Business Processes

This chapter looks at one way information systems can bring competitive advantage through their effect on business processes. As you read, think about the previous chapter on competitive advantage. How are the two concepts related?

Sidebar: ISO Certification

Many organizations now claim that they are using best practices when it comes to business processes. In order to set themselves apart and prove to their customers, and potential customers, that they are indeed doing this, these organizations are seeking out an ISO 9000 certification. ISO is an acronym for International Standards Organization. This body defines quality standards that organizations can implement to show that they are, indeed, managing business processes in an effective way. The ISO 9000 certification is focused on quality management.

In order to receive ISO certification, an organization must be audited and found to meet specific criteria. In its most simple form, the auditors perform the following review.

  • Tell me what you do (describe the business process).
  • Show me where it says that (reference the process documentation).
  • Prove that this is what happened (exhibit evidence in documented records).

Over the years, this certification has evolved and many branches of the certification now exist. ISO certification is one way to separate an organization from others.