What is Business Process Improvement (BPI)? – SearchCIO (2022)

What is Business Process Improvement (BPI)? – SearchCIO (1)

By

  • Mary K. Pratt

Business process improvement (BPI) is a practice in which enterprise leaders analyze their business processes to identify areas where they can improve accuracy, effectiveness and efficiency and then make changes within the processes to realize these improvements.

BPI works by identifying the operations, employee skills or enabling technologies that could be improved or added to encourage smoother procedures, more efficient workflow and overall business growth.

This process, also known as functional process improvement, is part of the broader management discipline of business process management.

The purpose of business process improvement

The primary objective of BPI is to continuously improve the performance of both the formal and informal processes within an organization. By engaging in business process improvement, organizations can identify bottlenecks, friction, inefficiencies and other problems within their processes and take corrective actions, which helps them to do the following:

  • cut costs;
  • eliminate redundant efforts;
  • ensure continued adherence to workflows and better compliance with rules and regulations;
  • improve quality of their products or services;
  • reduce errors; and
  • speed output.

Additionally, BPI techniques can help an enterprise meet customer demands and business goals more effectively. Business process improvement also creates value in its ability to help enterprises fine-tune how they operate to ensure they are positioned to compete in today's technology-driven business environment.

This article is part of

What is business process management? An in-depth BPM guide

  • Which also includes:
  • How to set business goals, step by step
  • 16 BPM best practices to ensure project success
  • 6 trends shaping the future of BPM

How does business process improvement work?

Business process improvement generally involves the following steps:

What is Business Process Improvement (BPI)? – SearchCIO (2)
  1. Identify what process needs to change. This is typically done through business process mapping or other visualization of the steps, activities and workflows within the process.
  2. Analyze the pain points. This step includes identifying bottlenecks, inefficiencies, redundancies and other pain points within the workflow by using visualization tools as well as input from stakeholders.
  3. Conduct a root cause analysis. This helps to determine a strategy for how best to improve or eliminate problem areas.
  4. Design and evaluate. This could entail streamlining activities, reskilling workers or adding new technology such as robotic process automation (RPA); this step should also include analyzing and testing the proposed solution to ensure it does not have unintended negative consequences.
  5. Implement the new process. Change management techniques can help ensure successful adoption of the new or revised activity or technology.
  6. Evaluate and quantify. Reviewing metrics helps to ensure process changes have taken place and to assess the outcome.

Business process improvement methodologies

Managers engaged in business process improvement typically use one or more of the following methodologies to work through the task:

  • Agile management. Coming from the world of software development, this approach brings cross-functional teams together to work in short production cycles called sprints to either improve or add technology features and functions as a way to enhance a business process.
  • Lean management. Rooted in manufacturing, and most notably with the carmaker Toyota, the focus of lean management is to reduce waste and use the fewest resources to achieve the end product; it also promotes continuous improvement and ways to increase efficiencies within a process. Lean encompasses the following:
    • Kaizen, an approach that calls for small, ongoing changes that build up to significant improvements;
    • 5S, a related checklist-based approach built on Japanese words typically translated as sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain;
    • plan-do-check-act, a model for testing, analyzing and improving; and
    • the Total Quality Management (TQM) framework.
  • Six Sigma. Also developed in the manufacturing industry, the Six Sigma methodology uses data and empirical and statistical tools to analyze deficiencies and drive improvements. Six Sigma adherents often use DMAIC -- define, measure, analyze, improve and control -- to study and optimize existing processes.
  • Theory of Constraints. This methodology enables managers to identify the most significant constraint currently blocking improvements or organizational objectives and then focus on improving processes until that constraint is no longer an obstacle.

In addition to these and other process improvement techniques, enterprise executives and managers typically use various tools to understand and gain visibility into their business process. Those tools include the following:

  • business process mapping;
  • kanban to manage and track work as it flows through a process; and
  • value stream mapping to record the repeatable steps in the process.

Business process improvement examples and use cases

Business process improvement typically delivers value by eliminating or improving bottlenecks, inefficiencies and redundancies within the entire process through workflow changes or the redeployment of resources – either people or technology. Broad examples of this include the following:

  • moving from paper to digital documentation to speed processing;
  • using automation to eliminate tedious, slow and error-prone manual work; and
  • the introduction of data analytics, machine learning, natural language processing or other intelligent technologies to boost speed, improve productivity and eliminate the use of superfluous resources.

Benefits and challenges of business process improvement

Each of the benefits of BPI is significant, but an enterprise with a strong BPI discipline can also improve the following with optimized processes:

  • customer service, customer experience and ultimately customer satisfaction;
  • worker experience; and
  • automation, innovation and intelligence to processes, all of which support continuous enterprise transformation.

