In the 80's of last century many of us used the SADT method (Structured Analysis and Design Technique) for identifying and describing business processes. This technique was based on the notion of a hierarchy that exists in processes. The simplified basic picture of a process is shown to the right.
I used this technique on may occations when I had to explain to non-IT crafsmen what the exact structure of processes was and what the consequences of change in the process are for the added value of IT. In summary the picture show that a process has inputs and outputs, is controlled by directives and controls and is supported by resources.
A top level business process model looks as follows:
An example from my personal practice:
Ofcouse one has to make such an analyses several levels deeper to be able to identify the impact of change.
however: What is the appropriate level of analysis?
The answer to that question is: 'just shallow enough to be able to clarify the impact of the change on the performance indicators of the process'
Information Technology is just one of the 'Resources' of the processs. Next to IT, the available/ required HR skills and the required technological infrastructure support every process.
So looking for the value add of IT we firstly need to take a look at the (key) performance indicators of the process and the impact of all resouces on these. We cannot isolate the cost of ownership of the IT. There is an intimate relationship with the cost of the other resources.
A Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) project requires a 'business case' which shows the changes in all PI's of the process and all cost of all resources involved .