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The Characteristics of Process Orientation. Part 1: Design and Documentation of Business Processes

Business processes present a difficult challenge in identification and analysis since they are often unknown quantities, have no names, and are not visualized in organizational charts (Kiraka and Manning, 2005). A prerequisite for managing an organization based on its processes is to know which business processes are performed within the organization and how they are related to each other. A precise definition of the company’s business processes is the starting point for process management (Hinterhuber, 1995).

Design of a complete and uniform enterprise process model. The enterprise process model, which is also sometimes referred to as “macro design” (Suter, 2004), “macro model” (Schantin, 2004), or “macro enterprise process map” (Gardner, 2004), gives an overview of the organization’s business processes.

Documentation of processes. Business processes need to be specified in terms of how they are to be executed (Hammer, 2007).

Update of process documentation. Without a timely update of the documentation after a change of the process design, people will soon discontinue to use the documentation, making the documentation of business processes largely useless.

Definition of inputs and outputs for each process. Since processes can be defined as collections of tasks and activities that transform inputs into outputs, the specification of a business process needs to include a definition of these inputs and outputs (Walter, 2009; Schantin, 2004).

Definition of suppliers and customers for each process. A primary characteristic of a process is that it is initiated by and that it must provide results for a customer (Davenport and Short, 1990; Childe et al., 1994).

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