BPM.com
  1. Peter Schooff
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. BPM Discussions
  4. Tuesday, 25 April 2017
  5.  Subscribe via email
A question that came up at bpmNEXT and was brought up by Bogdan Nafornita in this discussion, What Are the Most Misunderstood Terms in BPM? In as clear and concise terms as possible, how do you define the process in Business Process Management?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Process modeling, run-time process templates, workload management, Case

Process: Actions needed/taken to move from one state to a desired state
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
"Process" in BPM software refers to technology which enables the manufacture and use of artefacts supporting the automation of repetitive work activities.

Why? Let's start with a standard dictionary definition of the word "process" itself: "A systematic series of actions directed to some end" (dictionary.com)

Here is the argument for the above definition of process-in-BPM:

1) All process is work (i.e. each of the "actions" or "tasks" in a systematic series of actions is an instance of work itself).
2) Work is purposeful effort.
3) Work is either process (a repetitive work pattern) or project (single instance).
4) The importance of repetition in business process is economically determined (cf. Ronald Coase etc.), i.e. "the work of business".
5) Case software is just flexible process.
6) Project management software is on a continuum with process management software.
7) BPM software is technology constructed to support process.

A clear definition of process is useful because the construction of automation tools (i.e. BPM software) requires clarity. A clear definition of process is also essential for BPM tool sales. Although the sales messaging won't be as dry!
Comment
@John Great!
I particularly like "Case software is just flexible process"

I maintain both project management and process management software were invented in the early/late 60s.

I remember using IBM's PCS on a 1401 computer in the mid 1960s and designing, about the same time, 40 ft instrument control panels for automation of cement plants.
  1. John Morris
  2. 1 year ago
  3. #3811
Thanks @Karl! it's all work and the technology to help us get more done. Probably easier to see it as work when the work is cement. : )
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A process is a sequence of tasks undertaken by humans or "machines" in the business environment which create an outcome. The BPM process is discovering and exposing the required processes with a view to digitizing to support people and deliver on the operational business needs.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
As I wrote in [ref1], there are two viewpoints on business processes and, hence, two definitions of them.

Definition 1 is an external observer (e.g. a BPM consultant) viewpoint - business process is a collection of related, structured (coordinated) activities (or tasks) that produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers.

Definition 2 is an internal viewpoint of a business owner - business process is an explicitly defined coordination for guiding the purposeful enactment of business activity flows.

In other words, a business process is an agreed plan which may include some variants and may be adapted during its execution.

This internal viewpoint emphasises an intentional, systematic and shared design of future work which is the primary concern of any business process owner. Thus any business process owner must be capable to logically explain WHY his/her business processes as they are. (An explanation "we always do like that" is not acceptable.)

If a company does everything in a reactive way (oh, dear, we are out of stock of some components and we must order them immediately by using process ...) then it will be perfectly “process-company” in accordance with the definition 1. Shame on us, the BPM community.

Only companies which follow the definition 2 are “process-companies”.

Thus, let us agree on the definition of “business process” (preferable as #2) and provide a set of simple criteria for any company to run a self-assessment of being “process-company” or not.

Thanks,
AS
References
  1. http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com.es/2015/10/concepts-crisis-in-it-and-sister-domains.html
Comment
How about this . . .

#2 companies have "... ways and means, the consistent use of which yield superior outcomes"
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
All processing involves the handling of transaction, either one at a time or in batches. The three basic constructs of all processing is sequence, iteration, and choice.
References
  1. http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/ss050829.pdf
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Any collection of activities that lead towards the accomplishment of a common business objective.
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
Comment
Aaand... we're done. Right there.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
A good process starts at the end, so in general I say

"All the things that are done and needed to deliver a result that solves a problem of the process customer"

I explicitly add the "needed" word because a process is not only a workflow, but also the people, data, gadgets, supplies, the way it's managed etc.

And if you might run into the opportunity to learn Dutch, you can find a more detailed answer in video 2,3 and 4 of my videoserie "wtf is bpm?"

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZUXpgUWLLIhtUnXRhCLQqKq4b87ZbGyO
Sharing my adventures in Process World via Procesje.nl
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The definition of process can be tough to nail down, but in the famous words of Justice Potter Stewart: I know it when I see it.

