Business Process Management
Business Process Management
Organizations of the olden days used to operate in the local marketplace which has now changed to a dynamic global marketplace, and hence, the business trends of today demand a continuing evolution of business processes and their management. In addition, to face the periods of business cycle slowdowns require the organizations to examine and streamline their business processes to minimize costs to stay competitive. And, these need that the processes are to be regularly updated and automated for improved efficiency and effectiveness.
The basic components of business process management (BPM) include (i) standard policies and rules, (ii) process simplification or expanded use of functional best practices, (iii) reduction in the number of common platforms, (iv) rationalized budgeting and forecasting tools, and (v) reduction in the number of common systems. The fragmentation and lack of standardization results in various ‘forms of the truth’, manual data reconciliations, and ineffective use of technology. These inhibit the ability to correct the decisions.
The organizational objectives are realized through processes. These processes revolve around their conceptual framework and determine how the organization is being run. The processes consist of various elements which are required to be managed.
Defining a process
In simple terms, a business process is defined as a set of distinct activities which an organizational unit performs in response to an event. Within the business process, there is a logical set-of-work performed at a particular point in time. The process also describes how to perform those work activities. For example, it specifies how the organizational unit leverages the capability of its active resources (people, knowledge, and application systems) and passive resources (equipment, physical assets, and capital). The overall objective is to realize the strategic capabilities, support value propositions, and create a valuable outcome.
Elements of a process
Some of the important elements of a business process (Fig 1) are as follows.
- Input – It is the material or information needed to complete the activities of the process necessary to produce a specific end result.
- Output – It constitutes all the data, information, and physical assets which are generated by the process. This output represents value for the organization, and contributes to the attainment of the business measurements and goals. It also represents events and actions, or the results of those actions.
- Events – These are notifications of some occurrence of importance. They can occur before, during, and after the implementation of the process. They can indicate the start, intermediate status, or end of the process activity. An event can be an action resulting from the completion of another process (or process activity), the meeting of a certain condition, or the arrival of a particular point in time.
- Sub-process – It is a defined process, or process step, inside the main process. A sub-process is defined when it is not possible to represent the scope of work with only a set of activities. The sub-process has the same elements as the process.
- Activity – It is the lowest level of work in a process.
- Resource – It represents the person, organization, equipment, or system performing the work in a process.
- Performance metrics – These are characteristics which help and guide the process owner in controlling the process and determining if the process is efficient and effective. That is, determining whether the process meets the stated performance measurements and business goals. The purpose of the performance measurements is to (i) determine that the actual input to, performance of, and outcome from a process, is as planned, (ii) understand how well the process is meeting customer and stakeholders’ expectations of performance goals, and (iii) identification of the potential areas of improvement in the process.
Fig 1 Important elements of a business process
Important elements of a business process are defined when the process is created or documented. The real-time business process activities generate operational data which is used to understand the results, in terms of time and cost of the activity. The data is also used to generate a historical data source for potential subsequent analysis. This data can be stored in a real-time operational data store during the life of the process and then transferred to the enterprise data warehouse as historical data.
BPM uses historical and real-time data to improve the business processes. The data is also used to monitor and proactively manage the business processes to achieve the business measurements and business goals. It is only through the use and proactive monitoring and management of defined business processes, the organization can be confident about attainment of the goals.
Management of the business processes
BPM enables the organization to be flexible and responsive to ever-changing business environment through the optimization and automation of the business processes. This is done (i) by identifying and eliminating redundancies and bottlenecks, (ii) decoupling the business integration logic from the implementation code, (iii) increasing portability and decreasing costs by use of industry standards, (iv) minimizing of the manual tasks, (v) quickly implementing of the new business rules and processes, and (vi) monitoring and managing of the process performance by using key process indicators (KPIs) and alerts. BPM has two primary perspectives. These are (i) management disciplines, and (ii) technology platform.
Management disciplines – BPM is a major initiative in the present day scenario and is seen as a valuable approach for gaining better insight about, and control over, business operations. Major efforts by management are spent in developing business strategies and goals and distributing them throughout the organization. However, the problems arise when trying to monitor and manage the execution of those strategies. This happens when the organization does not have the processes or management tools in place to realize it.
