All systems or business processes used by your organization should have a dual purpose.
Designing and implemeting an efficient business process should be the primary goal. However, there also needs to be very strong consideration given to the data that is generated as well as the information that is needed to successfully operate the business process or system.
Many times the data or information is an afterthought or viewed as just part of the general output of the process or system. This can lead to many challenges in how the business operates. It can lead to disjointed information, gaps, assumptions and conflicting information. Integrating your information delivery team into your business process team and operational system team can help mitigate these challenges.
This integration should not be viewed as extra overhead or a bureaucratic step, but should be seen as a way to catch and identify errors early in the process and not when the data hits the system.
Sometimes the simple question of “what information do you need and where’s it coming from?” can eliminate hours or days of headaches later in the process. This does require that you have the right resources available within your information delivery team to ask those questions.
Many times your subject area leaders or data architects have the best view of how your business processes and source systems work because they deal with the data that comes out of these systems or processes on an ongoing basis.
Once you embrace the concept that all processes and systems have a dual process, the integration of these processes and systems becomes simpler and faster. This in turn leads to lower implemention costs and easier maintainance.
This approach can also help when you do a periodic review of your business processes and systems. It can help weed out redundancy and inefficient systems. It will also help foster an environment where best practices in the generation and usage of data becomes more prevalent in your overall business process and system designs.
In many ways using information as a key driver to your business process and system design is analogous to the old saying “measure twice and cut once”. The measure twice is looking at your business process design and system design for the initial business need, as well as the information it requires and generates, as a key driver.
Once you have that understanding you can move forward and implement your business process or system in a “Get it right the first time” approach without worrying about having to go back and try to redo it.