AIIM 150by Bob Larrivee, AIIM

As organizations take a good hard look at their business models and processes to drive forward digital transformation, Business Process Management (BPM) has come to the forefront as a key enabler in driving improvements in efficiency.  

Today’s organizations need to focus on business process agility so that they can respond to a fast-changing marketplace. The importance of BPM in this equation is now being rightfully acknowledged as key to successfully moving business across to a digital environment, slicing through touch points and transforming the organization’s value chain.

Business executives are very aware of BPM’s value. According to a recent survey AIIM carried out, 55 percent of respondents felt BPM is significant (38 percent) or imperative (17 percent) for their business.

At the same time, BPM’s increasing maturity is borne out in the Return on Investment (ROI) that many organizations are seeing – 41 percent are seeing payback within one year, of which 17 percent cite ROI within just six months – and how it allows organizations to take advantage of mobile and cloud opportunities for sharing knowledge and documents.

Benefits beyond ROI include a decrease in review and approval cycles (33 percent), better routing to and between individuals (62 percent) and greater organizational agility and routing between processes (42 percent).

There is no getting away from the fact that poor processes seriously impact an organization’s ability to access, manage and leverage information. This is where BPM comes into its own – and it will become more important as organizations increasingly need to justify spend back to business.

But are organizations really squeezing the last drop from their BPM investment, or is there more that could be gained?

BPM Empowers Change

BPM is helping to improve processes within organizations around the globe. But it is an element of business that is starting to go beyond that, with two-thirds of executives in AIIM’s survey viewing BPM as change management. As organizations continue to tackle the massive increase in the flow of data, BPM is fast becoming essential to its efficient capture, storage and management.

Interest in BPM has grown dramatically as organizations look to automate and streamline business processes. But there are some important points to consider before making the leap.

Organizations need to fit their BPM solution around key areas that require improvement. This requires strategic mapping and planning of processes if this does not already exist. These maps help to identify workflow bottlenecks and other types of inefficient processes that BPM can resolve.

It is important to improve any existing processes before considering introducing automation or extending the automation capabilities your organization already has in place. Automation will not help solve any underlying problems and could exacerbate them.

Audit existing BPM capabilities. This can be used as the foundation for drawing up a set of BPM requirements and will make sure you don’t end up replicating any technologies you already have that you were not aware of.

Business requirements should be laid out first and functionality built on this. Look at how cloud and mobile device use, along with mobile apps can support an increasingly mobile workforce. Look at how this could be harmonized across the enterprise and the line-of-business applications. Utilize BPM’s integration strengths where possible.

Finally, remember that BPM is a journey of commitment. It isn’t a quick fix, it is an ongoing process which requires discipline and investment to reap long-term benefits.  

Bob Larrivee is vice president and chief analyst of market intelligence at AIIM International.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Workflow.