A process in general terms can be defined as a set of activities which transform the inputs into certain useful outputs. Business processes can also be defined in the similar way while the only difference is that these processes have certain business goals and business objectives.
These also take up a set of resources, including human resource and after the application of certain business strategies; the outcome is the finished & processed goods, policies or services. These processes enable business plans and strategies to get transformed into favorable outcome and link everybody who is associated with the business to move in a similar direction.
Business process divides the complex business processes into sub processes to make it easier to complete a process and achieve the desired outcome. An effective hierarchical arrangement of processes divides the process in different granularity levels, hence a process hierarchy can be defined as the different levels of process and the information abstracted at each of these levels.
These sub processes then get distributed among the employees of the organization at various levels so that they can perform their specific role on a particular step or part of process. Following is the basic business process hierarchy model citing various levels of business process.
Business Process – This level can be viewed as the aggregation of the complex process referring to the functionality of the organization. This can be taken as the major objective of the business organization, which subsequently gets broken down into sub objectives taken by different departments. As the functions in the organization get divided into the subsequent levels of hierarchy, similarly the business process also gets divided among various levels of organization hierarchy as sub processes.
Major processes – This level represents a group of processes which belong to a similar area of authority and responsibility but deal with different major aspects of the major business process that resides on the level 1 of business process hierarchy.
Business Sub process – This level represents various variants of the business process known as sub processes which aim at the same business objective but perform a different task in order to achieve the objective. These business sub processes are further decomposed into activities.
Business Process Activities – An activity can be defined as the smallest part of the business process which is performed by the specialized employees and this activity is related to basic business functions. These activities are performed by employees who are hired by the organization for their specialized knowledge and skills.