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How are processes related to enterprise systems?

by Daniel J. Power
Editor, DSSResources.COM

Enterprise systems support business processes. Implementing new enterprise systems may require extensive changes in processes. Enterprise information systems integrate data from business processes into a single central data repository. Enterprise information applications provide managers with a consolidated view of operations across different functions, levels, and business units.

Systems, in general, are organized collections of interrelated processes. A process is a logically related set of activities for performing specific tasks. Business and organization processes coordinate and organize work activities, information, and knowledge to produce goods and services.

There are many types of software systems. The most common is Transaction processing systems (TPS). A TPS is part of an enterprise system and it is a computerized system that helps employees perform and record routine operational transactions like exchanging or transferring goods, money, or stocks. Software systems vary in purpose, scope, and technology.

Business processes vary in complexity, but they often involve several steps or activities. The activities are completed in a predetermined order. Activities can occur sequentially or in parallel. A process has a purpose and completing a process achieves a goal. For example, taking and fulfilling customer orders at a small restaurant may be a simple, informal process. Taking and fulfilling customer orders at a large fast-food restaurant may be very formalized, automated and complex.

The Workflow Management Coalition glossary defines process and business process:

A process "is a coordinated (parallel and/or serial) set of process activity(s) that are connected in order to achieve a common goal. Such activities may consist of manual activity(s) and/or workflow activity(s). A process is a network of activities and their relationships, criteria to indicate the start and termination of the process, and information about the individual activities, such as participants, associated IT applications and data, etc. (p. 11)"

A business process is "a set of one or more linked procedures or activities which collectively realise a business objective or policy goal, normally within the context of an organisational structure defining functional roles and relationships. ... A business process may involve formal or relatively informal interactions between participants; its duration may also vary widely. (p. 10)"

Power (2002) explains "A decision process refers to the steps, tasks, methods, procedures, events and/or analyses that lead to a result, a decision. Also, decision processes are often part of larger business or organization processes."

Decision making processes can be simple and routine with few activities and a single participant or much more complex and extensive with many activities and many participants. Decision support systems can support a specific, simple, routine decision making process, multiple processes, specific, complex and extensive processes with multiple participants, and a range between the extremes.

References

Power, D., What is an example of a decision process? DSS News, Vol. 3, No. 7, March 31, 2002 at URL http://dssresources.com/faq/index.php?action=artikel&id=20.

Sourcemaking, "Business Processes and Business Systems," at URL https://sourcemaking.com/uml/modeling-business-systems/business-processes-and-business-systems

Workflow Management Coalition Terminology & Glossary, February 1999 at URL http://www.wfmc.org/docs/TC-1011_term_glossary_v3.pdf

Last update: 2016-05-12 02:34
Author: Daniel Power

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