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Business Processes: What’s a Business Process?

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What's a Business Process? (Definitve Guide)

This is a complete guide to business processes.

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • What a business process is
  • How you create and improve a business process
  • Most important business process terms
  • Lots more

So if you want to understand what a business process is and make use of business processes, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

Contents

Business Process 101

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Learning how to effectively run a business takes a ton of trial and error.

But one way companies have learned to hone their efforts is by using dedicated business processes.

This strategy has proven invaluable for countless companies.

The economist Adam Smith recognized in 1776 how business processes can increase the efficiency of a business.

Production was dominated by handcrafted goods: One person would perform all the activities required to produce the product.

Smith divided the work in a pin factory into a set of simple tasks, which would be performed by specialized workers

The labor division resulted in productivity increasing by 24,000 percent: The same number of workers made 240 times as many pins as they had been producing before the introduction of labor division.

And labour division is nothing less than a business process.

[source]

But you’re probably wondering: what’s a business process?

This article covers every aspect of a business process in a definitive guide.

What’s a Business Process?

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It sounds simple, but when it comes to answering the question “what’s a business process,” you have to dive deep.

You might assume this article is referring to a single process that relates to business.

But in fact, a business process is a series of steps, not a single action. The process leads to a specific goal within the business.

So, a business process might involve multiple steps and numerous team members to reach the desired outcome.

Each step builds on the one before it, so this isn’t some haphazard to-do list. Instead, a business process is an orderly and outlined sequence of tasks or actions.

Organizations with a standard onboarding process benefit from 50% more productivity from new hires.

[source]

Nothing is arbitrary throughout the business process: every step is essentially micro-managed.

Here comes an example for you of what a business process is:

Let’s say you have a lemonade stand with two friends.

One friend makes the lemonade, one sells the lemonade, and you do everything else such as take care of the supply of lemons, fill up the glasses, and keep books.

Everything you and your friends do is a process or part of a process. 

For example, the making of the lemonade: Your friend takes a lemon, squeezes the lemon into a jar, adds water, and adds sugar.

That’s a process.

Lemonade jar and lemons.

The other friend takes the money of a customer and hands over a glass of lemonade in return.

That’s a process too.

And because your lemonade stand is a business, you already have at least two business processes:

  1. Making lemonade
    1. Take a lemon
    2. Squeeze the lemon
    3. Add water
    4. Add sugar
  2. Selling lemonade
    1. Take the money
    2. Hand over the lemonade

Simple as that!

But a process can be quite comples as well.

For example, a business process of a project management. Its visualized as a kind of a flowchart:

Example of a business process.

Flowcharts are the standard when it comes to visualize business processes.

Howevery, the flowcharts used to illustrate business processes are a special sort of flowcharts: they use the so-called Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN).

What’s Business Process Management?

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Discussing how business processes work brings us to the term business process management (BPM).

Yes, someone needs to manage business processes.

Usually, a team of people creates a business process, implements it, and monitors the outcome, making adjustments as necessary.

Depending on the size of an organization, however, a single person (like the CEO) might orchestrate the business process.

Single working man behind a laptop.

This doesn’t mean that’s the most effective option, but it’s better to have someone overlooking the process rather than skipping it entirely.

That’s right: a business process isn’t something that just happens.

Sure, things happen in a business.

But the right things happen only when someone investigates, decides what those “right things” are, and creates a framework for implementing them.

Contrary to some folks’ opinions, business process management doesn’t come from the peons, either.

Everyone can offer input, but someone higher-up needs to oversee the whole thing.

Hence, the management aspect. 

What Are the Steps in a Business Process?

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The business process definition doesn’t include task-specific steps because every organization is different.

That fact alone can make it tough to talk about business processes in concrete ways.

But there are general guidelines for creating your corporation’s business process.

