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What is Process analysis
Process analysis helps to identify individual processes, to describe them, to visualize them and to discover the links that exist between them.

Process Analysis is a general term for the analysis of work flow in organisations. It serves as a tool for the understanding, improvement and management of business processes. Process analysis is thus an analysis which focuses on the advancement of work from one person to another, at the same time describing the input and output, the individual steps and possibly also the use of resources. Process analysis is, simply put, about “how things are done” or “how things proceed.” This may concern the analysis of one concrete process or a complex analysis of all processes within an organisation.

Why does an organisation feel the need to analyse its processes? There are basically three possible reasons:

  • in order to describe the processes (e.g. so as to be able to set up job descriptions, manuals, procedural guides or functional specifications in the development of application software

  • in order to assure process management or automation (e.g. the automatic approval of invoices – see also workflow)

  • in order to improve or optimise processes

Use of process analysis in practice: Process analysis is one of the most important analytical techniques used by organisations in real life. It is applied any time there is the need to assess or to describe the workflow, to improve output, effectiveness, efficiency, economy or profitability. Process analysis is the departure point for any other additional optimisation or re-engineering. Typical examples of the **usage of process analysis ** are:

  • Description of processes intended for internal rules/directives
  • Description of processes for job descriptions
  • Description of processes for customers or business partners (e.g. how to proceed when ordering goods)
  • Description of processes as a basis for the introduction of new systems or applications to the information system of an organisation. It is used as starting point for assigning internal company applications through which the support of processes is realized (e.g. ERP applications, HRM applications, CRM applications and so on).
  • a subsequent optimisation of processes or a fundamental reengineering of processes with the aim at improvement, a decrease of costs, simplification or acceleration of processes or the removal of any shortcomings.

Process analysis helps to identify individual processes, to describe them, to visualize them and to discover the links that exist between them. It can offer a detailed as well as an overall overview of the processes of a company and point out their shortcomings or problems. Typical outputs of process analyses are process models or entire process maps for organisations. The output may take the form of graphs (process models) but may also be presented as a written or otherwise structured description of processes.

The risks of process analysis:
Danger may be hiding in a badly executed analysis, a wrongly selected procedure or tool for a process analysis. Often times, a disproportionate amount of effort is devoted to the analysis in comparison to the benefits such an analysis may bring. It is therefore very important to choose the appropriate methods and tools. For these reasons, organisations often employ outside specialists when engaging in process analysis.

The process of process analysis:
As the areas of application of process analysis is decidedly broad, it is not possible to describe a universal methodology. The process and form of a process analysis has to always emanate from a concrete need and the concrete need of the organisation. In the analysis of processes, it is possible to advance from the analysis of individual processes (so-called process descriptions or models of individual processes) and take up a bottom-up direction, or, in a more complex process analysis utilize the so-called process map. The result of a process analysis can be (depending on the applied methodology and tools) a simple text output or a sophisticated process model showing all relationships and links (who does what, what data arises, what technologies are used, etc.).

An experienced employee may carry out a process analysis just as successfully as an external consulting firm. Organisations use the services our outside companies especially when they need to optimise their processes and are looking for experience and best practices from other sources or need the so-called “outside view”.

Note: A one-time, intensive form of a process analysis is sometimes also called a Process audit.

Selected process analysis techniques:

Selected methodologies of process modelling:

Related terms and methods:

Related management field:

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Last update: 27.10.2015

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