process aspect

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Process is one of the four primary aspects of the business organization - purpose, function, process, and structure. See business organization aspects for an explanation of their derivation. The four aspects are the framework for the inquiry process that is performed to understand and design business organizations.

Process aspect introduction --
Process pertains to the organization's network of activities and the know-how to produce the function. These activities producing the function in fulfilling its purpose make up the organization's portion of the value system. Process fills the gap between structure and function - between cause and effect, means and ends, and inputs and outputs. The competencies of the organization are embedded in the processes of the organization. See function aspect and structure aspect.

Inquiring on process --
When inquiring upon the business organization from the process perspective, the following types of questions guide the inquiry:

  • What competencies fulfill the purpose? What new competencies could fulfill the purpose?
  • What competencies align with current offerings? Future offerings?
  • What competencies are used today?
  • What are the core competencies?
  • Are any competencies distinctive? How are they used to differentiate the offerings? Are they applied to produce competitive advantage?
  • What distinctive competencies can this organization develop?
  • Who owns which competencies in the value system? Which could this organization own to its advantage?
  • What resources and structures enable the competencies?
  • What is the value system? Internal to the organization? External? What is the network of value adding processes?
  • Where is value added? What? How? Why?
  • How flexible are the processes? What factors determine flexibility?
  • How is the process reflected in the purpose?
  • How is the process reflected in the structure?
  • How is the process reflected in the function?
  • Core processes (Hamel, 2002) --
    • What are our most critical processes -- that is, what processes create the most value for customers and our most competitively unique?
    • What is the rate at which we are improving these processes?
    • Is that rate of improvement accelerating or deceleration?
    • Can we imagine a radically different process that would deliver the same benefit?
    • Are there opportunities for step function improvements in the efficiency or effectiveness of our processes?
    • Could we borrow nonlinear process ideas for other industries?
    • Conversely, could we use our process expertise to transform some other industry?
  • Core competencies (Hamel, 2002) --
    • What are your core competencies?
    • What we know that is (a) unique, (b) value to customers, and (c) transferable to new opportunities?
    • What are the deep benefits that are core competencies allow us to deliver to customers?
    • How could we deploy those benefits in new ways or in new settings?
    • What difference could our core competencies make if we introduce them into industries where competitors possess very different skills?
    • Are there skills, we don't currently possess that could undermine the role or current traditional competencies play in some overall customer solution?
    • What new competencies, should we be adding to our business concept?

These questions are asked from two orientations - from outside and from inside the business organization.

Process and business model elements --
During an inquiry process, answering the questions related to the process aspect is one step in defining business model elements and their interrelationships. Though some business model elements are more readily associated with process than others, the process inquiry has implications for all elements of the business. An aspect of process will be manifest in the organization's purpose, structure, and function. See business model elements for an elaboration of 'aspects' vs. 'business model elements'.

See business model for the structure of the business model elements associated with each aspect of the business organization.