And boy, do I see it a lot. Many of you are probably like me, in that I've been in this business long enough that I see processes... everywhere. Waiting in line at the theater (one queue per server? really?), ordering lunch in a restaurant (if you finally show up with the ketchup ten minutes after my burger arrives, you're going to find a cold, untouched sandwich and an empty booth), or passing through airport security (don't get me started): we are but actors in one unsatisfying process after another, each with our exits and entrances, and in our time filling many roles.

At the moment, I'm involved in the process of working with the state to move a family member into a residential facility. This is a process so emotionally and bureaucratically horrifying, requiring so many participants, forms, and moving parts, that it can truly only be described as “obscene”. And it was to obscenity that Justice Stewart's observation originally applied. Which is appropriate, as the Supreme Court is interested in little more than the elements of (due) process, and the application of such processes in specific situations.

I hope that clears things up.
http://www.bplogix.com/images/icon-x-medium.png
-Scott
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
The one word, when used at parties, that means I end up drinking on my own.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
At NSI, we often try introducing users to the concepts of BPM by defining a process as a conjunction of coordinated or sequenced activities with the aim of transforming a given input into a desired output.
Then we amplify that concept in looking at possible aims within BPM of either maximizing said output, while minimizing the inputs (a) or accomplishing a specific output quantity with the minimum of inputs/efforts (b). Naturally, there are other goals too - such as gaining insights and assure compliance.
Lastly, we round up these basic process definitions, hinting at general process contents and types. The process contents are in our case more aligned to some specifications of the ABPMP CBOK (process variables < process forms < process activities < process steps < processes). While there is an unlimited amount of possible process types, we usually limit ourselves of lumping processes into basic groups of mission critical, support and administrative processes.
All that is of course not a rigid set of definitions but just a very simple approach to BPM that has served us well in real life.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 10
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Any set of activities in the organization can be a process. The activity is understood as a process, if it has been described or modeled as a process. The process description or model has to have "input" - "activity" - "output". The process is about transforming inputs to outputs.The description is only evidence of the process. A process is a human construct => no description, no process.

The process can be recurrent having cycles of actions or single time action. The single time action we often call "project", if we know input, action and output in advance. In some cases we also say that the "project" or "case" is a single time realization of the process.

Business process is a process, how we create value for our customer. Those business processes which create value for outside customer such as clients, I call value creating processes (e.g. marketing, sales, delivery, service, R&D...). This our business. The business is to create value for the customers. In the long term there is no other possibility to survive.

Those business processes which support the value creation having inside customers such as employee, I call enabling processes (e.g. competence development, strategic learning, performance improvement, It-system development...).

We can also describe also other constructs (like "business";) such as "services", "information system" or any "work flow" as a process. These processes we might not call "business process". For different purposes we may use different modeling techniques and add some additional information such as. customer needs, performance, outcomes, purpose, responsibilities, business rules, resources.....

br. Kai
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I had a similar discussion with Paul Harmon many moons ago. My preferred definition of "process" is that it is label we apply to the interactions between the inputs to a system and that system's processors. The result of those interactions is, of course, outputs (i.e., inputs that have been transformed in some way). That said, all organizations (i.e., open systems) have two basic kinds of processes: (1) transformational (i.e., producing products) and (2) transactional (i.e., exchanging outputs for new inputs (e.g., materials and money) to continue the cycle. "What cycle?" you ask. The recurring cycle of events that defines an organization. See the link below.
References
  1. http://www.nickols.us/The_Sustainable_Organization.pdf
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks, Peter. It's a shame for us working in BPM for years (some for decades) that we haven't agree on a key definition like this.

However, there is no key definition and hardly would a single process definition be widely accepted - it depends on context. So thanks twice, Peter, for making the clarification "in Business Process Management".

Process is often defined as a set of activities consuming certain resources and producing certain results (we can see several examples above). I personally can hardly accept such a definition because it makes no difference between processes and projects. Yes it may make sence from performance perspective yet we all know that processes and projects are managed by quite different methods and tools so calling everything a process would be confusing.

