The term Business Process Management (or BPM) refers to activities performed by businesses to optimize and adapt their processes.
Although it can be said that organizations have always been using BPM, a new impetus based on the advent of software tools (business process management systems or BPMS) which allow for the direct execution of the business processes without a costly and time intensive development of the required software. In addition, these tools can also monitor the execution of the business processes, providing managers of an organization with the means to analyze their performance and make changes to the original processes in real-time. Using a BPMS the modified process can then be merged into the current business process atmosphere.
Where Business Process Reengineering (popular in the 1990s) dealt with one-off changes to the organization, Business Process Management deals with the continuity and embedding of process orientation in the organization. Business Process Management has evolved as technology has caught up with management processes to the point that technology should no longer be the limiting factor in BPM.
Business Process Management encompasses other process elements, such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Performance Management, etc.