Business process steps tend to follow this outline:

  1. Establishing organizational goals
  2. Outlining (or mapping) a process
  3. Highlighting specific actions
  4. Designating managers/a team/stakeholders
  5. Testing the process
  6. Executing the process
  7. Examining the results
  8. Adjusting and repeating as necessary

Many organizations use a circular flowchart to illustrate their business process cycle. Others might visualize their process in other ways.

Whether you map business processes via a chart or create a fancy graphic, the fact remains that it’s a continuous cycle.

You may not want to read this, but here it is:

Business processes are never-ending.

There’s always room for improvement and continuous change.

So, business processes aren’t something you set and forget.

Hence the need for an active management team or department to continue working on process management long after you’ve forgotten about it.

What Types of Business Processes Are There?

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When you ask, “what’s a business process?,” the simple answer is plenty of things.

Many aspects of your business are, in fact, business processes.

You may already have guidelines in place for many processes. You’re just not managing them as closely as you should to ensure great results.

And here’s the thing: depending on who you ask, there are anywhere from three to ten business processes.

90% of the highest-performing companies use a formal, guided sales process.

[source]

Some say there are three Ps, and that’s it: product, people, and process.

Of course, if you ask even more people, you might get the answer that business processes are practically infinite.

Most say there are hundreds of both core- and sub-processes.

Others say there are three totally different types of business processes: primary, support, and management.

If it helps you to orient your thoughts on this non-concrete topic, consider those three categories while exploring the following examples of business processes.

Examples of Business Processes

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Just about any aspect of your business that involves multiple steps to achieve the desired result is considered a business process.

Let’s go over some different types of business processes for clarity.

Product or Service Development

Creating your product or service is arguably the cornerstone of your business (which makes this a primary business process).

Organizations use business processes to create their product or service and hone it to perfection.

You may tackle this business process once when you start your business.

But more than likely, you’ll revisit it (remember, business processes are endless!) multiple times when launching new products, releasing updates, and changing your service offerings.

Product or Service Delivery

Delivering your product or service is the next logical step after developing it. This, too, is a business process example that involves primary-level action.

Consider each phase your product needs to pass through before reaching the customer.

You’ll need to manufacture, assemble, package, and ship the product. Then, it needs to be transported. Next, it’s delivered to a store or directly to your customer.

Of course, once it leaves your facility, you may have little control over the next stage of the process.

Unless you’re Amazon and have your own warehouses, delivery drivers, and return lockers on every street corner.

With service, there may be fewer stages in your delivery business process.

Still, developing your service offerings, scheduling calls and staff, and ensuring everyone has the appropriate tools to deliver the service are all necessary steps in this process.

Sales

You might think that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin.

And while they are closely related, they also necessitate separate business processes.

Sales, for example, can be viewed as customer acquisition rather than promotion and advertising.

You want to lure people in with your product, and that’s the point of sales.

Enticing the customer and showing off whatever it is you want to sell.

Marketing is more nuanced, however, and can happen before or after the initial sale.

Both sales and marketing can be considered management business processes because they manage the way customers receive their goods and services.

Marketing

Marketing is another business process that involves myriad steps and stages.

While sales is the actual selling and transactional experience, marketing goes deeper.

Think about marketing messages that permeate cable TV (or the Superbowl, specifically).

Jingles that you can’t get out of your head and slogans that are recognizable without a single logo present are marketing.

If you’re successful at your marketing business processes, you’ll have a customer base that’ll buy anything you want to sell.

But an effective marketing process means you need to understand and cater to your customers’ needs.

See, definitely more nuanced than slapping a discount sticker on a shelf item and calling it a day (or calling it sales).

Management

Employee management is one business process that companies tend to overlook.

And it’s understandable: you don’t want to spend time honing management processes when the more lucrative part of the business is the products.

That said, every CEO worth their salt knows that the team is what makes the company. Some managers need to be reminded of this, though.

Regardless, implementing management business processes can help ensure a cohesive team that’s able to handle the tasks you throw at them.

