Integrating Business Process Management (BPM) with Business Management Systems

The structure of the standard management system has changed little in the past 30 years, in fact we move home more frequently!

Recent revisions to the ISO standards for quality, health and safety, and environment has forced a re-evaluation of the traditional document-centric model resulting in a paradigm shift in thinking towards a Process-based Business Management System.

Strategy to Task Business Model

While the standard Document Management System has been the central repository for all system content for many organisations, the introduction of the process approach together with the concept of `risk based thinking` has highlighted its inflexibility and excessive maintenance.

With the new `tech-savvy` generation moving into management positions as the `old school` move on, the antiquated document-centric approach may well become a thing of the past.

It is common in today’s organisation that while business areas such as finance, supply chain, and human resources have moved into implementing core Business Process Management (BPM) systems which use process automation extensively, QHSE continues to manage their discipline content within the document management system structure and as Kipling suggested, ‘never the twain shall meet’.

With ISO 9001:2015 advocating the process approach and with many companies creating visual maps in Visio, there is an opportunity to use the power and capability of process automation (or workflow) in conjunction with supporting documentation. By combining these complimentary techniques within a new ‘business management system`, an extremely effective solution is created that bridges the old and new methods of process management.

Process automation removes resource-heavy work practises and can replace human-centric activities such as paper chasing and form filling with a streamlined workflow that reduces use of resources while increasing productivity.

Typical Process Overview

Incorporating BPM to the Management System

While todays BPM toolsets have a wide spread of features and functionality, they are fundamentally used for designing, measuring and optimising processes through automation to eliminate bottlenecks, remove excessive costs and increase productivity. The concept was pioneered by IBM in the 1980’s, and has since grown into a mammoth industry led by Oracle, SAP and Microsoft who automate many back office functions.

BPM focuses on the value chain of the business or core processes and allows for a segmented analysis to be completed at each stage to identify improvement opportunities.

If implemented within an SME, process automation can have a significant impact on company performance and ultimately the bottom line by ensuring:

  • Processes are streamlined to remove waste and duplication
  • Processes can be standardised across global assets, sharing identified best practise
  • Errors and repetitive manual tasks are eliminated while improving processes
  • Costs are reduced through analysing each stage of the process
  • Regular analysis and monitoring maintain maximum performance

BPM should not be a one-time exercise. It should involve a continuous evaluation of all processes and include taking actions to improve the total flow. This all leads to a cycle of evaluating to continually improve the performance.

Agility Workflow is ideal for SME’s to use process workflow to reduce the inefficiency of paper handling and benefit from the advantages of automation, without the significant financial outlay involved in a large BPM system.

Introducing the Hybrid Management System Model

By incorporating the process automation tool within the management system structure, processes can be orchestrated to link to portals, extract data from other applications and reflect actual working practise by way of automation. Through mobile technology, gathering data during audits, inspections or logging safety incidents can easily be recorded and uploaded once connected to the network. No more duplication and more real-time performance statistics!

Graphical representation of Process Management

This hybrid model combines the graphical `end to end` process overviews/business models with visual (swim-lane) process maps and through the efficiency of full process automation, users are able to access information as it is intended, either in the format of a document, visual process, specialist application, database or as an actioner within an automated workflow.

Written By Peter Shields, Managing Director of BusinessPort

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