BPM’s Fascinating History and Breathtaking Future

Although the concept of business process management seems to be a popular topic for the last 20 years, it has actually been born with developments, imperatives and changes in the last 150 years. Like all births, the birth of BPM was not easy and required many stages. BPM continues to grow and innovate day by day like any newborn.

Even though the process management started in the 1900s, I would like to touch on what happened before. In 1760 the industrial revolution began. People began to meet machines and production began to evolve from body power to machine power. In the first industrial revolution, the second industrial revolution took place during the period between 1840-1870 with the effect of increasing mechanization. In this period, also called technology revolution, transportation became easier with railways. Access to different raw materials and sales to remote markets began. In this period, electrical energy was used. Electrical technology has enabled more machines to be used and increased production compared to steam power technology. Mass production started and heavy industry, iron and steel industry began to spread all over the world.

By 1900, the scientific approach to mass production, human and machine relations, which had gained momentum in the last 50 years, emerged. Companies had to be at maximum efficiency and minimum cost for maximum profit. Since 1903, Frederick Taylor has begun work on the scientific management of companies, and in 1907 published his work “Principles of Scientific Management“.

Summary of Principles; the division of the work into units without requiring the labor force to think less or even think at all, keeping the processes and workers under constant control, and even motivating the workers to pay for their work. In 1913, Henry Ford began using Taylor’s principles in the band system. While these principles pleased companies to increase productivity, they were reacted by many workers and trade unions. In spite of the reactions, in fact, work / method studies in automotive and other sector enterprises are still being carried out; The division of labor is the main source of employee orientation and recruitment processes.

Towards the 1950s, with the emergence of calculators produced with mechanical electricity, the road to computers began. In the 1960s, with the use of computers in the manufacturing sectors and the efficiency of digitalization to increase productivity, international and especially Japanese companies began to reduce error rates with quality improvements. The escalation of competition made US companies interested in the concept of quality. After the processes began to be examined more, technology began to control the processes. The examination of processes has become more systematic.

In the 1970s and 1980s, computers began to be used more. The increase in computer use has started the information age with millions of data emerging. Statistical software, measurement, collection and interpretation techniques have been developed to control and benefit tens of thousands of data.

Three Waves of Process Evolution

Article “The Evolution of Business Process Management as a Professional Discipline” – Sandra Lusk, Staci Paley, and Andrew Spanyi

In the 1990s, there was a linear, machine-driven structure that could walk and measure with less error. With the widespread use of the Internet, more distant points were reached in the global market. It has led to processes in which companies in different cities and countries have started to be involved in companies starting to do business with remote points.

In the 2000s, technology left process leadership to people and began to shift towards technology data / production provider. The necessity of doing business with different cities and countries, the necessity of communication with dozens of suppliers, intense competition and customer satisfaction brought the necessity of being systematic. In order to be systematic, digitalization was required for easy and fast access as well as determining processes.

Someone saw this obligation. The most primitive and simplest form of business process management applications, which allows processes to be drawn as workflows and to be monitored with the help of codes and to be controlled in each flow step, has emerged. With this structure, which we call the old generation BPM, document management processes and department-based processes were developed and started to be managed.

In 2010, the concept of case-based process management emerged. If we look at other innovations in general;

Development of different and interrelated processes. Directing the business to the job only to see the job. Standardization of business processes. Continuous improvement of processes. As an orchestra conductor of BPM applications, we can say that the integration of multiple systems is managed, exchanged and controlled.

Of course there are other things; Ready-to-use and vertical products can be used in a short time with plug-and-play method … Easy integration of processes from anywhere on the internet without being connected to local installation with cloud integration … In addition, with the integration of cloud, storage costs and productivity increase.

In the future, the concept of artificial intelligence will be used together with BPM. Decision-making support, self-learning and process simplification will be done. BPM applications; learn process statistics, responsible and integration systems, decide which process to start and when to exchange data with, and who / who will be responsible for the process step.

Merve Karakuş
Production Engineer