This can be considered a support business process as it supports the primary business goal.

But management only relates to day-to-day scheduling and team dynamics.

When things get really rough for your people, it’s time for HR.

Human Resources

Human resources is a necessary part of the bigger management picture.

But, it’s a standalone process, too.

After all, ensuring employees’ health, happiness, and productivity goes far beyond barking at them to get specific tasks done each workweek. 

69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a successful onboarding experience.

[source]

Of course, Human Resources isn’t all employee complaints and harassment suits.

HR exists to help ensure productive teams with low turnover.

Your business process for HR should undergo the same scrutiny as the other processes within your corporation.

Having an effective HR department can mean more money saved for your company.

Happier employees don’t leave, and employees that stay save you money – low turnover for the win.

New employees were 58% more likely to stay with an organization for more than three years if they went through a structured onboarding program.

[source]

And, if your HR people are on it, this process is a management one – it helps control and improve the other business processes.

Namely, it micromanages the people involved in the support actions.

Looking closely at your HR processes is an essential part of implementing business process management organization-wide.

That’s not all though, people aren’t exactly the bottom line.

Financial Management

Financial and accounting management may not necessarily fall under the three Ps of business processes.

They do, however, fall into the support processes category.

After all, finance departments support the management processes… And ensure people get paid, which is a boon to company morale.

Financial management as a business process involves fiscal reporting, capital management, and overall handling of a corporation’s wallet.

A good financial management team is essential for larger businesses – or those with high yields.

Keeping your financial management processes honed can help you reduce expenditures and keep your wallet full.

Unfortunately, financial management isn’t always part of companies’ business process management plans.

Accounting

While financial management is the literal management of a company’s finances, accounting is the recording and reporting aspect.

Think of the way your accountant crunches numbers and creates spreadsheets to show where the money is going (and why).

That’s accounting, and it’s a process that falls under your business’s major operations.

Quality Control (or Process Improvement)

Quality control (for products) or process improvement (for services) is clearly a business process, and it’s probably the most popular when it comes time for business process management brainstorming.

After all, improving your product or service is an excellent way to cut costs, ensure customer satisfaction, reduce overhead, and even make things easier for your employees.

Most business process improvement falls under this category, especially because everyone from front-line workers to CEOs can see where gaps in performance may lie.

That said, just because it’s easier to see gaps in quality or process doesn’t mean other aspects of business process management aren’t just as crucial.

Technology Management

Technology management is another business process example that is commonly overlooked.

But handling your computer and information technology business processes properly can mean a higher return on investment and less downtime.

Depending on your product or service, this may be more or less crucial to daily operations.

Clearly, if your internet is down often and your company delivers service virtually, you have some room for business process improvement.

Is Automation a Business Process?

Automation can be beneficial for any or all of your business processes. However, it’s not strictly a business process in itself.

Automating your sales funnel, for example, doesn’t mean your entire sales business process is happening without you.

You still need human input and ever-changing data to determine whether the automation is effective and how to improve it further.

So, automation is part of every business process – but it’s not a standalone process.

The Definitive Business Process Guide: How to Document (and Improve) Processes

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You came here for a business process guide, but we had to cover definitions and other variables first.

Now, it’s time to get down to business and start outlining your company’s processes, so you can start improving them.

As a whole, outlining, implementing, and monitoring these steps equate to business process management.

Step 1: Highlight a Process (and Determine Its Purpose)

Step one involves understanding (or establishing) your organization’s goals and then identifying a process that supports those goals.

You can choose any of your company’s processes here. Ideally, you’ll use this framework for every aspect of the business.

As an example, let’s consider the Human Resources process of onboarding a new employee. Step one would be pretty simple: you know that hiring an employee and providing them with the tools for success is beneficial for your business.

The purpose of this process is to maintain a standard for all new employees.

Otherwise, your business will become a mess, fast.

