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Please help me answer exercise 3 creating a process in page 369. Thank you so much
Business Process and Information
?Jeff, we clean the clubhouse restrooms
twice a day . . . in the morning before 7 and again just
before lunch. We?ve been doing that for years. Never
been a problem.? Mike Stone, facilities manager, is
defending his department in a meeting with Jeff Lloyd,
Fox Lake?s general manager, and Anne Foster, manager
of the newly formed wedding events department.
?That?s just great Mike. Just great.? Anne raises her
voice, ?And what if, like on the PAST THREE SATURDAYS, we have two weddings in the afternoon? Do you
think maybe guests at the second wedding would like
clean bathrooms?? Anne is incredulous that she has to
ask for clean bathrooms, of all things. ?It?s your friends
and family at a wedding . . . at Fox Lake! You would hope
the bathrooms will be clean!?
Jeff sits impatiently, he doesn?t like the direction
of this discussion, but he doesn?t know where to take
it . . .
Mike continues. ?Look, Anne, I can hire staff to clean
the bathrooms on whatever schedule you want. I DO
have a budget to pay attention to, however, so I?m not
going to hire people to clean bathrooms that are already
clean because we DIDN?T have two weddings that day.?
?Well, Mike, should we talk about our problem with
the toilet in the ladies room??
?What do you mean??
?I mean for a whole month, we?ve had a toilet that
overflows . . . ?
?Mike, is that right?? Jeff jumps in.
?Look. I don?t have a plumber on staff. Steve?s the
weekend manager. He knows we watch our expenses,
and he?s not going to call a plumber on Saturday, weekend rates and all. So, he?s does the right thing. He goes
over there and tries to fix it himself.?
?Seems like a good response, doesn?t it?? Jeff asks,
wondering where this one is going.
?You?re not going to take your bridal gown into
a Porta Potty.?
?I thought so, too. Saves us money and solves the
problem. Turns out that plumbing equipment was
never designed to have 250 people at an event. It?s
designed for one or two people from the restaurant,
maybe a party of four golfers. Anyway, he fixes the toilet
with spare parts and whatnot and, with that heavy use,
it breaks again, and Anne comes unglued! Besides, if I
had notice, I could bring in some Porta Potties . . . ?
?Mike!!! This is a wedding! You?re not going to take
your bridal gown into a Porta Potty. I CAN?T BELIEVE
I?M HAVING THIS DISCUSSION!!!? Anne is stupefied at
Jeff steps in. ?OK, you two. Clearly, we?ve got some
work to do. We?re almost at the end of the big wedding
season. Take a break and then sit down together and
schedule it out. Figure out what it will take to get us
through this year. Mike, let me know if you need more
money and I?ll see what I can come up with. But, I don?t
mean a lot. Meanwhile, I?ll start thinking about a
Next week, Jeff meets in his office with Laura Shen,
who?d been recommended to him as someone who could
help solve the wedding events and facilities problems.
?Laura, I don?t really know what you do. Margaret
Silvester, one of our board members, said you?d helped
with some computer problems at her company, and she
insisted I meet with you. This doesn?t seem like a problem for a computer programmer, though.?
?Jeff, I?m not a programmer. I?m what?s called a
?business analyst.? I know technology, and while I have
written computer programs, that?s not what I do. I specialize in understanding business needs, strategies, and
goals and helping businesses implement systems to
accomplish those needs. Often that involves computerbased systems, but not always.?
?Well, what do you know about us??
?Margaret gave me a quick rundown. You?ve
recently acquired a wedding events business and you?ve
had problems integrating it with the rest of Fox Lake.?
?That?s about right. But, we didn?t acquire a business . . . we hired someone who owned a small business
and she hoped to make it bigger working for Fox Lake. I
was looking for a source of more revenue.?
?So, what?s the problem??
?Facilities, mostly. We had some issues about using
membership data for marketing, but not serious ones.
The big problems are sharing facilities, timely maintenance, and tracking repairs. And, these wedding events
stress us in ways we?re not used to. The crew at the
restaurant can serve up a few burgers and fries to the
club members, but when we start putting high-end
caterers into their kitchen space, well, like I said, it?s
stressful . . . ?
?I might be able to help. Did you see this coming
when you started wedding events??
?No, not really. We just thought we could use our
buildings for weddings . . . I didn?t understand how it
would impact everything else.?
?Well, let me talk with your key people for a bit, and
I?ll get back to you with some ideas and a proposal.?
Why do organizations need to manage business
What are the stages of Business Process
How can BPMN process diagrams help identify
and solve process problems?
Which comes first, business processes or
What are systems development activities?
Why are business processes and systems
development difficult and risky?
What are the keys for successful process and
systems development projects?
