Custom «Analytical Report: Business Process Management, Project Management, and Quality Control and Assurance» Sample Essay
The contemporary business world is marked with an increasing competition and rising demands of customers and business partners of quality, efficiency and other factors that make firms’ functioning profitable and effective. Thus, all kinds of businesses strive to improve their organizations in all respects with a view of gaining a significant competitive advantage over their rivals in the market. A company’s ability to withstand and win the competition is a vital prerequisite of its success. Moreover, businesses have to account for complicated and rapidly changing economic and financial circumstances in various international markets. Therefore, companies seek new efficient ways of making their processes optimal. Some of such ways include smart and innovative business process management, professional project management and effective quality control and assurance. Current paper provides a brief analytical report relating to the three major ways of making businesses successful: business process management, project management, as well as quality control and assurance. These three ways are essential for any business that is aimed at gaining and maintaining a market share in the market and remaining a key market player in the long run. Thus, the three components of any expertly-run company are analysed with a view of determining their role in the business organization.
The issue of business process management has been central in the business world for many years, since effective organization and coordination of all processes mean smooth functioning and generation of profit that can be further invested in expansion and improvement. Thus, current topic is widely discussed in all kinds of sources both by professionals and ordinary employees who wish to contribute to their employing company’s success. Different articles present various perspectives of the issue of business process management, but they are all grounded on the assumption that it is a core prerequisite of any modern company that is working in the highly competitive environment and strives to remain at a competitive level with its rivals and even gain a competitive advantage over them. Business process management that is often referred to as BPM may be understood both as a concept and a peculiar software. As a concept, it is a sort of corporate ideology of business organization and functioning that are governed by certain pre-determined rules and regulations in order to avoid errors and failures and to ensure that all employees are well aware of their duties, rights and obligations. BPM is based on combining and running various processes in a firm and any process may be considered as a basis of any firm’s operation, since it “is the core of business execution” (Beckeley, 2008). BPM allows better execution of all processes and “delivers the ability to improve processes by highlighting deficiencies in the status quo and defining the path to process innovation” (Beckeley, 2008).
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However, most often business process management is understood as specialized software that is employed by companies to manage their processes and arrange an effective system of functioning, irrespective of phases it may envision. There is a wide range of various BPM tools and instruments offered by different software companies. Such systems differ in terms of their complexity and infrastructure, as well as possible applications and required skills and system properties. Anyway, they are aimed at ensuring that the company’s critical goals are achieved with maximum efficiency and minimal costs. Major advantages of BPM software include the following: efficiency, repeatability, auditability, scalability and transparency (Power, 2009). It is not always easy and cheap to implement a BPM system that would be appropriate for needs of a particular company and study of various offered systems has to be conducted prior to making such decision. Nevertheless, the above characteristics of the system are universal advantages that successful implementation of BPM ensures. In addition, the system has to be user-friendly and easy to operate without a necessity to organize special trainings for potential users. It should allow introducing changes “without involving IT” and it should be designed in such a way that it could “reduce or eliminate deployment and integration headaches” (Beckeley, 2008). Withal, a decision to purchase and implement a BPM system is a smart one as it “makes business processes transparent, improving visibility and efficiency, ending the ‘trust me’ risks of data governance” (Power, 2009). BPM provides for consistency in the entire company at all levels and facilitates following compliance regulations, as well as integrating well with service-oriented architectures and MDM hubs (Carter, 2007). Efficiency is increased and optimized after the launch of BPM tools thanks to optimization of all processes and minimization of possible human errors, since all previously manual processes become automated, which also makes them less time-consuming (Carter, 2007). BPM enables detection of redundancies in the system of processes and their subsequent integration with other processes or even elimination if they are deemed unnecessary (Carter, 2007). Moreover, BPM is really helpful with regards to mitigation and monitoring of various risks as it offers a holistic approach to all business processes and ensures that key regulations and rules are complied with (Carter, 2007).
