Newcomers to the business world may think that companies revolve around sales, new hires, and new markets. Before getting to these metrics, however, a successful business needs efficient and cost-effective processes. Business process management is the practice of studying, developing, and adjusting internal processes to improve outcomes. A business process management cycle looks at everything from point-of-sale interactions to human resources recruiting to maintain a company’s competitive level.
Every company maintains policies and processes that should be subjected to business process management on a regular basis. You can build your career on helping companies improve their processes given the nascent stage of this practice. The BPTrends 2018 Report, which surveyed 184 business process experts around the world, found that 52% of companies rarely conducted formal modelling of their processes. You can show value to prospective employers by becoming an expert in business practice management. Aston University’s online MSc in Business & Management trains students around the world in critical analysis, problem solving, and decision-making skills critical to process development.
Understanding business process management
The Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM) details how business process management can help the average business. AIIM is careful to distinguish this practice from the individual processes or technologies used within companies. Business process practitioners follow seven steps during a process cycle: analysis, modeling, implementation, monitoring, management, and automation. Throughout these steps, however, practitioners should not focus solely on one criterion to determine process success. It is easy to amend or create a process that saves time but sacrifices money, resources, and personnel satisfaction. The best process practitioners know that companies need processes that find overlap between competing interests.
AIIM also cautions that business process management is not a siloed process. As a practitioner, you would not create a production workflow that focuses solely on a single product or department. You must consider how a process interacts with multiple processes and runs against policies or outside regulations. You need to have discussions with stakeholders who provide firsthand experiences with existing processes. Another challenge of this practice is that one cycle is followed by another because companies and industries constantly evolve. These challenges are invigorating for professionals who love to explore new or complex business problems.
Following the trends
The international market for business practice management services and products will grow significantly in the near future. Global Info Research estimates that the global market will expand from $6.96 billion in 2016 to $13.52 billion in 2021. This estimate means that bigger companies will spend more and smaller companies will enter the business process management market. Despite this growth, however, there is still room for new leaders and ideas to enter the market.
The BPTrends 2018 Report finds that executives who are reluctant to invest heavily in business process management are concerned about multiple process changes. This report still found 93% of respondents pursued two or more process improvements and 59% worked on at least one significant process change in 2018. Participating companies were largely spending less than $500,000 on process management (54%), while a small portion (15%) spent more than $1 million on process changes in 2018.
You can tie your career to this growing industry with the right skills and credentials. Aston University’s online MSc in Business & Management allows students to work with colleagues around the world while delving into thorny business issues. You can also select concentrations like global business and organisational development to prepare for new challenges in the world economy.
Saving money through better processes
Companies around the world have flocked to business process management services to improve their finances. The global economy features examples of businesses that lost significant amounts of money due to poor processes. Business consultancy Gartner surveyed companies in 2016 and found that 80% of respondents who initiated business process management cycles experienced savings of at least 15%. A few examples of organisations who would have benefited from improved process drive this conclusion home.
American space agency NASA lost its Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999 due to a miscalculation of the probe’s orbit around the planet. This miscalculation was due to a failure to use consistent measurements from production to orbit. NASA spent $125 million and several years developing the orbiter that were lost due to an ineffective process. Microsoft lost 4.46 billion hours of user time in September 2014 because update processes were not followed. The technology giant may have had update processes in place but departmental policies were not followed by personnel.
Ford Motor Company and Taco Bell provide examples of how business process management services can achieve positive results. For a long time, Ford’s invoicing process involved delivery of paper copies to multiple departments. The automaker reduced its payroll staff by 75% and saved money by adopting a single invoice database accessible by internal teams and lenders. Taco Bell grew from a regional restaurant chain in the 1980s to a food industry behemoth in the 21st century by changing its food preparation processes. The company grew to more than 6,400 restaurants and almost $2 billion in annual revenues by moving food preparation to distribution facilities with assembly done in restaurant.
Managing for people and results
Helping your company’s bottom line is always appreciated by executives and stakeholders. As you work through a process cycle, however, you need to keep personnel and long-term goals in mind. The Wynhurst Group found that 58% of new employees with surveyed companies are more likely to stay with their employers if they participate in formalised onboarding processes. The consultancy also found that 22% of employee resignations or terminations occur within the first month and a half of employment due to ineffective engagement. Business process management finds the gaps in personnel policies and keeps valuable employees on the job rather than updating their credentials.
An important tenet of business process management is developing processes that work toward goals rather than sound good in theory. You can develop a process for auditing financial records or handling customer service issues that falls flat when put into motion. Every person involved in a process cycle should keep long-term goals in mind when evaluating processes to determine if minor adjustments or wholesale changes are necessary. Aston University's online MSc programme helps you keep people and results in mind through courses in problem solving and organisational development. After two years in the programme, you will have the analytical and interpersonal skills necessary to become a change agent.