Together, these can help boost an organization's ability to compete in the market.

There are, however, the following challenges to implementing a successful BPI program:

  • workers' resistance to change;
  • unplanned improvements are not aligned to business goals; and
  • lack of communication across the organization to relevant parties.

Business process improvement best practices

Best practices to follow for a strong BPI discipline within an organization include the following:

  • Ensure the organization has well-documented processes with good visibility into the workflows that make up those processes and all the positions, systems and data that support them.
  • Adopt a methodology for analyzing processes and identifying opportunities to improve them.
  • Commit adequate resources to support BPI as an ongoing exercise within the organization.
  • Solicit input and ideas from process stakeholders on possible areas of improvement.
  • Similarly, communicate improvement strategies to stakeholders to ensure buy-in.
  • Invest in adequate change management programs, including employee training, to ensure the successful implementation of improvement strategies.
  • Monitor results to ensure compliance with changed workflows within recently improved processes.
  • Establish metrics to measure the success of improvements.
  • Use those improvement metrics to gain executive support for additional BPI projects.
  • Incorporate the BPI discipline into an overall BPM practice.

Although workflow and BPM work together, they have very different functions. Learn what sets these two business processes apart.

This was last updated in April 2022

Continue Reading About business process improvement (BPI)

  • 9 top business process modeling techniques with examples
  • 7 business process management challenges and how to fix them
  • How to develop a business process in 8 steps
  • How to set business goals, step by step
  • 6 trends shaping the future of BPM

Related Terms

contingent workforce
A contingent workforce is a labor pool whose members are hired by an organization on an on-demand basis. Seecompletedefinition
initial public offering (IPO)
An initial public offering (IPO) is the event when a privately held organization initially offers stock shares in the company on ... Seecompletedefinition
product development (new product development -- NPD)
Product development, also called new product management, is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, ... Seecompletedefinition

Dig Deeper on CIO strategy

  • business process automation (BPA)By: GeorgeLawton
  • What is business process management? An in-depth BPM guideBy: LindaTucci
  • 17 top business process management tools for 2022By: DanMorris
  • business process reengineering (BPR)By: LindaTucci

FAQs

What is business process improvement? ›

Business process improvement (BPI) is a practice in which enterprise leaders analyze their business processes to identify areas where they can improve accuracy, effectiveness and efficiency and then make changes within the processes to realize these improvements.

What are the stages steps in the business process improvement BPI )? ›

BPI is carried out in 5 main steps: mapping, analysis, redesign, implementation, and monitoring. You can also use other BPI techniques like DMAIC, the 5 Whys, and PDCA.

Which of the following steps in the business process improvement BPI model would come first? ›

The first step in the BPI process is to identify the need for change. A useful way to discover improvement opportunities is by conducting a process audit.

What is BPI or BPR? ›

BPI vs BPR

Business process reengineering involves completely changing the process for an overall different result, which is the opposite of incremental business process improvement. BPR aims at changing the way a process works while BPI is tweaking an existing process to optimize it.

What is an example of business process improvement? ›

Business process change examples cover a wide range of operational improvements, such as: Speeding up cycle time. Improving product quality. Reducing costs.

What is BPI tool? ›

The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) rapidly assesses the severity of pain and its impact on functioning. The BPI has been translated into dozens of languages, and it is widely used in both research and clinical settings.

Why is business process improvement important? ›

Effective practices that support business process improvement can help remove inefficiencies and ultimately improve the productivity of team members. With tools for enhancing processes, organizations can evaluate performance metrics and evolve processes without restricting the way teams work.

What are the benefits of business process improvements? ›

Benefits of business process improvement
  • Productivity. Do everyday tasks like filling out forms and running reports confuse and frustrate your employees? ...
  • Employee satisfaction. ...
  • Reduced risk. ...
  • Compliance. ...
  • Customer satisfaction. ...
  • Agility. ...
  • Technology integration.
23 Apr 2018

Why do we need business process improvement? ›

Business process improvement helps to evaluate which organizational procedures and regulations add value to the company and help to steer it in the right direction. Improving business processes helps to support the current strategy, mission, vision, and goals, and eliminate those that don't support company culture.

What is the third phase of a business process improvement BPI effort? ›

1) Plan - an existing business process you want to improve, define its scope, and assemble your team. 2) Analyze: Closely examine the process you've identified as a candidate for improvement. 3) Redesign: Determine what changes you want to make to the target process.