Most organizations have a process for onboarding already ,but for our purposes, this makes for a straightforward example of an actual business process.

Step 2: Highlighting Specific Actions (AKA Process Mapping)

Highlighting specific actions is where you define the scope of the process.

You’ll outline everything that’s included in the process and what order it needs to happen in.

For our onboarding example, you might have a series of actions like:

  • Provide an employee handbook
  • Assign a job role and outline specific duties
  • Issue proprietary company equipment and uniforms
  • Handle company-wide introductions
  • Organize department-level introductions
  • Set up an office space or work area
  • Arrange their work schedule

You could also break this step down further into smaller blocks.

You might re-order things or spread the process out over the course of a few days.

Step 3: Designating the Big Players

Designating team players or, as some like to call them, stakeholders, is another essential business process step.

You need to know who will be overseeing the process, as well as what support is necessary from other team members to complete it.

In terms of onboarding an employee, the HR department head would likely be the “manager” of the process.

However, other individuals will need to contribute, as no higher-level manager has the time or the inclination to show a new employee around and carry their new laptop for them.

So, our process would require an HR department head, an HR team member to print off paperwork, the new employee’s department head, manager, or supervisor to handle introductions, a team member to issue uniforms, and maybe an IT person to check out company devices.

Of course, designating the “big players” for your processes will vary depending on your industry and the size of your company.

A smaller business may have a single person handle all the onboarding tasks with new employees, for example.

Step 4: Testing the Process

Testing the process is fairly simple in our HR example. Checking in with a new employee after a week or two on the job can offer insight as to how well your new onboarding process went.

Observing the employee’s performance can also provide perspective.

For other processes, testing might be a different story.

You might have numerous standalone “tests,” then tweak your process to address gaps.

Understandably, testing your process can be complicated.

Generally, bringing together every key player in the process can help determine whether there are gaps in the process.

Collaboration is essential, after all, which is why having a team handle business process management is ideal.

Step 5: Executing the Process

Once you’ve tested out your process, and gotten feedback from other key players, it’s time for full execution.

Executing the process means putting it into daily practice.

With the onboarding example, you’ll be executing this process, and probably honing it, every time you hire a new worker.

Especially if you work with independent contractors, part-timers, or seasonal workers, you might run through the process more times than you’d expect.

This is true of other processes, too, especially in product manufacturing.

The good news is that the more times you repeat the process, the better results you’ll have to evaluate its effectiveness.

From there, it’s on to the next step.

Step 6: Examining the Results

As noted, it could take some time to see results. You’ll also need to determine how you’ll measure these results.

In terms of onboarding a new hire, you could have the new employee fill out a survey.

You could look at their work productivity, check their training progress, or just have a discussion about how their first few weeks went.

For other processes, examining your results could mean scouring a financial report or examining a product fresh off the assembly line.

Checking out the results will vary widely, just like every other step in business process development.

Step 7: Adjusting and Repeating the Never-Ending Step

Once you see results, whether good or bad, it’s time to tweak the process to address them.

This is an understandably never-ending step, as the most successful organizations are always looking toward improvement.

If, after hiring a string of employees, you find that their productivity isn’t adequate within a month or two, changing your onboarding process might help.

Perhaps you’ll add a set amount of training days to the onboarding process, including evaluations by the new team member’s supervisor.

Or, maybe you offer more technology to support the new team member’s role.

Adding programs to their company-issued laptop might be a necessary part of the process.

Your actions at this stage and the level of success you experience will vary widely.

Like every other business process, the ones your company uses will be entirely proprietary.

Based on the product or service you offer, you’ll have a customized framework that outlines your entire business model and operation.

What Do I Do with Business Processes?

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So, once you’ve finished with each business process, what do you do with it?

The short answer is that you’re never really done with any business process.

After all, there’s that final yet ever-revolving step to keep coming back to.

