Many businesses that use business process management software (BMPS) tools do not use them to their best advantage. Financial software, like any tool, is only as good as the person using it. Companies can have great business software and great systems infrastructure, but if your employees are using the systems correctly or not according to company procedures, then your business will not operate at maximum efficiency. The key to utilizing business systems and business process management software is to make sure that your employees are properly trained.
Another key to maximizing operating performance is by automating processes, especially those that directly affect cash flow. Some small businesses have policies and procedures in place like processing expense reports or issuing customer returns. The challenges in automating these types of financial procedures are related to enforcement and accountability. It is dealing with these types of issues that motivate some businesses to implement business process management software.
Business Process Management
Business process management software is a collection of tools that allow the user to develop custom applications, without the need for a programmer, to support already established business processes. Originally designed to standardize manufacturing practices, business process management software is now used to support procedures in finance, human resources, and product management. Business process management software allows you to standardize any business process by doing the following: mapping out the process steps, documenting the steps involved, defining the decisions and actions required, defining each role in the process, and assigning specific activities to a particular job category or employee. The beauty of business process management software is that you can make the applications you design as complicated or simple as you want, whatever makes sense for your business. For example, the over the phone application process for home mortgage can be fully automated or can be designed to allow employees to enter a customer’s info straight into an accounting platform like Quickbooks.
Improving Existing Systems
Business process management software can be applied to any type of financial procedure including purchasing, order entry, refunds, customer credit, collections, or accounting. Any part of the business that can be improved or modified to prevent, mistakes, lost revenue, or increased expenses, can benefit from business process management. The following are other benefits that can be expected by the correct implementation of BMPS:
• Speed: Procedures run at the ultimate speed. Processes do not stop because an employee has to ask a question or remember how to do a task.
• Efficiency: All steps in a procedure are completed because they are not employee managed but automated by the system.
• Accuracy: Procedures are insulated from human error.
• Compliance: Automated procedures will not deviate from company requirements or regulatory compliance.
• Monitoring: The system tracks all processes, any decisions that are made, and who made them. Employees must be sure to identify and system breakdowns or potential areas of improvement.
Most business management software solutions are designed to integrate with a company’s other business tools like CRM, sales management, and email. Most products will come with templates that integrate with other major business systems. Consultants are usually available to help you modify these templates and help your business get the most out of your business management software.
There are several noteworthy companies that compete in the business process management software market. One company Appian caters to relatively large enterprise clients. There are others products like Vacava, RapidBiz, Intalio BPM Business Edition, and ProcessMaker that are designed for smaller businesses, even those without in-house IT departments.
Regardless of size, most businesses can benefit from some type of business process management. Implementing a business process management solution does not have to be large financial investment. Business owners can start small and look to enhance those business processes that have the greatest direct affect on revenues or costs. Solutions like ProcessMaker and Intalio BMP cost as little as $30 per user per month. What is important than cost of a solution is the benefit or return that can be achieved for the financial investment. To determine the impact of the potential benefit, business owners must review their operations with an eye on those business processes that are being employed inefficiently but can be maximized through automation and process enhancement. It is every owner’s duty to continuously monitor operating efficiency and find the solutions that will lead to achieving long term business goals.