Business Process Design Phase

The major goal of the business process design phase is the alignment of a company's processes with the needs and requirements of the market, including the design, analysis, and optimization of the processes as part of a continuous improvement cycle. The function of the design phase is to provide transparency

Fig. 3 Contract process in an automotive company based on an Event-Driven Process Chain in Scheer Process Tailor ©

of the current “as-is” process flow, to analyze the process flow, and to optimize it by creating a more efficient “to-be” process flow with higher quality.

This requires a method-based approach and a unified, structured, and understandable description language (Scheer 1994). The design phase answers the questions: “Who does what, in what sequence, what services or products are produced, and what software systems and data are used to support the process?”

As part of the process analysis, organizational, structural, and technological weak points in the processes are revealed and improvement potential is identified. This can be done solely by visualizing a business process, but it is also possible to simulate processes to uncover more detail about bottlenecks, costs, and resource problems. A standardized and common modeling notation, such as the EventDriven Process Chain in Fig. 3, ensures that BPM design phase results can be compared across the organization.

The first step toward professional BPM involves the related areas of design, analysis, and optimization. Design consists of recording the actual status of existing (“as-is”) processes (see Fig. 3). Processes can only be made visible and subjected to

Fig. 4 Dynamic process simulation to identify bottlenecks in a goods receiving process, based on an EPC model

detailed analysis after the consolidation of all the knowledge available about them. This knowledge exists primarily in the heads of the employees who are in charge of or otherwise involved in the operation of the processes.

The analysis phase provides detailed information about the structure and efficiency of business processes. Cost center and resource utilization levels, as well as process bottlenecks caused by changes in medium and discontinuity in the underlying IT systems, become evident. Evaluation and reporting (i.e., process cost analysis, what-if analyzes, or process simulation) provide organizations with important process indicators regarding processing and wait times, utilization of resources, and costs (see Fig. 4).[1]

The results of the analysis, combined with corporate goals, are used to derive and define target or “to-be” processes (i.e., processes that will help the company to create better value in the future).

During the business process design phase, different roles and skills are needed to get the best results. There is a need for people with project and/or process responsibility to drive the BPM process itself. But BPM methodology experts are also necessary to help the people in charge of the business express their knowledge about the workflow they already have in their heads. The roles involved in this phase are not only project leaders, BPM methodology experts, and department managers, but also business users or employees who are responsible for daily operations within the area affected by the BPM analysis.

Within the design phase, the following questions need to be answered:

• What is the detailed process architecture in the relevant main processes?

• What is the “as-is” process flow, including the related roles, data, and IT systems?

• What are the dynamic resource requirements and the end-to-end processing time?

• What is the resource-related process time and what are the costs for the processes?

• What weaknesses do the processes display, and how can we overcome them?

• How can we restructure the processes at a high level and in detail? What are the implications?

• Which changes do we have to implement in order to successfully optimize the process and what does the newly designed “to-be” process flow look like?

• Which process areas can be optimized using new technologies (e.g., SOA)?

• Which processes need high flexibility and where do we need to service-enable our existing software systems?

• How can we ensure process-based and non-disruptive support via IT systems that meet the requirements of individual business departments?

• Is a Software as a Service (SaaS) – approach an adequate way to support the business process in a efficient way (Hoffmann and Triebel 2011)?

  • [1] For a detailed discussion refer to van der Aalst (2014). The chapter by zur Mu¨hlen and Shapiro (2014) is dedicated to the overall field of process analysis and provides a comprehensive overview of analysis methods, such as process mining and process simulation
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