What are the key steps in business process improvement? ›

Key Points

To improve a business process, follow these steps: Map the process. Analyze the process. Redesign the process.

What are the five stages of process improvement? ›

DMAIC is an acronym for the five-step cycle used for process improvements. These five steps are: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

What is BPR BPI BPM? ›

Business process modeling and business process improvement are different. A BPM project involves modeling, execution, monitoring, and improvement, while a BPI lifecycle involves modeling, monitoring, and improvement. The difference between the two lies in the execution step.

What is business process reengineering with example? ›

Business process reengineering examples: company selling commemorative cards. In a company that offers products such as Christmas, anniversary, commemorative cards, etc., renewing the stock and changing the design of the cards is constantly fundamental.

Is there a relationship in business process improvement BPI and business process management BPM? ›

What's the relationship between BPI and BPM (Business Process Management)? BPI is part of the broader concept of BPM or Business Process Management. This management discipline is used for mapping, analysis, execution, and transformation of processes (which are BPI), always in a continuous cycle.

How do you answer a process improvement question? ›

Explain the benefit to yourself and the company after the process improved. Use statistics if available, such as how much production increased. If you don't have specific statistics, share general information about how the improvement made the process more effective.

What is an example of process improvement? ›

One of the best examples of process improvement projects centers around waste. Specifically, if you can identify and eliminate areas of waste within your processes, you can save time and produce higher quality end results. One of the best ways to eliminate waste is to rely on Lean principles.

What are process improvement skills? ›

Process improvement skills refer to the ability to adopt a systematic approach in order to identify, analyze, and bring about improvement in the existing business processes for the purpose of optimization and meeting new quotas or quality standards.

What does BPI measure? ›

The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) has become one of the most widely used measurement tools for assessing clinical pain. The BPI allows patients to rate the severity of their pain and the degree to which their pain interferes with common dimensions of feeling and function.

What is business process Integration BPI? ›

Business Process Integration (BPI) is essential for businesses looking to connect systems and information efficiently. BPI allows for automation of business processes, integration of systems and services, and the secure sharing of data across numerous applications.

What is BPI Six Sigma? ›

Five phases comprise Six Sigma: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC). This approach helps figure out the defects in the processes and how they are caused and classified. Then practitioners review ways to improve them.

What is an example of a business process? ›

Operational processes (core business processes) are those that bring direct value to customers and the company itself. They are the processes that directly create revenue. Examples include: product manufacturing, order to cash process, and delivering products to customers.

What is the outcome of process improvement? ›

Reduced waste, increased unit efficiency, and more effective processes are all a valid outcome when working with a process improvement service. The side effect of reduced waste? Less unplanned overtime for your employees (reducing fatigue), fewer premium shipping costs, and increased savings.

Why is process important? ›

Why are processes important? They are important because they describe how things are done and then provides the focus for making them better and how they are done determines how successful the outcomes will be. If you focus on the right processes, in the right way, you can design your way to success.

What is the goal of process improvement? ›

The goal of process improvement is to identify and eliminate weaknesses in your business processes to help you: Increase quality and efficiency. Eliminate bottlenecks in your operations. Reduce costs.

How do you identify process improvement? ›

Identifying Process Improvement Opportunities
  1. Waiting to obtain information from another source.
  2. Spending extra time finding information.
  3. Slowing down because of information that is in a form that cannot be used.
  4. Actions pending because of information processing by humans.

How do you improve the performance of a business process Which of the following is most relevant? ›

To improve the performance of a business process Control and feedback is most relevant.

Which of the following are the six steps of business process improvement? ›

The Six Key Steps of Business Process Reengineering
  • Define Business Processes. ...
  • Analyze Business Processes. ...
  • Identify and Analyze Improvement Opportunities. ...
  • Design Future State Processes. ...
  • Develop Future State Changes. ...
  • Implement Future State Changes.
11 Oct 2021

What is the first step in a process improvement project? ›

The first step in a process improvement project is to "D) creating a process map." By ensuring that the process is accurately depicted in a process flow chart or process map, the team will gain perspective of what is happening.

How can I improve my continuous improvement? ›

7 Surefire Ways to Promote a Continuous Improvement Culture
  1. Don't dictate, participate. ...
  2. Close the loop. ...
  3. Remove barriers to improvement. ...
  4. Welcome improvement of all types. ...
  5. Celebrate incremental improvement. ...
  6. Provide support for improvement. ...
  7. Recognize and reward improvement work.
10 Dec 2020

What is BPM in a bank? ›

Business Process Management (BPM) is a top-down management approach that focuses on optimizing business operations to increase efficiency and achieve business goals.