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Technologies have significantly altered the business world and have become its integral part that makes various companies even more competitive. All major international and local companies have already started implementing BPM software that is available from many vendors at different prices and with different configurations. It is predicted that the BPM software market will easily amount to more than $3 billion in the future thanks to the popularity of its tools (Carter, 2007). Such high demand for BPM is explained by its perception by potential users as “a means of aligning its business processes with its client’s desires and needs” (Fanning & Centers, 2013). However, some researchers and business analysts claim that BPM is already a past generation of the software as nowadays iBPM may be regarded as the most innovative solution for businesses. iBPM is a relatively new and not widely-spread concept, though it seems to offer much more benefits than merely BPM. iBPM stands for Intelligent Business Process Management and, in fact, combines properties of traditional business process management and the so-called business intelligence (Fanning & Centers, 2013). In the basic understanding, iBPM “provides a closed loop where businesses can compare their objectives with their metrics and key process indicators” (Fanning & Centers, 2013). Some companies have already adopted experimental versions of iBPM and their experience proves that a smart combination of BPM and BI is more powerful than their separate application. A huge benefit of the new software is its ability to process swiftly enormous amounts of data and provide real-time feedback so that the processes could be changed within a short time span and decisions could be amended daily (Fanning & Centers, 2013). In the highly competitive and time-constrained business realm, abilities of iBPM are much needed. Anyway, many companies doubt whether such software is not simply a new marketing product with no innovative capabilities that should attract corporate interest and generate revenues for its developers without contributing anything valuable to the process of business management. Developers of the new software claim that it is not a trick presented with the only aim of earning money, which is proved by numerous trials of their iBPM products. Some of the key vendors offering iBPM include Appian, Bosch Software Innovations, Cordys, DST Systems, IBM, Open Text, Oracle, Pegasystems, PNMsoft, Software AG, Tibco Software, Vitria and Whitestein (Fanning & Centers, 2013). However, despite all benefits of iBPM, companies have to make sure that they really need such sophisticated software as it is expensive and may be not a cost-wise decision if all company’s needs may be satisfied with BPM. Nonetheless, brief overview of iBPM shows that the software is a qualitatively new level of business process management that offers many other benefits as compared to previous BPM tools. Moreover, the firms that have implemented iBPM “are moving closely to providing their clients with perfect service” (Fanning & Centers, 2013). That is why, advice “to make your BPM intelligent” seems to be a wise and timely recommendation for businesses that want to offer outstanding services and products in the market (Fanning & Centers, 2013).
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Implementation of BPM is tightly interconnected with the notion of project management, since any business process and decision may be viewed as a part of an overall project aimed at improving efficiency of the company. Project management has been a vital element of conducting business for centuries, but it has not been recognized as a particular field that requires professional training till recently. It became a field offered in higher educational institution only a few decades ago, but many companies only now start acknowledging its value and importance. The issue has, therefore, become a focus of many studies and articles. In fact, project management concerns not only business as it “crosses all industries and is present in every corner of the globe. …anytime something must be completed, project management is at work” (Brath, 2008). Its basic principle is simple: to ensure that a project is completed in a correct and timely way within the budget limit (Brath, 2008). In turn, a project is usually defined “as a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result” (Dearstyne, 2012). Despite the universal applicability of the notion of projects, they are of utmost importance in the business realm due to several reasons. Companies are constantly changing and improving their operations, which calls for development and implementation of projects with respective goals. Projects are needed when companies decide to venture into new markets and areas, especially if they are relatively unknown and require thorough investigation (Dearstyne, 2012). Thus, top executives and managers see a reason to introduce project management in their organizations as “projects are consistent with newer styles of management” and “are becoming increasingly complex and challenging to manage” (Dearstyne, 2012). However, mere establishment of the project management unit in a company does not guarantee that a project will not fail as there are many factors influencing the final outcome. For instance, not all stakeholders may be dedicated to project goals and may fail to complete their tasks that are a part of an overall project. Besides, levels of commitment, empowerment and motivation are essential to succeed in a project.