While your business processes will never truly be shelved, it’s worth noting that creating a comprehensive resource for your company is a smart move.

For example, you might outline each business process in a digital or hard copy format.

A company binder may contain every major business process for every department as a kind of how-to on managing the organization.

Just be sure to keep referring to these ‘manuals’ and continuing to critique and improve your processes. 

Do I Need a Pre-Packaged Framework for Business Processes?

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Business process management is one of those buzz words many companies are playing on to get people to buy their courses and frameworks.

But with BPM, you’re bound to encounter business process problems, regardless of what framework you use or package you purchase.

Current business process trends have corporations leaning toward frameworks like Six Sigma, but the underlying concept is the same.

There are no specific business process rules (except the ones you set yourself), and many organizations prefer to create their own steps rather than following a pre-set formula.

It’s up to you whether you want to invest in such tools or products. But it might be worth attempting to create your business processes without such pricey tools, at least at first.

50 Essential Business process terms and their definitions

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These are the 50 most important business process terms and their definitions.

It’s time for #1:

Activity

As the term suggests, this is work that a company accomplishes by employing business processes. It often involves a series of steps or procedures needed to perform a definite part of a service. This is best illustrated when constructed through an imperative mood or command using verbs. 

ACWP (Actual Cost of Work Performed)

ACWP applies to the total run of direct and indirect costs of work conducted given a duration. It’s also called Earned Value Analysis because it is one of the rudimentary inputs in project management. 

Realizing incurred costs gives a heads up to project managers about behind projects that are high-budgeted. When the monthly accounting period arrives, their salary and career expectations are met or even exceeded.

As-Is Process

An original or common practice is called an as-is process.

After test runs and quality checks of business processes, when there is no need to change an activity or practice, it’s regarded as an as-is process.

See below for to-be process.

Black Belt

Black Belt is among the three levels of competence in comprehending and applying Six Sigma tools. It’s the second level which works on application and analysis.

Black Belts are the upper hand over Green Belts. See below for Green Belts.

Black Belts emphasize Six Sigma project execution and special supervision with special duties. Authority and guidance over Black Belts are yielded by the Master Black Belts. The latter is used mainly for applications of Six Sigma functions and the statistical theories behind applications. See below for Six Sigma.

Bottlenecks

A soda bottle becomes narrower near the opening so the liquid doesn’t pour out all at once. When a process is restricted in a sequence of processes, it will affect the flow and speed of the next process like a chain reaction. This might happen for either a short or long period of time. 

Temporary or short-term bottlenecks happen when a project lead is gone for a few weeks and papers cannot be reviewed and approved right away. When there is a delegation of equally important tasks and a team member is absent or unable to function because of injury during execution, you will have to postpone. 

Long-term bottlenecks usually involve technical errors or mechanical problems. For example, when the Xerox machine or shredder is not functioning and you have bulk paperwork to reproduce. Another example is the late adjustment of fees in the assessment sheets so that some accounts are not settled in a timely manner.

BPM (Business Process Management)

Business Process Management is a structured method to make an enterprise’s business processes more efficient.

The objectives of BPM include maximizing time, increasing productivity and convenience, alleviating costs and preventing inconsistencies and repeated errors.

Deployment options for software programs such as public cloud and on-premises are available for BPM implementation. What lies in the elemental tenets of BPM is continual improvement.

BPMN (business Process Model and Notation)

BPMN is a procedure for visualizing complex business processes within an organization through a flowchart or diagram. It forwards a baseline, quick run-through guide to analysts, management personnel and developers.

BPR (Business Process Re-engineering)

Business Process Re-engineering is the implementation of remodeling and redesigning the system in which tasks and activities are performed in order to stay true to the core philosophies and purpose of an organization and also help in minimizing costs.

Change Request

A change request is a declarative proposal or document pertaining to a modification or alteration of a project. It may require formal approval.

