5 departments that desperately need BPM

Chintan Jain


For the first part of its life, BPM was focused on extremely high-value, mission-critical processes. The cost of the technology and the experts to run it demanded that the ROI of any BPM effort to be significantly high.

But today’s BPM is much different. First, many of those essential processes are streamlined and are in an optimization phase now. And second, the price of BPM has reduced considerably with new options coming up all the time.

So how does BPM move from being a central, core IT function to the edge of the enterprise? Can BPM have the same transformative impact on all longtail processes in different departments?

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BPM for everyone

Whether it’s HR or Sales, or even Accounting or Finance, BPM can step in and streamline processes and business tasks. The standard BPM steps of process design, modeling, analysis, and execution work well whether you are modeling a highly complex process, or just trying to streamline the Vacation Request process.

Typical BPM features like powerful workflow management systems, easy-to-use form builders, notifications, drag-and-drop tools, and powerful analytics make a significant improvement in the day-to-day function of these departments.

Let’s take a look at five typical business departments, and see how an affordable BPM software can work wonders for common business tasks in each of them.

1. Human Resources
If the HR department is relaxed, calm, and peaceful, chances are that a) they’ve already implemented a BPM system, b) robots are running the show, or c) you don’t have any employees.

HR work is difficult no matter the size of the organization. HR employees can burn out easily, because their role comes with built-in stress factors. HR used to be overrun with filing cabinets of paper forms, but now it is completely consumed with technology. Yet, most of that technology has created a lot of manual work which makes most HR processes the perfect candidate for BPM.

Take leave management, for instance. Conventionally, there will be a chain of emails. If Mark from the engineering team needs the next Tuesday off to watch his son play a crucial college basketball match, he emails his boss Krish, asking him for the day off. Krish has no issues with the request, so he forwards it to Susan in HR, cc’ing the head of engineering and the various heads of projects Mark is involved in.

This is already a sizeable email thread. Imagine how complicated it is if someone has an issue. And where does it get recorded and processed?

A BPM system would break down the leave application process, establishing a neat illustration of the process chain and automatically gathering all the approvals required. Running time-off requests through this system would streamline things and cut down the estimated 2.5 hours we all spend reading emails at work every day.

BPM can also break down other HR tasks like employee onboarding and offboarding, performance appraisals and many more. For HR, this means better employee engagement by providing a consistent experience in these processes.

2. Procurement
The challenges with procurement system are often time-related. For instance, it’s the order-to-cash time with purchase requests and purchase orders. When someone in operations initiates a purchase order, chances are that it goes through a similar series of emails like before, only here it’s through procurement, accounts, and finance.

BPM can help you break down processes like purchase orders and requests, and help you run them smoothly. BPM brings interconnectivity and smoothness to processes that were once pretty bumpy. A procurement team that can get things done on time with minimal stress on the team members, is the ideal procurement team!

3. Accounting and Finance
If sales and marketing bring in the money, it’s accounting and finances that use it effectively to help the business grow and scale in the best possible way. Being cost-effective isn’t a fancy feature to have in a business; it’s a crucial tactic for survival in our competitive business environment.

Integrating business process management efforts into your accounting and finance process automation is a great way to bring in digitalization, standardization, accuracy, and transparency. All of these attributes are crucial for effective financial management.

4. Marketing
Seasoned marketers will tell you that marketing isn’t all flashy copy and edgy visuals. It’s got a lot to do with sustained efforts, accountability, and returns on investment. Organization is the key to achieving these goals.
And BPM can help with that. Take the example of a typical in-house content marketing team. There’s usually a chief of content, who runs a team of editors/copywriters/designers, managing content requests from a variety of teams/departments within the organization.

Typically, the copy lead receives the request (again, often from an email brief), approves it and passes it along to a writer. Once the copy is created, it is sent for editing and proofreading, usually by two different people. Then, the designer is brought in to create visuals. The Marketing VP, and other stakeholders might also want to sign off on pieces before they go out to the public.

To keep track of all this manually is impossible. Teams often resort to spreadsheets, or project management-style kanban boards, but keeping those updated takes a lot of work.

With BPM in the picture, the whole process from ‘content request’ to ‘final approval’ is tracked sequentially. You can then integrate technology like automation to make the entire process streamlined, efficient, and much quicker.

4. Sales
Sales technology is usually linked with a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that deals with managing and analyzing customer data and sales-client relationships throughout the customer lifecycle.

BPM can help CRM achieve its goal–improving customer relationships, retaining clientele, and driving sales. BPM is all about upgrading efficiency and streamlining processes, and upgrading and streamlining your CRM efforts directly leads to better client relationships, more clients retained, and better sales.

To turn prospects to leads, your sales staff need to consistently supply key information, and follow up any enquiries and other communication. A BPM-based CRM solution lets sales managers keep a close eye on sales activity, with better reports and forecasts. This helps the sales team make better decisions in terms of operational strategies and action plans.

The Value of BPM Across the Enterprise

When you look at all the ways Business Process Management can be applied in different departments around the organization, it’s hard to point one that will be the real money-winner when it comes to ROI. However, the beauty of longtail BPM applications like these comes in the fact that there are an infinite number of processes that can be created. And if you use a BPM platform that doesn’t charge you per application, your ROI can continue to grow exponentially. The sheer volume of requests that comes through all of these processes will generate more ROI than might be expected.

Efficiency and productivity are paths to success no matter the line of business you are in, and BPM shouldn’t only be in the hands of the few. Turn BPM loose today on every department and see where it generates the most value!