BPM: What It Is & How It Can Help Your Business

Business Process Management (BPM) is a term that was first used in the early 2000s to describe what is now a distinct industry. Essentially, it is the application of business process management and operations research principles to business problems.

What is unique about BPM is that it brings together people from a number of different backgrounds – including the sciences, the arts, and business – to tackle complex business problems. The end product of this collaboration is considered to be innovative, and often results in improved decision making as well as the creation of entirely new business models.

It is estimated that there are over 300,000 registered users on the HubSpot platform, a representative sample of which use the product every day. So it comes as no surprise that over the last few years, HubSpot has emerged as the de facto standard in the BPM space. You’ll often hear business leaders in this space say that “if it’s not on HubSpot, then it doesn’t exist”.

Why Should Businesses Care About BPM?

The fact that the term BPM first emerged in the early 2000s means that it has only been recently that businesses have started to take notice of the benefits that BPM can bring. But here’s a fact: businesses that don’t care about improving their operations are at a significant disadvantage – as the competition grows more aggressive and agile, customers have more expectations, and regulators are taking a greater interest in business practices. Additionally, as businesses evolve and grow, they become more complex, and operations become more strategic and important – placing greater focus on the processes that are in place and the challenges that they face – ensuring that the right processes are in place and optimised at all times.

In other words, ignoring BPM would be short-sighted, as it can help businesses of all sizes and in all industries to keep up with the competition.

How Can BPM Solutions Help My Business?

The application of BPM to business problems can best be understood in terms of how it solves specific problems. So let’s examine the areas where BPM can make the biggest difference to a business:

Reducing Costs

One of the main benefits that BPM brings is the ability to reduce costs. Using more efficient processes, businesses are able to cut back on unnecessary expenses and focus on what’s important – growing their business and creating long-term value for their shareholders.

A perfect example of this is the use of technology to improve operations and cut back on human error. By automating processes and eliminating unnecessary steps, businesses can free up time for more value-adding activities – such as growing the business or staying ahead of the competition.

Enhancing Customer Experiences

Another important area where BPM can make an impact is in terms of enhancing customer experiences. Businesses can use insights from cognitive psychology and behavioural economics to determine how they will approach each customer interaction and how they will design their interactions to be both informative and enjoyable.

For example, if a business is designing a website for customers who are first-time buyers, they can use insights from cognitive psychology to determine what information needs to be presented in an easy to understand and concise manner – without over-explaining things or presenting information that is not relevant to the customer’s needs.

Additionally, if a customer chooses to be passive instead of active during their experience – taking in more information but not acting on it – then the business can design their interactions in a way that encourages them to stay on the site longer, explore more, and make a purchase. This is what is known as “Psychological User Experience”, or “PUE” for short.

Similarly, businesses can use insights from behavioural economics to determine how to design the payment gateway on their website – ensuring that it is easy for customers to understand and that it matches what they are expecting based on their browsing history and other previous interactions with the site.

Focusing On Key Performance Indicators

BPM solutions can also help a business to focus on the right key performance indicators (KPIs). Operations research and business process re-engineering both focus on determining which key performance indicators to use to judge the effectiveness of a process or strategy. For example, if a business is trying to cut back on costs, then it makes sense to examine the cost per product instead of the total expenses – as this will give them a better idea of how effective they are being in reducing costs.

Getting Better At One Thing

Another important area where BPM can make an impact is in terms of getting better at one thing. Operations research and business process re-engineering both have a bias toward looking for ways to improve one aspect of business performance rather than focusing on overall performance. This is because it is easier to calculate, examine, and learn from a single aspect of performance rather than all of them – which is why businesses that use these methods generally end up with a more streamlined flow chart showing the relationships between different departments or processes rather than the traditional org chart.

This helps businesses to become more efficient and effective, making improved operational skills a distinct possibility – provided that they are willing to put in the the work.

Why Should Businesses Rely On Contractors In The BPM Space?

It is well-established that in most industries, organisations tend to outsource as much as possible, as close to home production makes little sense when there is so much competition.

But in some industries, such as financial services and legal services, it would be unwise to outsource – due to the highly specialised nature of the work and the competitive environment. In these industries, businesses tend to rely on in-house teams of specialists – rather than outsourcing to external contractors – in order to remain competitive.

However, this is not to say that all businesses in the BPM space should rely on in-house teams – as there are many contractors who can provide valuable services to businesses.

Three Things Successful Contractors In The BPM Space Do Differently

In order to be effective in the BPM space, contractors must do the following:

1. Measure What Matters

In a world plagued by complexity and an ever-evolving set of problems, businesses must have the flexibility to respond to changing circumstances – which is why using a tool like HubSpot that can track the progress of individual tasks, as well as the overall performance of a business, is so important.

The measurement of what matters becomes even more relevant when considering the subject matter of BPM – as it is all about cutting back on unnecessary activities and focusing on the key performance indicators that have the greatest impact. So while a business could argue that the quality of customer experience is extremely important, the performance indicators that HubSpot uses – such as the number of sales per week and the amount of website traffic – provide much more detailed information about the effectiveness of this specific area.

2. Identify And Align The Key Performance Indicators

As an operations researcher, one of the first things that Matthew would do before applying a business model to a new industry is to examine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to measure success. So it is imperative for a business to have a clear idea of which KPIs to use – and to ensure that these indicators are both measurable and achievable – before they can start thinking about how to improve performance.

An important component of this is the identification of “success metrics” – particular measurable goals that can be used to determine whether or not the business has achieved success. Once these have been determined, then the focus can shift to areas that need to be improved – with the ultimate goal of re-aligning key tasks and responsibilities towards this end.

3. Use Data To Make An Informed Decision

Even in today’s world where technology provides us with the data that we need to make the right decision, sometimes this is not enough – especially when there is a lot at stake.

Operations research and business process management both use data to inform decisions. However, the main difference is in how they use the data:

  • Operations research uses data to support a decision that has already been made, based on previous analysis – looking for patterns, making assumptions, and applying previous knowledge to the situation at hand.
  • Business process management uses data to determine what should be done next, based on the current status of affairs – looking for trends, making assumptions, and applying available knowledge to the situation.