In a broad sense, the term process can be described as a set of related activities needed to be completed to achieve a specific goal or outcome. A process becomes a business process when the activities are performed by business unit(s) within an organization in support of the firm’s goals and objectives.
Everything that we do as individuals can be broken down into a process, from simple tasks such as requesting a change to an existing product to complex undertakings like orchestrating the development of a new software application. Let’s take the first example given and attempt to decompose it into something tangible.
Actions taken that produce value in reaching a goal. When starting to outline a process, the first step should be to identify what the objective or desired outcome is. This ensures that as the model is built, unwanted activities can be cut out and as a result money can be saved. As activities are actions, they should be labeled as such with a leading verb. I.e. create, develop, submit, review.
Roles and Responsibilities
Who are all of the individuals involved in the execution of activities in the process. Who is ultimately responsible for the completion of the activity? Who needs to know about it? Who can help out? Answering each of these questions is important to building a strong process model. It ensures all “players” be included as the processes are rolled out and executed. In turn, the operators performing the processes are able to provide the feedback needed for continuous improvement efforts.
Objects in the context of process can be any piece(s) of data that is used to complete an activity or data that is created as the outcome of an activity. What forms need to be filled in throughout the lifecycle of the process? What are the documents that provide evidence of the work being completed?
Putting it Together: Business Process Model
A business process model is the result of putting all of the elements (activities, roles, objects) together that make up a process in a graphical representation. There are many different forms and business process modeling standards such as BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), however the idea behind each is relatively similar. Create something that is easily comprehended among stakeholders of the process.