Another issue is that planning and budgeting cycles are not flexible or fast enough to satisfy the fast changing business requirements. Many times the plans and budgets become out of date before the activities for making them are completed. This can happen due to many reasons, one of which can be that inappropriate and non-integrated tools and methods have not been updated to match the present practices. The organization can base complete planning process on a series of spreadsheets linked together over different computers, and even departments in place of specialized software solutions developed specifically to define, develop, monitor, and manage business processes.
BPM traditional views of business are based on organization and conceived of functional and departmental areas, with their metrics and procedures based on cross-functional core processes aligned with high level business objectives and organizational strategy. This is since the traditional views can present problems when the organization requires expanding the business process within the organization. It is not possible to have global visibility of the organization when processes and measurements have only an organizational focus. The traditional view is normally conceived with only functional areas, such as technological, financial, and services etc. with a process view which crosses all the organizations.
Technology platform – This method provides a convergence through integration and enhanced technology to help streamline the business transformation. It provides a set of software tools needed to optimize performance, make abstract performance goals more concrete, connect them to process data, automate and monitor process activities, and provide a platform for swift performance improvement. This approach also perceives information technology (IT) as a facilitator of the business.
The organization transfers business strategies to the business processes with BPM so that each component is involved in the fulfillment of the organizational objectives. The components which can be used are suppliers, customers, technology, and employees. This implies that those involved in decision making in the organization obtain information in time and formats to enable them to determine the best direction for the business. The organization can model and analyze the end-to-end process as a whole. It provides modeling tools which allow business analysts to document and define measures for the existing and proposed new, processes. BPM is all about making the processes, which are core to the business, work better.
BPM also combines business processes, information, and IT resources, aligning the organization’s core assets of employees, information, technology, and processes, to create a simple integrated view. This includes the real-time intelligence of both its business measurements and IT system performance. This integration of resources allows the organization to obtain business information faster, respond more quickly to market trends and competitive threats, and improve operational efficiencies for better results. BPM enables the organization to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Benefits of BPM
BPM is a management discipline for the management of business processes. It allows the organization to become more agile and better integrated to monitor the business measures and goals as they relate to the whole organization. Being agile, it allows the organization to be proactive rather than reactive, to respond rapidly to changing market demand, to bring new products and services to market quickly, and to react quickly to the ever changing environment condition. This brings along with it the following benefits.
- Allowing the organizational management to extend the scope of process automation and management across the IT barriers which have historically separated departments. This means that the business and IT can be more integrated. The gap between business and IT is diminishing since both the areas can now work on a common business model.
- Making process performance visible at the process level, tracking process data, and monitoring it relative to selected key performance indicators, and aggregating it for better management on, for example, graphical dashboards. This visibility can be segmented into different views for different functions, such as for the top management, process owners, system administrators, and business executives. This enables a better understanding, since each functional area has different business process requirements.
- Providing the capability to identify and eliminate data redundancy and bottlenecks, because it is possible to identify them during development of the process rather than after they are operational. That is, the processes can be simulated before releasing them to operations.
- Reducing risk by gaining an understanding of process impacts prior to operationalizing. The entire organization agrees about the process since multiple persons on multiple teams around the organization can view and contribute to the development of the business processes.
- Visualizing actual process performance against key performance indicators. The process status can be understood since it can be seen what happens in real time, and hence the decisions can be more quickly and more accurately.
BPM, from an IT platform perspective, does not replace the existing IT investment. Rather, it enables the management to organize process actions to make end-to-end processes more efficient, more flexible and agile, and more standardized and compliant. It is efficient since it automates manual tasks and makes sure the most important tasks are done first and on time. It is agile since the executable process models are not built with complex code but composed graphically, similar to a flowchart, so they can be quickly and easily changed. It is standardized since a key enabler of BPM is the ‘service oriented architecture’ (SOA). It is compliant since the process logic is based on business rules reflecting policies and best practices.
These are some other IT benefits of BPM which include the following.
- Decoupling of the business integration logic from the underlying implementation code. Creation of the process independence helps in the facilitating of the best alignment between business process modeling and actual implementation. New and changed processes which are modeled can be more rapidly implemented in the infrastructure.
- Increased portability and decreased maintenance cost since the processes are based on industry standards.
- Process implementations are automated resulting into the elimination of manual deployment tasks. Key in automating processes is to focus on reusable processes, or process elements. This not only makes implementation easier, faster, and less costly, it also creates efficiencies in the maintenance and upgrades.
