What Do We Mean By “Enabling Business Processes”?

Building upon my previous blog and our understanding of the relationships between business processes and business services, let’s now discuss what we actually mean when we say that we will enable business processes. Let me start by talking about business expectations. In almost all cases, business expectations from IT can be categorized as follows:

Core Business Services: These are those services that most businesses use in order to keep running their operational businesses. These include services like Email, Telecommunication, Back-up and Recovery, Voice and/or Video Conferencing, and so on. These may not directly enable any specific core business processes but are definitely essential to keeping the businesses going. Almost all IT organizations are expected to provide these and other core IT services.

Business-specific Business Services: The second set of services are those that directly impact the ways business executes its core business processes and develop and/or deliver its products/services to its end customers. Discovering and aligning business services requires a clear identification and mapping of business processes. Higher maturity IT organizations are now aiming to build better appreciations of what their customers’ businesses really do. This business knowledge enables IT organizations to do the following:

  • Achieve comprehensive understanding of those business processes that truly enable business enterprises to generate revenue and be profitable. Without these business processes, these business enterprises would go out of business. For example, in retail banking today, online banking is a must; in manufacturing industry, supply chain management is at the core, and so on.
  • Identify areas for business process improvement to ensure that IT is enabling efficient business processes and not the broken ones. Enabling inefficient business processes will result in wasted investments. This is a sensitive area and needs to be carefully managed. Normally, business processes should be owned and, therefore, improved by the business units and not IT. However, if IT discovers that a certain business process is inefficient or broken, it is critical to communicate this to the customers/businesses and share the resulting impact so that appropriate improvements can be made prior to automation.
  • If IT organization is able to clearly understand business processes, it will be in a position to propose to the businesses/customers innovative ways in which IT can enable these business processes. Accordingly, business services are designed and developed that enable achievement of business objectives.

Business Service Management ensures the enablement of business processes by effectively managing all enabling IT components end-to-end and measuring performance of these components in relation to business performance.

If you’re interested in learning more, Learning Tree offers a course entitled Achieving ITIL® Foundation Certification that serves as an excellent foundation for ITIL.

Ahmad Shuja

*ITIL® is a registered trade mark of the Cabinet Office

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