In order to become and remain successful and competitive, businesses must continuously improve their processes. Failure to do so is likely to result in higher costs, lower revenues, less motivated employees and fewer satisfied customers.

Business Process Management (BPM) is a powerful tool businesses can use to keep all aspects of operations running optimally. For those considering investing in it to drive process improvement, here’s a brief overview of why your company needs business process management.

What is BPM?

Gartner defines Business Process Management as “a discipline that improves enterprise performance by driving operational excellence and business agility.” Think of a business as an engine and BPM as a tool to fine-tune every component of that engine in order to achieve maximum performance and you’ve got the idea.

What does BPM do?

Within every organization there are common business processes designed to meet objectives. However, for any number of reasons some of these processes may be slow, inefficient, unreliable, duplicative and redundant. A BPM puts all of these processes under fresh scrutiny, using models, metrics and analysis to make evaluations and identify needed improvements that will produce better performance. When implementing new processes businesses can use BPM to make sure those processes integrate smoothly and perform properly.

As Gartner puts it, “BPM brings attention to the highest-value processes — the ones that are most aligned with the business goals and strategy — for the best return on investment.”

What are the main benefits of BPM for companies?

Simply stated, a BPM program enables companies to process more with higher quality, less waste and less effort. This is particularly advantageous for startups and other companies faced with tight budgets that need to reach profitability quickly.

The specific benefits of BPM for companies fall into three main categories:

1. Efficiency – One of the first benefits companies often see upon implementing a BPM program is increased efficiency. After all, many processes are often fraught with waste due to a number of factors such as manual effort, poor interdepartmental handoff and a general inability to effectively monitor overall progress. Shedding a fresh light on processes helps companies recognize and eliminate inefficiencies to the benefit of the bottom-line.

2. Effectiveness – Once a process becomes more efficient, BPM can then be used to make that process more effective. Among the many benefits of greater process effectiveness are the ability to handle exceptions faster and better, the ability to make better, more informed decisions, and the ability to execute consistently, which is critical for providing a better customer experience. When all processes are running effectively and are aligned with corporate strategies and objectives, companies become more profitable and more competitive.

3. Agility – In today’s ultra-competitive business world the need for a company to be agile is more critical than ever before. In fact, companies whose processes are inflexible to change are going to get left behind. The need to change can come from almost anywhere, both inside and outside of an organization. New opportunities may necessitate change in order to capitalize on them. New business partners or customers may require change in order to accommodate a different way of doing business. And don’t forget State, Federal and International regulations that may require a company to change its processes.

Thanks to Business Process Management programs, companies have the platform they need to change their existing processes or implement new ones faster, smoother, and more efficiently than they could ever do with any other option. This ability to stay flexible and quickly adapt in the face of changes both foreseen and unexpected is a powerful driver of competitive advantage for every company.