Process Management: The Third Wave, Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
the end-to-end flow of materials, information and business
Dynamic, responding to demands
customers and to changing market conditions.
Widely distributed and customized across
boundaries within and between businesses, often spanning
multiple applications on disparate technology platforms.
Long-running – a single instance
of a process such as "order to cash" or "develop product" may run
for months or even years.
Automated – at least in part.
Routine or mundane activities are performed by computers wherever
possible, for the sake of speed and reliability.
Both "business" and "technical" in nature
– IT processes are a subset of business processes and provide
support to larger processes involving both people and machines.
End-to-end business processes depend on distributed computing
systems that are both transactional and collaborative. Process
models may therefore comprise network models, object models, control
flows, message flows, business rules, metrics, exceptions,
transformations and assignments.
Dependent on and supportive of the
intelligence and judgment of humans. People perform tasks
that are too unstructured to delegate to a computer or that require
personal interaction with customers. People also make sense of the
rich information flowing through the
value chain, solving problems
before they irritate customers and devising strategies to
take advantage of new market opportunities.
Difficult to make visible. In many
companies business processes have been neither conscious nor
explicit. They are undocumented, embedded, ingrained and implicit
within the communal history of the organization, or if they are
documented or definition is maintained independently of the systems
that support them.