9 BPM Best Practices to Streamline Your Processes
There are many things to consider when implementing and managing BPM. Read on to learn more about BPM best practices.
Imagine a system where all vendor approvals go into a single platform, with automatic notifications, reminders, and data input. In this environment, key decision-makers can quickly review approvals and enable workflows to commence in a timely manner. The entire process is fast, seamless, and enjoyable for vendors and internal team members. It’s a major upgrade over traditional, manual approvals that can take days or months to execute.
This is an example of business process management (BPM) at its finest. As the example shows, effective BPM initiatives can lead to greater efficiency for the organization and its stakeholders.
However, there are a few important things to consider when implementing and managing BPM. Read on to learn some best practices for optimizing BPM to build a more resilient organization.
Who benefits from a BPM strategy?
If your organization has a repeatable process, chances are there is a way to utilize BPM to improve efficiency, which ultimately saves you time and money. So who frequently invests in BPM? Let’s take a look.
Your ops team is probably very familiar with BPM. They can automate the most mundane processes that suck time and energy from your team productivity.
You’ll often see IT use BPM to automate tasks like ticketing and help desk functionality.
Project managers use a variety of BPM tools to ensure that projects and team members are moving in the right direction.
Your finance team likely manages several different processes that can benefit from a BPM strategy. This might include expense management, budget approvals and procurement reviews.
Your account executives might use BPM to automate document approvals and sales quotes.
Marketing typically requires reviews and approvals from the brand team, legal, and other internal teams before shipping a campaign.
Teams responsible for managing client satisfaction frequently employ BPM to manage relationships and customer issues.
In short, if you’re an organization with lots of processes, BPM can help you automate those processes regardless of what department you’re in.
BPM best practices to consider
Despite the clear benefits of BPM, projects need clear goals and objectives to successfully adopt process automation. It’s important to focus early on planning, integration strategy, and ensuring internal buy-in. Consider the following BPM best practices and keep them top of mind as you move your own initiatives forward.
"When fine-tuning your business processes, start by talking directly with team members and collecting their input. "
1. Involve your internal team
When fine-tuning your business processes, start by talking directly with team members and collecting their input. These discussions allow you to learn what’s working and what you need to improve upon. It also provides a chance for team members to ask questions and provide input that can lead to more effective and enjoyable workflows—and more productive employees.
Some companies choose to have group or individual planning sessions. You can also send out anonymous questionnaires to collect honest feedback.
2. Consult with customers and vendors
In addition to talking with your team, it’s also a good idea to collect feedback from customers and vendors before adjusting your processes.
Oftentimes, external stakeholders can provide valuable insights that can help your business work through challenges. For example, a vendor might tell you that your invoicing system is unnecessarily complicated and leads to delays. They might be able to show you where your system bottlenecks and help you determine where problems reside.
Of course, you should be mindful when asking customers and vendors for their time and consider rewarding them in some way for providing feedback.
3. Start with pilot projects
Companies often run into trouble when they roll out large-scale BPM initiatives without testing them or considering how they affect other processes. BPM is highly adaptable, but it may take some time to get it right in your organization. As a result, project management standards might look a lot different once they move into production.
For this reason, businesses should start small and test projects with individuals and small teams. This provides a safer environment to fail, learn, and scale when optimized.
4. Build a BPM center of excellence (COE)
Many companies choose to incorporate dedicated center of excellence (COE) management teams with professionals and experts who know how to model and execute BPM initiatives. Companies may hire or outsource for this role, depending on their budget, in-house resources, and needs.
COEs provide guidance and consultancy for BPM projects. Relying on COEs not only reduces risk but also prevents companies from having to pull other team members away from other projects to focus on BPM.
Of course, this group will be directly responsible for the outcome of your organization’s BPM strategy, so make sure you have the right team in place.
"As a best practice, you should spend some time developing a custom BPM methodology that works for your company."
5. Develop your own custom BPM methodology
When it comes to BPM, there are many strategies and methodologies to consider. It can be challenging to sort through the noise and figure out what’s right for your organization.
As a best practice, you should spend some time developing a custom BPM methodology that works for your company. The methodology should closely align with your organization’s specific needs.
Notably, developing and formalizing a BPM strategy can help reduce friction when working with different BPM teams. This is because project managers tend to have different approaches to and beliefs about BPM. A formal strategy will help you communicate your business’s exact needs and expectations more effectively.
6. Form a comprehensive risk assessment strategy
Most businesses develop BPM and security methodologies separately. As a result, there’s often a glaring disconnect between process management platforms and security needs. This is a problem because security issues can bring internal processes to a grinding halt.
The better approach is to bake security into the fabric of BPM to mitigate risk. All BPM initiatives should have strong information governance, identity access controls, real-time security monitoring, and privilege escalation solutions for user accounts.
To form a comprehensive risk assessment strategy, round up your IT or security experts and ask them to be part of the process.
7. Track and measure KPIs
Tracking and measuring analytics are critical for success with BPM, especially when managing projects at scale.
Before you can start tracking KPIs, you first need to establish the key indicators for your specific processes. And when setting up KPIs, you should also outline ranges and acceptable values. To illustrate, you might choose to track the average time to complete a process instance and set an acceptable time range.
When measuring KPIs, it helps to start with the most critical metrics. You can then optimize and refine your strategy as you go along.
8. Automate your workflows
Automation is a critical component of BPM. But you need to ensure you’ve effectively converted your manual workflows into efficient automation that incorporates reporting and tracking, which is where a system like Wrangle might come in handy.
During automation design, work closely with your team members who are on your organization’s front lines and ask questions exploring how people work. By doing so, you can ensure that your workflow automation delivers a return on your BPM investment.
"Understanding the available options and demoing products can help ensure your business uses the right tools."
9. Be selective when picking BPM tools
The list of BPM software is ever-growing, and there are countless vendors to explore. Understanding the available options and demoing products can help ensure your business uses the right tools. Your business must also determine whether it wants to build or buy its applications.
Keep in mind that workers today are suffering from application overload. If you decide to use a platform, make sure it’s a solution that clearly adds value and enhances the user experience. Otherwise, obtaining buy-in from team members and stakeholders could be difficult.
Another key point is that software doesn’t always lead to faster or more efficient workflows. For example, many companies today use Slack to automate business processes. But Slack still requires team members to monitor channels for incoming messages, which takes time and pulls their attention away from other tasks.
Looking to automate business processes with Slack?
If you’re looking to kick off your BPM initiative using Slack, Wrangle can help.
Wrangle is a purpose-built Slack application for approval and ticketing workflow automation. It automatically assigns tasks and approvals for team members to follow up and take action so they can go about their business and respond when necessary.
If you’re using Slack, you may want to consider adding a product like Wrangle to the mix to streamline workflows.
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.
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