Because BPM can include one or more workflows, you can assume that a BPM Solution can do anything that can be done with a workflow. That said, BPM is capable of much more than merely workflows.
At times, BPM solutions use multiple workflows or systems of record in succession, in order to carry out a set of repetitive tasks (such as processing loans) that, together, produce a comment result.
Each workflow is created to do a specific, repetitive task. Each workflow is also designed to perform that repetitive task more quickly, efficiently, and accurately than if we were to do it manually. Because the business processes are based on logic, similar workflows used in different times and places may have been created independently.
Creating Art – Workflow and BPM Together:
Business Process Management is the “Art” of bringing them all together, in the right order, such that the outcome is dramatically improved over the previous method of production. This dramatic improvement, and the process of re-arranging the solution components to attain the right combination is a great example of “agility”.
Example – Patient Intake Process
Patient Intake Process:
- Patient walks into office (manual – just checking! <G>)
- Data is entered into the systems (workflow – scan, or fill out form)
- System determines which room to assign (workflow)
- Doctor is notified that a patient is waiting in that room (Workflow)
- Patient is treated by doctor (Manual)
- Prescription recommended by doctor (or not) – (manual)
- Prescription is entered into system (Manual)
- Prescription is submitted to pharmacy for patient pickup (workflow)
- Patient is scheduled for follow-up appointment (Workflow)
- Email reminder sent to patient (workflow)
- Patient is released.
Team Members involved:
- Business Analyst works with doctor’s office and staff to determine what happens at each step of the process.
- Business Analyst documents the process accordingly
- Business Analyst runs simulations on the process to identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies
- Business Analyst, IT, and Subject Matter Experts (SME) Produce “to-be” process diagram
- IT builds, integrates, and deploys the process
- Doctors, Nurses, Staff, and Patients use the system
- Business Analyst and key stakeholders monitor the process
- Business Analyst, SMEs, and Stakeholders optimize the process and the cycle continues
Business Process management is “cultural”, in many ways. It’s about the way you design, deploy, use, and improve business processes within your organization. Your entire organization has to see the value with, and get on-board with a new way of working.
You need to set policies and standard operating procedures that determine how your business will develop work, as well as how work actually gets done. Most importantly, you need to manage those processes and strive to systematically, and consistently improve upon those business processes. This ability to affect small areas quickly and provide huge impact is what is commonly referred to as “agility”. Getting good at BPM is a sign of an Agile business.
In business, “Agility” is the ability to make positive changes efficiently, with calculated, isolated movements, which take advantage of your company’s coordination, skills, strength, and culture. If your business is, “light on its feet”, you can move quickly when the market demands change, or when adversity strikes. You can be the first to meet demands (such as an increase in volumes, decrease in headcount, or keeping production up when supplies are down).