Category: businessbusiness

Business process automation


Lecture 3.
Business process


Lecture plan
1. Business process architecture.
2. Business process automation.
3. Process block diagram.
4. Attributes for business process.


1. Business process architecture
Business process architecture is a blueprint that allows a
company to create a fixed design for outlining the specific
tasks necessary to complete a task or activity.
Basic steps covered in the architecture include determining the task’s
purpose, who completes the task, the information needed to complete the
task and where the company desires to complete the task. The overall
purpose for creating business process architecture is to have a plan that is
repeatable for future job tasks or activities.


Business process architecture design methods, these mainly
• composition, which represents that one business process is
composed of a number of other business processes, also
called the sub-processes;
• specialization, which represents that one business process
specializes another;
• trigger, which represents that one business process causes
another business process to instantiate and start;
• information flow, which represents that information or
other objects flow from one business process to another.


When defining the purpose of a business task or activity,
owners and managers can review the firm’s corporate
governance. The governance typically includes information
about why the company has a set group of tasks in its
business operations. Outside of the corporate governance,
companies can also define a purpose for a task in the
business process architecture. Defining a new purpose
occurs when a company enters a new market, creates a new
product line or changes its operations for improving quality
or reducing costs associated with business processes.


Another piece of an architectural frame in business is
listing who or how many individuals are necessary to
complete a task or activity. This part is necessary because
many companies will need to increase their labor force
when expanding business operations. Additionally, new
tasks or activities may require a shift from unskilled labor
to skilled labor. This can increase the company’s operating
costs. As costs increase, the business process architecture
must be able to increase the firm’s revenue, creating an
offset that justifies the increase in operating costs.


Information is often an essential part of any business
architecture. Advancements in technology allow a company
to capture date and other information in real-time or near
real-time capacity. The business process architecture must
also define how information flows through the tasks within
the process. Like the flow of water, information must have
an inflow and an outflow. Without these, the company may
experience information stagnation, which can result in the
company’s inability to properly manage or control the
business process.


The architecture also outlines the place or places where a
company will complete tasks and activities. This place
can be within the company’s current location or at a
separate location necessary to house new operations. The
company’s management team may make this decision
based on the operational costs associated with the
facility. These considerations may need to include some
level of flexibility to ensure that future growth will not
hinder the completion of tasks and activities.


Fig. Aspects of the business represented by business architecture


Business architecture reflects the design decisions for
process, resources, rules, roles, regulations, and
responsibilities that will maximize business value and
minimize overhead. As such the business architecture is
employed as the blueprint for operating and transforming
the enterprise.


Key elements of the business architecture are:
A motivation model which encapsulates an
organization's business goals, objectives, initiatives,
and metrics that define success factors
Business Functional models that define what value is
provided by one organization to another - including
both internal and external functions.
Organizational model which depicts roles,
responsibilities, and collaborations, defining how and
by whom functions are to be provided and used.


Business process models that define the activities,
steps, and information flows between processes to
carry out business functions.
Associated business rules and policies which are
utilized by a Governance framework to ensure that
stakeholders adhere to and enforce these policies.
Information and the business semantic vocabulary.
A roadmap to define the steps to achieve business
transformation objectives.


Whether business architecture is part of an overall
enterprise architecture discipline or it is simply an input
into enterprise architecture seems to be a matter of opinion
and varies between organizations. Either way, to truly reap
the potential rewards that BPM offers, organizations need
to adopt a more comprehensive view of business
processes, as well as taking the overall enterprise
architecture into account, rather than automating and
managing individual business processes.


2. Business process automation
Business Process Automation (BPA) is a process of
managing information, data and processes to reduce
costs, resources and investment. BPA increases
productivity by automating key business processes
through computing technology.
The BPA process is geared toward implementing software
applications to automate routine business tasks through
initiation, execution and completion, while achieving
enterprise-wide workflow efficiency. An Enterprise
Resource Planning (ERP) system is often conceived as a
BPA implementation outcome.


