Please note, there is an updated edition of this book accessible at If you are not compelled to use this edition for a course, you may desire to inspect it out.

You are watching: What is the connection between organizations, information systems, and business processes?

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this chapter, you will be able to:

specify the term business process;recognize the various devices necessary to support organization procedures in an organization;explain the worth of an enterpclimb reresource planning (ERP) system;describe exactly how service process administration and service process redesign work; andunderstand also just how indevelopment innovation merged via service processes deserve to bring an company competitive advantage.Introduction

The fourth component of indevelopment systems is process. But what is a procedure and also exactly how does it tie into information systems? And in what methods carry out procedures have actually a role in business? This chapter will certainly look to answer those inquiries and also describe just how business procedures have the right to be used for strategic benefit.

What Is a Firm Process?

We have all heard the term process prior to, yet what precisely does it mean? A process is a series of work that are completed in order to accomplish a goal. A service process, therefore, is a procedure that is focused on achieving a goal for a service. If you have functioned in a company setting, you have participated in a company process. Anything from an easy process for making a sandwich at Submeans to building a space shuttle uses one or even more business processes.

Processes are something that businesses go through every day in order to attain their mission. The better their procedures, the even more reliable the company. Some businesses check out their processes as a strategy for achieving competitive benefit. A procedure that achieves its goal in a distinct way can collection a company apart. A procedure that eliminates costs deserve to enable a firm to reduced its prices (or retain even more profit).

Documenting a Process

Eextremely day, each of us will conduct many processes without also reasoning about them: acquiring ready for occupational, utilizing an ATM, analysis our e-mail, etc. But as procedures grow even more complex, they have to be documented. For businesses, it is crucial to execute this, because it allows them to encertain regulate over exactly how activities are undertaken in their organization. It also allows for standardization: McDonald’s has actually the exact same procedure for structure a Big Mac in every one of its restaurants.

The easiest means to document a process is to sindicate produce a list. The list reflects each action in the process; each action can be checked off upon completion. For instance, a simple procedure, such as just how to produce an account on eBay, might look prefer this:

Go to on “register.”Get in your contact indevelopment in the “Tell us about you” box.Choose your user ID and also password.Agree to User Covenant and also Privacy Policy by clicking “Submit.”

For processes that are not so straightforward, documenting the procedure as a checklist may not be adequate. For instance, here is the procedure for determining if an article for a term demands to be included to Wikipedia:

Search Wikipedia to determine if the term currently exists.If the term is found, then an post is already composed, so you have to think of one more term. Go to 1.If the term is not uncovered, then look to check out if tbelow is a associated term.If tbelow is a connected term, then produce a redirect.If tbelow is not a connected term, then produce a brand-new write-up.

This procedure is relatively straightforward – in fact, it has actually the same variety of steps as the previous example – but bereason it has actually some decision points, it is even more challenging to track via as an easy list. In these instances, it might make even more feeling to usage a diagram to document the process:

Process diagram for determining if a new term need to be included to Wikipedia (click to enlarge). (Public Domain)

Managing Firm Process Documentation

As institutions begin to record their processes, it becomes an governmental task to keep track of them. As processes change and also improve, it is necessary to know which procedures are the most current. It is also essential to manage the procedure so that it deserve to be conveniently updated! The requirement to control procedure documentation has been among the driving pressures behind the development of the document monitoring system. A record administration device stores and also tracks records and supports the adhering to functions:

Versions and timestamps. The document administration device will keep multiple versions of files. The many current version of a file is basic to determine and will be served up by default. Approvals and workflows. When a procedure demands to be adjusted, the mechanism will regulate both accessibility to the files for editing and enhancing and the routing of the document for approvals.Communication. When a process changes, those that implement the process need to be made aware of the alters. A record monitoring device will educate the appropriate human being when a readjust to a file is apverified.

Of course, document monitoring units are not just offered for regulating company process documentation. Many type of various other forms of files are regulated in these systems, such as legal records or style papers. 

ERP Systems

An enterpclimb resource planning (ERP) device is a software application via a central database that have the right to be offered to run an entire company. Let’s take a closer look at the interpretation of each of these components:

With a centralized database: All data in an ERP device is stored in a solitary, main database. This centralization is crucial to the success of an ERP – data gone into in one part of the company deserve to be immediately easily accessible to various other components of the firm. That can be provided to run an entire company: An ERP can be offered to manage an entire organization’s operations. If they so wish, companies have the right to purchase modules for an ERP that represent different attributes within the company, such as finance, manufacturing, and also sales. Some providers choose to purchase many type of modules, others choose a subset of the modules. 

