Explaining Process Architecture and Lifecycle


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand the lifecycle of business processes
  • Understand how to define process levels and their architecture
  • Understand the value of visualizing business processes

Process Lifecycle and Architecture

Process Lifecycle

Process Models are created to be viewed and executed by other people. Hence, every process follows an iterative lifecycle, which usually starts with documentation.

Process Lifecycle Phases

Knowledge Check

Process Architecture Example

High-level value chains are quite common today as a starting point for organizations.

They help to structure, organize and control the business processes of the whole company and allow to drill-down into separate business areas to determine the final processes.

Value chains are just one concept to provide an entry point to processes. Sometimes, companies also use modern navigation maps, traditional organizational charts or customer journey maps in order to link to respective processes.

Process Architecture Concepts

Select each section to learn more

Process Architecture Levels

Number of Levels in the Architecture

The actual number of levels depends on the complexity of the business areas. Sometimes it's useful to create an additional level if a further grouping of related processes is required.  Some companies also create intermediate layers that represent process variants from different locations or entities of a business. A recommended (and also often found) number of levels in a value chain is between 3 and 5.

Creating a High-level Entry Point (to Processes and Business Areas)

High level value chains can show the business related services across different areas. Here is an example of what such a value chain could look like.

Subject-related Navigation

An entry point to processes and business areas can also be provided by a specific navigation map including clickable icons. Such an entry point can be aligned to product lifecycles, company / customer journeys or any other company specific journeys.

Customer Journeys (for Customer-related Processes)

Dedicated journeys allow linking to affected business processes, coming from the customer perspective. Behind each step, the corresponding business process could be linked.

To learn how to create a high-level entry point with a value chain or navigation map, please refer to the eLearning Introduction to SAP Signavio Process Manager. For customer journey maps please check out the eLearning Customer Journey Modeling.

Operational Business Processes

Do You Know Your Process?

Models can never show the entire complexity of the reality and this is also not intended. In a business context, the purpose of a process model is to provide an understanding of the process to all business users - and ideally enable them in executing the related business tasks.

Visualizing Business Processes

Process models provide information about business tasks, responsibilities and points of interactions. All internal employees should get a common understanding of the current process just by looking at the model and following the process flow. This is even more important for employees who are new to the organization for onboarding cases.

Select the icons in the figure for more information on the process.

Process Implementation

Process Documentation - Making the Invisible Visible

Every process journey starts with documentation. More specifically, it starts with modeling the AS-IS situation in order to get an initial visual overview of the process. It doesn't matter how good or bad a process is at this stage - the only goal is, to make the process 'visible' in order to use this visual version as a basis for discussion / improvements. The captured BPMN diagram mainly provides information about individual process steps and the sequential flow of activities. Furthermore, it enables an understanding of process triggers and results, and even some decision points.

Firstly: Capture the Frame of the Process

The first activity is to capture the 'frame' of the process, which includes:

  • Name
  • Purpose
  • Goal
  • Process owner
  • Additional process information

Frame of the Process in Detail

Secondly: Add Additional Information Focused on Process Execution

The second activity is to add additional information, focused on process execution:

  • Responsibilities
  • Tasks and Descriptions
  • Systems
  • Data
  • Risks and Controls
  • Key Performance Indicators

Additional Information Focused on Process Execution in Detail

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