A business process:
- Is triggered by an external event.
- Is composed by different activities or procedures which are necessary to provide a business outcome in response to the triggering business event.
- Transform inputs into outputs.
- Contain activities which are usually cross functional and operate at different operational units.
- Delivers a product to a outside stakeholder or another internal process.
- Usually connects to other internal processes.
- It's how we do what we do.
Business processes can be divided into Core Business Processes, Enabling Business Processes and Guiding Business Processes. Core Business Processes are linked directly to external customers and their values and they meet marketplace demands on a daily basin. Core business processes guide, control, plan, enable or provide resources to the core and other supporting business processes. While, enabling and guiding processes are secondary and helping processes to achieve core business processes.
One question rises, why is processes so important? Is there any reason business should operate and divide the task into processes. Well, businesses use processes because of: Technology, Business differentiation and Financial pressure reasons. Information Technology has an excellent support to processes, and supports cross functional and organizational unit work. By using processes businesses can attain competitive advantage, and they will take care whether to change but they will ask questions how to change business models. Processes help businesses reduce costs, increases output and consistent quality.
Business Processes usually are composed of couple of components. A well known standard for defining this process components is IGOE. An IGOE might be a physical object, rule, goal, principle or piece of data, a machine, a computer system or anything that is relevant to the process. IGOE is a shortcut for Input, Guide, Output, Enabler.
Input: Something that is utilized consumed by or transformed by an activity (process); Connects to left side of ‘box’.
Guide: something that determines how or when an activity occurs but is not consumed; Connects to top of ‘box’.
Output: something that is produced by or results from an activity/process; Flows from right side of ‘box’.
Enabler: something (person, facility, system, tools, equipment, asset or other resources) utilized to perform the activity; Connects to bottom of ‘box’. Note: Enablers are NOT consumed.