5 Steps in a Business Process Management Life cycle

Last Updated: August 29, 2021

When should organizations start mapping and streamlining their business processes? From the very first day, if they want to avoid the consequences of suboptimal business process management and eventual failures.

What is BPM? 

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach companies use to design, model, execute, monitor, and optimize standard business processes. BPM is different from project management which focuses on one-time and unique processes, and also task management which focuses on individual tasks in every process.

In the absence of well-orchestrated processes, a business becomes unprepared for potential disruptions and essentially sets itself for failure. To solve this, companies need to realize the impact of process failures and adopt the critical steps involved in implementing business process management.

BPM Life cycle Steps

1. Design

When you start out, you have fewer stakeholders and processes. You will find it easy to lay out your business processes and execute them every day. But when you expand, your processes begin to fall into predictable patterns. Your teams can no longer manage the processes that are now all over the place, waiting to crash any minute now. Focusing manpower on such expansive and monotonous processes can lead to errors. 

Business process management lets you break down a process into smaller individual tasks, and assigns each task to the respective stakeholder. The capability to collect data at each stage and expand it across the process lifecycle makes BPM an all-in-one solution to manage your processes. It helps you run processes flawlessly while complying with business rules.

Business process management software also irons out any disruptions caused when you make process changes or add new processes. An organization has ever-changing business processes. New employees get added, new tools are bought, the need for AI-led process enhancements increases, and certain old processes become obsolete. Business process designing helps you identify and model these processes to fit into your current business framework seamlessly. 

2. Model

You need to represent the process in a digital format for teams to visualize the workflow sequences and for the workflow engine to understand your instructions. You can’t run a process on pen and paper. You need to digitize it in order to flow it through the system and execute or automate it. 

BPM modeling or process modeling can also be defined as the graphical illustration that depicts the steps in a process. To make the process framework more efficient, you need to have a comparative understanding of how things are right now and how you want them to be. BPM modeling helps you do this with deeper visibility into your process pipeline. 

3. Execute

Once you have mapped and illustrated your processes for easy consumption, you need to execute them. But you don’t know if your workflows are error-free just yet. You need to run them in a testing environment or by a small group of users before making it live. How does the BPM tool know how to execute a process? What data should it fetch from the CRM? You need to set predefined business rules for the tool to follow. The tool executes all the rules happening before, during, and after the process completion. 

Document approvals, onboarding, asset management, expense reports, purchase orders, are all common processes an organization has to execute. Most actions involved in these processes don’t require human intervention at all, like transferring an approval task from one stakeholder to the other. Nevertheless, your teams have to do it, and you are risking process compliance if you don’t have an effective system to align the actions to the overarching business outcome. A BPM software does that for you, in addition to providing effective workflow automation opportunities for optimizing your processes further. 

4. Monitor

For sustained process compliance, you need to monitor processes at all times. When you monitor and review processes in real-time, you can prevent potential bottlenecks and spot improvement opportunities. Business process monitoring is a vital step in the BPM lifecycle as its benefits are more than successful problem prevention. Organizations rely on a huge number of processes across functions to run smoothly. You can’t set and forget the process in place. BPM monitoring ensures that your entire process framework is aware of what’s happening day to day and minute by minute and translates it accurately into end business processes.

BPM solutions essentially scan through your documents, and tasks to measure their effectiveness against vital KPI metrics. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Business process monitoring helps you derive tangible insights to substantiate your processes quantitatively and qualitatively.  

5. Optimize

With a proper monitoring system in place, you can drive operations towards optimization and process improvement. Business process optimization refers to the use of vital metrics and measurements to revisit and optimize the existing processes. When you successfully optimize your processes, you minimize wasted efforts, enhance output quality, meet process compliance, reduce execution time, and eliminate any frictions in the process.

Siloed processes can never contribute to your organizational objectives, as they get trapped in a vicious cycle of day-to-day issues. BPM optimization helps you strengthen the alignment of individual processes to your overarching business objectives with constant improvement efforts. A process is essentially a set of activities sequenced together to produce an outcome. By holistically optimizing your business activities one step at a time, you will be in better control of ad hoc mishaps and inefficiencies. The optimization is typically done with the help of a number of business process automation and process management tools. 

Process management leads to process longevity

Growing startups often think investing in a business process management system is unnecessary. They often blame the failures on not hustling more or not having the budget for a bigger team, while the real reason is forgoing a well-mapped business process and its benefits in process longevity. HappyFox offers an effective BPM suite of features driven by digital transformation to streamline your processes and achieve the maximum business output. 

Learn more

BPM is of even greater significance now, especially in the age of uncertainty. Read the complete guide to business process management.