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What's more important to a business, data or processes?

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This blog gave me the idea for this question: What's more important to a business, data or processes?  Do you think the answer will change in five years?

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  • Process. Without process, data are unstructured and chaotic. With process, data have boundaries, scope, and purpose.

    Using the example from the post - the IT Helpdesk Ticket - that concept would not exist without a process around it and supporting it.

    The steps to achieve the outcome may vary for each ticket - but the environment in which the problem is solved depends on processes.

  • From the blog:
    "I think it is safe to say that both are important components of a process, activities need information to consume and produce and information is driven and developed by activities."

    Both are simbiotic to BPM and cannot work without the other. Process and Data have many forms but they still share the same relationship.

    Will it change in 5 years ? Nope.
    People will argue the toss about the relevance of Big Data over process but it's smoke and mirrors. It's still data, and without a process to consume it it's just static data.

    Process makes data dynamic and vice-versa.

  • Processes, since processes can depict the enterprise operation while the information can't.
    Besides, in an enterprise, there are many processes that do not transfer information but rather products, parts or materials.

  • I see that process is very often confused with workflow.

    To me the process is the ‘thing’ that transfers requests into products or services.

    To make a process perform (deliver what it promises) it needs several aspects like:

    - An appropriate workflow (the steps and their order)
    - Capable people
    - Information (data)
    - Supporting systems
    - Other supporting facilities
    - Steering
    - Agility

    So to answer the question. Absolutely process.

    But most process cannot perform without information. It is needed on several levels:

    - During execution
    - To manage the process (monitoring)
    - To improve the process (performance data)

    Every process is unique and the dependence on data might differ, but in most processes it is needed for sure.

  • Two sides of one coin. The business exists. It formalizes activities in process to capture information. Information should feedback to inform process. It's information drives any automation and 'intelligence'. Process w/o information is merely routinized behavior. The less information or 'context' a process can draw on the less responsive it will be.

  • I agree that they occupy a single coin, but if I had to vote, I'd say data because it's a lot easier to fix a broken process than to repair bad data.

  • I was all set to respond with a snide remark like I dunno... which is more important, inhaling or exhaling?.

    But then I read Steve's note, above, and I thought: wow, that's an excellent point. So while I still believe it's sort of pointless to talk about process without data, and vice versa, I strongly agree that data needs to be handled with much more care and respect than process.

  • Then let me do the obtuse commenting.

    The answer is, of course, profit is the more important than either data or process. Without profit there is no debate possible about the finer points of running a business.

    So if your business is short on profit look to the data to tell you why and look to the process to how. Then turn data and process into a profitable advantage.

  • Interesting discussion, I would say, people, process, data/information (these days, IT more move from technology to information) are three pillars of any business, can't imagine to miss any of them.

    Agree with most of folks, data is one of the most important assets in enterprise today, on the other side, process is part of business capabilities, directly decide enterprise's competency, effective process will capture insight & foresight from data, also. the data insight can help further optimize business processes, and sharpen business capabilities. Well, both data and process are means to the end, not the end, the end is about how to delight customers, engage employees, and achieve high-performance business result. thanks.

  • We consider data, when properly interpreted and presented, representing information about the organisation and his ecosystem.
    Processes, when properly interpreted and presented, represent information about the transformation of resources into added value for the user (internal customer, consumer, citizen,...).
    Data and processes, when they suit their purpose, are thus equally important.
    Through their interpretation and representation, the information may become knowledge.
    From there another question may be relevant: what knowledge is crucial for a particular organisation. The result will be a mixture derived from the original information types: knowledge on the organisation, his ecosystem and his functionning.

  • Data. Processes are routines to supervise data. Some businesses are better without routines, while for other it's a must.

  • Both are critical to the health and well being of any business. Getting, storing, manipulating, and maintaining integrity and retrieving data are process driven. Design and implementation of business rules for validating data integrity are major processes that are extremely important to any businesses. More than often we have seen flawed business rules translated into flawed processes executed at the software and human interoperability levels. I have blogged on this at iblog, http://wp.me/pO8n7-9.

  • A note from the blog...help desk processes are repeatable which is an objective of BPM.

  • Will the answer change in 5 yrs...
    -improving business rules to reduce data risk and improve processes...yes, as more organizations understand BPM, there will be a change.
    -Looking at processes from an activity or info centric view...yes I believe change will be apparent in less than five years.

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