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Insights: Process View of Work

Processes exist to create results your customers - whether they are internal (within your organisation, such as a department) or external (outside your organisation, such as paying customers) - care about.

A process also can be viewed as a "value chain," in which each activity or step contributes to the end result. Some activities directly contribute value, while others may not.

All activities consume enterprise resources, however. The challenge for managers is to eliminate steps that do not add value and to improve the efficiency of those that do.

A Simple Process Model


Types of processes

Organisations use different types of processes to conduct work.

  • Management processes
    These provide direction and governance for an enterprise. They are generally conducted by senior leaders to set organizational goals, develop and deploy strategy to attain goals, establish and manage organization designs and manage performance goals. Management processes also shape and manage the business and support processes used by the enterprise.
  • Business processes
    These are the processes that reflect the unique competencies of the enterprise and are mission-critical. They tend to lie on, or close to, the core value-creating activities of the enterprise and are the processes that are seen and experienced by external customers.

    Value-creating business processes begin and end with the external customer, tend to be large in scope, and commonly span multiple organisational components. While organisations may have hundreds of work processes, they usually have very few business processes (typically five to seven). Since this group of processes represents the core competencies of the organization, this is where performance improvement work should be focused.
  • Support processes
    Support processes exist to sustain the enterprise. Since the support needs of business organisations are similar, these processes tend to be fairly standard and are frequent candidates for outsourcing. The customers of support processes are internal customers - within the organisation.

While these three categories play significantly different roles, they must be aligned and integrated to enable effective performance of the total system. Effective and sustained performance improvement must consider the management and support processes as well as the core business processes.

Types of enterprise processes


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