For me the key properties of process in BPM are:
1) repeatability
2) predictability (rigid in classic workflow, loose in modern BMP that embraces ACM)
3) end-to-end scope (from the very beginning to the very end whatever it may mean in particular case)
4) cross-functional nature

As a final remark, process and business process are synonyms in BPM.
Comment
I would be happy with ".. a directed set of actions, the consistent use of which leads to improved outcomes"

#1 repeatability filtering nicely sorts out once-through flowgraphs (projects) compared to multi-instance templates (business processes)
#2 differentiates between modern BPM and early BPM and run time BPM processing hosting platforms
#3 in my view, has the potential to seriously limit the scope of modern BPM - think of where we would be in programming languages without sub-routines in older programming languages and how things changed when the industry started to embrace O-O (re-use. extendibility, etc.). The way I deal with any transition from BPM to ACM/BPM is to point out that goals/objectives move from plan side to run-time side (Case goals/objectives). End-to-end processes get replaced by "process fragments" that users, software, and robots thread together. Governance (at steps within Cases, between steps within Cases and at globally at Cases) is handled by rule-sets that prevent extreme, unwanted deviation away from organizational policy/procedure/practice.
#4 I assume most BPMs accommodate skill tags at process steps with functionality that can route steps to the right class of resource (logged-in users, remote no-log in users, "system_user", import engines)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Let us distinguish between a process, a manufacturing process and a business process.
A process is a history of an object that changes its state under the influence of transformations triggered by events. This is a definition by M.Bunge which is a central part of Bunge-Wand-Weber ontology. Modeling a process e.g. in UML we depict an object, its states, transformations and events.
It is incorrect to associate a process with a sequence of operations, without relating them to the object and its state. For example, a structured collection of operations performed by an employee is his functional responsibility, but not a process.
A craftsman producing repeatedly a certain commodity, each time receives an output with different properties; an industrialist produces a commodity with reproducible properties. To do this, he fixes a sequence of operations performed on the object. Thus, a manufacturing process is a collection of operations performed on a substantial object, aimed at obtaining a reproducible (repeatable) result. For comparison, the project is a sequence of works aimed at obtaining a unique result.
For a manufacturing process:
a) All results on the output should be identical. Since it is not possible to achieve complete identity, we specify the nominal quality of the result - the allowable deviations of object's final state.
b) To obtain a result we spend certain resources, their consumption should be acceptable, and otherwise the cost of the product could be inadmissible.
c) A production time should be permissible.
The only difference between a manufacturing and a business process is a nature of an object. In a manufacturing process an object is substantial, while in a business process it is informational.
Summarizing, a business process is a structured collection of operations performed on an information object, aimed at obtaining a reproducible result with a nominal quality for a permissible time and with an acceptable cost of resources. We should not talk about any kind of a value, because a result of a business process can be useless.
This definition clearly explains what we really mean by adding a word «business» to a term «process».
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 14
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Process is a manifestation of time.

Physical world has three spatial dimensions and distinct time dimension, along which it evolves. Digital world has an arbitrary multitude of dimensions, which represent various data contexts. But, whatever data types we consider, time still remains standalone and distinct because it describes unique dynamic dimension of change across all variety of data domains. Process is, therefore, an expression of changes, which data undergo with time.

Time is continuous. For this reason, any change of sufficiently complex system consists of an infinite number of steps. For convenience of representation and analysis it is typical to use various forms of aggregation, which unite smaller changes into distinct blocks having evident observable boundaries. These time aggregates are often referred as steps of a process. The procedure itself yields a process as a product of quantization of time.

Another crucial difference between time and any other dimension of data is its distinct direction. As a rule, any data can be browsed forth and back. However, change with time is a principal one way road where magic "back" button does not exist. For this reason, most processes in mathematical sense appear as directed graphs evolving along time dimension.

Business processes are not different in above respects from any other process, apart from specific metadata and modeling methodologies commonly used in BPM field. Therefore, all above considerations apply to business processes as well.
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 15
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
First, assess the documentation of items such as vision, mission, process description, process scope, process goals, and customers. Second, hold a kick-off meeting to: discuss process goals and scope; provide an overview of the definition task; and set up team rules and schedules.
In otheword A process is an instance of a program running in a computer. It is close in meaning to task , a term used in some operating systems. In UNIX and some other operating systems, a process is started when a program is initiated (either by a user entering a shell command or by another program).
Comment
  1. more than a month ago
  2. BPM Discussions
  3. # 16
  • Page :
  • 1


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.