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Business Process Management

Business Processes are utilized to align organizational resources with strategies in order to achieve business integration. The core areas addressed in Business Process management include the alignment of People, Processes and Technology with strategies in order to achieve best results. A business process begins with a mission objective and ends with achievement of the business objective. Process-oriented organizations break down the barriers of structural departments and try to avoid functional silos. Business processes can be broken down into three major categories which include: Management processes, Operational processes, Support processes. These process types may be broken down to several sub-categories.

Dysfunctional or Fragmented Processes:

The right processes needs to be in place and reviewed periodically. Bad business processes may lead to Poor usability, tarnished business reputation, fragmentation or isolated initiatives by individual departments to address their own needs. (“The outcome of internal fragmentation that is observed and commented upon by customers is now visible to the rest of the world in the era of the social customer; in the past, only employees or partners were aware of it. Addressing the fragmentation requires a shift in philosophy and mindset in an organization so that everyone considers the impact to the customer of policy, decisions and actions”)

Business Process Design

Business Processes are designed to add value for the customer and should not include unnecessary activities. The outcome of a well designed business process is increased effectiveness (value for the customer) and increased efficiency (less costs for the company). Business Process Design is used in forming the organisational and operational blue print of new businesses. Processes and workflows are used to redirect skills, policies, and procedures as well as incentives towards making targeted improvements to the business.

The success of a business depends majorly on how it builds and manages its business processes. A business process has been defined as an activity or set of activities that will enable the accomplishment a specific objective or set goals of an organization.  A business process should be constantly reviewed and updated to reflect and improve upon the current state of business activities.

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

Business Process redesign is a management approach aimed at improving business profitability by means of increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the processes that exist within and across organizations.  Quoting Hammer and Champy 1993, “Business process reengineering is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed.” Successful organisations periodically and frequently look at their business processes from a new perspective to determine how they can best standardize these processes to improve how they conduct business. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) plays an important role in today’s business. It is also referred to as Business Process Redesign or Business Process Change Management.

BPR is actually the secret of business success when implemented the right way, the returns on that investments are huge. Most multinationals and successful business takes this aspect very seriously. From research, “BPR has helped giants like Procter and Gamble Corporation, General Motors Corporation and American airlines succeed after financial drawbacks due to competition.

Business processes and Customer service Divisions

Customer service departments utilize Tools and workflows that can be complex, especially for large businesses. Before this time, customer relationship management tools were generally limited to contact management: monitoring and recording interactions and communications. Today, Customer relationship management (CRM) is a tool widely-implemented as a strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes in the areas of sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. The objectives are to find, attract, and win new customers, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.  Good CRM systems provide advantages such as: increase quality of service, efficiency, cost reduction, enterprise agility and customer service excellence.

The business processes for this technologies needs to be clearly defined and reviewed for best results. Most CRM contain large, complex group of data that can become very cumbersome and difficult to understand and manage for effectiveness. Users sometimes due to lack of clearly defined processes choose which areas of the system to be used, while others may be pushed aside. This fragmented implementation can cause inherent challenges, as only certain parts are used and the system is not fully functional.

There are three types of business processes that we consult on:

  • Management processes, the processes that govern the operation of a system. Typical management processes include “Corporate Governance” and “Strategic Management”.
  • Operational processes, processes that constitute the core business and create the primary value stream. Examples are Marketing, and Sales processes.
  • Supporting processes, which support the core processes. Examples include Accounting, Recruitment, Call center, Technical support.

A business process can be decomposed into several sub-processes, which have their own attributes, but also contribute to achieving the goal of the super-process. The analysis of business processes typically includes the mapping of processes and sub-processes down to activity level.

Major Reason for Process Engineering

A business task irrespective of whether it is a manual task or a computerized task needs a process that is designed and periodically reviewed, improved or replaced by another task for Effectiveness, Efficiency, Internal control and Compliance to various statutes and policies.These areas are explained by highlighting typical deficiencies in each of them, as under:

Effectiveness

The overall effectiveness of a process is the extent to which the outputs expected from the process are being obtained at all, and is therefore a first measure of the basic adequacy of the process and its capability to fulfill the logical and reasonable expectations of process uses and operators.

Efficiency: This simply implies less cost for business

Internal Control: Processes are reviewed to eliminate lapses in administrative and systems controls.

Compliance to various statutes and policies: New policies, processes and procedures needs to be included and reflected on the process documents.

Manual / Administrative/Computer System-Based Internal Controls

Internal controls can be built into manual / administrative process steps and / or computer system procedures. It is advisable to build in as many system controls as possible, since these controls, being automatic, will always be exercised since they are built into the design of the business system software. Please note however that, for as practicality, there is a need to be “flexible”.

Information Reports as an Essential Base for Executing Business Processes

Business processes must include up-to-date and accurate Information reports to ensure effective action. Business process owners and operatives should realize that process improvement often occurs with introduction of appropriate transaction, operational, highlight, exception or M.I.S. reports, provided these are consciously used for day-to-day or periodical decision-making.

Process Modeling Techniques utilized:

Business Processes can be modeled through a large number of methods and techniques. For instance, the Business Process Modeling Notation is a Business Process Modeling technique that can be used for drawing business processes in a workflow.

CCSP utilizes two well recognized techniques for Business Process mapping and reengineering. These two techniques presents business processes in a very understandable manner and is widely accepted approach utilized by modern businesses.

  • Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) is a standard for business process modeling, and provides a graphical notation for specifying business processes in a Business Process Diagram (BPD), based on a flowcharting technique very similar to activity diagrams. The objective of BPMN is to support business process management for both technical users and business users by providing a notation that is intuitive to business users yet able to represent complex process semantics and a standard notation that is readily understandable by all business stakeholders. These business stakeholders include the business analysts who create and refine the processes, the technical developers responsible for implementing the processes, and the business managers who monitor and manage the processes. Consequently, BPMN is intended to serve as common language to bridge the communication gap that frequently occurs between business process design and implementation.
  • Event-driven process chain: To quote from a publication on EPCs] “An EPC is an ordered graph of events and functions. It provides various connectors that allow alternative and parallel execution of processes. A major strength of EPC is claimed to be its simplicity and easy-to-understand notation. This makes EPC a widely acceptable technique to denote business processes.”

Customer service and support

Recognizing that service is an important factor in attracting and retaining customers, organizations are increasingly turning to technology to help them improve their clients’ experience while aiming to increase efficiency and minimize costs. Research has revealed that only a few corporate executives believe their employees have the right processes in place to resolve customer problems.

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