BPM: relevance to SMEs, drawbacks and a smarter alternative

Articles

man pointing finger to showcase a BPM example
An overview of BPM:

Business Process Management (BPM) is a discipline companies follow in order to streamline their way of completing tasks to be more efficient and agile. A more structured example for the definition of BPM can be given from the one by The Association of Business Process Management Professionals:

“Business process management (BPM) is a disciplined approach to identify, design, execute, document, measure, monitor, and control both automated and non-automated business processes to achieve consistent, targeted results aligned with an organization’s strategic goals. BPM involves the deliberate, collaborative and increasingly technology-aided definition, improvement, innovation, and management of end-to-end business processes that drive business results, create value, and enable an organization to meet its business objectives with more agility. BPM enables an enterprise to align its business processes to its business strategy, leading to effective overall company performance through improvements of specific work activities either within a specific department, across the enterprise, or between organizations.” (ABPMP International, 2018)

The growth is considered by some in the business field as the zenith of all accomplishments, yet it also comes with its side effects. With growth, management becomes complex and problematic. Procedures become obsolete, tasks increase and goals lose their clarity due to unmanaged growth. 

If not intervened at the right time, unmanaged growth can cause the very collapse of the company. When companies start to grow, they usually seek for Business Process Management

Efficiency, operational excellence, quality and predictability have long become the key aspects for companies to be successful in today’s business environment. This requirement makes most of the companies turn their heads to business process management to combat the complexities and excel. BPM has recently started to be considered to take place in the early agenda of companies regardless of size.

At this point BPM offers several advantages to the companies:
  • Increase control and gain a vantage point to detect bottlenecks
  • Increase everyday efficiency
  • A structured map to define, design, analyze and optimize processes
  • Deliver more value
  • Reduce costs and waste
  • Risk management
  • Alignment of procedures
  • Knowledge retention

It is a common mistake to consider business process management merely as a software solution. In fact, business process management is a discipline, a methodology to increase efficiency. There is a myriad of software platforms though that are used as a means to business process management in a digital sense. They are called BPM Suites, BPMS.

As expected there are many ways to vary the BPMS. You can consider low-code BPM or no-code BPM software platforms in terms of structure. Forrester Research categorizes BPM Suites in three distinct classes;

*human-centric BPM

*integration-centric BPM

*document-centric BPM

Regardless of alternatives, the common goals of BPMS are to provide a digital tool for business analysts and software developers to streamline company business processes. They offer sections in which business process management lifecycle is run such as design, modelling, execution, monitoring and optimization.

How relevant is it for SMEs to focus on BPM? What are the setbacks?

For sure Business Process Management offers many advantages for companies once adopted properly. Efficiency and agility are very crucial for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) to boost their success in the market. Most of the SMEs fail within their first five years. (Hammer, 2012) It is imperative to focus on process management to increase the overall SME efficiency to survive in the market.

Besides BPM is not constrained with the size of the organization, at least in principle and essence. Above all, a business process is present in every aspect of work. It involves several steps, people, devices, etc mostly in sequential order to get a job done. The nature of these step, whether automated or manual, many or few, on paper or in a digital environment, are irrelevant in terms of BPM.

However, BPM is a field that many SMEs still turn a blind eye. The reason for this dismissal of the principle and the software of BPM is a catch 22. BPM requires a certain dedication, resources in terms of money and time. Besides, it needs a champion to be addressed. Also, BPM has a very strict structure namely Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN 2.0). Many BPM platforms and workflow software solutions stick to this framework.

SMEs usually lack time and resources. Business process managers or project champions often case turn out to be the same critical employees that make the company earn money in the first place. They usually do not wish to or are not willingly chosen by upper management to spend their mission-critical time at an As – Is and To – Be meeting. 

Companies usually strive to complete their goals in today’s hectic and complicated business environment. Meetings that involve business analysts and developers can be very time and resources consuming for SMEs.

The Cost Factor

Another aspect is the sophistication of the BPM as a concept itself. BPM involves lots of concepts, standards and guidelines. Sometimes the focus gets to the endless business rules management discussions involving lots of members from different departments. However, it should be simply on finding ways to automate processes.

Considering the costs of implementing such a BPM tool is high. The BPM suites usually come with a significant bill. BPM experts and advisors come to aid with high hourly rates. 

Also, BPM suites come with a standard platform in which you usually have to pay for the features that you are not going to use at all. In some cases, they require you to start using their interfaces which also involves the hidden cost of training. However, SMEs need to get results fast. Today’s market is tight and changes are extremely rapid.

The smarter way:

SMEs need to be efficient and frugal to survive. BPM is surely a methodology to achieve that. Although, it is complex, costly and demanding to implement it. That is the very paradox as it stands out. However, a smarter alternative is at hand.

Rindap is a low-code platform that focuses on the utilization of its RESTful API. It enables companies to orchestrate their business cases without the need for implementing complex BPM solutions.

Rindap has the focus to enable developers to easily achieve the objectives that have been required with the ever-growing business. The use of Rindap’s API helps developers to automate business processes without the need for integration projects.

In addition, Rindap allows developers to meet with process owners in relatively shorter meetings to define business goals and easily set logic-based filters to automate processes. Since RESTful API allows harmonization of different applications, devices or platforms developers are not bound by lengthy projects and the response to existent, repetitive and urgent problems are much faster. Besides the flexible essence of Rindap helps companies to focus on their core activities instead of joining endless meetings on how to manage processes.

References:

· “The BPM Profession – ABPMP International”. www.abpmp.org. Retrieved January 2018.

· The Forrester Wave™: BPM Suites, March 2013

· Hammer, M. H. M. 2012. “Why Entrepreneurs Fail and How to Fight It?”

· OMG. “BPMN 2.0”. Retrieved March, 2011

 
Itea
Tubitak
Rindap benefits from the experience of taking active role in the projects run by TÜBİTAK and ITEA respectively. Rindap is a part of the solutions offered by these projects to increase innovation and business impact.