Process management

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Process management [ -ˈmænɪdʒmənt ], also business process management ( GPM ) or business process management , deals with the identification, design, documentation, implementation, control and optimization of business processes . Holistic approaches to business process management address not only technical issues, but also, in particular, organizational aspects such as strategic alignment , organizational culture or the integration and management of those involved in the process.

“Who does what, when, how and with what?” Is a central question. Appropriate indicators are used for improvement and control . These key figures can be presented in a balanced scorecard , for example .

Process model

Goals and Activities

The aim of business process management is to use the information available in every company on its own business processes in order to adapt to the customer and, as a result, to better achieve the company's goals. In particular, this includes:

  • Know your own business processes,
  • Design and improve processes, business process optimization ,
  • Documenting the processes, for example because legal norms require this,
  • process-oriented cost calculation,
  • Mapping of the business unit with clearly defined roles and rights,
  • be as flexible as necessary so that the exception can become the rule,
  • Establishing clear interfaces between processes so that process chains and nesting of processes can be easily formed.

The following areas of activity for business process management result from the objectives:

  • Planning and modeling of processes,
  • Carrying out the work or work according to processes,
  • Monitoring the processes.

The findings from the monitoring ideally flow back into the planning in a cycle.

Business process management in connection with IT primarily focuses on the coordination of business functions and IT. This then results in the following goals:

  • increased efficiency
  • increased transparency
  • increased flexibility
  • better quality
  • reduced costs
  • Development of new business models.

Planning and modeling of business processes

The planning phase is about identifying the business processes as types. Existing processes can either be identified or documented or the processes can be re-planned. The business process modeling is generally based on standardized modeling languages such as event-driven process chains , UML - activity diagrams , sequence plan or Business Process Model and Notation .

One possibility is to define only rules for recording the process flow in a first step. This then records data. Process discovery (part of process mining ) is then used to try to find out actual processes.

The processes identified in this way can then be analyzed and used as a basis for further planning. It is also possible to assign responsible roles or persons to them: process owners or process owners . The role of the process coordinator sometimes also exists for the entire coordination across all business processes .

When it comes to processing, often only a small part can be thought in advance in structured processes. The majority is unstructured or can only be structured in parts, i.e. not or only little predictable. This is known as case management ( case management ). Case managers are responsible for a case and, based on their experience, decide what the next steps are and who to involve in processing the case. Typical jobs are those of employees of employment agencies, judges, bankers in the area of ​​special loans, in customer support. Hospital processes are also not predictable. In addition, there is event management and all workplaces that are very creative. This gives rise to challenges in the measurability of these processes and thus their optimizability.

Verifying the business processes

Before implementing new or redesigned business processes in practice, it is advisable to check whether they have been achieved ( costs , time and quality , but also throughput , resource allocation , etc.) by means of a simulation based on process models or process costing .

Process implementation

The planning flows into the process implementation. The classic means of organizing the process organization can be used. Process models can also be transferred to a process or workflow engine and executed there . As a rule, a series of additional technical information has to be enriched by IT specialists, such as the technical call of an application, which parameters should be transferred, what should happen in the event of an error. As a rule, the engines have restrictions so that the model has to be adapted. In addition, the organizational view is often less differentiated or overdifferentiated. In the latter case, several activities become just one, since the rest of the tasks are carried out in the called application itself.

Monitoring of processes, documentation, statistics

Short and long term activities

Monitoring business processes includes, on the one hand, short-term activities such as determining that a team is overwhelmed with orders, and, on the other hand, generating longer-term activities such as key figures that can be incorporated into the planning.

Process mining

The methodical applications of systematic process planning also include clarifying the actual sequences of processes that have been run through repeatedly. So-called process mining (according to van der Aalst ) is a systematic expansion of data mining to include final or even better temporally ordered data. In addition to the duration of individual process sections between events, the resource commitment of the people involved and the infrastructures used is important .

These evaluations are used for example

  • the operating data billing,
  • the preliminary calculation,
  • the process optimization , or
  • troubleshooting.

The data collected from the process execution, for example log files, are used for this purpose. These provide the authentication server for network-bound processes.

Documentation of process flows

The process data of ongoing and expired processes are saved in a process database ( Process Warehouse ). This is a specialized data warehouse in which the business process data can be archived preconfigured and repeatedly systematically exploited. Access should be easier than with a non-specific database.

Key figures

Key figures from logistics , for example , can generally also be used to manage business processes. Examples are:

  • Lead time : When can you expect a result, total time required for a complete process implementation,
  • Idle time : times when there is no activity in the process, criterion for improvement potential,
  • Familiarization time or set-up time : If someone involved in the process has to change tasks too often, this time increases,
  • Communication key figures (who sends to whom, talks to whom): It can be useful to establish spatial proximity,
  • Processing time: How long does it take someone to complete a task.

