Ingredients of a Business Process The above example shows that a business process encompasses a number of events and activities . Events correspond to things that happen atomically, meaning that they have no duration. The arrival of an equipment at a construction site is an event. This event may trigger the execution of series of activities. For example, when a piece of equipment arrives, the site engineer inspects it. This inspection is an activity, in the sense that it takes time. When an activity is rather simple and can be seen as one single unit of work, we call it a task . For example, if the inspection that the site engineer performs is quite simple—e.g. just checking that the equipment received corresponds to what was ordered—we can say that the equipment inspection is a task. If on the other hand the equipment inspection requires many steps—such as checking that the equipment fulfills the specification included in the purchase order, checking that the equipment is in working order, and checking the equipment comes with all the required accessories and safety devices—we will call it an activity. In addition to events and activities, a typical process involves decision points , that is, points in time when a decision is made that affects the way the process is executed. For example, as a result of the inspection, the site engineer may decide that the equipment should be returned or that the equipment should be accepted. This decision affects what happens later in the process. A process also involves a number of actors (human actors, organizations, or software systems acting on behalf of human actors or organizations), physical objects (equipment, materials, products, paper documents) and immaterial objects (electronic documents and electronic records). For example, the equipment rental process involves three types of human actor (clerk, site engineer and works engineer) and two types of organizational actor (BuildIT and the equipment suppliers). The process also involves physical objects (the rented equipment), electronic documents (equipment rental requests, POs, invoices) and electronic records (equipment engagement records maintained in a spreadsheet). Finally, the execution of a process leads to one or several outcomes . For example, the equipment rental process leads to an equipment being used by BuildIT, as well as a payment being made to
the equipment’s supplier. Ideally, an outcome should deliver value to the actors involved in the process, which in this example are BuildIT and the supplier. In some cases, this value is not achieved or is only partially achieved. For example, when an equipment is returned, no value is gained, neither by BuildIT nor by the supplier. This corresponds to a negative outcome , as opposed to a positive outcome that delivers value to the actors involved.
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- Fall '19
- Business process modeling