A business process is a series of logically sequenced steps or activities performed manually or automatically to achieve a specific goal. Business processes can be both internal and external. Internal refers to processes within a department or company. External stands for the exchange and cooperation between at least two companies.
A process is initiated by a defined start event in which tangible and intangible goods are used. Tangible goods would be, for example, products and human resources. Intangible goods would be, for example, information and data. These goods represent the input and are processed in compliance with certain rules and factors internal and external to the company in order to generate value as output. The process ends with a defined final event.
Some examples of typical business processes are customer service, orders and deliveries, invoicing and invoice processing.
Differences between manual and automated process
Mr. and Mrs. Public want to apply for a loan and obtain information from their bank.
Manual process example
Mr. and Mrs. Public go to the bank together and fill out the loan application on the spot.
The responsible clerk manually transfers the information from the completed credit application form into the bank's customer system.
The bank's verification unit examines Mr. and Mrs. Public's creditworthiness via an external company.
Based on the feedback from the external company, the employee at the review station decides what steps to take next:
Credit application approval: The verification office informs Mr. and Mrs. Public in writing and forwards the necessary data for credit opening to the responsible office.
Credit application rejection: The verifier informs Mr. and Mrs. Public in writing that the application has been rejected.
Automated process example
Mr. and Mrs. Public access the bank's website and fill in all the necessary information for the credit application in an online form.
This information is automatically transferred to the bank's customer system.
Mr. and Mrs. Public's creditworthiness is assessed by means of an automatic verification service provided by an external company.
Taking into account the criteria defined in the process, a decision is automatically made as to which steps to take next:
Mr. and Mrs. Public are creditworthy: they are notified of this and the next steps to open a loan are automatically initiated.
Mr. and Mrs. Public are not creditworthy: You will automatically receive a direct rejection of your application.
Input and output are identical in both processes. The difference is that by automating business processes, important resources are freed up and made available elsewhere.