An ERP mechanism not only centralizes an organization’s data, however the processes it enforces are the processes the organization adopts. When an ERP merchant deindicators a module, it has to implement the rules for the associated company processes. A selling point of an ERP system is that it has actually best methods built ideal into it. In various other words, as soon as an organization implements an ERP, it likewise gets enhanced ideal practices as part of the deal!

For many organizations, the implementation of an ERP mechanism is an excellent possibility to improve their organization methods and upgrade their software application at the very same time. But for others, an ERP brings them a challenge: Is the process installed in the ERP really much better than the process they are presently utilizing? And if they implement this ERP, and it happens to be the same one that all of their rivals have actually, will they simply become even more choose them, making it much more difficult to identify themselves?

Registered tradenote of SAP

This has actually been among the criticisms of ERP systems: that they commoditize service processes, driving all businesses to usage the exact same processes and thereby lose their uniqueness. The good news is that ERP devices also have actually the capcapacity to be configured via tradition procedures. For institutions that want to proceed utilizing their own procedures or also architecture brand-new ones, ERP systems market ways to assistance this with the usage of customizations.

But tbelow is a drawback to customizing an ERP system: establishments have to preserve the alters themselves. Whenever an upday to the ERP system comes out, any type of organization that has actually produced a custom process will certainly be forced to include that readjust to their ERP. This will certainly require someone to maintain a listing of these alters and also will certainly likewise require retrial and error the mechanism eextremely time an upgrade is made. Organizations will need to wrestle via this decision: When must they go ahead and also accept the best-practice processes developed right into the ERP device and also as soon as have to they spend the sources to build their very own processes? It provides the many sense to just customize those procedures that are crucial to the competitive benefit of the agency.

Several of the best-well-known ERP merchants are SAP, Microsoft, and also Oracle.

Company Process Management

Organizations that are significant about boosting their business processes will certainly additionally produce frameworks to manage those procedures. Firm process administration (BPM) can be thought of as an intentional effort to arrangement, record, implement, and distribute an organization’s organization procedures with the assistance of indevelopment innovation.

BPM is more than simply automating some easy procedures. While automation deserve to make a company more efficient, it cannot be used to provide a competitive benefit. BPM, on the other hand also, have the right to be an integral part of producing that benefit.

Not all of an organization’s processes must be controlled this means. An organization should look for processes that are essential to the functioning of the business and also those that might be supplied to carry a competitive benefit. The ideal procedures to look at are those that incorporate employees from multiple departments, those that require decision-making that cannot be easily automated, and procedures that adjust based on circumstances.

To make this clear, let’s take a look at an example.

Suppose a large apparel retailer is looking to obtain a competitive benefit via exceptional customer company. As component of this, they develop a job force to construct a state-of-the-art retransforms policy that allows customers to rerevolve any post of apparel, no questions asked. The organization additionally decides that, in order to protect the competitive advantage that this retransforms plan will carry, they will develop their own customization to their ERP system to implement this retransforms plan. As they prepare to roll out the system, they invest in training for every one of their customer-service employees, mirroring them exactly how to usage the brand-new device and specifically exactly how to process retransforms. Once the updated returns process is enforced, the company will be able to measure numerous vital indicators about returns that will certainly permit them to readjust the policy as needed. For instance, if they discover that many woguys are returning their high-finish dresses after wearing them when, they might implement a adjust to the process that limits – to, say, fourteen days – the time after the original purchase that an item deserve to be changed. As alters to the returns plan are made, the transforms are rolled out via inner interactions, and also updays to the retransforms processing on the system are made. In our example, the mechanism would no longer permit a dress to be returned after fourteen days without an apverified factor.

