As a business analyst or a consultant, how do you analyze a business process? Analyzing a business process is an essential pre-requisite to gleaning insights into the functioning of an enterprise and squeeze efficiencies from the process performance.
Wikipedia defines it as “A business process or business method is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product for a particular customer or customers.”
Business process analysis is a way to glean insights into the inner workings of a process and identify the strengths, weaknesses, inefficiencies and bottlenecks to help provide a framework for business process performance improvements. (Business process reengineering (BPR), an offshoot of the work by Michael Hammer and James Champy is a more radical design of business structures and processes to eliminate waste. Hammer famously wrote “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate” in his seminal Harvard Business Review article.)
Some of the key concepts for analyzing a business process:
The understanding of the capacity of a business process is a key parameter in process analysis. The capacity is the amount of input that can go into or the amount of output that can be created by a process, while holding resources and time steady. Improving the capacity helps enterprises generate more with less and the following are some of the levers for increasing and optimizing the capacity of a business process.
Identifying the Constraints of a Process: Each process will have some inherent constraints, which in turn will make the process sub-optimal and cause it to underperform. Hence it is important to identify the constraints through an in-depth business process analysis.
A business process specialist can mark up the process flows with various notations to identify the constraints, which in turn become areas of opportunity thru efficiency and effectiveness plans. Once you understand the fundamental process flow characteristics, determining an approach to how to improve a process comes next. It may involve a variety of remedies based on what emerges from the business process analysis.
(How to define a process model and how to reengineer a process are topics for a separate insight.)
What are your thoughts on how to analyze a business process? And what is your opinion on how business processes are an integral part of business architecture via the Value Streams?
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