In today's high-stakes business environment, firms are recognizing that they must satisfy a wide range of stakeholder demands:
- Customers want useful, innovative products and services that create satisfaction
- Shareholders and owners want efficient and well-managed operations that keep costs down and maximize profits
- Employees want satisfying work
- Society wants companies to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements
To meet these demands, successful companies have learned that a functional approach to operations – that is, one that organizes a firm according to specific roles, such as finance and marketing – no longer achieves the results they desire.
Instead, they first consider their objectives, then take steps to achieve them through their business processes. Business processes consist of the tasks, resources, and behaviors that produce value for an organization. Digital workflow, which defines, executes, automates, and streams jobs, information, and documents from one worker to another, is at the core of most efficient business processes today. Ideally, each business process measurably helps a firm accomplish its mission and contributes to its success.
Many companies take a comprehensive approach to business processes through business process management (BPM). BPM is the discipline and tool set for improving a business process through design, development, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance. Typically, firms use a software suite to plan, organize and control all the process activities that they undertake.