Suppose Fox Lake had hired you instead of Laura. How would you proceed? According
to Jeff, ?The big problems are sharing facilities, timely maintenance, and tracking
repairs.? How would you address these problems? What would you advise Fox Lake to
do? Would you start by creating a spreadsheet or a database to schedule maintenance?
If so, how would Fox Lake use either to solve these problems? Or, would you start by
creating some sort of information system that has procedures for scheduling the use of
facilities? Or, would you begin with a business process, say the process of planning
weddings, and work from there to the need for information systems, and from there to
the need for a spreadsheet or a database?
To answer these questions, we will address two major themes in this chapter:
business process management and information systems development. The
two themes are closely related and overlap in important ways. We begin in Q1
through Q3 by describing the need for process management, the stages in the
business process management cycle, and BPMN, a notation used for documenting
Next, in Q4, we investigate the relationship of processes and systems by asking
the question: Which should organizations create first? The response to that question
sets up the discussion of systems development activities in Q5 and the challenges
and keys to success in development projects in Q6 and Q7. We?ll wrap up this chapter
with a discussion of how information systems careers are likely to change between
now and 2021.
Q1 Why Do Organizations Need
to Manage Business Processes?
In order to discuss process design, we will extend the definition of business processes
that we used in Chapter 3. Here we will define a business process as a network of
activities, repositories, roles, resources, and data flows that interact to accomplish a
business function. As stated in Chapter 3, activities are collections of related tasks that
receive inputs and produce outputs. A repository is a collection of something; an
inventory is a physical repository and a database is a data repository. The new terms in
this definition are roles, which are collections of procedures, and resources, which are
people or computer applications that are assigned to roles. Finally, a data flow is the
movement of data from one activity or another or from an activity to a repository, or
To make this more clear, you can think of roles as job titles. Example roles are
salesperson, credit manager, inventory supervisor, and the like. Thus, an organization
might assign three people (resources) to the salesperson role, or it might create an
information system (resource) to perform the credit manager role.
To better understand this definition, consider a simple, but common, example.
A Sample Ordering Business Process
Suppose that you work in sales for a company that sells equipment and supplies to the
hotel industry. Your products include hotel furniture, cleaning equipment, and
supplies, such as towels and linens and staff uniforms. Processing an order involves
the five steps shown in Figure 10-1. You are one of many people (resources) that
perform the salesperson role.
As a salesperson, you do not perform all of the activities shown; rather, you
orchestrate their performance. You are the customer?s representative within
the firm. You ensure that the operations department verifies that the product is
Q1 Why Do Organizations Need to Manage Business Processes?
available and can be delivered to the customer on the requested schedule. You
check with accounting to verify the credit required to process the order, and you
check with your boss, a sales manager, to approve any special terms the customer
might request (discounts, free shipping, extended return policy, etc.). We will
document this process further in Q2.
Why Does This Process Need Management?
When you joined the firm, they taught you to follow this process, and you?ve been
using for it two years. It seems to work, so why does it need to be managed? The
fundamental answer to this question is that processes are dynamic and often need to
be changed. This need can arise because a process doesn?t work well, because of a
change in technology, or because of a change in some business fundamental.
Processes That Don?t Work Well
The most obvious reason for changing a process is that it doesn?t work. The process
does not produce the desired result, or it is so confused, with everyone following their
own personal way of getting things done, that it is only good fortune when desired
outputs are produced, now and then. Businesses with such broken processes cannot
survive, and, consequently few processes are such complete failures. More common
are processes that work, but not very well.
For example, according to Figure 10-1, salespeople verify product availability
before checking customer credit. If checking availability means nothing more than
querying an information system for inventory levels, that sequence makes sense. But
suppose that checking availability means that someone in operations needs not only
to verify inventory levels, but also to verify that the goods can be shipped to arrive on
time. If the order delivery is complex, say the order is for a large number of beds that
have to be shipped from three different warehouses, an hour or two of labor may be
required to verify shipping schedules.
After verifying shipping, the next step is to verify credit. If it turns out the customer has insufficient credit and the order is refused, the shipping-verification
labor will have been wasted. So, it might make sense to check credit before checking
Steps in Processing an Order
CHAPTER 10 Business Process and Information Systems Development
Similarly, if the customer?s request for special terms is disapproved, the cost of
checking availability and credit is wasted. If the customer has requested special terms
that are not normally approved, it might make sense to obtain approval of special
terms before checking availability or credit. However, your boss might not appreciate
being asked to consider special terms for orders in which the items are not available or
for customers with bad credit.