If done properly, service procedure monitoring will provide numerous key benefits to an company, which deserve to be offered to contribute to competitive benefit. These benefits include:

Empowering employees. When a organization process is designed correctly and supported with information modern technology, employees will certainly have the ability to implement it on their very own authority. In our returns-policy instance, an employee would certainly have the ability to accept retransforms made before fourteenager days or use the system to make determinations on what retransforms would be permitted after fourteenager days. Built-in reporting. By structure measurement right into the programming, the company have the right to save up to date on key metrics regarding their processes. In our instance, these can be provided to boost the returns procedure and additionally, ideally, to reduce returns. Enforcing ideal techniques. As an organization implements procedures supported by indevelopment units, it have the right to job-related to implement the ideal methods for that course of organization procedure. In our instance, the company might desire to call for that all customers returning a product without a receipt display a legal ID. This requirement can be developed into the system so that the rerotate will certainly not be processed unmuch less a valid ID number is entered. Enforcing consistency. By developing a process and enforcing it through information innovation, it is possible to create a consistency throughout the entire company. In our instance, all stores in the retail chain can enpressure the very same returns plan. And if the retransforms policy alters, the readjust have the right to be instantly applied across the whole chain. 

Firm Process Reengineering

As establishments look to manage their procedures to acquire a competitive advantage, they likewise should understand also that their existing ways of doing points might not be the many efficient or reliable. A process developed in the 1950s is not going to be better simply because it is now sustained by innovation.

In 1990, Michael Hammer publiburned an article in the Harvard Firm Review entitled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” This article put forward the thought that simply automating a negative procedure does not make it better. Instead, carriers need to “blow up” their existing procedures and also build brand-new processes that take advantage of the new modern technologies and ideas. He says in the arrival to the article:<1>

Many kind of of our project deindicators, job-related flows, control mechanisms, and organizational structures came of age in a various competitive atmosphere and prior to the introduction of the computer system. They are geared towards better performance and control. Yet the watchwords of the new decade are invention and speed, company, and quality.

It is time to soptimal paving the cow paths. Instead of embedding outdated processes in silsymbol and software application, we must obliterate them and begin over. We should “reengineer” our businesses: use the power of contemporary indevelopment innovation to radically restyle our company procedures in order to accomplish dramatic enhancements in their performance.

Firm process redesign is not simply taking an existing process and also automating it. BPR is fully expertise the objectives of a procedure and also then considerably redesigning it from the ground as much as achieve dramatic renovations in efficiency and also quality. But this is much easier said than done. Many of us think in regards to exactly how to execute small, regional improvements to a process; finish redesign calls for thinking on a larger range. Hammer gives some guidelines for how to go around doing organization procedure reengineering:

Organize roughly outcomes, not work. This sindicate implies to design the procedure so that, if possible, one person performs all the measures. Instead of repeating one step in the procedure over and also over, the perboy continues to be involved in the procedure from begin to complete. Have those that use the outcomes of the process percreate the procedure. Using information innovation, many kind of straightforward jobs are currently automated, so we have the right to empower the perchild that needs the outcome of the process to perform it. The example Hammer gives below is purchasing: rather of having actually every department in the firm use a purchasing department to order supplies, have actually the supplies ordered straight by those that require the supplies making use of an indevelopment mechanism.Subsume information-processing work into the genuine work-related that produces the indevelopment. When one part of the agency creates information (like sales information, or payment information), it have to be processed by that same department. Tright here is no require for one part of the agency to procedure indevelopment created in another component of the company.Treat geographically distributed resources as though they were centralized. With the interactions innovations in area this particular day, it becomes much easier than ever to not concern about physical place. A multinational company does not need sepaprice assistance departments (such as IT, purchasing, etc.) for each location anymore. Link parallel tasks instead of integrating their results. Departments that occupational in parallel should be sharing data and also communicating through each various other during their tasks instead of waiting till each group is done and then comparing notes. Placed the decision points where the occupational is percreated, and develop controls into the process. The human being that do the work-related have to have actually decision-making authority and also the process itself have to have built-in controls using indevelopment modern technology. Capture indevelopment once, at the source. Requiring indevelopment to be gone into more than once causes delays and errors. With information innovation, an organization can capture it as soon as and also then make it easily accessible whenever before required. 

These ethics may seem choose common feeling this day, however in 1990 they took the service world by storm. Hammer offers example after instance of how establishments enhanced their service processes by many kind of orders of magnitude without including any kind of new employees, sindicate by transforming exactly how they did things (see sidebar).

