Please note, tbelow is an updated edition of this book obtainable at If you are not compelled to usage this edition for a course, you might want to check it out.

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Learning Objectives

Upon effective completion of this chapter, you will be able to:

define the term service process;recognize the various systems needed to support business procedures in an organization;describe the worth of an enterpincrease reresource planning (ERP) system;explain just how organization procedure management and also company process redesign work; andunderstand exactly how indevelopment technology combined via organization processes deserve to carry an organization competitive advantage.Introduction

The fourth component of information units is process. But what is a process and how does it tie right into information systems? And in what methods do processes have actually a function in business? This chapter will certainly look to answer those questions and also also explain how organization processes deserve to be provided for strategic advantage.

What Is a Firm Process?

We have all heard the term process before, however what specifically does it mean? A process is a collection of tasks that are completed in order to accomplish a goal. A service procedure, therefore, is a process that is concentrated on achieving a goal for a organization. If you have actually worked in a company establishing, you have actually participated in a business process. Anypoint from a straightforward procedure for making a sandwich at Submethod to structure a space shuttle makes use of one or more business procedures.

Processes are something that businesses go via eextremely day in order to attain their mission. The better their processes, the more effective the company. Some businesses check out their processes as a strategy for achieving competitive benefit. A process that achieves its goal in a distinct way can set a agency apart. A process that eliminates costs deserve to permit a company to lower its prices (or retain even more profit).

Documenting a Process

Eincredibly day, each of us will conduct many kind of procedures without even reasoning about them: acquiring ready for work, utilizing an ATM, reading our e-mail, and so on But as procedures thrive more complicated, they should be documented. For businesses, it is important to do this, bereason it allows them to encertain control over exactly how tasks are undertaken in their organization. It likewise allows for standardization: McDonald’s has the exact same process for building a Big Mac in all of its restaurants.

The simplest way to document a process is to simply create a list. The list shows each action in the process; each step can be checked off upon completion. For instance, a basic process, such as exactly how to create an account on eBay, could look like this:

Go to on “register.”Enter your contact indevelopment in the “Tell us about you” box.Choose your user ID and password.Agree to User Agreement and also Privacy Policy by clicking “Submit.”

For procedures that are not so straightforward, documenting the procedure as a checklist may not be adequate. For example, here is the procedure for determining if an post for a term demands to be added to Wikipedia:

Search Wikipedia to determine if the term currently exists.If the term is discovered, then an write-up is already created, so you should think of another term. Go to 1.If the term is not found, then look to check out if tbelow is a connected term.If there is a associated term, then develop a restraight.If there is not a associated term, then create a new post.

This procedure is reasonably straightforward – in fact, it has actually the same variety of procedures as the previous instance – yet because it has some decision points, it is even more challenging to track via as a basic list. In these cases, it may make even more feeling to use a diagram to document the process:

Process diagram for determining if a brand-new term have to be added to Wikipedia (click to enlarge). (Public Domain)

Managing Firm Process Documentation

As establishments start to document their processes, it becomes an administrative job to store track of them. As procedures readjust and enhance, it is essential to recognize which procedures are the the majority of current. It is additionally necessary to manage the procedure so that it deserve to be quickly updated! The necessity to control process documentation has actually been among the driving pressures behind the production of the document management system. A document administration device stores and tracks files and supports the adhering to functions:

Versions and timestamps. The document administration device will certainly keep multiple versions of documents. The the majority of current version of a paper is simple to identify and also will be served up by default. Approvals and also workflows. When a process demands to be adjusted, the mechanism will control both accessibility to the papers for editing and the routing of the record for approvals.Communication. When a procedure alters, those who implement the procedure must be made aware of the changes. A document administration device will certainly notify the correct people as soon as a adjust to a record is apconfirmed.

Of course, record management devices are not only provided for controlling company procedure documentation. Many kind of other kinds of records are regulated in these units, such as legal documents or style records. 

ERP Systems

An enterpclimb reresource planning (ERP) system is a software program application with a central database that deserve to be provided to run a whole agency. Let’s take a closer look at the definition of each of these components:

With a central database: All data in an ERP device is stored in a single, central database. This centralization is vital to the success of an ERP – information gone into in one component of the agency have the right to be automatically easily accessible to other components of the firm. That deserve to be used to run a whole company: An ERP can be supplied to manage a whole organization’s operations. If they so wish, providers can purchase modules for an ERP that represent different functions within the organization, such as finance, manufacturing, and sales. Some carriers choose to purchase many type of modules, others pick a subset of the modules. 