A client usually makes a request due to issues in the previously agreed upon process, and expected accomplishments are stated. It often details the cause and effect of the existing problem, the suggested solution, and its cost.

Continual Improvement

The primary mission of every company or business is to consistently make progress. The company or business should not remain stuck in familiar and outdated approaches in order to stay on top of the game.

Improvement entails small, gradual and continuous steps. To truly stand out and make their own brands, organizations should be trailblazers, taking risks for innovation.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Customer management or so-called customer relationsip management is a business strategy that is used to improve customer satisfaction and maximize profits by analyzing and managing customer service dynamics and relationships. It’s basically customer-oriented, taking note of their behaviors and activities.

CRM stands also for business software that manages the business processes that concern customers. For example, a lead, purchase in an online shop, or service ticket.

Decision

When you have to choose a course of action from a pool of alternatives to meet organizational and management end goals, you are making a decision. It’s indispensable especially if you are aiming for continual improvement, better customer relationships, and increased profit.

In life and service, good decisions drive sales and development in the company. All the considered decisions with their variables and implications are defined by a diagram or decision tree.

Deliverables

A deliverable is a task to be complied with on time. It’s an empirical and quantifiable requirement to be submitted to complete part of an activity or project.

A client usually demands adjustments or feedback on a certain deliverable before regarding the service as done.

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control)

DMAIC is a Six Sigma term describing the flow in a Six Sigma improvement process.

DMAIC may also serve as a mnemonic for the order of the steps for evaluating areas of improvement in business processes and models. Companies that utilize program workflow for continual improvement will find this helpful.

Document Management System

Like an electronic organizer, a document management system is a digitized system of electronic and paper documents.

For quality or standard accreditations, documents are altered or revised by various users for approval. There is a history tracking feature on this cloud storage and security management system. 

Basically, it is designed for paperless documentation that sometimes gets thrown away or misplaced. It can include a scanning and filing system to ensure that documents don’t fall into the wrong hands, which also saves you a great deal of time on paper flowing.

End-to-End Process

The term end-to-end describes a business process from beginning to end. It provides a complete application of database solutions and network communications to reach a particular process outcome. It often works without outsourcing from third parties.

ERP (Enterprise resource planning)

ERP seeks to minimize costs, duplication and losses because of data limited to a specific business unit. It allows for better communication and data exchange because updated figures and information are integrated or centralized in one system.

Businesses use ERP systems to manage their business processes.

ERP systems provide real-time access to core business processes, aligning future decisions and functions accordingly to the service flow and customer satisfaction. They support companies to fulfil their purpose as a business in the most effective and efficient manner.

Exception Processing

Business processes must also anticipate exceptional or unprojected input. Even if an order of steps is followed, there will be customers who want to break off from the traditional process. 

While not all future occurrences and changes can be foreseen, the act of testing for contingencies and alternatives will take you a step further in the business scene.

Focus Group

A focus group represents a company’s target audience. The number of members ranges from nine to twelve, so it’s a small group that is recruited and asked for insights about product samples or websites.

A focus group is gathered for discussions on product development and marketing endeavors.

In a focus group discussion, make sure to build a loyal customer base so that they help you do the work of finding new customers.

Moderating open-ended questions is also important for a defined scope and quantity. Know what information is already out there without passing on exploratory and useful angles.

Free Float

In project management, this is the length of time that a task can be delayed without causing delay to the beginning of any directly ensuing task. It’s also referred to as slack.

Calculating free float helps unit heads reduce overhead expenses and meet deadlines.

Green Belt

An individual is a Green Belt when he or she is trained and well-versed in the Six Sigma approach and mechanisms and operates as a leader in a quality advancement team as a line of work.

Heuristics

Resorting to shortcuts or heuristics to generate adequate solutions reflects someone’s resilience and resourcefulness. While business processes should follow long procedures to achieve consistently successful results, it can’t be denied that time is of the essence.

