3 June 2016

Business Processes for Business

Automation of business process is a tool, which has to be convenient for business in the first place. Its goal is to simplify work, provide control functions and improve the company’s performance. ELMA BPM is an example of such a solution.

There are two ways of working with business processes:

  1. Develop policies
    Description of an operational process, job descriptions and so on.
  2. Automate processes
    IT systems, which make sure that employees complete their tasks according to the policies. Among such systems are niche IT tools for specific tasks and special IT system for automating business processes (BPMS).

Note, that BPM systems are not tools of a higher level, which work for anything. Each company needs its own way of working with business processes.

Some tasks are better to be solved with regulations. Simple operational processes of small businesses hardly need automation. Moreover, automation in a small company will not prove profitable, considering the money spent on it. A system can become too cumbersome, if it is used to automate the main business process in a large company. In this case, it is better to use several systems with different functions, and leave some processes unautomated.

BPM systems, in their turn, have some serious advantages. Out of all IT solutions, these systems are the most convenient for the end users.

Advantages of ВPMS

As opposed to IT solutions for business automation, BPM systems have the following advantages:

  • Business-user-friendly
    For example, ELMA BPM users can model processes as diagrams (BPMN 2.0). For this purpose, ELMA provides a special application – ELMA Designer. The BPMN diagram elements are familiar to business analysts and managers. You can model processes without any programming skills.

    Business process diagram

  • Implementation speed
    Once the process diagram is designed, you have to set up the work at each process step. Define, what information an employee will receive, which actions they will complete and what will be the result, so that the next process participant could start executing their tasks. After that, the process is saved in the system and you can start using it. You can continuously improve and automate business processes of your company.
    Automating multiple processes at the same time requires a lot of time and resources, while BPM systems solve this task step by step. In practice, it shortens the time from the idea to automate a business process, to putting it in action. Moreover, BPMS developers offer ready-to-use solutions for automation of some business processes. Users of ELMA BPM can find and download a process in ELMA Store, which offers free and paid solutions.
  • Complexity
    It is hard to imagine a company that works within a single business process. Even a smallest company has tens of supporting processes, apart from the main business process. A BPM system can automate each of them.
    Within one platform, you can automate both related and isolated business processes, whose participants do not interact with each other.

A question comes to mind: If BPM systems have so many advantages, why not every company uses them. Many companies apply ERP, electronic document management and other solutions. Some companies do not even resort to process management.

One of the reasons for that is many companies have not yet realized the necessity of the business process approach. On the other hand, many companies are accustomed to use the same IT solutions all the time, and prefer to upgrade them, instead of implementing new ones. Companies are concerned that it is going to be difficult, expensive and long. Sometimes they simply do not know, which process to start with.

Example of implementing a BPMS in a production company

Let us try to debunk the concerns that BPMS implementation is complicated and expensive. As an example, we will take a furniture production company, which chose ELMA BPM to automate the process of handling reclamation requests. This process is common for any firm.

The company’s management had to deal with improper handling of customers’ dissatisfaction with quality, packaging, delivery and other things. Unresolved reclamation requests were accumulating, and the management received them, when the customers were seriously unhappy.

The first and the most important step in resolving this issue was in realizing, that handling a reclamation from receiving it to satisfying the client is a single business process. This process is important, since reputation and finances depend on it. But how to automate it?

You can assign this task to the IT department. At first sight, it is more profitable, than buying specialized systems. Most likely, the head of the IT department will not be happy about such a task. He or she will ask to create technical requirements, which describe the desired result. That is the first concern – it is complicated. A company’s director and an IT specialist think differently. There will be numerous meetings, many specialists will be involved and a lot of time will be spent. Therefore, it will be expensive. In the end, after long development, it may turn out, that some requirements have changed and the developed program is of no use to the company today.

Many refrain from automating business processes because they are afraid of possible difficulties, ignoring the necessity and benefits of automation. Some create new regulations for employees, establish penalties for improper handling of reclamation requests, but usually it does not produce any effect.

The director of the furniture production company chose another way – to automate the business process with a BPM system.

The process of handling a reclamation was modeled and configured in ELMA Designer. All the details of the process were set up and executors were assigned to each task.

Business process diagram

That simple. One tool was used to design the process as it is supposed to be and automate its execution. BPMS solves the problems with long-term and expensive automation instead of making them more complicated.

Reasons to Use BPMS

One should find a suitable solution for each business process in each particular company.

ELMA specialists often provide consulting services to companies, who are thinking about automating business processes and considering available options. We recommend choosing BPMS, if:

  • The process involves many employees
    If a business process has many participants, it may have many bottlenecks. Usually, when tasks are handed over from one executor to another, information losses, delays and misunderstandings take place.
  • The process can evolve
    Business operates in the environment of change. BPMS is perfect for automating those business processes, which evolve, expand and develop along with market conditions.
  • You need the process to be clear and controllable
    BPM systems allow you to find problematic parts of the process, so that you could quickly improve it.


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Alexander Khodyrev
Localization Specialist