Business Process: A Lesson in Anatomy

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

I’ve been kicking around the world of Business Process Improvement (BPI) for over 30 years now, and to be honest, I am a little disappointed at the progress that has been made in the field. By now I would have expected that the general body of knowledge would at least have recognized and built standards around the actual anatomy of business processes. From the software perspective, I would have thought that tools would exist that not only allow you to create an enterprise-wide repository of an organization’s business processes, but also provide the diagnostic tools to test each process to answer various questions like:

  1. Is the process a closed-loop system?
  2. Does the process properly track changes to the status of primary and secondary information objects (orders, inventory, customers, projects, tasks, etc.)?
  3. Does the process provide proper safeguards to detect process defects (exception reports, event trapping, issue escalation, etc.)?
  4. Does the process contain the necessary triggers needed to ensure actions are taken at the proper time and within the proper trigger-to-action timeframe?
  5. Does the process generate the proper metrics to monitor its effectiveness and alignment with organizational goals and objectives?

(The list goes on…trust me.)

In addition, by now I would have thought that these same tools would provide…

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