What’s BPM? And what is new about it?

These two questions are often raised at our clients, even sometimes my own colleagues wonder about this. (imagine how this is on the board level of companies). I will this by using the explanation (and model) of Johan Nelis, one of the two authors of the highly valued book ‘Business Process Management: Practical Guidelines to Successful Implementations’ , who visited our company and shared his insights last month. (see also for a good summary BPtrends)

BPM combines two different expertise field, namely Business Process Improvement (BPI) and management of business processes. In short BPI focuses on designing and implementing new business processes. This field has been around for many years and has increased highly in professionalism. Unfortunately the effect of a great process design has it’s limits. For example we all know many examples where new processes were designed, but even if these were implemented (which is often not the case), were not improved during the years to come.

This is where the management of business processes fits in. One of the aspects is of this is creating an organization which continuously improves it’s processes. This is where the term governance is an essential (with roles such as process owners/stewards and process administrators), but also changing the attitudes of people towards process thinking. And of course the management of business processes also focus on measuring and acting on process information.

So BPM combines management of business processes and BPI to increase and embed the impact of the process on the performance of the organisation.

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