When I for the first time faced BPMS, I also had all listed above questions. I far understood not at once why the new tool why it is impossible to implement all business processes, necessary for successful work, in already available systems of accounting or CRM, and in what fundamental difference of BPMS from other options of automation of business processes is necessary.
In this article I want to tell about what is BPMS systems why they are necessary and what process approach differs from traditional methods of work in. I will not speak about technical aspects of BPMS (about modeling and development of business processes), the following article will be devoted to it. Now I will try to reveal entity and sense of BPMS the most simple and clear language:
What is BPMS?
BPMS — one more abbreviation from discharge of ERP, CRM which has no accurate determination. Though there is a lot of determinations: both foreign, and Russian. Besides, the companies which let out own BPM systems also give the, special definitions that enters additional confusion. Besides quite often BPMS integrate with other systems (for example, BPMS+CRM, BPMS+ERP) and then developers give definition of BPM system, proceeding already from this context.
But to understand that it actually BPMS and what their features consist in, it is necessary to understand at first, that such BPM.
BPM (English Business Process Management, business process management) — the concept of process management of the organization considering business processes as the special resources of the enterprise which are continuously adapted to permanent changes, and relying on such principles as clearness and visibility of business processes in the organization due to business process modeling with use of formal notations, uses of the software of modeling, simulation, monitoring and the analysis of business processes, a possibility of dynamic evolution of business process models by forces of participants and means of program systems.
BPMS (English Business Process Management System) is first of all the software for support of the concept of BPM in the company. BPMS systems are necessary to implement the concept of BPM in software environment.
BPMS considers a company performance as a set of processes, but not as feature set. Object of BPM system is not work of sales department or purchases, but sale process, process of a customer support, process of management of supply, etc. And already proceeding from this understanding, work on business process reengineering in BPMS is based.
VRM-sistema is directed, mainly, to improvement of a company performance, to more profitable activity of the enterprise by optimization and control of business processes.
Work of users in BPMS and other systems
For the best understanding of an essence of BPMS, it is necessary to understand how ordinary systems (ERP systems, CRM) approach work of users. For example, the user needs to make the order of the client. What its actions?
The user can fill in the document randomly if the sequence of its work is not programmed:
- Can open at first an order form, pick up goods, specify the prices, then define the client.
- Can create at first the client, then — its order.
In a word, in actions of the user there is a variability, i.e. the employee, proceeding from a situation, can select own options of action.
The BPM system considers the user as one more brick in system. The person has to know accurately in what process he works and what it has to do.
Employees in BPM system are considered not from the point of view of result of process, and from the point of view of action execution. Variability of action of the user is excluded here. The employee does only what is programmed in system, neither it is more, nor it is less.
Methods of implementation of business processes
BPMS is one of business process implementation methods. Let's consider what methods are provided in realities of the Russian business for understanding why the BPM system is necessary.
Let's select three approaches:
- "Paper" approach;
- The automated approach (using other systems);
- Process approach in the BPMS system.
For an example we will take business process of approval of the invoice for payment as it rather simple and visual.
In my practice there was such case: the client to me paid completely the bill though he at that time has to were enter only part of payment in the amount of 50%. Why it occurred?
Because they in the company had no procedure of approval of the account. We learned with the director of the company about it absolutely accidentally. I learned that in their company at a stage of approval of the account there are periodic failures, and the director with surprise found out that he paid not 50% of the bill as he planned, and at once 100%.
Why so it happened? Everything is simple. Worked, so-called, "chinese whispers". The specialist brought about accounts department the bill for payment with the phrase "It is necessary to pay 50% of the sum". The accountant specified at the head, to pay this bill or not. The head, having been sure that it is about 50% of the sum, confirmed payment. And the accountant, in turn, forgot that it was aloud told about a half of the sum, and understood the head so that it is necessary to pay all bill. As it was made.
On the example of this company and this business process we will also consider all three approaches.
The "paper" (not automated) approach
How there was an approval of the account in this company earlier?
- The employee receives the account, transfers him to accounts department;
- The accounts department enters the account in the pay-sheet, approves it with the head;
- If the head approves and signs request, the accounts department pays the bill.
Than this approach is bad? Here borders of transition of zones of responsibility between stages are blurred. In case of misunderstanding and not timely payment or a non-payment of the account employees shift fault at each other, and it is impossible to find responsible as a result.
The automated approach
As a rule, the companies try to control this or that business process in accounting system in which they already work. But it is also wrong. Let's consider what minuses are at such option.
As additional resources for implementation of business processes in the company which I give in an example were not selected, we used those tools which already were at the enterprise, to be exact, accounting system.
The task consisted in that in need of payment of account the employee, the payment amount passed through certain stages of approval.
As it looked:
- In system responsible persons for approval of expenses are designated;
- On the basis of any document (the order to the supplier, receipts of goods or other document) the document the Request for a funds expenditure in the status is created it is not approved;
- If responsible approved the request and changed the status on Is approved, then the account went to accounts department;
- If the status was put It is rejected, so the request left back to the person initiating process.