BPM enables the collection of information about the process executions. As an example, important events which occur during the process executions, such as the start and completion times of activities and the input and output of the activities, are logged. This information represents the knowledge of the organization through time. In addition, this information is stored so it can be reused. It can then become input for the resolution of problems or in capturing opportunities for future improvements. The information generated by the business processes enables the organization to discover problems and understand them. Upon their resolution, the information about the problem environment can be used as a way to predict potential problems in the future. The information collected about business process executions can be useful in the establishment of an approach for the creation of a business process-oriented data warehouse.
BPM and business intelligence
Earlier, organizations have generally resorted to the use of operational data for executing and managing of the business processes. Today, organizations derive substantial value by using relevant data from anywhere in the organization. This is a primary benefit of developing an organization wide business intelligence (BI) initiative. So now the BPM and the BI can be combined to optimize the business processes. However, this does not simply mean bringing together information from various areas of the organization. It means integration.
The integration means that the BI can be integrated into, or included as a part of BPM. An example of this is the use of inline analytics, which can analyze the process as it executes. This is what can enable problem prediction, giving insight, such as, to the potential of missing a performance target. Further information can then help to identify and implement a solution, even before it becomes a real problem. This is referred as gaining performance insight.
Gaining performance insight
Organizations struggle to use information effectively, although they might have automated many of their individual business processes. As an example, for the improvement of the supply chains, reduction in the product cycle times, better understanding of the customers, or lowering of the transaction costs, often leaves redundant and fragmented information across the organization. These organizations have their business processes running on multiple servers, applications, middleware, databases, and operating systems. And although they can communicate with one another, it is frequently very difficult to get a comprehensive and unified view of the organization.
Implementing a data warehouse and using business intelligence and data mining technology can provide a significant benefit. As an example, this can be used to carry out the following.
- Analysis of the performance and quality of the resource such as the comparison of the process activity duration times across different resources.
- Understanding and prediction of the exceptions. BI can be used for understanding the actual cause of the problems, and, hopefully, avoiding them based on knowledge gained from past process behaviour.
- Optimizing of the processes. With BI, conditions can be discovered under which specific paths or sub-paths of the process are executed, so the process can be redefined.
- Improvement in the process execution times. This is because of the analysis of the process execution times and quality testing configurations of the system, assignment of resources, and dynamic adaptation of the process.
Most of the data in the organization originates from the operations of the business processes through time. This data, in many cases, is stored on different platforms and based on different technologies. It is in these types of environments that the heterogeneous information integration capabilities of the BI work to enable a single view of the business processes. With this view, and the real-time information available from the processes, people can now effectively manage the KPIs. Due to this, alerts can be generated, and action can be taken to proactively keep the organization on target for the meeting of the organizational objectives and goals. Because of this information, process flexibility, and proactive management, BPM can deliver success. This is shown in Fig 2.
Fig 2 Use of insight for increasing value
This is not to suggest that action can only be taken after insight. It can be taken anywhere along the range. It is simply that the action taken at the insight is more proper and hence has additional business value.
Since the development is taking very fast presently around the world, it is very essential that the organizations have available with them all their sources of information to make the most informed decisions possible. BPM model aids the organization to determine where it is now and where is needed to go for remaining competitive. BPM model describes five stages of maturity of information use namely (i) to run the business, (ii) to manage the business, (iii) as a strategic asset, (iv) to enable innovation, and (v) as a competitive differentiator.
Business process management functionality
BPM centres around four major tasks consisting of (i) model, (ii) assemble, (iii) deploy, and (iv) manage. These tasks along with their functionality are described here. The solution component is shown in Fig 3.
Fig 3 Four major tasks of BPM
There are many considerations when developing the activities which comprise the business processes for which the business model is developed (Fig 4). These are described below.
- Full understanding of the current process – It is essential to understand the present process and how it works. By clearly knowing the metrics which are presently being used and how they satisfy the needs of the organization, it is then possible to elaborate in a better way the changes required for the future business process plans.
