What is Business Process Management?

Business Process Management is an approach used to analyse, design or redesign, implement, and continuously improve organisational processes. This approach was an initiative by Tylor in 1911 and has since been a discipline utilised by the Industrial Engineers throughout the world as it increases its significance in the modern business world.

Why is Business Process Management important?

In order to achieve corporate objectives or process effectiveness in the most cost-effective way, BPM offers an integrated set of approaches, tools, and strategies:

  • Process Thinking

This is an approach that an organisation will start to think about whenever customer satisfaction becomes the buzz word. Processes create value in any organisation and processes deliver to customers either product or service. A good company should have well defined processes, and a good company should always ensure that their processes are streamlined and continuously improved to meet customer needs. Process thinking include elements as shown in the figure below.

Figure 1: Process Thinking overview.
  • Integrated Management Discipline

In order to have a successful implemented BPM in an organisation, 6 factors need to be taken into account and incorporated together with BPM. Strategy, Governance, Methods, Information Technology, People and Culture. These are factors will assist further in the maturity assessment of the organisation BPM. From a Strategic point of view, it should always be known that Customers/ Consumers do not really care a lot on what happens inside an organisation, or which process is followed to deliver the product or service. The ultimate focus should always be keen to bring decisions in our processes closer to the customer for a quick and reliable product or service. The Outside-In perspective is the one that counts.

What can BPM achieve?

Process Transformation

There is a say that “We learn from our mistakes”. Ideally the phrase suggest that make a mistake and improve from it or mistakes that occur can be a point of reference which is true and real. However, in BPM, there are tools used to allow one to pre-empt if there can be a problem and curb it before it can occur. For example, Process Mapping serve as the framework for talking about visual notations from the perspective of cognitive efficiency.

When process mapping is done properly, an organisation should then be able to see unforeseen complexity in that process, have a view of problematic areas, redundancy, needless loops, and potential opportunities for reduction and standardization. It also enables a team to decide on the steps of the process and investigate which activities may have an impact on the process performance and additional data can be gathered and examined to analyse if there is any opportunity for improvement.

Operational Excellence

A strategy for achieving efficacy across all organisational processes is called operational excellence. For instance, in this discussion, process automation is a perfect illustration. Staff members’ productivity increases because of more effective operations are among the advantages of automating corporate processes. Additionally, teams’ knowledge and understanding of processes allows for quick and simple course corrections when necessary, giving businesses the agility, they need to grow.

Less human errors, adherence to laws and regulations both internally and externally, reduced micromanagement, better access to company and consumer data, and seamless digital integration throughout the organisation.

Business Continuity Management

Business Continuity focuses on the view of what an organisation needs to protect itself from which sometimes called the Disaster Recovery Management (DRM). A business activity or the flow of information assisting a business process may be interrupted by an unforeseen incident.

By doing this, an organisation shows that it is dedicated to creating a setting that will enable safe and efficient functioning in the future. Elements in BCM includes Resilience, Recovery and Contingency. Where Resilience means preserving crucial processes and resources, such as technology, data, and people, enabling an organization to absorb internal and external shock while maintaining the continuity of mission critical operations. Recovery seeks to immediately after an incident to restore operations and systems. Contingency includes leaders creating simple plans with detailed activities that can be carried out in a point of crisis.

BPM Lifecycle

Figure 2: Sourced from Ahrend, Norbert. (2014). Opportunities and limitations of BPM initiatives in public administrations across levels and institutions.

About the author.

Andrew Phoffa, a Process Engineer at ISBO with 10 years of experience as a Process Engineer and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt holder, worked for both Public, Parastatal and Private entities in South Africa. His passion lies in Business Transformation from chaos to Lean operations. Core competencies includes stakeholder management, process management and continuous improvement.


ISB Optimus is a specialised business process management services & professional services firm. This encompasses solutions such as Robotic Process Automation, cloud integration software & iPaaS technology.