, such as:

  • Better organizational control

The inability to follow a rapidly changing business environment may often result in organizational errors that hinder overall efficiency. Having a BPM tool allows management to monitor resource allocation, spot inefficiencies sooner, reduce bottlenecks, and fix errors. Risk reduction yields better organizational control and compliance with organizational goals.

  • Costs minimization

Research suggests that 70% of organizations are doing process work to reduce costs and improve productivity. The deployment of BPM software not only improves resource allocation but also ensures human effort is invested in relevant tasks. Compared to on-premise solutions, cloud-based BPM tools allow for better scalability, without extra costs or overhead. On top of that, cloud BPM providers take care of maintenance issues, so that an organization’s IT staff can devote more time to tackling priority tasks that add business value.

  • Workflow automation

BPM tools make it possible to manage multiple workflows and determine which of them could be automated. AI-driven workflow automation leads to a significant reduction of manual effort, while also cutting the costs of some operations. According to McKinsey, at least one-third of routine work activities in 60% of occupations can be automated. Automation is applicable in a vast scope of business areas such as productivity and time management, payroll, tax compliance, reporting, etc. As suggested by a ServiceNow survey, 6,000 knowledge workers admit that workflow automation not only boosts productivity but satisfaction as well.

  • Better collaboration, higher efficiency

BPM software is known to provide insights into the “big picture” — using it helps improve collaboration between internal teams and external agents, such as customers, vendors, etc. Ensuring that all parties are aware of their responsibilities, timelines, and bottlenecks results in faster approval times and easier information retrieval.

  • Improved business resilience

The term “business resilience” refers to an organization’s ability to adjust its operational models to address any disruptions while maintaining operational continuity as well as its employee base, assets, and equity. COVID-19 forced businesses across different industries to transition to remote/hybrid workplaces, which would be impossible without effective workflow automation and business management tools. According to a 2020 McKinsey global survey of business leaders, 66% of organizations were piloting solutions to automate at least one business process, up from 57% in 2018. On top of that, organizations that successfully leveraged BPM and workflow automation were seven times more likely to involve employees in their automation initiatives.

  • Security and compliance

A holistic BPM solution ensures industry-leading compliance with security standards and legislation. Promoting safety and security measures is possible by properly documenting procedures and providing detailed audit logs. This way, organizations can encourage their employees to protect private information, physical resources, and other organizational assets from misuse, loss, or theft.

10 must-have features of a BPM solution

When choosing the best BPM software to meet your specific business requirements, it’s worth taking a closer look at the features under the hood. The scope of functionalities can be endless, that’s why we’ve compiled a list that includes 10 must-have features necessary for an industry-leading BPM solution:

  1. Cloud-based deployment
  2. Visual process modeling and/or diagramming tool
  3. Low-code/no-code tools with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface
  4. Collaboration tools
  5. Process analytics data and process performance
  6. API connector and integrations with third-party applications
  7. Role-based user access control
  8. Data and document management functionality
  9. Project management integration
  10. Workflow automation

The TOP 5 business process management tools

The chart below illustrates a comparison between four industry-leading business process management solutions based on the most in-demand features. airSlate, Hyland, Pipefy, Zoho, and Kissflow are used to monitor, customize, and automate end-to-end business processes that typically involve document generation, eSignature, contract negotiation, workflow automation, no-code robotic process automation, and so on.

How to learn business process management

The global pandemic forced organizations to revise and adjust their operating models to the new realities of remote/hybrid work, which would be impossible without effective business process management. The employment market responded with a higher demand for qualified business process managers and business analysts.

The average salary of a business process manager in the United States ranges between $77,428 to $109,718, according to Salary.com. Meanwhile, PayScale reports that the average base salary of a business process manager is $82,708. This number does not include bonuses, profit sharing, and other compensation, which can push the total salary to $140,000 annually.

So, what does a business process manager do?

A business process manager estimates, designs, executes, measures, monitors, and controls business processes to ensure their complete alignment with an organization’s strategic goals. A business process manager works collaboratively across different departments to help streamline the execution of one or multiple business processes. They tend to focus on the entire process from end-to-end, introducing innovation into the process to improve the outcomes, enhance profitability, and assist an organization to meet its business goals.

More and more business professionals are looking for a high-quality business process management course to master new digital skills for the sake of being competitive in the post-covid world. The airSlate Academy’s Business Process Analyst Course can take your career in digital transformation to the next level by broadening your job-search opportunities.

In this course, students learn about the benefits that process management and workflow automation can deliver to a business; mastering the ins and outs of no-code workflow automation, analytics, and reporting within the airSlate platform. airSlate is a holistic no-code business automation solution that combines eSignature, contract lifecycle management, document management, and much more into a single platform.

Take note, learning the most in-demand business process management skills is totally free. Enroll now to boost your career by getting certified with the airSlate Academy.

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airSlate Academy’s Business Process Management: a course outline

This free online course is the ideal choice for those looking to obtain business-process-manager qualifications. Students will learn how to get the most out of a business by minimizing the amount of time and resources dedicated to executing recurring tasks and processes.

The Business Process Management Certification covers the following points:

  • An Introduction to Digital Document Automation partly focuses on Document Process Automation (DPA), Business Process Management (BPM), and the correlation between the two. Students will learn how to differentiate between the solutions designed for business process automation as well as acquire insights into their options for task optimization so that they can help a business reallocate resources and time towards other vital goals.
  • The Digital Security and Compliance section keeps students in the know pertaining to legal frameworks, security and compliance standards, and why they’re essential. Students will develop a better understanding of privacy and security when setting up document workflows.
  • The Workflow Analytics with airSlate section reveals how to ensure the efficient functioning of internal processes; which analytics tools and metrics can be adopted, and ways to determine areas of improvement. Students will learn more about the methods and mechanisms of data collection, analysis, and exporting.
  • The airSlate Fundamentals section covers the essentials of the airSlate platform, including its basic terminology and concepts. Students will learn how to set up a Workspace, onboard a team, automate processes, etc. They will be able to create fully automated Flows that save their business’ time, employee resources, and money.

Read, enroll for free, and master new digital skills with the airSlate Academy.

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