How can BPR be applied to an organization? ›

Business Process Reengineering reduces costs and cycle times by eliminating unproductive activities and the employees who perform them. Reorganization by teams decreases the need for management layers, accelerates information flows and eliminates the errors and rework caused by multiple handoffs. Improve quality.

What is the difference between business process reengineering BPR and business process management BPM )? ›

While BPM focuses on defining and automating existing processes, BPR completely re-imagines the way that businesses operate, especially as they relate to the customer experience.

What are the goals of business process reengineering? ›

The goal of business process reengineering is to improve the overall business by cutting costs, improving the customer experiences and beating competition. Business process reengineering, BPR, has been employed by many companies both big and small to improve business processes from the ground up.

What are the 7 principles of BPR? ›

To achieve that Michael Hammer & James Champy suggested the following seven principles in their manifesto for Business Revolution:
  • Shared Information. ...
  • Result oriented. ...
  • Reusable technology. ...
  • Just in Time. ...
  • Industry benchmarks. ...
  • Standardization around industry processes. ...
  • Outsourcing non-core activities.
30 May 2020

What are the major objectives of BPM? ›

BPM aims to minimize duplicate, dated information to help your teams get organized. Your teams will be empowered to bridge the gaps and regain control of information, whether on their customers or the organization itself.

How are BPO and BPM interrelated? ›

BPM refers to a management process, while BPO refers to the “state of the mind” of an organization, or more exactly its employees. ... BPO as a way of thinking can be measured by how much the employees know about BP that exist in the organization, for example, whether they know in which processes they take part.

What is the biggest benefit of using BPM technologies Mcq? ›

What is the biggest benefit of using BPM-technologies? The use of standards to support the whole BPM-life cycle. The usage of the technology provides a comprehensive document management.

What are the five steps in business process improvement? ›

Five Steps for Business Process Improvement
  • 1. “ AS-IS” Process Mapping. ...
  • Process Map Data Gathering. Gather data to supply a basis for process quality, timeliness and customer satisfaction. ...
  • Stakeholder Focus Groups. ...
  • Compile Opportunities for Improvement. ...
  • Develop Recommendations.

What are the 5 core business processes? ›

At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. Discovering what people need, want, or could be encouraged to want, then creating it.
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

Why is business process improvement important? ›

Effective practices that support business process improvement can help remove inefficiencies and ultimately improve the productivity of team members. With tools for enhancing processes, organizations can evaluate performance metrics and evolve processes without restricting the way teams work.

How do you improve process? ›

The basic steps for process improvement are to identify the opportunity, analyze the challenge and implement improvements. The specific steps in the process depend on the process improvement methodology. A popular methodology is PDCA, whose steps are broken into Plan, Do, Check and Act.

What is the third phase of a business process improvement BPI effort? ›

1) Plan - an existing business process you want to improve, define its scope, and assemble your team. 2) Analyze: Closely examine the process you've identified as a candidate for improvement. 3) Redesign: Determine what changes you want to make to the target process.

How do you answer a process improvement question? ›

Explain the benefit to yourself and the company after the process improved. Use statistics if available, such as how much production increased. If you don't have specific statistics, share general information about how the improvement made the process more effective.

What are process improvement skills? ›

Process improvement skills refer to the ability to adopt a systematic approach in order to identify, analyze, and bring about improvement in the existing business processes for the purpose of optimization and meeting new quotas or quality standards.

What are process improvement goals? ›

Process-improvement goals help your organization work more effectively toward positive outcomes. Be sure to set SMART goals and align them with larger organizational objectives. This will ensure that everyone in the organization is on board and on target.

What are four basic business processes? ›

Concept-to-product. Market-to-customer. Order-to-cash, and. Demand-to-supply.

How can a business improve performance? ›

Ways To Improve Business Performance
  1. Find the Right Customers.
  2. Maximize Upselling and Cross-Selling.
  3. Reduce the Cost of Sales.
  4. Discover New Insights from Business Data.
  5. Increase Employee Productivity.
  6. Offer Better Customer Service.
  7. Implement Solutions.
9 Oct 2018

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Kareem Mueller DO

Last Updated: 10/27/2022

Views: 5891

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kareem Mueller DO

Birthday: 1997-01-04

Address: Apt. 156 12935 Runolfsdottir Mission, Greenfort, MN 74384-6749

Phone: +16704982844747

Job: Corporate Administration Planner

Hobby: Mountain biking, Jewelry making, Stone skipping, Lacemaking, Knife making, Scrapbooking, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Kareem Mueller DO, I am a vivacious, super, thoughtful, excited, handsome, beautiful, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.