Unfortunately, organization process redesign got a negative name in many type of establishments. This was bereason it was used as an excuse for price cutting that really had nopoint to perform through BPR. For example, many kind of companies ssuggest supplied it as an excuse for laying off component of their workforce. Today, however, many of the ethics of BPR have been integrated right into businesses and are thought about part of excellent business-procedure monitoring.

Sidebar: Redesign the College Bookstore

The procedure of purchasing the correct textpublications in a timely manner for college classes has actually always been problematic. And currently, with online bookstores such as Amazon competing straight through the college booksave for students’ purchases, the college bookkeep is under push to justify its visibility.

But college bookstores have actually one substantial advantage over their competitors: they have accessibility to students’ information. In various other words, as soon as a student has registered for classes, the bookstore knows specifically what books that student will require for the upcoming term. To leverage this benefit and take benefit of brand-new innovations, the booksave desires to implement a brand-new procedure that will certainly make purchasing publications through the booksave useful to students. Though they might not have the ability to compete on price, they deserve to provide various other advantages, such as reducing the time it takes to uncover the publications and the capability to guarantee that the book is the correct one for the class. In order to carry out this, the bookkeep will certainly need to undertake a procedure rearchitecture.

The goal of the process restyle is simple: capture a greater percentage of students as customers of the bookkeep. After diagramming the existing procedure and meeting with student emphasis groups, the bookkeep comes up via a brand-new process. In the brand-new process, the bookkeep utilizes indevelopment innovation to alleviate the amount of occupational the students must carry out in order to acquire their publications. In this new process, the bookkeep sends the students an e-mail with a list of all the publications compelled for their upcoming classes. By clicking a connect in this e-mail, the students deserve to log right into the bookstore, confirm their publications, and also purchase the books. The bookstore will certainly then deliver the publications to the students.

College booksave process redesign (click to enlarge)

ISO Certification

Many organizations currently case that they are utilizing finest practices when it comes to business procedures. In order to set themselves apart and also prove to their customers (and potential customers) that they are indeed doing this, these institutions are seeking out an ISO 9000 certification. ISO is an acronym for Internationwide Standards Organization (webwebsite here). This body defines top quality standards that organizations can implement to display that they are, indeed, controlling service processes in an effective way. The ISO 9000 certification is focused on top quality management.

In order to obtain ISO certification, an organization must be audited and uncovered to satisfy specific criteria. In its the majority of straightforward create, the auditors percreate the complying with review:

Tell me what you do (define the company process).Show me wbelow it claims that (referral the procedure documentation).Prove that this is what happened (exhilittle evidence in recorded records).

Over the years, this certification has actually evolved and many kind of branches of the certification now exist. ISO certification is one way to separate an company from others. You can discover out more around the ISO 9000 standard below.


The development of indevelopment technologies has had a vast impact on just how establishments design, implement, and also assistance business procedures. From record administration systems to ERP systems, indevelopment systems are tied into business procedures. Using service procedure monitoring, institutions can empower employees and also leverage their processes for competitive benefit. Using company procedure reengineering, organizations can vastly boost their efficiency and the top quality of their assets and also services. Integrating indevelopment technology via business procedures is one method that information devices can lug an company lasting competitive benefit.

See more: What Does Mamma Mia Mean In English, Definition Of Mamma Mia

Study QuestionsWhat does the term business process mean?What are three examples of business procedure from a project you have actually had or an company you have actually observed?What is the value in documenting a service process?What is an ERP system? How does an ERP system enpressure ideal methods for an organization?What is among the objections of ERP systems?What is company procedure reengineering? How is it different from incrementally improving a process?Why did BPR acquire a negative name?List the guidelines for recreating a company process.What is business procedure management? What role does it play in permitting a firm to differentiate itself?What does ISO certification signify?

ExercisesThink of a company process that you have actually had actually to percreate in the previous. How would certainly you document this process? Would a diagram make more feeling than a checklist? Document the process both as a checklist and also as a diagram.Rewatch the return policies at your favorite retailer, then answer this question: What indevelopment devices carry out you think would certainly have to be in place to assistance their return policy.If you were implementing an ERP mechanism, in which cases would certainly you be more inclined to modify the ERP to complement your organization processes? What are the drawbacks of doing this?Which ERP is the best? Do some original research and also compare 3 leading ERP devices to each other. Write a two- to three-page paper that compares their functions.