An ERP mechanism not just centralizes an organization’s information, however the procedures it enpressures are the procedures the organization adopts. When an ERP merchant deindications a module, it hregarding implement the rules for the associated company processes. A marketing point of an ERP device is that it has actually finest practices built right into it. In various other words, as soon as an company implements an ERP, it also gets boosted best techniques as part of the deal!

For many establishments, the implementation of an ERP device is an excellent opportunity to improve their service practices and also upgrade their software at the exact same time. But for others, an ERP brings them a challenge: Is the procedure installed in the ERP really much better than the process they are presently utilizing? And if they implement this ERP, and it happens to be the same one that all of their competitors have, will they ssuggest end up being even more choose them, making it a lot even more hard to identify themselves?

Registered trademark of SAP

This has actually been one of the objections of ERP systems: that they commoditize company processes, driving all businesses to use the exact same procedures and also thereby shed their uniqueness. The great news is that ERP systems also have the capcapability to be configured via tradition processes. For organizations that desire to proceed making use of their own processes or even architecture new ones, ERP systems offer methods to assistance this with the use of customizations.

But there is a drawearlier to tailoring an ERP system: establishments need to maintain the transforms themselves. Whenever an upday to the ERP device comes out, any organization that has produced a practice process will be compelled to include that adjust to their ERP. This will certainly require someone to preserve a listing of these changes and also will certainly likewise need retesting the device eexceptionally time an upgrade is made. Organizations will certainly need to wrestle via this decision: When must they go ahead and also accept the best-practice procedures developed into the ERP device and also as soon as have to they spend the sources to develop their very own processes? It provides the most feeling to just customize those processes that are important to the competitive benefit of the firm.

A few of the best-known ERP vendors are SAP, Microsoft, and also Oracle.

Company Process Management

Organizations that are major about boosting their business procedures will certainly likewise create structures to manage those processes. Company procedure management (BPM) have the right to be thought of as an intentional initiative to arrangement, record, implement, and distribute an organization’s business processes through the support of indevelopment innovation.

BPM is even more than simply automating some easy actions. While automation can make a organization more effective, it cannot be offered to carry out a competitive advantage. BPM, on the other hand, have the right to be an integral component of creating that benefit.

Not every one of an organization’s processes need to be managed this means. An organization should look for procedures that are vital to the functioning of the organization and also those that may be used to carry a competitive advantage. The best procedures to look at are those that include employees from multiple departments, those that call for decision-making that cannot be conveniently automated, and processes that adjust based upon situations.

To make this clear, let’s take a look at an example.

Suppose a large apparel retailer is looking to gain a competitive benefit through superior customer company. As part of this, they create a job force to construct a state-of-the-art retransforms plan that enables customers to rerotate any type of short article of clothing, no concerns asked. The company also decides that, in order to safeguard the competitive advantage that this retransforms plan will carry, they will construct their own customization to their ERP mechanism to implement this retransforms policy. As they prepare to roll out the mechanism, they invest in training for every one of their customer-business employees, reflecting them exactly how to usage the brand-new device and also particularly just how to process retransforms. Once the updated retransforms process is applied, the company will certainly have the ability to measure a number of essential indicators around retransforms that will certainly enable them to adjust the plan as essential. For instance, if they find that many woguys are returning their high-finish dresses after wearing them when, they might implement a adjust to the process that boundaries – to, say, fourteenager days – the time after the original purchase that an object have the right to be went back. As changes to the returns policy are made, the alters are rolled out through internal interactions, and updates to the returns processing on the mechanism are made. In our instance, the mechanism would no longer permit a dress to be changed after fourteenager days without an approved reason.

