Business Process Management (BPM) consists of a set of methods to complete specific business processes successfully. In a word, it helps companies to implement and automate structured and unstructured pathways or workflows to achieve targeted business goals.
But workflows involve people, not machines. BPM fosters a sense of “ownership” in each employee, and this makes everyone responsible for their part in the process.
Let's take a closer look at what BPM actually is and does, and why it should be an integral part of your ERP system.
The ABC's of BPM
BPM is an established approach to plan, design, execute, and monitor various business processes, both automated and non-automated. It creates a blueprint for similar business processes to be executed, modeled, and measured, while taking various stakeholders’ interests into account. Business process management also includes program and project management, in which proven processes are applied to complete unique projects. A collection of technological solutions to automate these business processes is also known as BPM.
BPM helps organizations to:
- Visualize various functions and processes
- Measure and analyze specific processes and their outcomes
- Monitor and control business processes for better results
- Re-engineer and improve existing products and services for better results
- Enhance collaboration and communication between various entities
Why BPM should be part of ERP
When it comes to ERP systems, we'd prefer to say: “Automate your workflows and let your ERP do the work for you.” If it sounds simple, that’s because, it is. BPM tools lay the foundation for ERP systems. They control the flow of information between individuals or departments, and direct it to the next processing stage, according to an established workflow map. A robust BPM built into your ERP, enables managers to monitor the progress of any process in the organization, handle and escalate exceptions, and generate reports that can be used to enhance performance.
In an ERP, BPM effectively “adds” a layer of management and control for operational business workflows across your entire organization. It forces companies to evaluate their business processes. Questions like “What's the flow of a particular task, what possible scenarios exist, what rules need to be applied at each stage of the process, who is involved at each stage, and what level of authority should they be granted?” Creating a detailed blueprint of business processes, streamlining and regulating workflows, leads to greater control.
5 reasons to use an ERP with integrated or built-in BPM
BPM fills gaps in ERP.
BPM underscores important processes and workflows that help ERP to achieve larger goals. As BPM manages specific processes in a detailed manner, your ERP oversees these processes from a larger perspective. If specific processes are important to your business rather than general automation, a BPM can fill the gaps that ERP can’t.
All data is stored on a centralized database.
Integrating BPM with ERP eliminates the need for two different databases. Data and business intelligence from BPM can be integrated with ERP insight to arrive at more reliable predictions and forecasts. Most important, BPM can be used to monitor and manage specific processes while the associated data can be stored in a central database that also houses your ERP data. It's worth mentioning that data from non-automated tasks are better, more efficiently handled by BPM.
ERP gains a BPM-enabled business perspective.
ERP often looks at business processes from an IT perspective. As a result, it's a viable option for organizations that need to automate processes and reduce human errors. A BPM, however, takes it one step further. It looks at processes and workflows from a business perspective. Integrating BPM into your ERP system will help your ERP to balance both technological and business goals.
Eliminates the need for complex customizations.
An ERP with BPM does not require high level customization, as BPM handles specific processes extremely well. This reduces both the technological and financial burden that comes with complex customizations. Your ERP will function in a more streamlined manner, while your BPM runs specific processes in the background.
Improved communication and collaboration.
BPM enhances communication and collaboration between departments, teams, and individual employees. What's more, it offers tremendous help to new users during ERP employee training. Customizing an ERP to the level of running specific processes so that it can handle collaboration, training, and communication can be an arduous and complex task. Integrating BPM with ERP reduces these complexities.
ERP with BPM enhances productivity and agility
Although overall, an ERP system and BPM may be similar in nature, as both help to automate business processes, their stated purposes are different. While ERP automates business operations in general, a BPM helps automate, manage, and monitor specific processes. Integrating BPM with ERP will help eliminate multiple databases, and improve overall efficiency and productivity. It reduces the need for complex customizations and ensures successful results of specific operational business processes that are, after all, led by people, not machines.