BPA is designed to maintain efficiency and increase the
stability and operational productivity of an underutilized
workforce by integrating business critical software
applications. BPA works by analyzing critical and noncritical business processes and their relationship and
dependency on other business processes and external
partners, in addition to developing or sourcing automated
software and computing processes.


Fig. Fundamental principles of BPA


Analysis can be performed on the process model to
understand the impact of process or resource changes.
This analysis leads to better prediction of the
performance of proposed changed business process,
and to a better version being placed into production.
Doing so creates a better automated process versus
simply automating the current business process in


Fig. A typical business process


Every process is executed the same way, ensuring that
every account opening process is done the same way, and
progress no longer depends on who was manually
working on the account creation. All people are involved
in the execution of the process as defined in the process
model based on their roles, skills, and abilities.
A modeled business process is put between the process
participants and the IT systems. A process engine
navigates through the process model, extracts and
stores the process data, and interacts with the correct
people at the correct time.


Fig. An automated IT service in place


3. Process block diagram
A process block diagram is a simple flowchart that
represents an overview of the business process.
Process block diagrams are used to simplify a
complex process. A process block diagram does not
show inputs and outputs to the process. Process
block diagrams are not generally used to give a
detailed understanding of the process. Another type
of flowchart, the ANSI standard flowchart, is used
for this purpose.


Types and Uses of Block Diagrams
A block diagram provides a quick, high-level view of a
system to rapidly identify points of interest or trouble
spots. Because of its high-level perspective, it may not
offer the level of detail required for more comprehensive
planning or implementation. A block diagram will not
show every wire and switch in detail, that's the job of a
circuit diagram.
A block diagram is especially focused on the input and
output of a system. It cares less about what happens
getting from input to output. This principle is referred to
as black box in engineering. Either the parts that get us
from input to output are not known or they are not


Block Diagram: Best Practices
Identify the system. Determine the system to be
illustrated. Define components, inputs, and outputs.
Create and label the diagram. Add a symbol for each
component of the system, connecting them with arrows to
indicate flow. Also, label each block so that it is easily
Indicate input and output. Label the input that activates a
block, and label that output that ends the block.
Verify accuracy. Consult with all stakeholders to verify


Process block diagram symbols:
Each step or activity in a process block diagram is
represented by a rectangle. Each rectangle is named to
describe the activity it represents. The label on the
rectangle should begin with a verb and should
accurately describe the activity completed within the
box. Action verbs followed by an object are good
descriptive labels that improve the understanding of
process block diagrams.
The rectangles are connected with arrows. The arrows
represent the flow of information between the process
steps. Alternatively the arrows represent the sequence
of the steps or relationships between steps.


Elongated circles are used to denote the beginning and
end of the process.
Process block diagrams can be drawn vertically or
horizontally. A vertical presentation is generally easier
to follow. It is also easier to work with because there is
ample room beside each activity to add notes or
sessions. However, a horizontal presentation may be
steps. Organizing the activities horizontally may allow
the process to be contained on a single page.


Fig. Standard Flowchart Symbols


Steps to prepare a process block diagram:
Identify the start and completion of the process.
Break the process down into discrete steps or activities.
List all steps.
Label each step appropriately.
Organize the steps into the correct sequence.
Place an elongated circle at the start of the process.
Draw a rectangle for each step, in a horizontal or vertical
Label the rectangle.
Connect each rectangle with an arrow to show the flow
of steps.
Place an elongated circle at the end of the process.
Review the diagram with the person responsible for the


When preparing a process block diagram for an existing
business process, refer to any existing procedure
documentation. In addition, you must also learn how the
process is actually completed. This can be accomplished
using a number of Data Gathering techniques.
Tips and Hints
For a small or simple business process, a process block
diagram may not be required. Depending on the size and
complexity of the process to be documented, it may be
acceptable to prepare a ANSI standard flowchart for the
entire business process.


The example shows a simple process block diagram
representing the employee review process in a matrix
management model. In this model, each employee has a
career manager who helps manage the employee's career
aspirations. Each employee also has a line manager, who is
responsible for managing the employee on a daily basis.