- Correct planning of the process and the model – For the correct planning of the process model, it is essential to clearly understand the goals of the business and the organization which comprises it. This includes (i) goal of the business model such as whether the model is to be used in order to identify areas of process improvements, or is it to be used as an informational tool to identify needs and in planning for future new processes, (ii) boundaries of the process model identifying what the process model needs to include so that the process boundaries are known to enable the clear defining of the activities which fall within those boundaries such as the specific inputs and outputs of the model, (iii) exact use for the such as whether the model to be used for a business, system, or it is a particular business function and the level of detail the model requires, (iv) the intended user by identifying the resources, or categories of resources, which use the process model. It is to be ensured that all of the primary users or the audience is captured, and (v) the granularity of the process model is required to be defined that is whether it is logical or physical.
- Understanding of the strategy to align the process capabilities – Clearly, one requirement is to develop a process which helps fulfill the business strategy and add significant value. This can be done only if the strategy is properly understood. For this important issues for considerations are (i) strategic value propositions which describes the unique value offered by the organization to its customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders which makes the organization more competitive and successful, (ii) strategic capabilities which define what the organization as a whole is able to do and how well it is able to do it in order to successfully support the strategic value propositions, (iii) the internal process capabilities which describe what the various organizational processes are able to do in order to enable the strategic capabilities, (iv) resource capability that describes which of the organizational resources are needed to support the process capabilities, and (iv) business process design engagement team is required to design the business processes which support the process capabilities.
Fig 4 Strategic process capability
The design of the business processes is done through an understanding and assessment of present processes and then the improvement or redesign of the present processes and the design of new processes. Business process design includes the specification of the capabilities of the business process enabler requirements such as knowledge and technology which are necessary to enable the new business processes.
After defining of the processes and simulating them for optimization, they are exported to the IT environment for the addition of technical information. At this point, there is the integration between business and IT, with a common model. This common model helps to diminish any gap between these two areas.
In these steps with the IT, the model does not change except that the technical data is being added to generate a model implementation. The end result of the assemble step is an executable representation of the modeled process. Because the assembly started from a business-generated model, the implementation reflects essential characteristics specified by the business and supports capture and analysis of business-defined KPIs and other metrics critical to success.
The deployment step results in the execution of the assembled IT solution on a process server. When a business process solution executes, the process server routes the service associated to each activity in the process model and tracks process performance every step of the way. Some steps in the process represent human interaction, and others represent automated functions of the business system. The server is required to create the integrated human and programmatic activities.
For human interaction, the business process server automates and manages the workflow. For automated functions, the process server automates the business integration, mapping data between those systems involved. Human workflow automation is a major contributor to business process management ‘return on investment’ (ROI). It accelerates the cycle time, allows more work to be performed without increasing manpower, and ensures that all processing conforms to the established policies and business rules.
Business integration means that the diverse enterprise applications and information systems involved in the end-to-end process work in performance, even though they might not have originally been designed to do so.
The fourth task is management, which mainly refers to the monitoring process execution and business performance. A key benefit of process implementation on a business process management server is the generation of events, or tracking signals, at each step of the process. These are filtered by the BPM system and aggregated into business measures and KPIs. Not only are the resulting metrics instantly viewable in management dashboards, but they can be used to generate real-time alerts and other triggered actions when performance exceeds preset threshold limits.
Dashboards provide both strategic high-level views and detailed operational views of the business performance. High-level views allow executives and process owners to easily monitor the overall health of a range of business processes through graphical scorecards, tables, and charts, with business alerts indicating a situation requiring immediate attention. Operational views allow managers and analysts to go down to KPIs associated with a specific process and see detailed breakouts by product, geography, work step, individual performance, or any other dimension specified for the metric.
BPM and SOA
From a non-technical viewpoint, SOA is a set of business, process, organizational, and governance methods which help to create an efficient, effective, and agile business environment. From a more technical perspective, it is a way to standardize and improve application development and execution through the use of easily accessible, standardized, and reusable services. These services are independent of hardware and operating environments.
These days, many organizations are under pressure from their stakeholders to drive growth by improving productivity and lowering cost in every aspect of their operations. But these cannot be done, if the organizations are rigid, expensive, and having proprietary IT systems. The IT systems are to be flexible. The flexibility is needed for facing several challenges such as meeting new market demands and seizing opportunities before they are lost. For increasing flexibility, an organization is to look at its business as a collection of interconnected functions, or discrete processes, such as checking customer credit or authenticating a user. Then it can be decided which of these functions are core, or differentiating, and which can be streamlined, outsourced, or even eliminated. If the organization can mix and match these functions at will, or dynamically, in response to changing environment, then it gains a significant business advantage. But to achieve this degree of flexibility in the business operations, the organization needs an equally flexible IT environment. One way to do this is through an SOA.
