Business Processes Explained

What is a Business Process?

Every organisation, or even household, has processes that are followed with the intention of achieving a result. Think about the process that is followed when a new employee turns up for their first day, a customer rings up with a complaint or the kitchen needs to be cleaned.

Commonly, these processes are not very well understood, they are not performed consistently and they are not well documented. In a small organisation they may be done effectively because there is 1 person who undertakes the process, they have done it many times and they have perfected the process over the years. In larger organisations, or when that person leaves, the process can be inconsistent and inefficient due to the complexity of multiple people being involved in what is usually a more complex environment.

Therefore, the different between any process and a well managed business process is ;

  • Consistency: The Business Process is performed the same way, every time, regardless of who is performing it
  • Measurable: The results of the Business Process can be measured to ensure that the right outcomes are being achieved
  • Transferable: The Business Process is well documented and resources required can be used by any qualified person when required
  • Sustainable: When the environment changes, the Business Process is flexible and will continue to achieve results
  • Continually Improved: The Business Process is continually analysed and improved to maximise efficiency and effectiveness

In addition, Business Processes are managed as organisational assets, just like an organisation would manage an expensive piece of machinery. Each Business Process needs to have an owner who is responsible for creation, maintenance, performance and ensuring the Business Process is delivering value. (There will be more on Process Roles on a later page in this series.)

Finally, Business Processes are designed to deliver value to the customer. This generally means that the Business Process crosses many functions in the organisation to deliver the end result to the customer. This is the difference between looking at the process as “Deliver Good” to the entire “Order to Cash” process. This does not mean that the “Deliver Good” process cannot be managed as a Business Process; however it is done in the context of the end-to-end Business Process.

Top Page: Executive Guide to BPM

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