Larger UK companies are up-to-date with plans to update their business processes, but smaller companies are lagging behind, according to IBM research.

A YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of IBM, questioned 650 senior business decision makers across the UK. The survey found that nearly three quarters of respondents thought that business process management (BPM) "was critical for their business".

The survey revealed significant differences in attitudes towards business processes. For instance, the larger the business surveyed, the more likely they were to have plans in place to update their business processes in the next two to three years. For example, 70 percent of organisations with more than 250 employees had BPM improvement plans, but only 31 percent of smaller companies (under 50 employees) had similar plans.

"It’s vital that smaller organisations don’t overlook the value of taking steps to improve their business processes," said Phil Gilbert, vice president of business process management at IBM. The survey showed 85 percent of all respondents agreed that "line of sight visibility into the work occurring across an organisation" is key to an organisation’s success.

IBM says running processes over email and using spreadsheets to convey data can result in wasted management time. Gilbert said: "The emergence of cloud-based solutions means that there are easy-to-use, cost-effective options for companies of virtually any size. Cloud-based BPM software is easier than email and a lot more powerful."

The arrival of enterprise-class social media platforms will support the application of BPM, says IBM, as social media can enable real time communications and more widely deliver the analytics of ongoing work and processes within an organisation. IBM described social media as a potential BPM data "silo breaker".