BPM & Automation  - 8 min

Optimizing operational efficiency with BPM: Some key concepts

Optimizing operational efficiency with BPM: Some key concepts
October 31, 2023

With the full environment of business constantly evolving, keeping up operational efficiency is essential for business success. This is where Business Process Management (BPM) comes into the spotlight. BPM is a philosophy, a methodology, and a set of tools that enable organizations to understand, optimize, and control business processes to achieve and maintain operational excellence.

In this article, we will delve into the foundations of BPM and explore the key concepts that underlie this approach. We will also discuss the importance of a customer-centric approach in process management, look at some process modeling techniques, and some factors to consider when selecting a BPM technology that incorporates them.

Historical perspective and evolution of BPM

To understand BPM well, it's helpful to know its origins. BPM has roots in two major concepts: Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR), which emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Both of these approaches emphasized identifying operational inefficiencies and finding ways to eliminate them.

BPM has evolved from with the advent of information technology, incorporating digital tools that enable more efficient process modeling, simulation, and execution. Over the years, it has adapted to the ever-changing IT landscape, becoming more flexible and collaborative. Nowadays, modern BPM tools offer real-time integration with other systems and business applications, providing companies with the ability to optimize their operations and swiftly adapt to shifting market demands.

The evolution of BPM has also seen the integration of artificial intelligence, the simplification of creating business automation with "low-code" tools, and the emergence of new customer-centric approaches to meet changing consumer needs.

Key BPM concepts

Definition and fundamental principles of BPM

BPM is applied to enhance the efficiency and adaptability of operational processes within an organization. It integrates methods, techniques, and tools for analyzing, modeling, optimizing, and controlling processes. In other words, BPM provides a framework for better understanding of and for improving operations.

While the market for BPM solutions faces increasing competition from other information systems like ERP, CRM, and workflow management applications, it stands out for its capability to manage all business processes, offering a centralized view crucial for understanding, tracking, and optimizing all the processes a business needs to have under control.

There is an important distinction to make between process-based automation (BPM) and workflow management. While BPM examines the entire range of a company's processes, workflows focus on specific, smaller-scale segments.

Process-based automation

Process-based automation is a systematic approach used by organizations to improve their business processes through the automation of whole or parts of those processes. As with BPM - and often employed with a BPM approach - process automation involves the analysis, design, implementation, and continuous optimization of processes with the aim of enhancing efficiency and adaptability. This automation complements modern applications by offering a comprehensive and personalized view of processes and their performance while providing a framework to align them with the company's strategic objectives.

Business processes: definition and characteristics

Business processes are sequences of coordinated and interdependent activities that transform inputs into outputs, aiming for specific outcomes. Managing business processes relies on five essential concepts: the process, modeling, execution, monitoring, and optimization.

  • The process: At the heart of every business, representing a series of ordered activities governed by rules, involving various resources and executed by defined actors, with goals and performance indicators.
  • Modeling: The first step in understanding and improving a process. It involves creating a graphical representation of the process using standards like BPMN. This step is crucial for documenting, analyzing, and communicating the process to all stakeholders.
  • Execution: The phase where the process moves from concept to reality. Using IT tools like Business Process Management Software (BPMS), companies can digitally coordinate, control, and automate the activities that make up the process.
  • Monitoring: This phase measures and evaluates process performance using indicators such as time, cost, quality, and satisfaction. It identifies issues, bottlenecks, and improvement opportunities.
  • Optimization: Data and observations collected during monitoring and execution are used to enhance the process by eliminating waste, reducing errors, and increasing value.

The application of a BPM approach is a continuous cycle of understanding, execution, monitoring, and optimization of processes, strengthening a company's competitiveness and helping it adapt to changing market needs. The use of a BPM technology such as a BMPS strengthens this approach and makes it central to an organization’s operational efficiency.

The customer-centric approach to process management

Implementing a BPM software solution with a customer-centric approach helps to align the company with the evolving needs of its clients. A customer-centric culture in a company raises awareness among all employees of the importance of putting the customer at the core of their actions. Enhancing the customer experience at every stage of the journey by eliminating friction points can boost customer loyalty and offer a competitive advantage.

To integrate customer-centricity successfully, an organization must sensitize employees, understand customer needs, design or modify processes, and regularly assess the solution's effectiveness. This approach should be integrated from the beginning of every process implementation and maintained throughout its lifecycle.

Process Modeling: Techniques and notations

Process modeling techniques and notations are essential tools for visually representing, analyzing, and optimizing business processes. BPM software incorporates process modeling as part of the platform, so every process designed, integrated, executed, and managed by a BPM process automation platform starts its life as a visual model.

The most commonly used notation is BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation). Other notations, such as UML Activity Diagram, IDEF0, EPC, and Value Stream Mapping, offer slightly different features to meet specific needs.

The choice of a BPM platform with its process modeling capability - or the choice to not use a BPM platform at all - depends on several factors according to the organization's specific requirements.

  • Company size: Small businesses may favor less formal methods, while large organizations subject to strict compliance standards may require standardized and formal notations.
  • Technical and human requirements: Technical needs for process automation must be considered, along with involving team members to ensure their support and ownership of the chosen tools.
  • Required features: Modeling tools must address the company's specific needs, including real-time analysis and integration with data analysis tools.
  • Required precision: In highly regulated or reliable sectors, precise and rigorous modeling methods are essential.
  • User-friendliness: Non-technical teams may prefer intuitive methods and graphical tools, promoting quick adoption and operational efficiency.
  • Team skills: The skills of team members, whether experienced software engineers or business executives influence the choice of modeling notations. While BPMN is the most widespread BPM modeling notation, an experienced software engineering team may be more comfortable with other notations like UML, while a business team may prefer more visual and easy-to-understand methods such as Gantt charts or workflow diagrams.
  • Cost and budget: The total cost of ownership, including training, maintenance, operational efficiency, and return on investment, must be carefully evaluated.
  • Integration with other systems: Integration with existing business systems, such as ERPs or CRMs, can be a crucial factor. IS integration can offer excellent automation advantages as the many different systems in a company’s stack can be incorporated into processes directly, to avoid the need to access and move data manually in and out of individual systems as the process advances.
  • Scalability: Modeling tools must be able to evolve to meet the company's changing needs, especially in cases of rapid growth or operational diversification.

These considerations are essential for making an informed choice in BPM and ensuring that process modeling tools perfectly match the organization's specific needs and requirements.

In brief

Business Process Management (BPM) is much more than a simple process management method. It embodies a comprehensive approach to maximize operational efficiency, promote adaptability, and place the customer at the heart of operations. The fundamentals of BPM -process modeling, automation, and process optimization - are the pillars of good business capability.

BPM is not just a method, it's a means of transformation, and Bonitasoft is here to support you in this transformation towards operational excellence. If you're looking for a powerful and flexible BPM solution, the Bonita BPM-based process automation platform is an excellent choice. It offers a wide range of features to help you manage your business processes efficiently and align your organization with your customers' needs. With Bonita, you can create, execute, monitor, and optimize your business processes, while delivering an exceptional customer experience every step of the way. Take a step towards operational excellence with Bonita.


Here are 3 ways to learn more:

  • Build highly personalized, process-based applications today, for free, with our open-source Bonita Community Edition.
  • See how you can reinvent your business processes with BPM.  Watch our on-demand Bonita Platform Demo.
  • Interested in full project lifecycle support and services from development to operations? Try unlocking the power of Bonita Enterprise Edition.  Contact us today or explore our solutions to learn more about unlocking the full potential of process automation.





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