Another reason that processes don?t work well is that they are misaligned with the
organization?s goals, objectives, or competitive strategy. If, for example, the vendor
has chosen a low-cost strategy, then taking the time to verify shipping dates may be
at odds with that competitive strategy. The labor to verify shipping dates will raise
sales costs and may prohibit the vendor from providing the lowest possible prices to
As you can see, it?s not easy to determine what process structure is best. The need
to monitor process effectiveness and adjust process design, as appropriate, is one
reason that processes need to be managed.
Change in Technology
Changing technology is a second reason for managing processes. For example, suppose the equipment supplier in Figure 10-1 invests in a new information system that
enables it to track the location of trucks in real time. Suppose that with this capability
the company can provide next-day availability of goods to customers. That capability
will be of limited value, however, if the existing credit-checking process requires 2
days. ?I can get the goods to you tomorrow, but I can?t verify your credit until next
Monday? will not be satisfying to either customers or salespeople.
Thus, when new technology changes any of a process?s activities in a significant
way, the entire process needs to be evaluated. That evaluation is another reason for
Change in Business Fundamentals
A third reason for managing business processes is a change in business fundamentals.
A substantial change in any of the following factors might result in the need to modify
Market (e.g., new customer category, change in customer characteristics)
Company organization (e.g., merger, acquisition)
To understand the implications of such changes, consider just the sequence of
verifying availability and checking credit in Figure 10-1. A new category of customers
could mean that the credit-check process needs to be modified; perhaps a certain category of customers is too risky to be extended credit. All sales to such customers must
be cash. A change in product lines might require different ways of checking availability. A change in the supply chain might mean that the company no longer stocks some
items in inventory but ships directly from the manufacturer instead.
Or, the company might make broad changes to its credit policy. It might, for example, decide to accept more risk and sell to companies with lower credit scores. In this
case, approval of special terms becomes more critical than checking credit, and the
sequence of those two activities might need to be changed.
Of course, a merger or acquisition will mean substantial change in the organization and its products and markets, as does moving portions of the business offshore or
engaging in international commerce. Finally, a substantial change in the business
environment, say, the onset of a recession, might mean that credit checking becomes
vitally important and needs to be moved to first in this process.
Q2 What Are the Stages in Business Process Management (BPM)?
Q2 What Are the Stages in Business
Process Management (BPM)?
The factors just discussed will necessitate changes in business processes, whether the
organization recognizes that need or not. Organizations can either plan to develop
and modify business processes, or they can wait and let the need for change just
happen to them. In the latter case, the business will continually be in crisis, dealing
with one process emergency after another.
Figure 10-2 shows the basic activities in business process management (BPM), a
cyclical (recurring) process for systematically creating, assessing, and altering
business processes. This cycle begins by creating models of business processes. The
business users who have expertise and are involved in the particular process (this
could be you!) adjust and evaluate those models. Usually teams build an as-is model
that documents the current situation and then changes that model to make adjustments necessary to solve process problems.
Given the model, the next step is to create system components. Those components have the five elements of every information system, although some are entirely
automated (no people and procedures) and some are entirely manual (no hardware or
software). Next, needed business processes or changes to existing business processes
Well-managed organizations don?t stop there. Instead, they create policy, procedures, and committees to continually assess business process effectiveness. The
Information Systems Audit and Control Association has created a set of standard
practices called COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and related Technology)
that are often used in the assessment stage of the BPM cycle. Explaining these
standards is beyond the scope of this discussion, but you should know that they exist.
See www.isaca.org/cobit for more information.
When the assessment process indicates that a significant need for change has
arisen, the BPM cycle is repeated. Adjusted and new process models are developed,
and components are created, implemented, and assessed.
Effective BPM enables organizations to attain continuous process improvement.
Like quality improvement, process improvement is never finished. Process effectiveness is constantly monitored, and processes are adjusted as and when required.
Business process management has the same scope as discussed for information
systems in Chapter 7: functional, cross-functional, and interorganizational. As
shown in Figure 10-3, BPM becomes more difficult as the scope of the underlying
Finally, do not assume that business process management applies only to
commercial, profit-making organizations. Nonprofit and government organizations
Stages in the BPM Cycle
CHAPTER 10 Business Process and Information Systems Development
Business process resides
within a single business
BPM authority belongs to a single
departmental manager who has
authority to resolve BPM issues.
Business process crosses into
multiple departments within
a single company.
BPM authority shared across several or
many departments. Problem resolution
via committee and policy.
Business process crosses into
Supply chain management (SCM)
BPM authority shared by multiple
companies. Problem resolution via
negotiation and contract.
Scope of Business Process
have all three types of processes shown in Figure 10-3, but most of these processes are
service-oriented, rather than revenue-oriented. Your state?s Department of Labor, for
example, has a need to manage its processes, as does the Girl Scouts of America. BPM
applies to all types of organizations.
