In Gartner’s January 2016 report “Improving and Reinventing Business Processes Primer for 2016,” Analyst Bruce Robertson stated that “The pace of business change keeps accelerating, and CEOs are shifting their focus from cost reduction to growth. In response, process practitioners must expand their thinking, methods and technologies to improve and reinvent business processes to deliver strategic outcomes.”
Businesses are now rapidly adopting business process management (BPM) tools in order to achieve this desired growth. The best BPM vendors have proven that BPM can do far more than automation, and that BPM is a critical component of driving innovation and business transformation.
In 2016, the BPM market is seeing the emergence of unprecedented trends that help continuously optimize processes, comply with changing regulations and increase customer satisfaction.
The Birth of Mobile BPM
The ability to push business process management to mobile devices allows organizations to stand out and lead the pack. There are many organizations already leveraging mobile BPM. Mobile BPM started with just allowing executives and managers to approve tasks and processes on the go, but it has advanced to allow users across and outside the enterprise to stay connected to the processes that directly affect them.
For example, a highway maintenance agency can now allow for both drivers and remote workers in the field to take a picture of damage to a road. A picture paired with GPS coordinates can pinpoint the location as well as trigger a process that will lead to the quick removal of that issue. Another industry quickly enabling mobile devices to handle business processes is the medical and healthcare industry. Medical personnel are constantly moving and providing care to patients in hospitals and private practices. Giving them the capability to participate in processes, such as being assigned the task of providing medication to a patient and marking the task complete while moving through the institution, allows for more streamlined operations, increased patient satisfaction and better overall care efficiency.
The Combination of BPM and IoT
A decision to implement a BPM system is a long-term decision, because the technology can be used for many different processes and by many different users within, and sometimes outside, the organization. Organizations need assurance that in the future, the BPM platform they select will be able to integrate with not only their current systems, but also with future technologies planned on their business roadmaps. Notably, given the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), more companies are adopting internet-connected devices. They will need BPM software that can connect with these devices, and create applications that fully utilize the massive amount of information these devices collect in order to drive strategic business outcomes.
For example, in the aforementioned hospital and private practice environment, BPM software can integrate with telemedicine devices such as blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and heart rate monitors. As a result, the IoT data directly feeds into the BPM software’s database, thereby automatically updating patient records for real-time monitoring, evaluating trends and triggering alerts. But BPM can take the data a step further by eliciting actionable response from the appropriate staff if needed. Then, using the complete history of the telemedicine device readings stored in the BPM software’s database, they can make smarter decisions for the patient’s well-being.
BPM + Analytics
BPM has become more than just developing and running business processes. The emergence of combined analytics and BPM has enabled more intelligent business operations. Business processes are now continuously monitored for performance. Business users can define key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter to their business and monitor them in an easy, visual way. Users can analyze data to spot bottlenecks and trends, and make improvements to instantaneously increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Moving into the future, users will be able to view predictive analytics in order to see the impact of decisions in real time. For example, a user could see how reassigning a single task would affect costs or service-level agreements (SLAs). The system could even recommend the best course of action to take based on business goals. In more advanced scenarios, the system will be able to interpret information on its own and automatically adapt the process to be more efficient, similar to artificial intelligence.
Building for Change
The future is unwritten. Market conditions are ever-changing and disruptions cannot be anticipated. Inevitably, organizations with static operations and processes will fall behind. Success depends on the ability to adapt business processes quickly. With a BPM suite, organizations with a high frequency of change can create business processes that can be easily modified, without halting these processes as they run in production.
In addition, it is important that different kinds of employees with different skill sets are all able to make required changes. For example, an IT manager should be able to change automation or business rules and a team manager or operation manager should be able to dynamically change the allocation of tasks between team members or operations centers. They should not make these changes blindly, but rather use available data and predictive analytics to make informed decisions.
Furthermore, to drive business transformation, it is essential that applications which require different rates of change seamlessly work together. Gartner analysts have identified BPM software as “connective technology” which can tie applications together and provide a means for organizations to extend the value of their current applications or create new capabilities on top of the existing portfolio.
Future of BPM
The BPM industry will continue to morph, adapt and evolve in order to better serve business leaders that need to meet regulatory compliance and increase revenue. The BPM market is projected to reach $10 billion by 2020 because it is such a key component in enabling business leaders to reach these goals. With the correct BPM platform in place, executives will continuously differentiate their businesses and achieve long-term growth.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Workflow.