Being quick on your feet in crises or limited stretches is an asset. However, heuristics can lead to subpar products or deliverables. It’s not the most favorable problem-solving method for impressing the board or a high-profile client.

Hit

Hit can mean a lot of things in business. It’s an estimated measure of a website’s traffic. As with products and services, it means that many customers like something.

For another technical definition, it is a call or demand for a file created by a user-agent such as an internet browser or display program.

Hotspot

A hotspot is generally clickable text, most commonly known as hyperlinked images, symbols and icons. It encourages a direct response and is used as an advertising tool.

For more details and submission of queries, hotspots are inserted after a promotional piece or material.

Input

Input is required for the proper performance of activities and the resolution of issues in various business processes. It’s a set of data to be entered as a notice that the next step is ready to be fulfilled until the round of steps is successfully completed.

Input is also needed for exceptions and hand-offs for continual improvement.

IPO (input process outputs) Table

In a company’s first public sale of stock, an IPO table breaks down the resources (inputs) used, the main steps that these resources are undergoing (process), and the finished product made from the resources (output).

Some IPO tables may consist of columns for responsibility, risk, and priority.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

Sometimes in ads, you come across products passing the ISO. As you can infer, it’s an international organization that advances standards to certify the quality, security, and effectiveness of products, services, and systems.

They help promote international trade by promoting globally competitive but cost-efficient procedures in business management.

ISO also make disobedient and inconsistent companies wary. 

JAD (Joint Application Development)

JAD is a technique that accelerates the technological design and development of an application involving customers and end-users. Group dynamics is the essential element in JAD sessions.

Individual input from stakeholders doesn’t effectively contribute to a business scenario because of different terms and roles.

A team-oriented methodology ensures that everyone adheres to uniform, repeatable, and dynamic business and information management solutions.

KPI (key performance indicators)

KPI stands for key performance indicators, which serve as measurable guidelines and criteria that determine how far you’ve grown as a company. There may be a standard for a kind of service or project but it’s not the same in other organizations. 

Individual or local departments, like sales and marketing then accounting and technology department, can produce KPI-based reports, not just the company as a whole, if it’s incorporated in the workflow system of the business. 

The consolidation of the final reports of each business unit are done in a general meeting. However, the revisions and adjustments of the report are kept within the respective departments. The critical success factors are highlighted by KPI.

Lean

Take, for example, environmental accounting, in which projects are catered to a premium value for the consumer while lessening the environmental imprint. This encourages a business to stick to its principles of sustainability and waste management.

Resourcefulness means more than finding other materials and tools to make things work. Sometimes, less is more and it augments operational efficiency.

Management by Exception

Deviation from the norm is the focus of management by exception.

Above, you came across the definition of exception processing. This is highly subscribed to as a project management method.

Results aren’t always as planned, so investigations are needed to focus on actual results that vary significantly from the expected and targeted results.

Management by Walking Around

Management by walking around means, managers have to literally walk around a firm to interact with other business units and staff. In an office or plant, managers must see eye-to-eye with the hired labor workers and project leaders. This results in fewer inaccuracies and less miscommunication. 

This can be a challenge in this digital age, when everything is computerized. Now, emails are just sent and meetings are conducted virtually. Still, the idea of the ideology is that management by walking around is important for getting in touch with your subordinates and what is taking place in business operations.

Nearshoring

Nearshoring is the in-between option: It’s similar to offshoring, except the companies hired come from neighboring countries or countries with comparable time zones and few cultural differences. See below for offshoring.

Node

A network has attached linkages or nodes to other dependency lines. This is a system or activity in letters or numbers, connected by an arrow diagram that portrays precedence. In an activity-on-node for project management, boxes or circles are used to represent scheduled activities. 

The starting point usually leads to choices about the course of action. If there are three options (A, D, F), each choice might lead to different progressions, some simultaneous. The first two options could also be taken simultaneously or sequentially to jump to E already or pick A alone to continue to B.