In this company the CEO, and here is responsible for approval of expenses that it was necessary to make that he could execute the functions under approval:
- to create access to system;
- to train in work with necessary documents;
- to configure the interface for usability;
- to configure access rights.
At the same time in accounting system it was necessary to fill in a lot of excess information for creation and approval of the request: recipient's settlement account and home company, partner, item of expenditure, article of cash flow, basis, etc. All this information, actually, is not necessary to the CEO for decision-making, but, nevertheless, the employee sending the request needs to fill it.
Only 3 moments in this case are interesting to decision-making:
- money (how many we have to pay);
- the receiver (to whom we have to pay);
- assignment (what we pay for).
And, so filling in excess information, the employee wastes time, and process of approval is dragged out.
Besides, such implementations of approval in accounting system it is rather primitive and does not assume variability (for example, separation of zones of responsibility depending on the sum of the document or the item of expenditure).
In BPM system, after all, process of approval, but not reflection of information is important for future reporting, etc. Here it is simple to eat people for whom it is necessary, proceeding from information context, to quickly perform process.
So, the main differences of conducting business processes in BPMS from accounting system:
- In BPMS what becomes is important. Here not accounting information, not the reporting, and need to quickly make a decision that business process progressed further is important. With accounting system so it will not turn out, here we have to specify what documents at the expense of what are created, etc. — it are inconvenient. There is no accurate context.
- Simplicity of logic and development. If we conduct business process in accounting system, then have to consider a large number of logical communications: as are posted, transactions what it influences what additional licenses should be bought, etc. — though, apparently, the person, responsible for approval, does not need it. But in accounting system we shall become attached to objects of a configuration or finish them that is not really correct.
Here is how time for this purpose BPM systems in which all logic is directed not to calculations, not to data storage, and to fast execution of process and its control were also created.
Now we will pass to the third approach and we will consider how this business process in the BPMS system has to be solved.
Process approach in BPMS
At first we define logic of work and we break business process into consecutive stages.
In our example them will be three:
- Creation of the request for approval of the account;
- Verification of the request;
- Result of the request:
- if it is approved — printout of the request,
- if it is not approved — to report about it to the supplier
Further we project conditions at what events or attributes there are these or those actions (for example, it is possible to reflect dependence of the account, responsible from the sum, if at the enterprise the different sums are approved by different employees; or sending notifications at this or that stage of work).
In system each user works under the login and the password and sees only the form and the place in business process. In our example for creation of the request the responsible, and for check and approval — the head, and each of them sees only the forms, the tasks and can perform only the operations.
Respectively, if the employee who created the request clicked transition to the following stage, then responsibility is relieved from it and passes to the head who has to check the request. It we try to obtain separation and control of zones of responsibility.
On this example it is visually visible that, in BPM systems everything depends on a context. All interactions of forms are directed to that the user saw only that also only the fact that it is necessary for him at a specific stage, proceeding from a process context is necessary.
If other systems are directed to that operation was executed, in BPMS we are concentrated on actions.
The BPM system can be compared to the Japanese equipment of archery of Yumi. At schools of firing from a yuma preach the following approach: if you want to get, it is not necessary to concentrate on the purposes, it is necessary to do correctly each action now. I.e. here the principle which is applied in the Japanese archery of Yumi which is already mentioned by me is used: concentrate on each action, at each stage, qualitatively perform each operation. And then you will surely come to the purpose!.
And if to transfer such approach to the specific enterprise, each of employees has to do what is necessary. And to concentrate only on it. The employee should not think of the purpose, he has to do only what is necessary at the specific moment.
In fact, in BPMS system each employee works as though, on the pipeline. Each task, each business process in which the employee participates becomes the separate pipeline line. And, as the participant of this process, the employee within this or that task can perform only certain operations which are strictly limited to algorithm of execution of a task.
Of course, comparison it not absolutely exact, the employee can select what of business processes he will process now and what — later. I.e. till a certain moment it is over processes, and can select what of pipeline branches it will join time at present. But within a certain business process he becomes the participant of the conveyer belt in which processes impose tough restrictions for each of participants.
Let's return for example with approval of the account, and we will consider what opportunities are at process approach:
- Separation of zones of responsibility;
- Concentration of work of employees on specific actions;
- The notification of users about changes in processes (or about need to make changes) in which they participate.
In BPM system we describe business process in the notation of BPMN 2.0. In this notation there are already many moments prompting as it is necessary to configure this or that business process. There are other different systems of automation of business processes, but they rely on the logic which is not conventional. To simulate business process on the basis of such systems, it is necessary to understand, understand their logic of work, setup of forms and interrelations in these systems.
BPMN 2.0 is a conventional standard of the description of business process and the people familiar with this notation, will understand the business process model written in this format at once.
So, I hope that I managed to clear up a question what is BPM system and why it is necessary by comparison of process approach with other options of work. I will show in the following article how technically there is a modeling and execution of business process on the example of specific system.
Yours faithfully, Ramil Kinzyabulatov.
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