Every business is able to deliver its goods or services to its customers because of its business processes. There are many types of business processes to optimise, but the first step in being able to is to answer, “What is a business process?”
Here, we will outline what business processes are, share their importance, and help to better understand the different types through definitions and examples. We’ll also touch on how automation tools can help you overcome inefficiencies that often plague business processes. You’ll better understand how automation can help streamline processes, increase transparency, improve compliance, and more.
1. What is a Business Process?
2. Why is Business Process Important?
3. What are the Benefits of Business Process
4. What are the Steps in the Business Process Lifecycle?
5. What is an Example of a Business Process?
6. What are the Types of Business Process?
7. Business Process vs. Business Procedure and Business Function
8. What are the Essential Attributes and Components of a Business Process
9. What are Terms Related to a Business Process?
10. What are the Benefits of Business Process Software?
In the most simplest of terms, a business process is a set of steps taken to achieve an outcome. The outcome could be to deliver a product, assemble a product, bring on new employees, pay invoices, or anything else of this sort.
For a business process to be completed, it’s common for many people to be involved. The process can be broken down into each task, and each task is generally assigned to its respective stakeholder. Each step or resource needed for completion is considered an input. The end result is the output.
The concept of a business process can be dated back to Adam Smith, in the same year that America signed the Declaration of Independence (1776). Since then, this concept has evolved to be the focus of many who study operations, management, and business.
With the aid of technological solutions like automation, business processes no longer have to be performed manually. Automation has allowed for a reduction in errors, an increase in speed, and an easier way to manage and measure business processes.
Although it may at first seem cumbersome to delineate and organize business processes, it ends up being in the best interest of everyone involved (from business owners to customers and those in between).
Business processes help to ensure that resources are being allocated as efficiently as possible. Business processes also streamline activities.
Any activity that requires inputs in sequential steps to obtain an output is a process. Life is filled with processes, but within business, measurement and management of such activities will certainly impact the bottom line.
Beyond the bottom line, both customer and employee satisfaction are affected by business processes and how they are carried out.
Benefits of business processes are wide-ranging and include:
No matter where you stand in your business’ lifecycle, you can implement the following steps to create a business process. By doing so, you’ll be empowering your team with a roadmap, your managers with oversight, and your customers with a clear understanding of what they can expect from your business.
Here are the 7 steps to follow:
To best understand, “What is a business process,” it’s helpful to have a concrete example. Out of the countless business processes to choose from, let’s take a look at one that has immense financial implications for a business–invoice processing. Businesses receive invoices from vendors, be it suppliers, service providers, and the like. It’s in everyone’s best interest to pay invoices on time to maintain good relationships and maintain proper financial records.
Invoice processing often looks like this:
Experts have estimated that paper-based invoice processing costs anywhere from $12-$30 to process, which includes the human labor involved. Automation solutions can expedite invoice processing with accuracy and reduce this expense.
Business processes come in different shapes and sizes, depending on their intended purposes. When approaching, designing, and optimizing processes, it can be of use to approach them within their categories.
Operational processes (core business processes) are those that bring direct value to customers and the company itself. They are the processes that directly create revenue. Examples include: product manufacturing, order to cash process, and delivering products to customers.
Core business processes are rarely completed in isolation. Supporting processes help to ensure that operational processes are carried out as planned. These types of processes are those that take place in departments like: accounting, call centers, sales, human resources, marketing, and technical support.
Amongst the layers of supporting and operational processes, management processes exist to make sure that rules and procedures are being upheld. These processes monitor, measure, and report. They include things like: budgeting and governance.
Business process management is filled with some terms and concepts that sound similar but are nuanced. To help clarify, let’s define a business procedure and business function to distinguish them from a business process.
For a business process to be designed ideally, there are four essential components. These are:
Automation solutions and automation software help to streamline and optimise business processes. In this endeavour, there will be other related key terms worth noting and addressing. Let’s take a quick look:
Business process software and process automation tools are purposefully designed to be goal-oriented and data-driven solutions. There are an array of benefits that business process software delivers to an organisation of any size.
Consider these stand-out upsides of implementing business process automation:
Organisations around the world are filled with their own set of business processes. Business processes are what allow inputs to be transformed into outputs that deliver value to customers and generate revenue.
Now that you know how to answer, “what is a business process?”, your next step is to dive deeper into how automation solutions can be used to optimise business processes.
Looking for ideas for process improvement? Read these process improvement examples and best-in-class tips to make your business run better.
There are many continuous improvement methods to choose from. Check out this summary of your options, and how automation solutions can help.