What is BPM and what does it have to do with an ERP?

Ash Baggott

Even if you’re not aware of all the differences between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Business Process Management (BPM), you’ll most likely know that they work towards a common goal of enhancing productivity and increasing profits.

It’s imperative that you choose the right software for your organisation according to your business goals and functional needs, if you don’t choose correctly, you might waste time and money.

BPM and ERP seem very similar at first glance, but when compared, they demonstrate key difference and it’s important to understand what a BPM is and what it has to do with an ERP, a better understanding will help you decide what’s best for your business. 

What is Business Process Management?

BPM is a way of looking at and then controlling processes that are present within a business, it’s considered an effective methodology to use in times of hardship to increase efficiency and effectiveness. A BPM is comprised of the strategies and techniques used to understand, improve and automate business processes. BPM’s analyses processes as their own resources and seeks to improve them.

This is achieved in a business by providing users with a modelling tool to design and edit workflow, allowing users to describe processes and inform the audience with exactly happens during the process. BPM shouldn’t be a one-time exercise, it should involve a continuous evaluation of processes and should take actions to improve those processes.

What is Enterprise Resource Planning (in short)?

An ERP is a type of software that provides users access to a suite of applications. The modules within an ERP are built with the business functions in mind, and generally cover human resources, accounting, inventory management etc. ERP systems provide instant, up-to-date data ensuring everyone in a business is receiving the same information. Find out more about ERP’s.

But what’s the difference between them?

If you’re thinking that both ERP and BPM sound the same, you’re right. However, there are some key differences that makes it easier to tell them apart.

ERP is more focused on the various business functions and modules that support them. An ERP is incredibly useful when you want to track data, and to track other modules from sales to employee wages, while also allowing free flowing information between modules.

BPM allows you to manage a more specific workflow, with levels of customisations that you can’t find in an ERP. For example, if you need a software to manage a specific finance workflow, a BPM can focus solely on that, where an ERP would only deliver the whole finance module to you.

Both systems will provide you with analytics focused on your KPIs and custom reports. However, BPM’s business intelligence tools would be able to track insights into process execution times, process statuses, the number of closed processes and how many of those are open.

ERP’s on the other hand are useful to store data to a central server allowing different departments to input data and saving them into the same place. ERP provides a company wide view that BPM can not. The extensiveness of analysis is also greater, because an ERP stores a lot more data than a BPM.

Do they work together?

If you manage to integrate them properly, the two processes can actually compliment each other very nicely. You can fill any gaps that one or the other may have missed, you can have an automated process management that monitors the use of resources and assigns tasks, and at the same store all of your data in a central database.

To summarise, the difference between Business Process Management (BPM) and Enter Resource Planning (ERP) is that essentially, a BPM is a practice while ERP is one of the many technologies that can support that practice, and they can, if integrated correctly, work together.

With Holded’s Cloud ERP Software #1, you can trust this powerful ERP tool to easily manage your sales, finance, operations and human resources in one beautiful platform.

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