Healthcare Analytics
Organization as a System
Strategic Planning
Business Process Management (BPM)
Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Office
Measure of a Leader
Alignment Traps
Why Smart Executives Fail
Beyond Balanced Scorecard (BSC)
Lean Six Sigma (LSS)
About Us
Contact Us
Recommended Books

Print this Page
Page Under Construction
Business Process Management (BPM)
Program or strategy?
BPM refers to how a business organizes and controls processes.
BPM is a mangement discipline focused on improving corporate performance by managing a company's business processses.
BPM is a set of methods, tools, and technologies used to design, enact, analyze, and control operational business processes. BPM is a process centric approach for improving performance that combines information technologies with process and governance methodologies. BPM is collaboration between business people and information technologists to foster effective, agile, and transparent business processes. BPM spans people, systems, functions, businesses, customers, suppliers, and partners. BPMS refers to systems that help accomplish BPM.
Business or Enterprise Process Architecture

A business or enterprise process architecture is a written or diagrammatic high-level summary of the value chains and business processes in the organization. A good process architecture shows how value chains and business processes are related to each other and to the strategic goals of the organization. A process model or process diagram refers to a single process.

BPTrends Enterprise Architecture Pyramid
In Business Process Change, A Guide for Business Managers and BPM and Six Sigma Profesionals (2007), Paul Harmon says:
"Companies undrtake process change initiatives for a variety of reasons. Organizations that are new to process work usually start by deciding to improve a specific business process. More experienced companies usually have some kind of corporate business process architecture and a BPM group assigned to consider all possible process change initiatives, to prioritize interventions, to coordinate efforts, and to document results. Organizations that have more sophistication usually support a number of ongoing activities that are managed at the enterprise level. These initiatives include the maintenance of a corporate business process architecture, the ongoing measurement and analysis of process performance, and some kind of corporate process management. These activities are not, typically projects, but ongoing managerial processes performed to support executive decision-making efforts and to define specific process change opportunities.

At the same time, these organizations normally undertake a variety of specific projects to create, redesign or improve specific business processes. These projects are usually managed by divisional or department managers. These are process level concerns.


Allied to the projects at the process level, but at a further remove, are more specific projects undertaken to acquire and install new software applications or to create new training courses that will actually implement changes defined at the process level.


One of the major insights we’ve drawn from studying a wide variety of business process efforts during the past three years is that it is very useful to distinguish between the various levels of concern. Projects or activities at different levels require different participants, different methodologies, and different types of support. We illustrate these three different levels of concern with the business process pyramid.”


 (Source: Harmon, BPTrends)


What is the State of Business Process Managment?
(Not much has changed in the latest 2009 survey.)
In 2006 BPTrends undertook a survey of its reads to determine what companies were doing to support business process change. “The responses were consistent with lots of other data about why companies undertake business process projects. In bad times companies seek to make processes more efficient to save money. In expansive times, companies seek to redesign processes to make them more competitive, to offer new services, or to get into new lines of business. Or they acquire companies and have to integrate the processes used at the two different organizations. In addition, especially during expansive periods, companies look to see if they can gain a competitive advantage by incorporating a new technology.”


“The fourth major reason for undertaking business process change is perhaps the most interesting, and ultimately the most revolutionary. A growing number of leading companies have begun to believe that a corporate-wide focus provides a superior way of managing the company.  These companies tend to be in industries that are undergoing rapid, extensive changes. Their senior executives have concluded that they need the insights and the agility provided by a process-oriented approach to management in order to respond quickly and effectively. These are the organizations that are making major commitments to develop enterprise-level business process tools and management systems to assure that they have aligned all their business resources and functions to their value chains and can manage those processes in something close to real time.”

“In the nineties, most organizations were focused on business process redesign or reengineering projects. Leading companies focused on processes that cut across departmental or functional lines, but most companies concentrated on redesigning processes within specific departments or functional units. At the same time, Six Sigma was popular in manufacturing organizations for process improvement efforts. Toward the end of the nineties, standard or off-the-shelf software applications (ERP, CRM) became a popular way to standardize processes and reporting systems. In the past six years, all of these process change strategies have continued to be popular. Today, however, leading companies are putting more emphasis on developing enterprise-wide business process architectures and corporate performance management systems. They seek to standardize specific process throughout their divisions and subsidiary organizations to assure that the same ERP or CRM modules can be used throughout the corporation and they seek to understand their corporate value chains to assure regulatory compliance. At the same time, there is a major emphasis on installing new software automation technologies – usually termed Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) – to automate the day-to-day control of processes and to provide real-time performance data for senior management.”

Changes In Focus at Leading Companies
(adapted from Business Process Change, A Guide for Business Managers and BPM and Six Sigma Profesionals (2007))
(Source: Harmon, BPTrends)

 Some Key Ideas and Groups that are Part of the BPM Movement
(adapted from Business Process Change, A Guide for Business Managers and BPM and Six Sigma Profesionals (2007))
Most of the technologies listed continue to evolve. None of them are confined to a single tradition. For example, Lean Six Sigma is focused on process improvement but also supports process managment and process redesign initiatives.
(Source: Harmon, BPTrends)

(Source: Harmon, BPTrends)
Variety of Solutions

Process improvement refers to relatively minor, specific changes that one makes in an existing business process. Every manager responsible for a process should always be considering process improvements. In addition, on occasion, special process improvement efforts are required to get everyone focused on improving a specific process. Six Sigma and Lean are popular approaches to process improvement.


Process design or redesign refers to a major effort that is undertaken to significantly improve an existing process or to create a new business process. Process redesign consider every aspect of a process and often results in changes in the sequence in which the process is done, in employee jobs, and in the introduction of automation. Business Process Reengineering, the BPTrends Process Redesign methodology, and the Supply Chain Council’s SCOT methodology are all good examples of popular approaches to process redesign.


Process automation refers to the use of computers and software applications to assist employees or to replace employees in the performance of a business process. The use of BPMS tools, workflow systems, or XML business process language are ways to automate the management of processes or activities.

Adapted from BPTrends
 Process Migration Strategy
Adapted from Process Renewal Group
Clipper Performance Solutions
It's All About Alignment.®