Cultural Diversity, IT and Business Process Management

Business Process Management is a powerful set of techniques and tools that give an organization a systematic approach to maximizing business activities. In a recent article in HR Executive, Keith Preston, senior director of strategy and planning at The Boston Consulting Group, defined BPM as “a set of strategies for achieving business success by improving productivity, reducing waste, and streamlining systems.” According to the same article, “the combined effects of these strategies will have a profound impact on an organization’s ability to compete.” In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways BPM can bring about a profound change globalization.

The term Business Process Management is generally applied to a range of activities that contribute to the efficient management of many business processes. Business Process Management includes processes such as scheduling, purchasing, inventory, financial functions, and human resources management, to mention a few. These processes are integral to any organization’s success, but globalization has brought a new set of concerns altogether. Because of the widespread use of the internet, companies must deal with processes that are not localized in their particular markets, but are instead carried out on an international basis. A prime example is BPM, which seeks to address issues of quality, security, and reliability by improving processes for international use.

The major benefits of using business process management include improvements in quality, operational effectiveness, reliability, and the reduction of cost. The most obvious benefit is the improvement of quality by ensuring processes are timely, accurate, and relevant. Another aspect of quality improvement is the reduction in cost through processes such as change management, which are designed to reduce and prevent costly mistakes. Another key benefit is the prevention of errors due to human error or paperwork errors. Finally, there is the reduction of costs through processes such as metadata interchange, which streamlines information flow within organizations and improves data security. In addition, the introduction of IT-based decision making process improves business process management by enabling better and more informed decisions from top management down to the front line employees.

When considering how to improve business processes through IT-based methodologies, it’s important for students to understand some of the major developments that have taken place over the past few decades. The first of these is change management. The development of this discipline seeks to ensure that changes within an organization achieve a beneficial effect, and do so in a manner consistent with the size and complexity of the organization. Change management also focuses on aligning the goals and objectives of the organization with its organizational structure, resources, and people. This ensures that efforts and resources are aligned toward meeting the organization’s goals. Additionally, change management seeks to establish the importance and value of the information being exchanged and the effect it has on the organization.

Another important development within the field of business process management is globalization. Just as change management seeks to ensure beneficial interactions among employees and customers, globalization also seeks to ensure that interactions are open and widespread. With the globalization of technologies and organizations, students may want students to consider the impact that technological changes have had on business processes, and what they can mean for the organization.

Students also want to consider cultural differences when reviewing the subject. Cultural differences can be significant because of the different perspectives that people bring to the table. While business processes may not always be impacted by cultural differences, there can be a profound ethical dilemma when cultures clash. As one might expect, different cultures approach problems differently. When the business processes of two cultures clash, it could create significant problems for everyone. This is why addressing cultural differences during the planning stages of an IT project are important.

Another important consideration for students is the effect that technology has on global markets. Today’s global economy depends heavily on technology. To this end, any changes that take place in technology affect the processes involved in business. Students would want to consider the impact that changes in technology could have on their organizations if they wish to better understand the effects of globalization on their company.

These are just some of the examples that students would want to review when considering how the subject impacts their business. Business processes are complex and change on a regular basis. IT projects often require that these changes occur on a regular basis as well. Therefore, any business that wants to succeed needs to be prepared for the potential that cultural differences, technological differences, and even new business models may impact those processes.