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Teaching Business Process Improvements – Making The Right Choice

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Computing Curriculum

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1200.1 - 11.1200.15



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Paper Authors


Frank Kowalkowski Knowledge Consultants

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Frank Kowalkowski is President of Knowledge Consultants Inc., a professional services firm founded in 1984. He has 30 years of management consulting and industry experience in manufacturing, distribution, insurance and financial services as well as the public sector. He has been involved with wide range of projects that include e-commerce, application integration, ERP, change management, content management, benchmarking, business performance measurement, business and competitive intelligence, technology deployment and process improvement. He is the author of a 1996 book on Enterprise Analysis (Prentice – Hall, ISBN 0-13-282-3365) and over 70 papers. Frank has been the keynote speaker as well a conference chair at several conferences. He conducts frequent seminars nationally and internationally on a variety of business management and information technology topics.

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Gilbert Laware Purdue University

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Gil Laware is an Associate Professor at Purdue University in Computer Information & Technology department. He has over 30 years of consulting and industry experience in projects that span world-wide data management and web/database solutions, business process and knowledge management, and enterprise application integration. He is the Vice President of Research for the DAMA Foundation.
Gil specializes in developing business and application solutions, metadata (business and technical) to support enterprise application integration, knowledge management, and data warehousing.
He has developed and teaches courses in Enterprise Architecture, Systems Analysis and Design, System Architecture, Data Management and SQL. He consults in both the public and private industry sectors.
Gil holds Master degrees in Management and Management Science.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching Business Process Improvements – Making the right choice


A significant question in today’s competitive market that has direct business ramifications is how to assess the impact of business improvement projects and information technology changes before a commitment is made since an impact assessment can affect expectations of yield, return and quality improvements. Projects are often started without the baseline measures needed to asses the degree of improvement. More importantly, the ranking and impact assessment is often completely subjective. While subjective impact is important, it needs tempering with simple but more objective methods. Current approaches used to measure the performance of the business relate to processes, such as dashboards of metrics, value chain performance, and value- management that all focus on the operational results rather than the processes are at the heart of the question. None of them provide preliminary insight or an assessment of which processes that should be improved, where the largest return is related to the larger risk or what will provide the greatest corporate impact for the least amount of investment or risk. There are few known business techniques or analytics that provide the insight required to assess the most significant business improvements prior to making that choice.

Most analysis includes both qualitative and quantitative elements. Together, they provide the foundation for reasonable decision-making with regard to the situation being examined. Business processes are a series of actions or operations of producing something. The attributes of a business process can be either descriptive or quantitative. Businesses usually use one or more of these attribute(s) or metrics to represent the performance of the process (i.e. cycle time, inventory turns, and ratios of various sorts). Requirements for process improvement are statements supporting the need to change the actions within the process to improve its overall performance. This is a form of general requirements analysis. While some believe there is no way to generally analyze an enterprise others have examines some techniques to do so (Kowalkowski and McElyea).

This paper will provide a step-by-step approach to examine and assess current business processes using a context based assessment method that allows you to understand the implications of changing the processes from various business perspectives. These context based methods also require some descriptive analytics to manipulate the working models. They provide a focused way to improve business processes based on requirements while examined the impact of the proposed changes to the business processes. Coupled with some quantitative measures, they can provide a means of assessing both return and risk.

Background: The Competitive Environment and Processes

Few disagree with the statement that the marketplace and environment for enterprise is more dynamic and complex today than at almost any other point in history. Given the competitive business world of global markets, there is an ever-increasing need for critical assessment of enterprise problems which demands a different set of analytic and problem-solving skills to assess those requirements. It also requires chaining different types of requirements together. In today’s market, it is essential to react to a business situation by (1) formulating the problem, (2)

Kowalkowski, F., & Laware, G. (2006, June), Teaching Business Process Improvements – Making The Right Choice Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1163

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