Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) now leverage technology to coordinate, visualise, and optimise process-oriented approaches without coding.
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How to automate business processes and required knowledge without a single line of code?

Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) now leverage technology to coordinate, visualise, and optimise process-oriented approaches without coding.

In today’s business landscape, it is widely acknowledged that organizational efficiency relies on managing processes rather than compartmentalizing tasks within departments that form the organizational structure. With this goal in mind, a management methodology called Business Process Management (BPM) emerged. BPM aids in streamlining and coordinating organizational processes to ensure their efficient development.

However, technological advancements have demonstrated their efficacy in successfully implementing BPM. In this context, Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) have arisen, allowing for the efficient coordination, visualization, and optimization of business processes without the need for programming.

BPMS graphically models processes

BPMS visually represents processes through graphical diagrams. Detailed information, including task descriptions, how-to guides, necessary resources, required technologies, responsible parties, and estimated execution times, is attached to these diagrams. This graphical representation of processes facilitates more effective management of people, resources, and information within the organization.

BPMSs graphically design the processes to be performed and incorporate the required knowledge. Workers no longer have to coordinate with each other, they just follow the instructions of the task that the BPMS tells them to perform at any given moment.

Jose Aurelio Medina-Garrido

Can BPMS support the knowledge management required by processes?

Indeed, BPMS optimizes processes and ensures that employees have access to the knowledge necessary to carry out assigned tasks inherent to these processes. Since the proper execution of process tasks requires knowledge of how to perform them, knowledge management becomes critical in designing diagrams through which BPMS represents an organization’s processes.

The study evaluated the effectiveness of using BPMS for knowledge management in organizational settings. To achieve this, an innovative theoretical model was developed, integrating concepts from classical models of success in implementing enterprise information systems. This approach allowed us to comprehensively analyze the determining variables influencing the effectiveness of BPMS usage concerning knowledge management. The study involved a comprehensive analysis of data collected from 242 experienced BPMS users to validate the theoretical model. The diversity and experience of this user group provided a robust foundation for evaluating utility perception and BPMS utilization in the context of knowledge management.

The research results clearly emphasize that the key to successfully incorporating knowledge management into BPMS lies in users perceiving its utility. In other words, when users perceive BPMS as a useful tool for knowledge management, a positive predisposition is created, facilitating its acceptance and use. This finding is essential, underscoring the importance of effectively communicating the benefits of BPMS in knowledge management to maximize its adoption and comprehensive utilization in the organizational sphere.

Credit. Midjourney

An example: Port management company

Consider a port management company where business processes could transform significantly by implementing BPMS. BPMSs prove helpful in coordinating and automating critical tasks in port operations, such as cargo manifests, customs declarations, scale management, and handling hazardous goods. The uniqueness of this system lies in its ability to enhance efficiency without requiring changes to existing systems traditionally supported by EDI technologies.

In this context, BPMSs can graphically model these specific processes in the port sector, providing workers with detailed information on each task. Workers can access knowledge stored in the system, which guides them step by step in performing their tasks. Additionally, the system indicates which resources, including existing software, should be used at each process stage. User utility perception is crucial in determining acceptance and the successful implementation of the system.

Moreover, in the design phase, integrating the necessary knowledge for the efficient execution of processes into BPMS becomes a determining factor for achieving maximum operational efficiency in port management. By incorporating specific knowledge into each task during process modeling, BPMS becomes a tool that coordinates activities and acts as a dynamic knowledge repository. This approach ensures that workers have instant and contextualized access to crucial information, significantly improving decision-making and reducing potential errors in task execution.

Furthermore, by providing detailed guidance on how to perform each task and which resources to use, BPMS facilitates precise and efficient execution from the outset. This ability to manage both processes and the knowledge required to carry them out reinforces the position of BPMS as a valuable tool for process optimization in port management. Thus, user utility perception is enhanced by directly experiencing the benefits of effective knowledge management at each stage of the process.

