According to the international organization for standardization ISO, a process is a set of activities that transforms inputs into outputs.
Therefore modeling or mapping a process is capturing an ordered sequence of actions 🛠️ aimed at achieving an objective 🎯, as well as the resources and actors supporting these actions.
Each process must have a clearly identified objective.
In addition to objective and action, we can list 4 other important elements in business process management: actor, resource, result and event.
A resource 🧰 is an informational, financial or material means produced by other internal or external actions. Unlike an input, a resource is not transformed during the actions.
Example: a machine, energy
An actor 🧑 is a person, an organizational entity or an application that is responsible for carrying out one or more actions of the process. The actor can be internal or external to the organization, and can collaborate with other actors to achieve the objective of the process.
Example: an employee, the marketing team
The completion of an action produces a result ✅, which is a partial or final realization, converging to the objective of the process. The result of an action can be either an event, a resource, or an input to another action.
Example: completed form, email sent, approval given
Finally, an event 🔔 is something that happens and that influences the course of an action. It could be a trigger for a process to start. There is no work on an event, therefore an event consumes no resources, and produces no results.
Example: a new employee joins the team, a data exceeds a threshold
Business processes are used to describe how an organization achieves its objectives.
They must be planned and implemented under controlled conditions, in order to improve quality and add value.
Generally, the processes are classified into three large families.
- Operational processes are at the heart of the business, and they produce the added value.
- Support processes are necessary for the execution of operational processes, and therefore they indirectly bring value to the organization.
- Management or decision-making or quality processes are not directly essential for the operations but they reflect the ability to meet quality and performance requirements in an organization. These are usually performed by the leadership and the management.
This classification is often used as a basis for the mapping of processes.
In general, operational processes require more attention because they are business specific, and have a direct impact on business performance.
Support processes are more generic. They are often similar in many organizations.
In any case, there is no separation between these three families. Operational, support, and management processes should not be independent. They should be executed in a collaborative way across functions.
- Generic support processes are available in our library of processes.
- External actors can be invited to perform actions in your processes.
- Events are used to trigger a process or to drive the execution of the processes.