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What is business process monitoring?

Process monitoring is important in process analysis because it helps businesses keep track of performance and continuous improvement. Process monitoring can also help businesses identify risks and compliance issues and ensure that tasks, processes, and workflows are meeting their goals.

What exactly is business process monitoring?

Business process monitoring is the proactive review and analysis of the performance of processes to identify potential bottlenecks, check conformance, and find improvement opportunities. Diligent monitoring helps you see if everything is going according to plan, identify errors, and make necessary changes along the way.  

The benefits of business process monitoring 

Identify and avoid potential bottlenecks

Even the most well-planned processes will likely present a few bottlenecks in the real world. Although a few bumps in the road can be managed, numerous sticking points and unanticipated issues can be damaging. 

Measure and ensure process conformance

You may have a perfectly designed process plan, but occasionally things take an unexpected turn. Active process monitoring will pinpoint potential areas where you're deviating away from the happy path.

Save time and money with streamlined tasks   

After spending some time monitoring your processes, you might spot some tasks that could be slightly revised to save time and resources. Some tasks might require fewer people to conduct, and some could even be completely automated. 

Improve alignment between functions

Processes are often shared between different teams and organizations. Effective monitoring helps different stakeholders to keep track of performance, enabling collaborative business process improvement.

Even the most well-planned and implemented new business processes can be ineffective and even damaging without careful monitoring. Business process monitoring is much like going to the doctor for a check-up. You might be fit and healthy overall, but the doctor might find your blood pressure is slightly high. In response, the doctor prescribes medication to combat the issue before it negatively impacts your health. 

So don't forget about your new processes once they've been implemented. Leaving a few small issues going untreated here and there adds up to many huge problems down the line, some of which have negative long-term consequences.

Business process monitoring example in invoice approvals
An example of business process monitoring - invoice approvals


Components of Business Process Monitoring

To effectively monitor business processes, organizations rely on various components and techniques. Let's explore the key components of business process monitoring:

1. Data Collection and Aggregation

Data is at the core of business process monitoring. Organizations collect and aggregate relevant data from various sources, such as transactional systems, IoT devices, and customer interactions. This data provides valuable insights into process performance and helps identify areas for improvement.

2. Real-Time Monitoring 

Real-time monitoring allows organizations to constantly track business process activities and performance. By utilizing advanced technologies and analytics, businesses can monitor process metrics, detect anomalies, and take immediate actions to mitigate risks or resolve issues.

3. Process Visualization and Analysis

Process visualization tools provide visual representations of workflows, allowing stakeholders to understand the flow, dependencies, and bottlenecks within a process. These tools enable organizations to analyze and optimize processes based on data-driven insights. Process mining, task mining, and process intelligence are all examples of effective process visualization technologies. 

4. Alerting and Notification Mechanisms

Alerting and notification mechanisms ensure that stakeholders are promptly informed of critical events or deviations from expected business process behavior. Alerts can be configured to notify relevant individuals or teams when predefined thresholds or conditions are met, enabling quick response and resolution. 

Challenges of business process monitoring

Implementing business process monitoring can pose certain challenges. Here are some common challenges organizations may encounter:

  1. Limited Data Quality and Availability: Inadequate or poor-quality data can hinder the effectiveness of monitoring efforts. Inaccurate or incomplete data may lead to incorrect insights and unreliable performance metrics.
  2. Resistance to Change: Employees and stakeholders may resist adopting new monitoring processes and technologies. Overcoming resistance to change requires effective communication, training, and emphasizing the benefits of monitoring for individuals and the organization as a whole.
  3. Complexity and Scalability: Organizations with complex business processes or multiple systems may face challenges in designing monitoring frameworks that capture all relevant data and provide meaningful insights. Scalability becomes crucial when expanding monitoring efforts across different departments or business units.
  4. Ensuring Continuous Improvement: Monitoring should not be limited to identifying issues but also encompass driving continuous improvement. Sustaining a culture of improvement and effectively implementing changes based on monitoring insights can be a challenge. 

By addressing these challenges with appropriate strategies and best practices, organizations can overcome hurdles and leverage business process monitoring to its full potential.

Tips for successful business process monitoring 

Set a clear end goal 

Before you monitor your business processes, make sure you're clear on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you run an online store and want to avoid running out of a certain product during a busy season.

A vague goal, such as supporting distribution teams during busy periods, is not clear enough. Setting precise goals such as automating the order process of the iPhone 13 during the Christmas shopping period keeps the process running smoothly. 

Compare processes with KPIs‍

Setting KPIs (key performance indicators) helps you understand what goals are being reached and spot any problems in your process. 

KPIs set in place during the implementation phase can be used by employees to devise personal objectives. Setting both long and short-term KPIs helps employees track progress, gain insights and make improvements. Remember, It's important to use quantitative and qualitative KPIs to gain balanced insights. 

Get the best from your monitoring tools  

A good business process monitoring tool will help you uncover hidden opportunities and prevent bottlenecks by analyzing your business processes. All business process monitoring tools are effective because they notice things humans generally don't think about. However, Workfellow's Work API is the only technology that sees the manual work involved in providing a service. 

Picture a typical airport during an unpredictable event like a labor shortage. Due to the lack of staff, the lines at the airport become longer, many people miss their flights, and take-off time is delayed. All these bottlenecks add up to bad customer relations or even a full-blown PR crisis. 

But, by understanding the manual work required to deal with new tickets during peak and unpredicted events, the airport can put a system in place. Process monitoring shows the accumulation of additional work during these events, so you'll be on top of the situation and can react immediately and according to plan. 

Implement continuous improvement methodologies and mindset

Once your process monitoring system is in place, it's not just a 'set it and forget it' scenario. Implement continuous improvement methodologies, such as the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, to regularly review and refine your process monitoring practices. This iterative approach ensures that the monitoring process remains relevant, agile, and aligned with evolving business goals. Furthermore, fostering a culture of open feedback allows team members to provide insights on potential enhancements, ensuring that the business process monitoring system is robust and effective in driving operational excellence.

The Bottom Line 

Effectively monitoring your processes requires an excellent monitoring tool and diligent observation, planning, and reporting from process actors. By identifying and fixing potential bottlenecks and understanding the manual work related to providing a service, you'll ensure your processes run smoothly. What's more, you'll uncover hidden opportunities along the way. 


How does business process monitoring differ from business process management?

Business process monitoring focuses on real-time tracking and analysis of process performance, while business process management involves designing, modeling, and optimizing processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Monitoring is a component of the broader management process.

What are some common KPIs used in business process monitoring?

Common KPIs include cycle time, error rates, throughput, customer satisfaction scores, on-time delivery, process costs, and resource utilization.

Can business process monitoring help in detecting fraud?

Yes, business process monitoring can help detect unusual patterns or deviations from expected behavior, which can be indicative of potential fraudulent activities. By monitoring key process metrics and analyzing data, organizations can identify suspicious transactions, anomalies, or unauthorized activities that may require further investigation to mitigate fraud risks. Business process monitoring provides an additional layer of security and helps organizations maintain integrity in their operations.

Written by

Josef Konderla

Content Marketing Manager