Business processes describe the day-to-day functioning of the business by explaining how tasks should be performed. While a value chain describes the big picture, the business process describes the individual steps. They can be used for training and should be updated to maintain best practices.
Business process analysis is done to make sure the processes are efficient. A business process analysis includes an overview, the business side, the technology side, roles and responsibilities, key performance indicators, exceptions, observations, best practices, and quality or standards.
The overview section should provide a brief description of the business process. It should mention the different stages of the business process, and what is done at each stage. The description can be used to build consensus on what is included in each stage. It is important to include an overview in a business process analysis because it identifies what is being done, and notices problems with the process.
The business side of the business process analysis looks at how it adds value to the business, how it could add more value, why it needs to change, and how fast it needs to change. It should include things such as what need the business process fulfills, and what improvements must be made. It should also include any external reasons for change, such as new regulations. It is important to look at the business side of the business process because it helps identify what things need to be improved, and how fast.
The technology side describes how the technology supports the business process, and where technology gives value to the business. It should include things like dual-keyed data and stale reports. It is important to look at the technology side of the business process because it ensures up-to-date information, allowing for proactive management.
Roles and responsibilities considers who works at what level of the business process. It should mention the people who perform, manage, are responsible for, and are accountable for each step in the business process. It is important because it documents what the different people have to do to keep the business process functioning, and can be used to determine who needs to be consulted or informed about a change to the business process.
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are used to see how well the business is doing at each level of the business process. KPIs are used to see how efficiently the business is proceeding, and what steps need to be improved.
The exceptions section is used for things that need to be handled differently from the normal business process. It should include the reason for the exception, who authorized it, and how it was processed. It is useful to have an exceptions section because there will be unexpected situations not covered by the business process, and they should be listed for future reference.
The best practices section should explain the best way to do things, or the way that is of most value to the business. It can be described through actual employee actions, or general observations of the business and rival businesses. The section should include a description of the behaviour, why the behaviour was required, and how it benefited the business. This section is important because it lists the most valuable ways of doing things and can be used as a working method for employees.
The quality or standards section should mention the required quality or speed of work. It should describe what is required at each stage of the business process, so that employees have a reference for what is required of them. This section is important because it allows everyone to be aware of what is needed, so that disputes can be settled quickly and easily.
Once you have analyzed your business process, you can determine which areas can be improved. Improvements to the business process may be directly added, or may require work and research, such creating a new program. However, all improvements to the business process add value to the business.