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This paper addresses Business Process Automation (BPA), business process improvement (BPI) and business process reengineering (BPR) as some of the techniques used in business process management. BPA involves automating analyzing and automating the processes within the business. This helps improve performance and scale up repeatability of tasks. BPI is concerned with the improvement of the entire processes in business so that the physical and quality attribute of the product may appeal to the customers. BPR results to changes in the business structure of the entire human, technological and organization aspect of the business processes. It facilitate a customer oriented, efficient and effective business organization.
Business environment is ever-changing and the management’s biggest challenge is to constantly change the business processes in order to adapt to the environment. Business process is always aimed at achieving a particular organizational goal. Business process management (BPM) refers to a systematic advance that ensures that the organization’s workflow is more efficient and effective. Additionally, BPM has a great potential in lowering the human errors and, hence, facilitates the stewardship entrusted on management by the shareholders. Business process automation, business improvement and business reengineering are among the BPM techniques that businesses used to employ on a large scale.
Business process automation (BPA) involves documenting, analyzing, optimizing and automating the processes within businesses. It focuses on the business process information flows, which begin with the contact with the potential customers and flows through the delivery system to the finished product. Automation of the services helps in improving performance and scaling up the repeatability of the value-addition task performance (Jeston & Nelis 2006).
In modern business operation, BPA has been used as a way of containing the rising costs of running business. It is normally marked by the existence of many software applications that are utilized to link various software packages through integration. This streamlines the operations of the organization. However, some BPA software tools are tailor-made to link wider software packages in large organizations.
The basis of widespread BPA adoption, especially in the service industry, emanates from the increased demand for services, which has placed pressure on management in order to increase the labor demand. A better alternative has always been to adopt BPA, which lowers the required manual labor, and, hence, saves time and costs. Due to the increased demand for BPA tools, a multitude of BPA services providers have cropped up, making use of these services accessible to any business in need.
A major tool used in BPA is Optical Character Recognition that helps in capturing printed pieces of text within the scanned documents. Other tools include software such as CRM, SCM and ERP are used in queuing jobs, assigning them and tracking results. As such, business decision-making is conducted in time and, hence, relevant to the circumstances (Aalst et al. 2000).
In the modern market, consumers are now becoming more cautious on what they consume. Unlike before, they are not only interested in the physical attributes of the products available, but also in their qualities. This extends to the process through which the products are crafted. They are more concerned with processes that meet and exceed their expectations. Business process improvement (BPI) has, for that reason, become an essential attribute that should draw substantial attention from the management. It helps guarantee success for the business (Klassen & Menor 2006).
A common tool on top of Lean and Six Sigma is the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. It is intended to provide a framework within which the organization is able to focus on strategy-driven operations. This way, management is able to address main decisions, both long- and short-term, which ensures sustainability of the business in the dynamic environment.
Business improvement touches on all areas: leadership, customers, workforce, strategic planning, process management, measurement, and analysis and knowledge management. When these essentials are aligned and integrated, they provide a framework for continuous business improvement. The tools applied are aimed at eliciting responses that may help identify linkages and other opportunities that may assist in improving essential success for future business.
BPI aims at lowering costs. In addition, management has to come up with a list of weak spots. By identifying such areas, it becomes easier for the management to deliberate on them and improve the business. Business improvement also depends on the organization goal set. This provides a self-assessment framework, which helps to point out the improvements that are necessary if the goals have to be met. Key employees, involved in the process, are also equipped with the necessary skills to help achieve the goals.
In Business Process Reengineering (BPR), changes are made in both the processes and the structures of the business. The entire human, technological and organization aspects of the business may be changed in this process. Information technology forms an integral component in the BPR. It helps in flexibility and enables operation of business in diverse geographical areas. In addition, IT facilitates paperless and rapid transactions and fast delivery to clients.
The need for the BPR has resulted from globalization and market liberalization. The global market is characterized by high instability and competitive business environment. Competition is conducted through prices, selection, promptness and quality service delivery. The situation has been compounded by removing the trade barriers through trade integration. This imposes the need for business transformation in which business climate, process and business structures are changed.
BPR places substantial focus on the team building activities around processes that divert the company’s mentality towards the personnel. This is aimed at ensuring a customer oriented efficiency and effective business organization. This is based on the fact that customers retain the authority to choose among the various alternatives, which, in most cases, are tied to the experience perceived (Hlupic 2003).
Among the tools used in BPR includes the Apache. It facilitates information collection that with pictorial languages. The approaches used include mapping and analyzing the processes. Bonapart is a tool help document, analyze and display corporate structure including optimization of the stored structure. Caddie help support the representation of the organization knowledge for modeling and also helps in analysis of the business strategies and gaming in business. Managers use Ithink as a tool for graphical simulation. It facilitates exhibition of behavior and system dynamics on a computer screen.
Business process automation, business improvement and business process reengineering have much in common. Firstly, they all result from similar cruxes. The all aim at providing higher satisfaction to the customer, whose demand has become more specific with improved access to information. The different techniques have been highly used in the recent past because of increased competition. To stay ahead of competition, organizations have been reassessing the various alternatives to improve the quality, delivery and scope. Other causes have been the government oversights through the changing rules and regulations.
However, the objectives in the three techniques differ in the extent to which the existing process are altered. For the business process automation, there are no substancial modifications to the business processes. Computer take over some activities without much changes in how things are done. In case of BPI, some process modification and evaluation take place. Some moderate alterations are made. For the BPR, major are done to the existing processes. This changes how things are conducted in the business area.
There is a widespread use of BPI. This is because there are many small approaches through which business processes can be improved than automated. BPR is perceived to be more risky. BPR or combination of BPR and BPI has been used in many organizations to bring about major system transformations in the firm.