Becoming a Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP) - Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP)
Business process management is establishing consistent and automated processes for not only routine business transactions but also for interactions between people. This is not merely project management—it’s the implementation of persistent feedback loops that strive to improve a specific business process. This is done through data analysis, activity monitoring, and technology implementation. In the long run, robust business process management can reduce company spending, increase staff morale, reduce waste both in resources and time, and help create an efficient workplace.
While this field can sound very abstract, it is, in fact, easy to measure and quite concrete. Sitting at the intersection of business and technology, professionals in business process management have the skills to analyze how a process functions, determine ways to improve it, and create a system that measures the changes.
Professionals in this field have a unique combination of education and work experience. Typical degrees earned include undergraduate or graduate degrees in business administration, business analytics, and business majors with a science and technology emphasis. Work experience can be achieved in any business field. Most professionals start at entry-level jobs and work their way into higher project management levels and eventually into process management.
An excellent way to demonstrate competency in this field is to earn a Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP) certification through the Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP).
The ABPMP is an international organization with over 8,000 members worldwide. They are in over 750 corporations and as of August 2019, 1,500 CBPP certificate holders. Their objective is to advance the field of business process management through chapters, professional certification, and resource publication. Earning the CBPP certification is voluntary for professionals in this field, but it can lead to higher salaries and more advancement opportunities.
Below is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to earn a CPPB certification as well as a list of handy resources for professionals in this field.
Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP)
Step One: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree (Four Years)
Education is critical on the path to becoming a CBPP. Professionals in this field typically earn at least a bachelor’s degree in business.
There are no specific degree requirements to enter this job, so students must tailor their education through elective courses or with a minor or double major in a complementary program. CBPPs work at the intersection of business and technology, so pursuing a degree with an emphasis on information management, engineering, or data analysis ideal.
For example, Arizona State University offers an online bachelor of science in business data analytics. This program prepares students with organizational and technical competencies to analyze, implement, and measure business process systems. Courses students must take include business data mining, enterprise analytics, big data analytics, and introduction to information systems. Students can earn this 120-semester-hour degree in four years. It costs $688 per credit.
At the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, students can earn a bachelor’s in business administration with a science and technology management focus. Students in this program take classes in both the business school and the Cockrell School of Engineering. This program prepares students to enter high technical business environments, such as the ones CBPPs work in. Graduates of this program will have management skills, understand the process of bringing a product to market, and develop strong communication skills.
Step Two: Earn a Master’s Degree (Optional, One to Three Years)
While a master’s degree is not necessary to be a CBPP, it can be advantageous in securing employment in this field as well as advancing a career. Advanced degrees also reduce the required amount of work experience for certification by six months. The most common master’s degree earned in this field in a master’s of business administration (MBA).
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania offers a business analytics MBA program, which could be an ideal choice for aspiring CBPPs. This 20-month program sits at the intersection of business acumen and technical knowledge, effectively preparing graduates to make informed technical business decisions driven by data and research. Ranked the number one business school in the nation by US News & World Report, this highly regarded program is both rigorous and competitive.
The number one business analytics MBA program, as ranked by US News & World Report, can be found at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In just 12 months, students learn to manage data to solve critical business problems. Required coursework includes communicating with data, ethics and data privacy, and analytics software tools. Students complete a comprehensive capstone project working with real-life data to solve an actual business problem, gaining valuable hands-on work experience.
Step Three: Gain Work Experience (Four Years or More)
To earn the CBPP certification, candidates must have at least four years of work experience in process management, process improvement, or process transformation experience. This experience must be documented through qualifications, job titles, and references.
Entry-level work can be secured in product management, customer service, or as a business analyst. Professionals in this field can work in various areas, so they should pursue work in a business that interests them, such as the outdoors, software, or even medicine.
Step Four: Earn a Certified Business Process Professional (CBPP) Certification (Timeline Varies)
Once a bachelor’s (or master’s) and four years of work experience are completed, candidates may apply to the ABPMP for their CBPP certification. To apply, candidates must submit the following:
- Submit a completed application
- Pay $75 registration fee
- A detailed description of work experience
- Current professional certifications
- Educational experience
The primary eligibility for this exam is through work experience. As mentioned above, candidates with a bachelor’s degree must have at least four years and those with a master’s degree must have 3.5 years.
Candidates should describe in a narrative each and every project they have participated in, what their role in the project was, and what they did to improve the process. Each project should directly relate to a knowledge area of the Guide to the Business Process Management Body of Knowledge (BPM CBOK).
Candidates will be notified of their eligibility to take the exam 30 days of applying. Once approved, they will receive a link to pay the $650 exam fee and register for the exam. There is a $150 discount for ABPMP members.
The CBPP exam is designed to test a candidate’s ability to apply the concepts and techniques to improve a business as outlined in the BPM CBOK. In addition to studying the BPM CBOK, there are online practice exams to help candidates prepare. The exam has 140 multiple-choice questions, and candidates have three hours to complete it. Topics covered include:
- Business process management
- Process analysis
- Process modeling
- Process design and transformation
- Process performance management
- Process management roles
- Enterprise process management
- Business process systems
Candidates receive their results immediately following the exam. Those who have passed the exam will receive their official certificate in the mail within 30 days.
Helpful Resources for Certified Business Process Professionals (CBPP)
The field of business processes is continually evolving. In order to stay abreast of the changing environment, here is a list of resources to help professionals stay in the know:
- Association of Business Process Management Professionals (ABPMP)
- BPM.com – articles, news, research, and white papers on BPM
- European Association of Business Process Management Professionals (EABPMP)