Strategy4IT Help – Step 2

Overview of Step 2 – Capture your business processes

In this step you are required to fill in the Business Processes that are relevant to your company.  These processes are used to map all of your IT services and drive much of the reporting in Strategy4IT, so take care to get them well structured.  The entry screen allows you to select from examples or add your own processes to the list.

How to use the screen

Step 2 - Enter Your Business Processes

  • On the left are sample processes that you can select by double clicking those you want to add. When you add them they will appear on the selected list on the right:
  • Use the entry box under the list to add processes that are specific to your business.
  • Once you have entered all your processes click Save & Continue.

Keywords

Business Process: various activities enabling an organisation to conduct business.
Sub Process: order in which business processes occur e.g. marketing followed by sales.

For more details see the Glossary.

How to model your business processes

Before you start, consider how your business works. What steps are involved from the conception of the products, through to selling them to undertaking the administration of the results.  Take time to think about the business and IT processes that you want to focus on with Strategy4IT.  Your price plan limits the number of processes you can enter, so if you are on a restricted plan or trial you may want to think about the most important areas for assessment, and restrict yourself to a small area for focus while you try the tool out.

Business process chain

If you are interested in business applications then we recommend that you model your business process value chain.  Your business will have a number of common processes that apply to all of your company’s areas and locations. Identify these and structure them in a list from start to finish.  Our example has business processes that are common to most types of business, but the core production processes within each business make it unique so no example can cover everything for all businesses . We recommend taking a little time at this stage to produce your list.  Adding processes later is easy so it does not have to be perfect, but entering a good list now will save time later and avoid remapping work.

You should start by thinking about how your business reaches the market and customers. Obvious processes here may be Marketing and Sales, but perhaps you have specific things relevant to your channels to market such as a partner sales. In this case, think about the processes that underpin the delivery of your product. For example, if your business delivers training services you may have course scheduling and course booking etc. Finally, think about the management and administration processes that exist.
When considering your chain avoid looking too much at the departments you have and think more about the processes.  For example a travel organisation may cover different holiday destinations but each may have common processes e.g. flight booking, insurance processing, or accommodation reservation.

IT process chain

If your focus includes the IT processes and infrastructure within your organisation, we can give you a structured example of an IT process value chain that you can use, because IT is common to most businesses.  In our chain we have tried to include everything that might be covered by your IT systems, but we advise you to review it and remove or add items specific to your organisation. For example, you may not consider telephones and mobiles relevant or you might not have certain technology services that we list.

How to choose the right number and division of processes?

 Ultimately Strategy4IT aims to show you your IT landscape mapped out on one page; the more processes you add to the list, the longer our reporting matrix.  Take a look at a sample report here:
We recommend limiting your process list to 15-20 processes if you want to achieve a single page view. Certainly if you exceed 30 processes you will presenting too much detail and find both using the tool and interpreting results difficult.
We also recommend you think through the division and ordering of the processes very carefully.  It makes sense to order your processes from front to back (or vice versa), so structure the order in the layers on which your business runs.  One good way to think of this is to put all customer centric items together at the front (such as sales and customer service), then group all the product centric processes in the middle and all the support functions (including IT) at the bottom of the process chain.

Once you have decided on the number and grouping for the processes then you will need to decide how to split and group them.  For example if you know that mostly you have scan, copy and printing together perhaps it makes sense to have this as one process in the IT value chain.

Do you have examples of business process chains that I can use?

In the user guide for Strategy4IT throughout our help pages we will be using two example companies to help you fill in the screens in the best possible way. The first is a typical medium sized services company offering travel booking and holidays, both direct to the consumer and via agents. The second example is a small regional retail group consisting of the merger of a clothing retailer and a dry cleaning business. We have chosen these as examples to illustrate different ways to use our product, and also to highlight that our method and tools can be used for any organisation from any sector. We have welcomed users from all sorts of organisations: retail, wholesale, not for profit, charities, trade unions, advisory, limited companies, partnerships, in fact any organisation that has IT services.

Let us start by considering the travel company.  They offer a set of services to their clients both directly via the internet and phones, and also via travel agents.  For marketing, the company advertises both via the agents, on the web and through their brochures and mail shots.  The sales are conducted via telephone, internet and special agents’ websites.  Of course, the company must also connect to airline booking systems for the flights, reservations teams in hotels and other accommodation source. They also book insurance, car hire and all the other additions that make up the detail of clients’ holidays or corporate trips.  Behind the scenes there are internal processes to manage the company: invoicing, financial reporting and tax, human resources such as recruitment and training, and of course IT itself.  As we mentioned above, when structuring the list it is important to consider the common functions rather than the departments that provide them so booking and scheduling could apply to any of the underlying types of supply, from flights to car hire.    It is also important to decide up-front whether to break out the common IT processes as a separate area of focus.  This will depend on whether your assessment is for the whole of IT or just the IT infrastructure services themselves.

Here is how it might look for this example:

For our second example we are looking at a regional retailer with both clothing and dry cleaning outlets.  The company has recently merged with the hope of saving money on support services. They have merged their tailoring and adjustment services with the dry cleaning repairs service, and have a mid-term view on increasing accessories sales via the cleaning outlets. In this example we also see common components in the support areas such as HR, common management of the supply chain and a specific support process for branches and direct customers.  For completeness we also look at the IT process chain.  The example is as follows:

FAQ

1) Your example processes are not matching mine what should I do?
Our examples are there as a guide only, if they match your processes please copy them, or if you want to create your own custom list please use the Add Process box under the examples and input whatever process you feel matches your organisation.

2) How many processes can I enter?
This depends on your price plan – 7 for the trial version or 24 for the professional version.  We advise to keep the total number under 20 for readability of the results.

3) I have more processes than the maximum limit – what should I do?
 If you are on the trial version please upgrade to the full professional version to gain more space for entry.  If you are already on the professional version then you can consider grouping certain processes together. Sales and marketing, for example, can often be combined. When grouping business processes make sure you do so in a logical manner, for example combining tax and accounting to create a process called ‘Finance’. When merging think about how they are supported by IT and try to combine where they use common IT services and infrastructure where possible.  You can create custom processes by entering text into the box below the list of standard business processes. If you feel that your organisation is too complex for this product, contact us. Our consultants have many years of experience dealing with complex organisations and have the necessary skills and expertise to help.

4) I want to delete a process I have already entered and mapped later in the workflow – can I do this?
You can delete a process by double clicking on it, but any mapping data entered in step 5 later in the process will be lost when you press save.  If you are on the first stage of your entry you can amend the list as many times as you like with no concerns.  We advise to think hard about your list and the order at the initial stage to avoid complications later.

5) I want to reorder the list and/or add a process in the middle of the list – can I do this?
If you have not passed step 5 or are still on the first stage of your entry you can easily delete and add to the list. To reorder, double click the unwanted processes to remove and re-add by typing them in in a more appropriate position. Once you have passed step 5 (mapping systems to processes) it is difficult to reorder the list in this version of Strategy4IT without deleting and re entering all processes and remapping the data at step 5. However, we will be adding a reorder function to a future release of the tool. We advise to think hard about your list and the order at the initial stage.