All of these key figures only become meaningful by adding up or calculating the average. In addition, costs can be assigned .

Document and understand

In the pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries in particular, great importance is attached to traceability. Statutory regulations require that it is possible, for example, to determine who mixed what exactly in this pack and when. In other industries, too, increasing importance is attached to traceability, as those responsible have to assume greater liability ( organizational fault ). Supportive methods are e.g. B. Lean Management , Six Sigma , Total Quality Management .

Consequences of process orientation

The consequences of the process orientation can be seen in the following three areas.

Organization of the company

  • Subsidiarity - transferring authority to lower levels of the hierarchy . This creates greater freedom of choice and transfers responsibility to the individual employees.
  • Combination of functionally separate but process-related tasks , which enables employees to gain insight into the actual activities of upstream and downstream areas.

technical infrastructure

  • Review of existing information systems for process support
  • Introduction of new workflow or workflow systems

Management tasks

  • Process management requires a new and improved form of corporate management .
  • Due to customer orientation, there is a trend to let processes begin and end with customers. This process chain connects individual departments with one another.
  • Employees are given responsibility for individual processes (process responsibility) and can be (partially) managed autonomously using the process indicators. The employee recognizes his importance and the purpose of his work within the process chain, has greater room for maneuver and sees directly the success of his work in his area of ​​responsibility. The sense of achievement and the additional responsibility motivate the employees.
  • The process-oriented company management also needs the information of the employees, who should also be informed about the direction of the company's development. That is why it is becoming increasingly important to communicate the visions, the strategic guidelines and operational action goals to all employees through suitable means of communication and further training .


The idea of ​​process management is not new, a short historical outline - as early as the 1930s, F. Nordsieck pointed out the need for a process-oriented company structure in the following quote:

"The operation is in reality an ongoing process, an uninterrupted service chain [...] A clear process structure is to be aimed for in any case" (Nordsieck 1932).

Nordsieck does not yet establish a process-oriented concept, but at least forms the conceptual basis, because he recognizes the abstract operating process as the basis for structuring the organizational structure . For a long time the focus was exclusively on the design of the organizational structure. This led to an alienation from the customer as well as a lack of flexibility and clout in the market and the associated competitive disadvantages . That is why there was a focus on quality in the company and the process orientation gained in importance again. However, the first work on this topic was only published in the 1980s by Michael Gaitanides and August-Wilhelm Scheer , among others .

In recent years, empirical studies have shown a positive correlation between company results and targeted BPM application. Even better results were shown for companies that specifically combined BPM with another management method such as Six Sigma . Process orientation in particular can increase an organization's return on sales.

Standards, training and certifications

The terms process management, business process management or business process management (BPM) are used by market participants, but they are often understood differently. This is due to the fact that for a long time there has not been an organization whose definition has been accepted as universally valid in the sense of standardization. On the one hand, there are institutions, such as the Gesellschaft für Organization in Germany , whose focus is on methods and management disciplines. On the other hand, there are a number of organizations that take care of the standardization of workflow / process technologies such as the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), the Object Management Group (OMG) or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS ).

With the Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP), and its affiliated European Association of Business Process Management (EABPM), the definition of BPM seems to be recognized for the first time. The Germany chapter is represented by the Society for Organization, Austria by the Austrian Association for Organization and Management (ÖVO) and Switzerland by the Swiss Society for Organization and Management (SGO). Many reputable members have been working in the participating organizations since 2006 on a training canon for certification as BPM Professional. In December 2009 the first internationally recognized process management certification test was carried out in Switzerland. 24 graduates were awarded as so-called Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP). At the end of 2012 there were already 110 certified. Certification is based on the content of the “Guide to the Business Process Management Common Body of Knowledge”, or “BPM CBOK ™” for short. As of December 2012, there are 202 CBPPs in Germany.

In Austria and Switzerland, the Society for Process Management (GP) acts as a competence network for process management. According to its own homepage, the GP has been offering examinations for certification as Process Manager (PcM) and Senior Process Manager (SPcM) in cooperation with the Economic Development Institute (WIFI) of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) since 2007. The WIFI is accredited as a certificate issuer for this certification according to the Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria according to EN ISO / IEC 17024 and was added to the list of accredited certification bodies according to the EN-ISO / IEC-17024 standard for the certification of persons in 2010 . Since 2007, according to the Society for Process Management, as of January 2012, more than 700 people have been certified for PcM or SPcM.

