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Business Process Automation (BPA) 
vs. 
Business Process Engineering (BPE)
vs. 
Business Process Management (BPM)

It’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing alphabet soup. To make matters worse, the acronyms have different meanings depending on who you ask. We subscribe to Business Process Automation (BPA) because it delivers immediate benefits and the risk of analysis-paralysis is less.

Wikipedia defines each as follows:

BPA approach states the cycle of business change is so rapid there isn’t time to define every process before choosing which ones to automate. Delivering immediate benefits creates more value.

BPE rationale is that before any process can be automated, it is necessary to define (often at a very strategic level or enterprise-wide) all of the business processes running inside an organization. From this the processes can be re-defined and where necessary optimized, including automation.

BPM practice asserts that before any process can be automated, it is necessary to define all of the business processes running inside the domain of endeavor. From this the processes can be re-defined and where necessary optimized, including automation.

Moral of the story… don't get bogged down with labels.

  1. Define the business problem or opportunity
  2. Identify the process(es) causing the problem or creating the opportunity
  3. Change the process(es) with tools that meet your requirements
  4. Assess if the changes are successful
  5. Repeat