Business Process Management vs. Digital Process Automation

Business Process Management vs. Digital Process Automation

In 2017 Forrester Research, one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world, released their Digital Process Automation Wave report. This, I believe, is what begun the evolution of Business Process Management (BPM) to Digital Process Automation (DPA).

As software vendors feel the need to embrace new tech innovations and trends to keep up with changing business and customer demands, many have made the shift from BPM to DPA in their offerings, or at least have started to incorporate a blend of the two. According to the Forrester Wave report,

“In order to facilitate digital transformation, businesses need to leverage DPA, while it offers traditional BPM capabilities, focusing on cost reduction and compliance and handling complex, long-running processes, it also supports large numbers of rapid, business-driven applications, focusing on customer outcomes.”

It’s true DPA is an important subset of the traditional BPM category, but what’s driving this shift in tech is the growing need for business to automate processes as a part of wider digital transformation initiatives. BPM technology is solely focused on building, operating and automating important business processes driven by data and human decisions, but lacks the digital transformation initiative.

A key benefit of DPA tech is that it’s able to enable more agile operations within organizations with lower costs and with a more customer-focused. DPA doesn’t have the need for a human element like BPM does, it merely allows the mechanical steps to be managed by an automated and intelligent process flow.

For years organizations have relied on BPM software to extend key processes, and in turn, BPM software has done that by streamlining important business processes and managing costs through its integration, monitoring, and tracking capabilities. But now, the focus has moved from managing costs to enhancing customer experience.

At their core, BPM solutions are designed for a more effective and agile work environment to produce greater efficiency and compliance throughout an organization. DPA goes beyond this by extending business processes to customers, suppliers, and partners so that organizations can provide better customer experience.

Forrester states, “As organizations undertake digital transformation efforts, an important realization emerges: process matters. Investments in beautifully designed web and mobile experiences won’t move the needle unless application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals ensure that the processes on the back-end align to support a true end-to-end customer experience.”

The need for digital transformation initiatives and improved customer experience are two prominent factors contributing to this shift of BPM to DPA. Luckily, DPA technology gives organizations the opportunity to become customer oriented, responsive, and more likely to take risks in product innovations as their operating models can be digitized and intelligent.

To make this shift from BPM to DPA, AD&D experts should be on the lookout for offerings that

  • allow simple tool/application building: to enable business change by rapid prototyping of no-code business solutions
  • have intuitive user interfaces: to encourage adoption
  • incorporate a focus on user experience: to drive business for its customers
  • allow for quick innovation: so no time or resources are wasted

Although BPM software has adopted other tech innovations like cloud, mobile and analytics, to meet the growing needs of businesses and customers, BPM now needs to evolve further. Most are calling this, the evolution of BPM.

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Elizabeth Quirk

Liz is a leading enterprise technology writer covering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Business Process Management (BPM) and Talent Management Suites (TMS) at Solutions Review. She writes to bridge the gap between consumer and technical expert to help readers understand what they're looking for. Liz attended Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications. You can reach her at equirk@solutionsreview.com
Elizabeth Quirk

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