Practical implications

The practical implications derived from our study’s results are highly relevant, particularly in the context of the successful implementation of BPMS, focusing specifically on knowledge management necessary for business processes. The fundamental premise highlighted in our analysis is that user perception of utility is crucial to effectively incorporating knowledge management through BPMS. In this regard, the following recommendations are proposed for organizational leadership seeking to implement such systems:

  • Communication: Leadership should communicate to workers the benefits of using BPMS for knowledge management. This could help strengthen users’ perceptions of the system’s utility.
  • Training and demonstrations: Providing specific training and conducting practical demonstrations on using BPMS for knowledge management will increase users’ confidence and solidify their understanding of how this tool can facilitate efficient task execution.
  • User feedback: Obtaining user opinions, experiences, and suggestions will allow their incorporation into system functionality and contribute to the knowledge base, which is helpful for processes incorporated in the design phase.
  • Public recognition of improvements: Publicly recognizing improvements achieved using the system will reinforce users’ positive perceptions of its utility. Highlighting success stories and user testimonials from those who have experienced tangible benefits will help consolidate the acceptance of BPMS as a useful tool in managing processes and the required knowledge.

In summary, the study’s practical implications underscore the importance of organizational leadership in developing actions that reinforce users’ perceptions of the usefulness of BPMSs, their ability to manage processes, and the knowledge they require. Some suggested actions to achieve this include clear communication, training and demonstrations, user feedback solicitation, and recognition of achievements.

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Journal reference

Martín-Navarro, A., Lechuga Sancho, M. P., & Medina-Garrido, J. A. (2023). Determinants of BPMS use for knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-07-2022-0537

Dr Alicia Martín Navarro, since joining the University of Cadiz in 2009, excels as an expert in Entrepreneurship and Information Systems Management. Her doctoral thesis, "The Impact of BPMS on Organizational Process and Knowledge Management," underscores her focus on business technologies. With numerous publications in JCR, her research revolves around the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. A co-author of several books and book chapters, and with notable contributions to international journals such as Studies in Higher Education and Expert Systems with Applications, she showcases significant contributions to the field. Furthermore, she has been a guest speaker at international conferences. Actively engaging in research projects, she currently serves as the Vice Director of INDESS (Institute for Sustainable Social Development) at the University of Cadiz, Spain. Her previous experience in a multinational corporation, leading teams and managing business units, complements her holistic perspective on entrepreneurship, business management, and technology leadership, bringing a unique insight to her academic endeavors.

Dr María Paula Lechuga Sancho is an Associate Professor at the Department of Business Organization, University of Cadiz, and a researcher at the University Institute of Research for Sustainable Social Development (INDESS). Her primary research interests include social responsibility, information systems, and entrepreneurship. In recent years, she has specialized in applying bibliometric methods in Business and Management. She is currently involved in a national competitive project focusing on discovering complex and hidden relationships in the development and transfer of knowledge through intelligent techniques. Her work has been published in various journals, including the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of Knowledge Management, Expert Systems with Applications, Journal of Cleaner Production, Studies in Higher Education, Personnel Review, International Journal of Agile Systems and Management, British Food Journal, Journal of Industrial Management & Data System, Profesional de la Información, Journal of Management and Enterprise Development, Spanish Accounting Review, Revista Española de Documentación Científica, and Social Responsibility Journal, among others.

Dr Jose Aurelio Medina-Garrido, a distinguished member of the Department of Business Organization and INDESS (University Institute for Sustainable Social Development) at the University of Cadiz, is a seasoned academic leader focusing on entrepreneurship and information systems management. With over 80 impactful research publications, including articles in high-impact journals like JCR and SJR, his contributions to journals such as the International Small Business Journal and the International Journal of Hospitality Management have garnered substantial citations. He is the leader of the research group "New Challenges for Entrepreneurial Management: Information Systems, Sustainability, and Entrepreneurship (NewReD)" and led the projects "Determinants and socio-economic impact of high-potential entrepreneurship" and "Success factors for high-growth start-ups," reflecting his strategic research capabilities. He has participated in more than 32 university-industry research results transfer contracts. Currently, he also teaches entrepreneurship and information systems management.