4 steps to integrate ERP and BPM

Today business world rely mostly on ERP software for achieving better productivity and efficiency. External challenges like competition and shrinking markets often probe organizations to perk up their business processes. Here lies the necessity of integrating ERP software in Business Process Management.

Even though ERP BPM integration is capital intensive, its advantages to business is multi-fold. It can minimize work cycles from days to hours and also helps in easy tracking of regulatory requirements. Four main steps to integrate ERP software in BPM are illustrated below

Implement in Phases

Implementing ERP-BPM integration all of a sudden may affect the performance of the existing systems. Implementation in phrases will be a better strategy. Most advisable thing is to start with a pilot project. Once the organization has achieved better outputs out of the pilot project, then proceed with step by step integration of BPM-ERP. It is better to execute simple business processes at the initial phase, and then slowly move to more complex processes.

Setting Specific Goals and Objectives

Before starting with BPM–ERP integration, the firm must identify the need of such an integrative process. In most cases, it is carried out to improve the business processes where as in certain cases; firms use this integration for faster response to the changing market conditions. Moreover it is very important to bind BPM-ERP integration with a specific business objective. For example companies involved in investment banking industry, invest in equity, commodities, and mutual funds. For such companies, BPM–ERP integration helps in identifying market strategy, improved decision making, and in automation of process.

Obtain organization-wide buy-in

BPM-ERP integration will not only impact the stakeholders of the firm, but also members of all business streams under its influence. The process spans most of the business functions like sales, finance, and marketing. Members operating under these business functions should have good exposure to BPM-ERP integration. Otherwise, at times when administrators with key operating knowledge leaves or retires from the organization, others may find it difficult to take over control.

It is always better to create a central body comprising members from all departments involved in BPM-ERP integration. Then by ensuring certain rules for each process in BPM system, further changes can be vetted by the governance body. In this way resistance to change could also be minimized to some extent.

Set BPM Methodology

A set of milestones must be prepared before starting with the BPM-ERP integration. This can be done in such a way as to enhance the knowledge of all business processes. Then set up a model for business processes with specific business rules.

The next step may be planning of the process using a flow chart, so that execution can be done carefully in sequence. After that, implement a mechanism to check whether processes have improved or declined after integration. Inviting feed backs and make changes accordingly (in process designs) will help in the maintenance of the system overtime.

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