BPM Essentials: API, Knowledge Management and Adaptability.
One reason some businesses opt to stick with their legacy software systems despite the pressing need to innovate is duplication of effort. Outlook, SharePoint, CRM – these are just three of the common software implementations some businesses can’t live without. While these undoubtedly have their merits, they may not always be enough to address evolving business and customer needs, especially given the speed at which changes now occur.
Business process management and adaptability
BPM or business process management (the discipline) has been around for decades. It has been called several different names – business process reengineering, workflow automation, work simplification, among others, but at the core, the primary objective remains the same: to increase profitability through continuous business process improvement.
Commercially off-the-shelf software vs. adaptive BPM software
There are commercially off-the-shelf BPM solutions, like standard HR and finance systems based off of industry best practices. And then there’s BPM software that’s adaptive, meaning, software equipped with ready-made workflows and templates that can be configured (even without previous programming experience) to coincide with specific or on-the-fly business process requirements.
When the old meets the new
One characteristic of an adaptive BPM software is integration with third-party software through application programming interfaces or APIs. This is when your legacy databases and processes meet responsive data management.
CRM, SharePoint and Outlook have their loyal customer following, so that when time comes to change business tack, some companies are met with considerable setbacks, not the least of which is the possibility of delayed projects or unmet deadlines to make way for training and calibration, which can result in revenue loss and missed opportunities.
When a business migrates to a totally different BPM platform, aside from chunks of data that would need to be re-entered into the system, depending on the complexity of the software’s interface, it may take time for your staff to develop some level of comfort with it. With APIs, aside from the added benefit of reusing your data and keeping your legacy software infrastructure intact, you learn new applications using familiar user interfaces.
Knowledge sharing and management
Deployment of the right BPM software comes with a score of advantages – rapid implementation of business processes from conception to completion, business performance that’s faster, better and cheaper, and perhaps more importantly, critical and innovative business process knowledge becomes available not just to a select few but the entire user base.
As has been manifested time and time again, knowledge is a valuable intangible business asset that creates and sustains market relevance and competitive advantage.
In business, staying relevant means being able to respond to customer and market changes at the pace at which they happen.
While having an efficient business process and knowledge management platform that retains your freedom to use third-party systems that are similarly beneficial to your organization greatly helps, keep in mind that BPM software implementation, first and foremost, calls for a thorough understanding of your processes and how they align with your business needs. This, along with novel approaches to process management and implementation, allows your company to design a sustainable business process improvement program.