The increased competitive pressure of global markets forces companies to adapt their business processes constantly, in order to stay competitive in the long-term. This is the main field of business analysis.

 

Basics

For an effective and efficient business analysis, the chosen approach needs to be both systematic and flexible in order to successfully proceed from a business case to the development of a sustainable solution and, ultimately, to the implementation in the organization.  To achieve this goal, the most suitable methods must be discerned, selected and integrated into a well-structured approach. Besides elicitation techniques, this of course includes the documentation techniques as well. The most pressing question nowadays, however, is how to best interlink the process- and IT-perspectives to avert gaps and errors.

 

Notations

There are various notation languages that can be used to document your business processes. The most widely applied, however, are certainly UML (Unified Modeling Language) with Use-Case-, Class- and Activity diagrams, and BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation). Which language is being used is, in our experience, not decisive. The significant factor is that a process is defined in which the advantages of graphic notations are combined with those of natural language. Only then a documentation can be achieved that is unambiguous, complete and comprehensible for all project participants.

Business Rules

An important part of a company’s know-how is of course its operations. However, these only make up the skeleton of the business processes, since it is still unclear, which path needs to be taken at what particular time, how the specific information can be deduced or how information is interconnected with each other. This means that the muscles and tendons are needed, which hold the company together and make it work – the business rules. A business rule is a statement, which defines or delimits one aspect of an operation. It serves to formulate the structure of the operation, to influence or control its behavior. Business rules are typically documented in prose or with the help of decision tables.

KPIs or Metrics

To determine the quality of an existing or newly introduced business process, Key Performance Indicators (KIPs) or, synonymously, process metrics, are the essential catchwords. The term KPI denotes an index which measures or helps to determine the progress or degree of performance regarding important objectives or key success factors within a company. A metric, meanwhile, measures one or more of the properties of the observed process and thus provides an indicator for the process quality. It is important to note that KPI/metrics only work in connection with an accordingly set up “measuring process.”

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