Therefore, project managers become a valuable asset in the companies performing a role of linking units that hold together all parts and participants of a project. In general, there are two primary types of project managers: those who choose project management as their career and pursue it in specialized educational institutions and those who “go into it to better manage projects within their particular industry” (Brath, 2008). Those whose occupation is project management are often referred to as project management officers or PMO (LaBrosse, 2010). Studies have shown that PMOs double the rate of successful project implementation within six months after their employment (LaBrosse, 2010). However, they require support of the top management, as well as relative autonomy and broad authorities in a company to manage projects successfully (LaBrosse, 2010). Besides, PMOs are not always properly perceived by other employees who may either fail to understand their duties or consider them as unnecessary, which is why the management should clearly describe PMOs’ roles and importance (LaBrosse, 2010). However, the company may also hire external project managers for specific projects if it does not want to have full-time PMOs (Witt, 2007). The main thing is to realize that both external and internal project managers do not wish to radically alter all business processes and structure, but rather they offer alternative options on how to improve existing processes with minimum costs and maximum efficiency. They start working once the company needs them and monitor its processes when they run efficiently (Witt, 2007). PMOs have to be well-acquainted with the business they are working with “because you don’t want to design a plan they preclude them from doing their job as it exists now if they’re efficient at it” (Witt, 2007). PMOs have various technologies and specialized software at their disposal in order to facilitate the process of project management. Some of such tools include desktop applications like RationPlan Multi Project, Intellisys Project, Microsoft Project and Project KickStart, the price of which is in the range from $100 to $500 for one user (Robb, 2009). There are also enterprise applications for big and complicated projects, including Serena Software’s Mariner, CA Clarity, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s PPM, Oracle Corp.’s Primavera and a server version of Microsoft Project. Anyway, such programs are expensive and are intended for multiple users, which is not what most small businesses may need (Robb, 2009). Today, many HR departments start employing specialized project management software as it is more convenient, thus meaning that such notion has permeated virtually all levels of the overwhelming majority of successful companies. Withal, project management contributes to company’s efficiency, transparency, cost-effectiveness, compliance with budget limits and corporate regulations, as well as communication between various employees.
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One of the objectives of both BPM and project management is to ensure and increase quality of services and products offered by the company. The same objective is shared by the process of quality control and assurance, which is an essential element of any business. Importance of an all-encompassing quality control process has been recognized for a long time. Thus, in his 1956 Harvard Business Review article Armand V. Feigenbaum emphasizes significance of implementing the so-called “total quality control”, which he considers to be “another step forward in management science” and an “integration of design-through-shipment control of the many elements in the quality picture” (Feigenbaum, 1956). Since that time, companies all over the world in all industries have been striving to improve their quality control and assurance procedures in a cost-effective and labour-effective way. They pay much attention to “the project triad of quality, schedule and cost” as it ensures revenues if implemented properly (Borne, 2009). Quality control and assurance procedures may differ across industries and have to be customized to suit needs and peculiarities of every single company. Thus, in the constructing industry, as well as in many other service-oriented businesses involving two contracting parties, “quality control is the contractor’s responsibility”, while “quality assurance is the owner or owner’s representative responsibility” (Borne, 2009). Most companies develop quality control plans and quality assurance surveillance plans for such purposes. Manufacturing businesses often implement special quality control procedures at various stages of the production process. One of such procedures is optical inspection intended to perform such tasks as flaw detection, positioning, identification, verification and measurement (Zhu, 2013). In fact, most manufacturers strive to adopt holistic approaches to quality control starting from early stages to avoid in future a potential need to replace the already produced goods if they prove to be flawed (Bonner, 2012). Quality control is also important for accounting firms that are now regulated in this respect by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Boyle et al., 2013). Such QA procedures try to detect QC defects in accounting and auditing firms’ QS systems with a view to improving them (Boyle et al., 2013). State QA inspections may be a useful means of ensuring effective QC in many other industries, as well. Such procedure would stipulate minimum universal quality requirements, hence providing the customers with really high quality services.
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Consequently, current analytical report proves significance and shows value of BPM, project management and quality control for all industries. Such three elements may be considered as the core ones for any company, which strives to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals and remain profitable and successful in its respective market. Modern customers demand quality goods and services and, as a result, businesses have to devise new strategies and improve existing approached in order to retain their client base and expand into new markets. Nowadays, being successful, efficient and profitable is not an easy task in any business. Therefore, managers have to consider and adopt the most applicable new business achievements relating to BPM, project management and quality control.
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