Business process management

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Business process management (BPM) is a management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management approach[1] that promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. Business process management attempts to improve processes continuously. It could therefore be described as a "process optimization process." It is argued that BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach. An empirical study by Kohlbacher (2009) reveals that BPM helps organizations to gain higher customer satisfaction, product quality, delivery speed and time-to-market speed [2].

Contents

Overview

A business process comprises a "series or network of value-added activities, performed by their relevant roles or collaborators, to purposefully achieve the common business goal."[3] These processes are critical to any organization: they may generate revenue and often represent a significant proportion of costs. As a managerial approach, BPM considers processes to be strategic assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and improved to deliver value added products and services to clients. This foundation is very similar to other Total Quality Management or Continuous Improvement Process methodologies or approaches. BPM goes a step further by stating that this approach can be supported, or enabled, through technology to ensure the viability of the managerial approach in times of stress and change. In fact, BPM is an approach to integrate a "change capability" to an organization - both human and technological. As such, many BPM articles and pundits often discuss BPM from one of two viewpoints: people and/or technology.

Roughly speaking, the idea of (business) process is as traditional as concepts of tasks, department, production, outputs.[citation needed] The current management and improvement approach, with formal definitions and technical modeling, has been around since the early 1990s (see business process modeling). Note that in the IT community, the term 'business process' is often used as synonymous of management of middleware processes; or integrating application software tasks. This viewpoint may be overly restrictive - a limitation to keep in mind when reading software engineering papers that refer to "business processes" or to "business process modeling".

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