Achieve desired outcomes by managing your business as a collection of processes

As described in an earlier blog Why a Process is Not Just a Flow Diagram, it is very essential to draw the various outcomes or goals of a business as it would enable to define processes to achieve each of the goals. There are many ways of representing goals, but primarily goals can be broadly grouped as Operational Goals, Support Goals and Management Goals to make them manageable. And the processes that are defined to achieve these goals more or less follow the same grouping – viz. Operational Processes, Support Processes and Management Processes.

  1. Operational ProcessesThese are end-to-end, possibly cross-functional processes that deliver primary value to customers. These are also called essential processes, as they represent the essential activities that an organization performs to accomplish its mission. The goal of these processes is the physical creation of a product or service, marketing and transfer to the purchaser, and after-sales support, ultimately generating value to customers. Applying Lean principles, these are the Value Add processes.
  2.  Support ProcessesThese are designed to provide support for primary processes. Examples include information technology management, capacity management, human resource management processes, etc. Support processes are often associated with functional areas.However, support processes usually cross functional boundaries. For example, Capacity Management processes typically involve cross-functional activities such as purchase planning, engineering design, construction and the production management. In turn, each of these activities could include cross-functional teams with representation from Finance, Procurement, IT and other functional organizations.

    The key differentiator between Operational and Support processes is that support processes do not generate direct value to customers, while the primary processes do. As Value Enablers, the goal of support processes is to effectively help accomplish the goals of Operational processes.

  3. Management ProcessesThese are used to measure, monitor and control business activities. They ensure that the Operational or Support processes meet the desired goals – financial, regulatory, and legal. Management processes also are Value Enabling processes, and their goal is to provide strategic and fundamental guidance to the organization and increase their ability to effectively accomplish their primary business objectives.

A Goal Hierarchy using the above broad classification at the highest level helps to structure and achieve the desired state of the operations of a business. This hierarchy will act as a base-line for the Target Operating Model (TOM) of the organization, where the objectives and the processes revolve around its three key components – People, Process and Technology.

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