Related terms

Connection to information and communication technology

In relation to information and communication technology (ICT), the term can be classified in the following context:

  • Business Service Management (BSM): The connection between process management and ITSM.
  • IT Service Management (ITSM): Methods that are necessary to achieve the best possible support for business processes (GP) by the IT organization. The de facto standard known here is the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
  • Process management (also business process management, GPM): The definition of the business processes that are supported by IT.
  • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): A management concept for a service-oriented architecture of ICT .


  • Thomas Allweyer: Business process management: strategy, design, implementation, controlling. W3L, Herdecke 2005, ISBN 978-3-937137-11-7
  • Jörg Becker, Martin Kugeler, Michael Rosemann (Eds.): Process Management. A guide to process-oriented organizational design. Springer, Berlin 7th edition 2012, ISBN 978-3-642-33843-4
  • Jörg Becker, Christoph Mathas, Axel Winkelmann: Business process management. Springer, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-85153-0 .
  • Horst Ellringmann: From Quality Management to Strategic Business Process Management , Chapter 5 in: Tilo Pfeifer, Robert Schmitt (Editor) Masing Handbook Quality Management , Carl Hanser Fachbuchverlag Munich Vienna, 6th revised edition (2014), ISBN 978-3-446-43431-8
  • Guido Fischermanns: Practical Guide to Process Management . 11th edition. Giessen 2013, ISBN 978-3-921313-89-3 .
  • Andreas Gadatsch: Basic course in business process management . 8th edition. Wiesbaden 2017, ISBN 978-3-658-17178-0 .
  • Ralf Helbig: Process-oriented corporate management. Physica, Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 3-7908-0040-6 .
  • Roland Jochem, Kai Mertins, Thomas Knothe (editor): Process management - strategies, methods, implementation . 1st edition. Symposium Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-3-939707-56-1 .
  • Ayelt Komus (Ed.): BPM Best Practice: How leading companies manage their business processes. Springer, Heidelberg et al. 2011, ISBN 978-3-642-16724-9
  • Thilo Knuppertz, Uwe Feddern: Process-oriented corporate management. Introduce and anchor process management holistically. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-7910-2985-6
  • Hermann J. Schmelzer, Wolfgang Stuhlmann: Business process management in practice. Hanser, Munich 8th edition 2013, ISBN 978-3-446-43460-8
  • Karl W. Wagner, Gerold Patzak: Performance Excellence. The practical guide to effective process management. Hanser, Munich 2nd edition 2015, ISBN 978-3-446-43024-2

Individual evidence

  1. vom Brocke, J. & Rosemann, M. (2010), Handbook on Business Process Management: Strategic Alignment, Governance, People and Culture (International Handbooks on Information Systems). Berlin: Springer
  2. Guido Fischermanns: Practical Handbook Process Management . Pp. 45-47.
  4. Michele Cantara et al. a .: Hype Cycle for Business Process Management, 2009. July 20, 2009 (with the first mention of unstructured processes and dynamic BPM)
  5. Martin Bartonitz: Forrester Research also breathed new life into case management in 2009 with "dynamic". In: SAPERION Blog. June 22, 2010 (about the Forrester research paper "Dynamic Case Management" and why the term case management is now mentioned so often in the BPM context).
  6. Typ /
  7. ^ Keith D. Swenson: Mastering the Unpredictable. Meghan-Kiffer, Tampa 2010, ISBN 978-0-929652-12-2 (Keith Swenson is Technical Committee Chairman of the Workflow Management Coalition ).
  8. Targeted BPM represents two percentage points in return on sales. ( Memento from December 3, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: (Interview in with Ayelt Komus).
  9. Christiane Pütter: What Six Sigma and Business Process Management do together. In: CIO. September 15, 2009.
  10. ^ Kohlbacher, M., Gruenwald, S. and Kreuzer, E. (2011): Corporate culture in line with business process orientation and its impact on organizational performance. In: zur Muehlen M. and Jianwen S. (Eds): Business Process Management Workshops, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 16-24.
  11. Martin Bartonitz: The BPM cloud continues to take on structures. ( Memento from October 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) In: SAPERION Blog. February 11, 2010.
  12. BPM CBOK on
  13. European Association of Business Process Management (Ed.): BPM CBOK® - Business Process Management BPM Common Body of Knowledge, Version 3.0 , European Association of Business Process Management EABPM (Ed.), 2014, ISBN 978-3-921313-91 -6 .
  14. Certified Business Process Professional - CBPP® ( Memento from October 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Source: GP website
  16. ^ Federal Law Gazette of the Republic of Austria II, No. 215 ( Memento of March 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 123 kB) on
  17. Personal certification for experts. Retrieved November 21, 2018 .