Q3 How Can BPMN Process Diagrams
Help Identify and Solve Process Problems?
One of the four stages of BPM, and arguably the most important stage, is to model
business processes. It is so important because such models are the blueprint for the
new process and system components. If models are incomplete and incorrect, components cannot be created correctly. In this question, you will learn standard notation
for creating process documentation.
Need for Standard for Business Processing Notation
As stated, we define a business process as a network of activities, repositories, roles,
resources, and data flows that interact to accomplish a business function. This definition is commonly accepted, but unfortunately dozens of other definitions are used
by other authors, industry analysts, and software products. For example, IBM, a key
leader in business process management, has a product called WebSphere Business
Modeler that uses a different set of terms. It has activities and resources, but it uses
the term repository more broadly than we do, and it uses the term business item for
data flow. Other business-modeling software products use still other definitions and
terms. These differences and inconsistencies can be problematic, especially when
two different organizations with two different sets of definitions must work together.
Accordingly, a software-industry standards organization called the Object Management Group (OMG) created a standard set of terms and graphical notations for
documenting business processes. That standard, called Business Process Modeling
Notation (BPMN), is documented at www.bpmn.org. A complete description of
BPMN is beyond the scope of this text. However, the basic symbols are easy to
understand, and they work naturally with our definition of business process. Hence,
we will use the BPMN symbols in the illustrations in the chapter. All of the diagrams
in this chapter were drawn using Microsoft Visio, which includes several BPMN
symbol templates. Figure 10-4 summarizes the basic BPMN symbols.
Documenting the As-Is Business Order Process
Figure 10-5 shows the as-is, or existing, order process introduced in Figure 10-1. First,
note that this process is a model, an abstraction that shows the essential elements of
the process but omits many details. If it were not an abstraction, the model would be
Q3 How Can BPMN Process Diagrams Help Identify and Solve Process Problems?
Activity (+ indicates subprocess defined)
Decision or Gateway
Other processes add new equipment
and record the arrival of repaired equipment
as large as the business itself. This diagram is shown in swim-lane layout. In this
format, each role in the business process is given its own swim lane. In Figure 10-5,
there are five roles and hence five swim lanes. All activities for a given role are shown
in that role?s swim lane. Swim-lane layout simplifies process diagrams and draws
attention to interactions among components of the diagram.
Two kinds of arrows are shown. Dotted arrows depict the flow of messages and
data flows. Solid arrows depict the flow or sequence of the activities in the process.
Some sequence flows have data associated with them as well. According to
Figure 10-5, the customer sends an RFQ (request for quotation) to a salesperson
(dotted arrow). That salesperson prepares a quotation in the first activity and then
(solid arrow) submits the quotation back to the customer. You can follow the rest of
the process in this diagram. Allocate inventory means that if the items are available
they are allocated to the customer so that they will not be sold to someone else.
Diamonds represent decisions and usually contain a question that can be
answered with yes or no. Process arrows labeled Yes and No exit two of the points of
the diamond. Three of the activities in the as-is diagram contain a square with a plus
(+) sign. This notation means that the activity is considered to be independent of this
process and that it is defined in greater detail in another diagram.
For example, the Check Customer Credit subprocess is shown in Figure 10-6. Note
the role named CRM in this subprocess. In fact, this role is performed entirely by an information system, although we cannot determine that fact from this diagram. Again, each
role is fulfilled by some set of resources, either people or information systems, or both.
Using Process Diagrams to Identify Process Problems
The processes shown in Figures 10-5 and 10-6 have problems. Before you continue,
examine these figures and see if you can determine what they are.
The problems in these processes involve allocations. The Operations Manager
role allocates inventory to the orders as they are processed and the Credit Manager
role allocates credit to the customer of orders in process. These allocations are correct
as long as the order is accepted. However, if the order is rejected, these allocations are
Business Process Management
Notation (BPMN) Symbols
CHAPTER 10 Business Process and Information Systems Development
Existing Ordering Process
not freed. Thus, inventory is allocated that will not be ordered, and credit is extended
for orders that will not be processed.
One fix (several are possible) is to define an independent process for Reject Order
(in Figure 10-5 that would mean placing a box with a + in the Reject Order activity) and
then designing the Reject Order subprocess to free allocations. Creating such a
diagram is left as exercise 3 in Using Your Knowledge (page 369).
Q3 How Can BPMN Process Diagrams Help Identify and Solve Process Problems?
How Can Business Processes Be Improved?
The two major dimensions of business process effectiveness are performance and
cost. Process designers can increase the performance of a business process in three
fundamental ways. First, they can add more resources to the roles of a given process
without changing its structure. This is the brute-force approach: add more people,
equipment, or systems to the existing way of doing business. Such a change alwa...
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