Organisations are constantly seeking cost-effective improvements for their business processes. Business process management (BPM) provides organisations with a range of methods, techniques and tools for analysing, managing, and optimising their business operations. However, BPM initiatives within organisations tend to focus on investigating time and resource utilisation inefficiencies, rather than directly on cost inefficiencies. As a result, high-level cost-based managerial decisions are still being made separately from process related decisions. This position paper describes a research agenda that envisages a holistic approach to managing the cost of business operations in a structured manner, by making an explicit link between cost and processes in all phases of the business process management life cycle. We discuss a number of research challenges that need to be addressed in order to realise such an approach as well as findings from some of the initial research outcomes. It is envisioned that the research outcomes will enable organisations to make operational and strategic decisions with confidence based on accurate and real-time cost information about their operations.