Roger Tregear offers a precise explanation of business processes in this short article.
The minimalist view of a business process is that it is a collection of activities that transforms one or more inputs into one or more outputs. A more useful holistic view also includes all of the resources, people, systems, infrastructure, policies, regulations—everything that is required to execute and manage the process. Processes are important because they are how every organizations gets work done.
Cross-functional business processes are the only way organizations can deliver value to customers and other stakeholders. By themselves, the separate functional areas of an organization (boxes on an organization chart) cannot deliver value to external parties. An organization’s resources are managed ‘vertically’ via the organization chart. Value is created, accumulated, and delivered ‘horizontally’ across the organization chart. It follows that an organization executes its strategic intent via its business processes.
Business processes define and visualize the only way any organization is able to exchange value with its customers and other stakeholders, and the way in which the organization executes its strategy. It follows that business processes must be actively and deliberately managed, something that is missing in most organizations.
Process Precepts is a series of weekly posts exploring the theory and practice of process-based management.
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