Common Understanding Wiki
A Common Knowledge Source of Terms and Definitions
Business Processes and Business Process Management #
This page covers general terms around the area of Business Processes and Business Process Management. For terms specifically related to CloudSocket and Business Process as a Service refer to this page.
Business Process #
Business Processes are seen as a sequence of manual, semi-automatic and automatic actions with the aim to achieve an organisational goal.
The focus is to align all actions within an organisation with the business goals, independent if they are performed by machines, humans or a group consisting of several machines and / or several humans. Actions are typically described in time, role and place dependent, hence every "hand-over" of a task, or any "reminder" to again come back to a task is seen as the border of an activity.
There is a set of different application field for business processes such as but not limited to quality management, risk management, re-engineering, continues improvement, documentation, training but also model driven architecture and requirement analysis. The first set of application fields have clearly the model as "Information Value Provider" in mind, hence graphical models are not seen as some necessary step to move on to concrete sofware code, but are seen as an independent document type that is necessary to perform day to day work within the organisation.
The second set of application fields is concerned with, the model driven architecture, software requirement analysis, configuration of software components or software design. In such application scenarios the so-called business and IT alignment must be performed by bridging form the domain centric business process towards the technology centric workflows.
Workflows are seen as a sequence of executable software components that are interpreted as a configuration set for a workflow engine, which automatically invokes the sequence of software components.
Bridging from business towards workflows hence means to bridge the semantic distance from domain knowledge to technical configuration.
Business Process Management (BPMS) #
Business process management is a process that deals with improving corporate performance by managing and optimising a company's business processes. BPM sees processes as important assets of an organization that must be understood, managed, and developed to announce value-added products and services to clients or customers.
The BPM lifecycle within an organisation can be described through the following steps:
- Design: Process design encompasses both the identification of existing processes and the design of "to-be" processes. Areas of focus include representation of the process flow, the factors within it, alerts and notifications, escalations, standard operating procedures, service level agreements, and task hand-over mechanisms
- Modelling: Modeling takes the theoretical design and introduces combinations of variables.
- Execution: One of the ways to automate processes is to develop or purchase an application that executes the required steps of the process; however, in practice, these applications rarely execute all the steps of the process accurately or completely. Another approach is to use a combination of software and human intervention; however this approach is more complex, making the documentation process difficult
- Monitoring: Monitoring encompasses the tracking of individual processes, so that information on their state can be easily seen, and statistics on the performance of one or more processes can be provided.
This lifecycle shall not be considered as a closed sequence, but rather as a re-occuring loop. Monitoring results will be used to perform optimisations and even re-engineerings of individual processes.
BPM Engine #
As a response to these problems when executing business processes, software has been developed that enables the execute the full business process with the help of computers. The system will either use services in connected applications to perform business operations or, when a step is too complex to automate, will ask for human input. A BPM Engine is a tool that supports the automatic execution of Business Processes and also human steps in the process.
The BPM Engine must not be confused with the other components of a business process management suite, like the modeling environment or the end-user workspace client. An example tool is the ATOS YourBPM server component.
Business Process Management System (BPMS)
A process management system is a tool that supports the full life-cylce of Business Process Management including capabilities to enable or disable individual processes and access to the monintoring data.
Business IT-Alignment #
Business-IT alignment is a dynamic state in which a business organization is able to use information technology (IT) effectively to achieve business objectives - typically improved financial performance or marketplace competitiveness.
Business Cloud-IT Alignment #
Business Cloud-IT Alignment is analogous to Business IT-Alignment, but applies cloud technology, in particular third-party cloud services, to achieve its goals.
Business Process Model #
A Business Process Model is an abstract expression of a business process, normally expressed in a modelling language such as BPM.