SOA is also an applications framework which makes it easy to reuse and combine the discrete business processes defined for the business. Think of it as a mosaic made up of individual functional components which can be arranged and rearranged. With an SOA, the organization can build, deploy, and integrate applications and link heterogeneous systems and platforms together across the organization.
With BPM, the business processes are distributed across the organization. With an SOA, one can integrate the IT applications to support the business processes. So the organization has BPM benefits of increasing effectiveness and efficiency, along with SOA benefits of flexibility and reuse.
It is seen that the benefits of SOA are flexibility and component reuse. The force driving this need for increased flexibility is the economics. As the marketplace continues to globalize, new markets, new workforces, and new competitors force the organization to become more flexible and to able to adapt more quickly. To support this, it is seen the cycle time between changes in business processes continually getting smaller. While people might have seen organizations make significant changes yearly in the past, they now begin to see the same level of change on a quarterly, monthly, weekly, or even a daily basis.
While business leaders have focused more on cost-containment in the past, it is seen now that growth is back at the top of the agenda today for the most of the managements. And, the growth needs flexibility so the organization can be more agile than its competitors.
This is not to say that cost reduction has lost its importance. On the contrary, organizations are looking even harder for ways to make better use of their investments. There is more information available today than ever before, and the organizations need to be able to analyze it regardless of its location, format, or type.
Also, SOA and the flexibility it brings to the organization, is crucial for becoming what is referred to as the ‘on demand business’. An ‘on demand business’ is one where business processes, integrated end-to-end across the organization and with key partners, suppliers, and customers, can respond with speed to any demand of the customer demand, market opportunity, or external threat.
SOA blends the best of all these concepts. But it is important to know that SOA is not the end of the road. It is the next step in the evolution of flexible infrastructures which can help the organization to get much further down the road, and much more easily.
Evolving to the more flexible environment enables the organization to bypass those integration and change-inhibitive barriers previously faced by IT and enable a more agile organization which can easily transform to take advantage of leaps in technology and in the business environment.
BPM tools and enablers
A BPM platform is developed to enable the assembly of components encompassing business partner products and some basic technologies. The platform includes a wide range of capabilities for modeling, integrating, connecting, monitoring, and managing of the business operations within the organization and across a value chain of dealing partners and customers.
The BPM platform provides a set of associated interfaces for business partner plug-in components to customize the platform. These interfaces support facilities, such as (i) business rules for dynamic process control and adaptive performance management, (ii) information management for analytics and reporting, (iii) a common event infrastructure for the event-driven management of business and IT operations, (iv) workplace capabilities for BPM visualization and collaboration, and (v) business services management for consolidated and dynamic resource management for aligning IT with business objectives.
The BPM platform enables efficient assembly of end-to-end solutions for specific business environments. The closed-loop framework depicts the processes in terms of modeling, assembling, deploying, and managing. With the flexibility and agility, this can be an ongoing process environment which enables fast and easy change and improvement. This is a great way to keep that competitive advantage.
Implementation of BPM
There are several considerations when starting a BPM venture. The objective is to describe a set of tasks, rather than a methodology, which can help the organizations as it begins the implementation of BPM.
Determine organizational changes – This task enables the people to understand the impact on the organization. Changes in the organizational processes impact organizational objectives and resources, such as employees, customers, and suppliers etc. Hence, it is important that the task and changes be planned well and communicated well. There are the following two types of organizational changes. The first is which is internally driven. The internal driven change is the result of an original idea. Such changes are likely to be inventions, innovations, or original process improvements. Improvements can affect product, process, or even the employees’ compensation. The second is which might be externally driven. Externally driven change is in response to actions, such as new legislation or by competition. It might also be the result of internally driven change of another organization.
Determine process ownership – The process owner is the manager within the process who has the responsibility and authority for the overall process result. The process owner is responsible for the entire process but does not replace managers of departments containing one or more process components. Some activities of this role are (i) to determine and document process requirements and secure customer concurrence, (ii) to define the sub-process, including information used by the process, (iii) to designate line management ownership over this sub-process, (iv) to identify, implements, and assures applications adhere to quality management principles, (v) to ensure documentation of task-level procedures, (vi) to identify the critical success factors (CSFs) and key dependencies for meeting the needs of the business during the tactical and strategic time frame, (vii) to establish measurements and to sets targets for monitoring and continuously improving the process effectiveness and efficiency, (viii) to report process status and results, (ix) to identify and implement changes to the process for meeting the needs of the business, and (x) to ensure that information integrity exists throughout the process, including measurements at all levels.
