Structure BPM correctly – Central components of process management


The implementation of Business Process Management requires the definition and combination of different elements. A structured grid for classifying activities of process management is a safe method for this.


Bochum, August 20, 2019 – Extensive areas of responsibility of process managers, lack of transparency and different modeling types lead to an unclear process management. To avoid these problems and to keep track of process management, it is recommendable to distinguish between primary and secondary performances. Thus process managers design a grid for the classification of process management activities in terms of strategic, operational, functional and technical orientation.


Employees in process management are often expected to perform miracles. They must:

  • Control the general direction of Business Process Management (BPM)
  • Plan and realize the operational implementation
  • Keep a firm hand on technical work concerning the recording and optimization of the processes and at best also
  • Supply the IT with implementation-relevant content


Altogether an extensive and task-rich scope for process managers.

In detail, they must decide


  • which processes need to be considered,
  • which methods and tools are used,
  • how to analyze and optimize processes,
  • which IT-content is affected and
  • what other management methods, for example quality management, can be integrated.


No wonder, that the overview can quickly be lost. In order to retain a clear view on BPM, the separation into content types has proved to be helpful.


process management

Illustration 1: Classification of process management according to primary and secondary performances


The x-axis depicts the holistic view of process management in the observed organization, from the strategic plan up to the operational implementation. It describes the primary performance (result type) of process management.

The y-axis depicts the secondary performance (result type) of the methods and tools that are required to provide the primary performance. In simple words, the x-axis depicts the WHAT and the y-axis the HOW.

In addition to the fundamental transparency, this separation allows the definition of the individual results. If the BPM performances which are relevant for an organization are clearly assigned, a database is created in order to make a quick estimate the complexity of your own process management. When structuring, four areas should be distinguished:


1. Strategic process management


This section includes all activities to translate the organization’s strategy into a process management strategy. This includes, among other things, the determination of central processes of the organization and their form of description. The strategic process management serves to define the long-term orientation, design and equipment of BPM, as well as the identification and the construction and expansion of the process-based success potential and the establishment of the process-based orientation of the organization. The activities create the conditions to anchor a continuous BPM in the organization.


2. Operational process management


This section deals with the topics of the operational use of BPM. Frequent components are the process measurement, the process control and the process improvement. However, this consideration is not enough, because operational process management is not an end in itself. It should always support the operational goals of the organization. This includes, for example, the accompaniment of quality management, risk management or the resource management, using the content recorded in process management. Only then, operational advantages for the organization arise.


Strategisches Prozessmanagement
Strategic process management
  • End-2-End process map
  • Digitization fields
  • Process potential analysis
  • Digital maturity
  • Methods and tools for process digitization
Fachliches Prozessmanagement
Functional process management
  • Detailed functional processes of different domains
  • Digitization processes (functional)
  • Process KPI models and risk models
  • Working manuals
  • Human-machine interaction
(IT-)-Technisches Prozessmanagement
(IT-)technical process management
  • Digitization processes (technical)
  • Process-oriented IT requirements management
  • Process documentation for the system design
  • Operations and service model
Operatives Prozessmanagement
Operational process management

Standardized documented content concerning:

  • Functional data structures
  • Technical data structures
  • Organization descriptions
  • IT infrastructures


to support:

  • Process monitoring
  • Knowledge management
  • Risk management
  • Infrastructure management

Table 1: Exemplary performances (result types) of BPM sections


The table shows exemplary performances of each area. For an organization that introduces or reorganizes process management, it is best to create the table individually with its own result types and to check for completeness and inconsistencies. This creates a good understanding of how to evaluate and control the own structure of process management with minimal effort.

At first glance, the separation into strategic and operational process management seems complete. However, it would neglect two other key areas of Business Process Management that are required to classify all BPM topics holistically. These are:


3. Functional process management


The functional process management includes all activities directly related to the determination, documentation, analysis and optimization of processes. It contains the artisanal part of activities in process management without information technology.


4. (IT-)technical process management


The (IT-)technical process management extends the identification, documentation, analysis and optimization of processes to IT-relevant content. Due to the increasing importance of the digitalization, it is justified to define a specific area for information technology in process management. It is the artisanal part of the IT department in cooperation with process management.

Both Technical and (IT-)technical process management bundle the actual work areas. Only BPM activities in the operational and technical process management make the operational implementation of the BPM strategy possible.

When building the process management structure of an organization, there is no clear separation of these areas in many cases. Consequently, different methods, tools and objectives are not controlled precisely. Of course, activities of functional and technical process management in an organization are at least partially covered, even if they are not identified separately. However, such a hidden approach has the disadvantage that it does not emphasize the significance of the functional and technical process management within the structure and long-term organization of BPM clearly enough.

For example, in organizations that do not establish clear transparency in these areas, it often comes to the effect that different operative topics of process management use different modeling types, just because there is no transparent information about how activities in the work areas have to be carried out by functional and technical modelling. Due to the separation and the assignment of the topics it is easier to transparently plan, coordinate and control process management. The result is a transformational layer between the strategic and operational BPM, which, functioning as a glue, creates a delimited but integrated overall picture of BPM activities.






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