4. Attributes for business process
Use attributes to define the content of your report in
Business Process Choreographer Explorer, and to filter the
results. The attributes that are available depend on the report
Each attribute defined as report content is the name of a
column in the report. In addition, use attributes to filter the
results of your query. You can also define filter criteria for
attributes that you have not included in your report.


Many managers believe that processes are either in place or
they are not; however, it is many times not as
straightforward as that. Actually, processes always exist
because simply put, a process is a way of doing things, and
there is always a way of doing things, whether the process is
good or bad. Sometimes processes are formally
documented, where other times they are not. Sometimes
processes are flexible and sometimes they are not.


When a new company is just starting out, managers often
believe that they don’t have time to implement processes
because they are too busy generating revenue and breaking
even. Interestingly, even when companies think they don’t
have any processes, as soon as a company starts doing
business it has processes—revenues are generated,
receivables are received, bills are paid, employees are hired
and compensated. Unfortunately, often these processes are
not well thought out, documented, measurable, flexible,
extensible, or repeatable.
All processes have attributes that are important in
determining how successful they are in getting a job done,
and getting it done well. Some process attributes, or types
of processes, include informal, formal, measurable,
flexible, extensible, and repeatable.


These can be defined as follows:
Effective. First, and most important. the process must do
what it is supposed to; it must be simple and make life
better for all concerned. It must demonstrably deliver
value to the customers. It must satisfy and delight them.
In satisfying them, it must meet their needs and fulfill
the contract or agreement that has been made with them.
So it must deliver what was agreed, on time and for the
price that was agreed. The product or service must work,
and it must continue to work for a reasonable period of
time. This applies whether the process is delivering to an
external customer or to other departments or users in the
same organization.


Often these customer requirements are called the “Voice of
the Customer,” which may also include service level
guarantees imposed by a regulator on behalf of the
customer. Being “customer focused” or taking what is often
called an “outside in” approach, is a major goal of process
effectiveness, but it is not the only goal. The process must
also align with the ‘Voice of the Business,” which defines
the business’ strategy, values, and policies. We can’t just
respond to everything the customer wants as this may be too
costly or not part of the business strategy.


Efficient. The “Voice of the Business” is also
concerned with the efficiency of the process and will
impose constraints that ensure the business is profitable
or ensures that a not-for-profit organization operates
within its budget. The process must be devoid of waste,
unnecessary steps, multiple hand-overs and other
wasteful characteristics. The process must use available
resources to best effect and, ideally, as I will mention
later, reuse common processes and IT services. So the
design and operation of a “good process” must serve
two masters – the “Voice of the Customer” and the
“Voice of the Business.” The way in which it does that
or, rather, the measurement of how effectively it does it,
is often called the “Voice of the Process”.


Relevant. We use processes because “we don’t want to
leave the operation of our business to chance.” For
most businesses, it is important that the main activities
are consistent, repeatable, and of a high quality. We
want our customers to have a good experience and
essentially the same experience each time they contact
us. In the first instance, we want to concentrate on
those processes that deliver and maintain the service to
the customer and the cash flow to the business. It is
important to look at the whole rather than the part and
not to dwell on isolated subprocesses, but to look along
the length of the “end-to-end” process that takes a
customer order at the start, delivers the product, and
receives payment at the end.


Valid. A good process must be valid; that is to say, it
should be sufficiently correct to be valuable and usable.
That means we must verify and validate it against the
customer and business requirements. The thing to keep
in mind is that a process design (and a process model) is
only a representation of the real thing. It can never
represent absolutely every aspect of the real world so it
must be “correct enough” for the purpose for which it
will be used. If it is going to be used to develop a
completed automated IT driven process, then the model
must be tested against all likely scenarios to ensure that
it will be robust in all eventualities. If, on the other hand,
it is going to be used as a training aid for managers, it
might only be necessary to cover a few key scenarios at
a high level of abstraction.