Define the process input, output, and flow – The process needs one or more inputs and produces one or more outputs. It is best to begin by focusing on the CSFs. The CSFs are the inputs and outputs essential to meeting the tasks of the process. These are the factors whose failure causes the entire process to fail.
Identification of the inputs and outputs are to be made from the point of view of the process suppliers and process customers. The suppliers to the process and the specific inputs required from each of them are to be identified. A supplier is the entity whose work product (output of the process) is provided as input to the customer and is needed to meet the customer requirements. The supplier can be either inside or outside the organization. The customers of the process and the specific outputs required by them from the process are to be identified. A customer is defined as the user to whom the output of the process is provided by the supplier, and whose requirements are needed to be satisfied by the output.
The flow of the process is needed to be accurately traced, and the movement through the process which converts inputs into outputs is to be precisely displayed. This is done by working through the process, customer by customer. It is best to begin with the CSFs, which are the key customers of the process. For each identified customer of the process, the procedure required to take place consists of (i) start with the output for the customer and identify the specific activity within the process which provides the output, (ii) identification of the inputs for the activity, and trace them back to their sources, and (iii) continuation of the backtracking until at least one external input, and its supplier, for that output has been identified. After completing the flow, it is necessary to ensure that supporting documentation is prepared. Supporting documentation is the base material for ongoing analysis and improvement.
Measure business process – Measurement of the process is used to achieve and maintain conformance to the requirements of the customers. It requires continual monitoring of the status of the process to determine whether changes or improvements are required.
As regards the measurements and objectives of BPM, the objective of BPM is a business process which is effective and efficient. An effective process produces output which conforms to the requirements of its customer. The lack of process effectiveness is measured by the degree to which the process output does not conform to the customer requirements. This is a primary aim of BPM if the processes are to be effective. Further, an efficient process produces the required output at the minimum cost. This means that the process avoids waste or loss of resource in producing the required output and minimizes the cost of producing that output. Another primary aim of BPM is to increase process efficiency without losing effectiveness.
As regards the measurements, in every process, there are key activities in which favourable results are very necessary for the manager of a process element to achieve the organizational goals. These key activities are referred to as CSFs. Each process usually has between 3 and 5 CSFs. Once the measurements have been established for these CSFs factors, there is time to further examine the process to devise measurements for the less important process elements.
Perform process analysis – Process analysis is a key step in the development of effective and efficient business processes. At this point, the task of the process has been defined, boundaries and the scope have been defined and as well, an external influence on the process has been established. In addition, inputs, activities, and outputs have been defined. And lastly, a model of the various activities and tasks has been created. The baseline process has now been characterized and a level of understanding of the process has been established. The process is now ready for analysis, leading to further development and improvement. The improvement is done in two steps.
The first step is to perform detailed analysis and revision. The information gathered from different sources creates a detailed picture of the process, and the team analyzes the process to see how it can be improved. During the analysis, the team questions all parts of the process and considers different alternatives. The objective is to identify the valuable tasks and make the revisions required to obtain the optimum process. This involves reviewing each task, revising as required, revising task sequence, eliminating unnecessary tasks, and eliminating causes of process failure.
The second step is to recommend and implement the improved process. When the analysis is complete, the team creates a new process flow to document the revised and improved process which the team is recommending. The recommendations are to be accompanied with an explanation of what happened at each step, highlighting all changes from the original process. The team also summarizes the business advantages which justify the revisions.
Continuous improvement – The implementation of BPM needs continual improvements to the process. The first phases of implementation, as earlier described, assure that (i) the process is defined and documented, (ii) supplier and customer relationships and requirements have been identified, (iii) quality measurements and measurement points have been established, and (iv) process simplification has been applied. Once these basics have been satisfied, criteria are to be established to assess how well the process meets the objectives. The analysis process leading to the improved process is on an iterative basis and is always to be supported with action plans showing what the process owner is to improve. Improvement is assessed relative to the criteria established for the process performance.