If done correctly, business process administration will carry out numerous essential benefits to an company, which deserve to be supplied to contribute to competitive advantage. These benefits include:

Empowering employees. When a company procedure is designed properly and also sustained via information modern technology, employees will certainly be able to implement it on their very own authority. In our returns-policy example, an employee would certainly be able to accept retransforms made prior to fourteenager days or usage the device to make determinations on what returns would certainly be enabled after fourteen days. Built-in reporting. By building measurement into the programming, the company deserve to save as much as date on essential metrics about their processes. In our example, these can be provided to improve the retransforms procedure and also, ideally, to reduce retransforms. Enforcing best practices. As an company implements procedures supported by indevelopment units, it deserve to work-related to implement the ideal practices for that class of company process. In our instance, the company might desire to need that all customers returning a product without a receipt present a legal ID. This need can be constructed into the system so that the rerotate will not be processed unmuch less a valid ID number is gone into. Enforcing consistency. By creating a procedure and enforcing it via indevelopment modern technology, it is possible to produce a consistency across the entire organization. In our example, all stores in the retail chain deserve to enpressure the same retransforms policy. And if the returns plan transforms, the adjust can be instantly imposed across the entire chain. 

Business Process Reengineering

As institutions look to regulate their processes to gain a competitive advantage, they likewise should understand that their existing methods of doing points may not be the many reliable or reliable. A process occurred in the 1950s is not going to be much better simply bereason it is currently sustained by technology.

In 1990, Michael Hammer publiburned an post in the Harvard Company Review entitled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” This post put forward the believed that simply automating a negative process does not make it much better. Instead, carriers should “blow up” their existing procedures and construct brand-new procedures that take advantage of the brand-new innovations and ideas. He says in the introduction to the article:<1>

Many kind of of our project designs, job-related flows, manage mechanisms, and business frameworks came of age in a various competitive environment and also before the introduction of the computer. They are geared towards greater efficiency and also manage. Yet the watchwords of the new decade are creation and also rate, organization, and also top quality.

It is time to soptimal paving the cow courses. Instead of embedding outdated procedures in silicon and software program, we have to obliterate them and begin over. We need to “reengineer” our businesses: usage the power of contemporary indevelopment innovation to radically redesign our service procedures in order to accomplish dramatic improvements in their performance.

Company procedure reengineering is not simply taking an existing procedure and automating it. BPR is totally knowledge the goals of a procedure and then substantially remaking it from the ground as much as attain dramatic renovations in productivity and also quality. But this is much easier said than done. Most of us think in terms of exactly how to do small, neighborhood improvements to a process; finish redesign requires thinking on a larger scale. Hammer provides some guidelines for just how to go about doing service procedure reengineering:

Organize about outcomes, not jobs. This sindicate indicates to design the process so that, if feasible, one perboy perdevelops all the steps. Instead of repeating one action in the procedure over and over, the perboy stays connected in the process from start to end up. Have those who usage the outcomes of the process perdevelop the procedure. Using indevelopment technology, many type of straightforward work are now automated, so we have the right to empower the perchild who demands the outcome of the procedure to perform it. The example Hammer offers right here is purchasing: rather of having eincredibly department in the agency usage a purchasing department to order offers, have actually the provides ordered straight by those who need the supplies making use of an information system.Subsume information-processing occupational right into the real work that produces the information. When one part of the company creates indevelopment (prefer sales information, or payment information), it should be processed by that very same department. Tright here is no require for one part of the company to process indevelopment created in one more part of the agency.Treat geographically spread sources as though they were centralized. With the communications technologies in location this particular day, it becomes simpler than ever to not worry around physical area. A multinationwide organization does not require separate support departments (such as IT, purchasing, etc.) for each location anyeven more. Link parallel activities rather of integrating their outcomes. Departments that job-related in parallel need to be sharing information and communicating via each various other in the time of their tasks instead of waiting till each team is done and then comparing notes. Placed the decision points wbelow the job-related is performed, and construct controls into the process. The people who perform the work-related should have actually decision-making authority and also the process itself must have built-in controls utilizing indevelopment innovation. Capture indevelopment once, at the source. Requiring indevelopment to be gone into even more than when causes delays and also errors. With information innovation, an company deserve to capture it once and then make it available whenever before necessary. 

These principles might seem prefer common sense now, yet in 1990 they took the business world by storm. Hammer gives example after example of exactly how institutions improved their company procedures by many orders of magnitude without adding any type of brand-new employees, simply by transforming just how they did points (watch sidebar).