Usable. The process, and particularly the process model,
should be realistic and usable. That is to say, it should
capture business elements that really are processes; i.e.,
business aspects that are repeatable and predictable. It
should contain the right amount of information to make
it valuable. A process model is a “model” in the true
sense of the word. Just like the model of a building or an
aircraft, it is built to a certain scale. and it has a certain
level of detail. Normally it will have been built for a
particular purpose and will have a particular audience
and viewpoint. A process model is the same; it will have
been created for a purpose – for instance, for training
process operators or for providing the specification for
IT system development.


Used. It is no good putting all this effort into creating
an effective and efficient process, making it usable and
visible, if no one actually uses it. Making sure that your
process design makes a difference is one of the key
challenges for creating good processes. Because
processes are mainly about what people do (despite all
the IT automation), implementing a new process is
essentially a “change management” activity. All of the
normal change management activities – getting buy-in,
training, barrier removal, reward, and monitoring – are
essential for getting processes used. Just as with the
process owner, having the right reward structure in
place is essential for encouraging the desired behavior.


Reused. Reuse is a key enabler for improving business
efficiency. It is widely employed for IT systems and
software development, and there is a huge desire to
employ similar techniques for processes. We can
employ reuse in many ways. Employing best practice is
one form of reuse; process standardization is another;
reusing process components or business services is
another. A good process is one that does not reinvent
everything from scratch, but reuses many process and
IT components.


Managed. A good process must be managed and
improved. We can’t just design a process and leave it to
its own devices. A process must have an owner who is
responsible for directing its design, ensuring it aligns
with requirements and business strategy. The owner will
ensure that measures and KPIs are in place and will
most likely have their own performance scorecard based
on the process measures. The owner oversees the day-today operation of the process, which may be managed by
a number of different subprocess managers. The process
owner is responsible for coordinating the local
management of process components to ensure that endto-end process performance is maintained.


Informal processes. Informal processes are those that
just happen, and become “the way that we do things
around here,” often as an agreed way of working
between two or more colleagues. Informal processes
can work well when two or more co-workers work
together cohesively, and when nobody else is impacted
by the process apart from the individuals involved.
Problems with informal processes can arise when
members of the cohesive group begin to leave the
company or move on to other teams, and there is no
formally agreed process in place.


Formal processes. Formal processes are usually
documented procedures. They are often established by
agreement between two or more key players, teams, or
departments in a business, or between different
businesses. Formalized processes should work well to
help businesses become more efficient and effective. If a
formal process is well thought out, documented, and
understood, it is less likely that costly mistakes will
occur, since in theory everyone understands the processes
and potential conflicts are easier to identify.


Measurable processes. A measurable process is exactly
that—one that can be measured for its effectiveness. If it
is not possible to measure processes, then it is also
impossible to quantifiably figure out whether or not they
are effective, and whether they might benefit from
improvements. Good processes should be measurable
either overall or in their component parts, because some
bits of a process may work well, while other bits might
benefit from improvement.


Fig. Business Process Measures


Flexible processes. A process that is flexible is one that
can be adapted to fit a number of different situations, or
most possibilities that may arise. If a process is not
flexible, this can cause huge problems for
organizations. Processes need to be flexible and
adaptable in order to deal with situations that fall
outside of the norm, without causing problems for the
business and without negatively impacting revenues.


Extensible processes. Similar to flexibility, processes
need to be extensible so that they can be adapted for
different and new situations that might arise, but also so
that they can be scaled up as businesses get larger.
Extensible processes are those that can handle the
launch of new products or services and can be easily
broadened over time as needed. Processes need to be
extensible in order to be able to easily accommodate
changing business needs and priorities.


Repeatable processes. A repeatable process is one that
time and time again yields a consistent outcome.
Repeatable processes are usually documented, making
it considerably easier for the participants to follow them
time after time. Repeatable processes can be informal,
but more often are formalized, so that they can be
carried out by anyone, even if they are new to the
organization or partnership.
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