The term process is frequently misused in service delivery. Defined as "a series of activities that are meaningful for the customer, with a specific goal", a process should be limited to activities. However, without exception, all current frameworks, standards, and reference models describe combinations of people, process and technology. They therefore describe practices, and practices are not processes: practices are derived from processes.
Integral and integrated
If you want to prevent activities from occurring more than once in a process model - to prevent redundancy and the accompanying inefficiency - you will have to develop a process model in such a way that the processes together comprise all occurring activities, and together cover all patterns for interaction with the customer in an integrated system and in the most efficient way. This means that, under those conditions, the defined processes must not overlap, and yet they must be complete, covering everything, so they must be "end-to-end".
Fortunately, such an integrated process model for service organizations can easily be made, based on a carefully constructed and consistent set of definitions. The USM process model is an extremely simple, comprehensive, integrated, non-redundant "end-to-end" process model for a service organization. All processes are singular and have a customer relevant output, all recorded activities occur once and only once, and they are especially meaningful if they are viewed from a workflow perspective that records a use case of a customer interaction.
Requirements for a process
USM applies 8 principles for defining processes:
- A process describes what must be done in succession, not the who or how.
- A process can therefore be interpreted as a verb.
- Processes have a relevant and unique output for the customer.
- A process is countable.
- A process can be broken down into sub-processes, but that does not change the process.
- A process model organizes the processes.
- A process model includes all activities.
- In an integrated process model, each activity only occurs once.
In a process model that meets all these requirements, performance is achieved with workflows: composite flows of activities, which consist of non-overlapping fragments of individual processes from the integrated process model. For example, a recovery action can be performed by having a change made or by resetting some infrastructure, but in both cases the execution is realized in one and only one process. This creates unambiguous control over the work and prevents conflicts.
This unique integrated process modeling for service providers can be easily learned, applied, and supported with tools.
The USM process model can easily be depicted on all practices that are used in common frameworks: think of ITIL, ASL, BiSL, COBIT, etc. With that application, all redundancies of those frameworks can then be fundamentally prevented, resulting in much more efficient management systems for exactly the same activities.
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