Unfortunately, company procedure reengineering gained a negative name in many kind of establishments. This was because it was offered as an excusage for cost cutting that really had nothing to do through BPR. For example, many kind of service providers sindicate used it as an excuse for laying off part of their workforce. Today, however, many kind of of the principles of BPR have been integrated into businesses and also are taken into consideration part of excellent business-procedure management.

Sidebar: Redesign the College Bookstore

The procedure of purchasing the correct textpublications in a timely manner for college classes has constantly been problematic. And currently, via virtual bookstores such as Amazon competing directly with the college bookkeep for students’ purchases, the college booksave is under pressure to justify its visibility.

But college bookstores have one substantial advantage over their competitors: they have accessibility to students’ information. In various other words, as soon as a student has actually registered for classes, the booksave knows exactly what books that student will require for the upcoming term. To leverage this advantage and take advantage of brand-new innovations, the bookstore wants to implement a new procedure that will make purchasing books through the booksave valuable to students. Though they might not have the ability to complete on price, they can administer various other advantages, such as reducing the time it takes to find the publications and also the ability to guarantee that the book is the correct one for the course. In order to do this, the bookkeep will should undertake a procedure redesign.

The goal of the procedure rearchitecture is simple: capture a higher portion of students as customers of the booksave. After diagramming the existing process and meeting through student emphasis teams, the bookkeep comes up through a new process. In the brand-new procedure, the bookstore utilizes indevelopment technology to mitigate the amount of occupational the students have to execute in order to obtain their publications. In this brand-new procedure, the bookkeep sends out the students an e-mail via a list of all the books required for their upcoming classes. By clicking a link in this e-mail, the students can log right into the booksave, confirm their books, and also purchase the books. The bookstore will then provide the books to the students.

College bookstore process rearchitecture (click to enlarge)

ISO Certification

Many institutions currently insurance claim that they are using ideal methods once it involves service procedures. In order to collection themselves acomponent and also prove to their customers (and potential customers) that they are indeed doing this, these institutions are seeking out an ISO 9000 certification. ISO is an acronym for Internationwide Standards Organization (webwebsite here). This body defines quality criteria that institutions have the right to implement to show that they are, indeed, managing company processes in an efficient method. The ISO 9000 certification is concentrated on top quality management.

In order to get ISO certification, an company must be audited and also discovered to accomplish particular criteria. In its most easy create, the auditors perdevelop the following review:

Tell me what you do (explain the service process).Sjust how me wbelow it claims that (reference the procedure documentation).Prove that this is what happened (exhilittle evidence in recorded records).

Over the years, this certification has advanced and also many branches of the certification now exist. ISO certification is one means to separate an company from others. You have the right to discover out more about the ISO 9000 standard right here.


The advent of information innovations has actually had actually a vast impact on just how establishments design, implement, and also support business procedures. From document monitoring systems to ERP systems, indevelopment units are tied into business processes. Using company procedure management, institutions deserve to empower employees and leverage their procedures for competitive benefit. Using company procedure reengineering, organizations can vastly boost their performance and the high quality of their commodities and services. Integrating indevelopment innovation with business processes is one means that information units deserve to bring an company lasting competitive benefit.

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Study QuestionsWhat does the term organization process mean?What are three examples of company process from a job you have actually had or an company you have actually observed?What is the worth in documenting a organization process?What is an ERP system? How does an ERP system enforce finest practices for an organization?What is one of the criticisms of ERP systems?What is organization procedure reengineering? How is it various from incrementally improving a process?Why did BPR gain a negative name?List the guidelines for recreating a service procedure.What is company procedure management? What duty does it play in permitting a company to distinguish itself?What does ISO certification signify?

ExercisesThink of a company procedure that you have had to perform in the previous. How would certainly you document this process? Would a diagram make even more feeling than a checklist? Document the procedure both as a checklist and as a diagram.Rewatch the rerevolve plans at your favorite retailer, then answer this question: What indevelopment systems carry out you think would have to be in location to assistance their rerevolve plan.If you were implementing an ERP mechanism, in which instances would you be even more inclined to modify the ERP to match your company processes? What are the drawbacks of doing this?Which ERP is the best? Do some original research and also compare three leading ERP units to each other. Write a two- to three-page paper that compares their features.