Business Processes and KM

business processes and knowledge management

Business processes, not departments or people, produce an organization’s products and services. They are how work gets done. Business processes are the workflows through which people function and into which departments are organized. Processes address the basic needs of organizations, such as:

  • Building customer focus
  • Adapting quickly and intelligently to new situations
  • Implementing change
  • Breaking down barriers (silos) between departments
  • Capturing and sharing organizational information and knowledge.

Let’s look at the business process implications from four perspectives: executives, managers, analysts, and knowledge workers.

Executives who use the process perspective improve their ability to:

  • Measure what is happening in the business.
  • Benchmark performance against similar companies.
  • Establish competitive advantages.
  • Assess mergers and acquisitions’ impact on the overall business model.
  • Evaluate alternative organizational structures.

Managers who use the process perspective:

  • Identify and close quality, cost, and cycle time gaps.
  • Manage the interfaces with other departments.
  • Manage the interfaces within their own departments.
  • Implement change more efficiently.
  • Allocate resources effectively.

Analysts who use the process perspective:

  • Diagnose business needs and recommend improvements that significantly impact an organization’s performance.
  • Facilitate business process improvement and performance improvement teams.

For knowledge workers, effective processes and knowledge management, make the workers more productive and efficient in doing their work.

Effective business processes enable companies to:

  • Stay competitive.
  • Increase responsiveness to customers.
  • Improve employee productivity.
  • Improve return on investment.

However, challenges such as information bottlenecks and process inefficiencies affect organizations through:

  • Slower problem resolution.
  • Slower innovation or time to market.
  • Lower quality.
  • Increased costs.
  • Slower time to competency for new hires or new roles.

Source Material

American Productivity & Quality Center [APQC]. (2021). Fixing process & knowledge productivity problems.

Page, S. (2015). The power of business process improvement: simple steps to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability (2nd ed.). New York: American Management Association.

Rummler, G. A. & Brache, A. P. (2012). Improving performance: How to manage the white space on the organization chart (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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