In this chapter the authors introduce the role of a business process engineer (BPE) and necessary competencies to define, simulate, analyze, and improve business processes. As a minimal body of knowledge for a BPE we propose two complementary fields: enterprise integration engineering (EIE) and business process management (BPM). EIE is presented as a discipline that enriches business models by providing additional views to enhance and extend the coverage of business models through the consideration of additional elements to those that are normally considered by a process model, such as the inclusion of mission, vision, and strategy which are cornerstone in EIE. A BPE is a person who holistically uses principles of BPE, EIE, and associated tools to build business models that identify elements such as information sources involved, the roles which use and transform the information, and the processes that guide end-to-end transformation of information along the business.
Busines Process Management
A business is a complex organization whose operation is the responsibility of several departments or business units. To be considered as successful, a business should create profit to its stakeholders. The equation for profit is defined as the result of subtracting operation costs from revenue. According to this definition, there are two not necessarily independent ways to increase profit. The first one is decreasing operation costs which include salaries, facilities, services (such as electricity), among others. The second way is increasing revenue, whose main source are customers.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Core Business Processes: Enterprise operation is conducted (conscious or unconsciously) by business processes. A core business process is that which adds more value to a product or service. Core business processes are normally linked to the business strategy, and are thus paramount for the sustainability of the enterprise. A business process improvement effort will normally be focused to enhance core business processes.
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN): BPMN is a standard notation whose evolution is currently managed by the Object Management Group (www.omg.org). BPMN includes many symbols that help build process diagrams to describe business processes in a graphical way. Currently, many software modeling tools support BPMN, and others will do in the future. BPMN is important because it will serve as a standard language for simplifying communication among all participants in describing, designing, implementing, analyzing, and improving business processes.
Process Engineering Framework: A framework could be presented in many different flavors. Normally, frameworks come in a graphical model notation to describe the set of elements and their relationships that are important to help create specific models. For process engineering, a framework is relevant to show how business process management should be conducted thus all important steps and work products could be identified.
Value Added Activity: Any activity in a business process in which the enterprise adds some characteristic that is important to a customer or customer segment. These activities are very important in order to identify the total value that is delivered to customers along a business process.
Business Process Management (BPM): A managerial approach whose most important goals and concerns are business process definition, implementation, and improvement. BPM is addressed to how enact the core business processes, supervise their behavior and suggest improvements to achieve the strategy defined by the business.
Business Strategy: A description of how a business will proceed in order to put himself in an improved state, according to its current position. The strategy may be addressed to increase market share, increase its competition by introduction of a new product or improvement of an already produced one, etc.
Business Process Modeling: This consists in describing a business process normally using a graphic notation to show how all process activities are linked in a time frame to produce the expected result. A process model could show the participants and activities each of them perform, times for every activity, decisions that should be taken, parallel paths of activities, and many other important information for a process.
Enterprise Integration Engineering (EIE): A research field whose main interest has been the definition of frameworks for linking business functional areas. The more important findings in EIE are the identification that several models are necessary to describe the operation of an enterprise: data model, organizational model, process model, and resources model. An integrated enterprise is one in which all functional areas know how they contribute to add value to the products or services from the enterprise.