2014-01-26

Definition of #BPM and related terms, again

This post is prepared to the LinkedIn discussion "Definition of BPM" http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=70120&type=member&item=5812680199795388416 which is aimed to prepare a stand-alone definition of Business Process Management (BPM). See also http://social-biz.org/2014/01/02/bpm-definitions/

For me, before talking about a stand-alone definition, let us agree on some basics. Below,  the several terms, related to BPM, are defined.  The definition of a term is in bold; other occurrences are in italic

Discipline is a coherent set of governing rules .

Business activity is a unit of work. Individual business activities are interrelated. The relationships between business activities are static (expressed as structure) and dynamic (expressed as behaviour).

Enterprise functioning can be considered as business activity flows spanning the applications, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the boundaries of the enterprise.

Business process is an explicitly-defined coordination for guiding the purposeful enactment of business activity flows.
Note: In other words, a business process is an agreed plan (to follow some activities) and its enactment; the plan may include some variants and will possibly allow for some changes during its enactment.

Process template is an abstract description of a process.

Process instance is an enactment of a process template.

Relationships between process template and process instance are described in http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2010/12/illustrations-for-bpm-acm-case.html

Management discipline is a discipline for the better management of the enterprise functioning in support of the enterprise goals.

Process-based management discipline (TQM/QMS, BPR, TPS, 6Sigma, BPM, etc.) is a management discipline which exploit the concept of “business processes”.
Note: They are also called process-based management disciplines.

Business process management (BPM) is a process-based management discipline for the use of any meaningful combination of modeling, automation/implementation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business processes.

Note 1:
"Meaningful" is an operative word, because execution of business processes differentiates BPM from other process-based disciplines.

Note 2: 
How BPM is differ from other process-based management disciplines? BPM considers all 6 functions (modelling, automation/implementation, execution, control, measurement and optimization) holistically, although they can be distributed in space (e.g. for different divisions of an enterprise) and in time (e.g. optimization based on process feedback). For example: 
  • Classic workflow – model, automate, execute, control (primarily by monitoring) 
  • TQM/QMS – model, control, optimise (primarily, with corrective actions) 
  • BPR – model 
  • TPS – everything is potentially in place, but rather implicit 
  • 6Sigma – measure, optimise 
  • Case management – execute, control 
Note 3:
This definition covers all spectrum from “fixed” to “chaotic” processes.  For example,
  • A general plan is agreed and details are for the choice of performer = project (see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2014/01/is-project-management-bpm-application.html ).
  • A general plan does not exist, but there are standard procedures = case
  • All pre-defined and fixed = classic workflows
  • All pre-defined and changes are possible if justified = some old workflow systems allowed changed but not friendly to users
  • Nothing is ever defined = process to be mined
Imagine having all of this in one box, like a gear box - lower transmission -> more manoeuvrability 

A possible stand-alone definition of BPM can be as the following (WHY it is need, HOW it is done, WHAT is used):
Business Process Management (BPM) is coherent set of governing rules to better management of the enterprise functioning in support of the enterprise goals for the use of any meaningful combination of modeling, automation/implementation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of explicitly-defined coordination for guiding the enactment of business activity flows spanning the applications, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the boundaries of the enterprise

A variant with the direct substitution:

Business process management (BPM) is < a coherent set of governing rules> for the use of any combination of modeling, automation/implementation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business processes.


Thanks,
AS

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