Optimize

Optimizing time reduces defaults and costs in business transactions. From accessing a website to providing information about stocks for products and availability of services, workers should optimize for a company’s growth and competitive edge. 

Offshoring

Offshoring is a business strategy in which an organization hires staff in distant countries to work remotely and virtually. See below for onshoring.

Off-Page Connectors

An off-page connector is a flowchart symbol that connects a target on a different page. As with on-page connectors, it shows up as a cross-reference and hyperlink to the page where the flow is going. They represent an entry point and exit point, identically characterized pairs.

Onshoring

Onshoring is closest to home with workers hired from your own country.

In other words, a company in the United States would outsource work to a third-party provider also located in the U.S.

Parallel Process

A process is parallel when it takes place at the same time as other processes. This results from a team working on a complex project that is broken up into designations. It reduces time and enhances productivity for processing. 

It also forces accountability on the team members and enables easy identification for faults and improvement. For instance, an individual is presenting a progress report while a group is jotting down notes for evaluation; another pair is reproducing copies and cascading information for the other department heads.

Process Mapping

Workflow software programs navigate business processes and functions. This is a strategy to map out exceptions, adjustments, approvals, and interactions in the business. Aside from efficiency, you can demand transparency in the end-to-end process of tasks and activities.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a management technique with a broad extent of practices.

The ISO may abide by this method to ensure that products can truly deliver satisfaction to customers without compromising quality and utility. It encapsulates the sum total of the activities targeted at attaining that mandated standard.

RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) Matrix

Employees and managers adopt a RACI Matrix to map out every functional area, major decision and breakthrough along with ambiguities and conflicts for a project. It’s important for proper delegation and function.

Team members get to actively engage, participate, and impart their insights, skills, and knowledge in the systemic definition of activities to be carried out and in establishing the responsibilities of each role.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a method for enriching quality and improving process capability in industrial operations. It increases productivity and performance and decreases process variations and duplications.

Six Sigma has an all-encompassing impact on profit growth, employee morale, and the caliber of product and services.

Swim Lane

A swim lange is an illustration or diagram of the distinctions between activities, inputs, and outputs in a process. It visually represents job sharing in specific business processes and other duties for sub-processes related to that business process.

To-Be Process

As opposed to a custom or as-is process, a to-be process displays the variations and improvements made to the original process. For comparative analysis, several to-be processes are sometimes created to be applied for process metrics in the future. 

Once improvements are made, the analysis then goes to how the business will work moving forward. The improvements to be made are somehow anticipated or realized after runs with the original process.

User Acceptance Test

This is usually the final stage of the software testing procedure.

As the term suggests, it is the phase in which consumers and users test a product to determine if it truly performs the functions for which it is marketed. In practice, products can perform differently according to specifications.

Value Stream Mapping

This is a graphical illustration that exhibits each and every critical step in a certain process and that easily measures the time and volume consumed at each phase.

X-Ref

Shortcut for cross-reference.

Yellow Belt

Someone who is upskilled in the Six Sigma methodology is a Yellow Belt. They don’t include individuals who lead a project or identify project functions and the statistical analysis of applications.

Zero-Based Budgeting

A zero-based budget is not allocated depending on the prior year’s budget or payment and where every amount must be accounted for.

Business Process FAQs List: More Business Process FAQs

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Do you know why business process management is important to any business or what’s the difference is between a business process and a business funtion?

If you want to get those questions answered and learn lots more, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s kick things off with this list of more remarkable business process FAQs and their answers.

Now It’s Your Turn

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Hopefully, you found this complete guide to “What’s a Business Process?” helpful.

And now it’s your turn:

  • Did this article answer your questions?
  • Do you have anything that’s missing?
  • Is there anything you need to know that wasn’t covered here?
  • Maybe you have questions about something in the article?
  • Or you just want to share your thoughts.

Either way, go ahead and leave a comment below right now.

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