ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is about business process vs. business service.
- What a business process is
- What a business service is
- The differences between a business process and a business service
- Lots more
So if you want to understand this 101 of business processes, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
What Is the Difference Between a Business Process and a Business Service?
Business processes and services are two areas that affect absolutely every business, from your favorite local coffee shop to multi-billion dollar conglomerates.
While business processes and services are critical to every business, the terms are a bit nebulous.
What exactly are business processes and services, and how do companies use them?
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at what business processes vs. business services, the roll each provides in the business landscape, and how these concepts are different.
What is a Business Process?
Business processes are defined as the steps that stakeholders perform to achieve business goals.
Typically, the stakeholders are the employees of the company, and a member of the team controls each step of a business process.
These fundamentals serve as building blocks for other important concepts, like process management, process automation, and more.
Business processes are especially important for larger organizations that can reduce operating costs by streamlining their business practices.
In fact, there’s an entire industry dedicated to automating and refining business processes, which can free up time and money.
The primary benefit of business processes is they provide members of an organization with a road map for completing the complex tasks the business requires to function optimally.
When a process is well-structured, your employees will know the exact steps they need to take to achieve operational goals.
Business processes help reduce the margin of error for critical operational processes. It provides the members of your team with clear marching orders on how to accomplish tasks that are critical to their position.
Best of all, they can also lower costs by streamlining your business operations.
The Makings of a Business Process
Business processes that run efficiently have a few things in common. These four essentials are the foundation of a perfectly run business process.
Efficient business processes have a clear beginning and end point, and there are a finite number of steps required to complete the process fully.
With an efficient business process, there should never be any curveballs.
The outcome you receive the first time should be the exact outcome you receive whenever you repeat the process.
Each step in the process should have a clear reason for being. It must add value and bring the process closer to completion.
If a step in the process doesn’t seem to add value, eliminate it.
An efficient business process is one that’s flexible enough to change.
If you identify ways to improve the process, implementing that change should be easy, and the stakeholders involved should be able to absorb the change without affecting the overall process.
How About an Example?
One of the best ways to understand what a business process is and how it works is to look at an example.
Let’s say that your company is looking to hire a new marketing director. In this case, hiring is the business process. Here are the steps to accomplish the process:
- Step 1: Your company’s HR manager creates a job posting
- Step 2: Multiple candidates apply to the job
- Step 3: HR vets and screens candidates to find the best fit
- Step 4: Top candidates are brought in and screened further
- Step 5: The top candidate is selected for the position
- Step 6: The candidate and hiring manager negotiate salary
- Step 7: An offer letter is submitted, and the candidate formally accepts the job
In this example, we can see a defined roadmap for how to accomplish the process.
The process is easy to repeat by following the same steps outlined above, steps can be changes to accomplish different objectives (like hiring for another department) and the result delivers value to the business.
Learn exactly what a business process is in this definitive guide to business process.
What is a Business Service?
Business services are just like any other service that exists in the world.
However, these services are geared almost exclusively towards businesses.
Like all services, much of the value of a business service is derived from intangibles that you can’t necessarily quantify, such as outcomes, experiences, management, or customer service.
While it may be difficult to quantify the benefits of business services, they play a critical role in many business processes and other functions of a company.
So, while a business service may not provide tangible value for customers, it supports businesses and employees so that they can function efficiently and work towards the company’s goals.
Examples of Business Services
Still a bit fuzzy on what constitutes a business service?
Fear not, because you should have a clearer idea of what business services are after you review the examples below.
Perhaps the most important business service is IT or information technology.
Companies large and small rely on IT services to power their infrastructure, run programs, maintain organizational email, and so much more.
For most businesses, the IT services provider handles all of the heavy lifting if it relates to computers or the internet so employees can focus their attention on work.
Consulting services provide a business with expert advice and, sometimes, labor.
Some consultants focus on streamlining and improving aspects of a business in the interest of reducing costs or improving business function.
Businesses also hire consultants to provide advice in areas where they lack the expertise to handle their needs in-house.
For example, a business that’s just beginning to advertise may hire a marketing or advertising consultant to help point them in the right direction as they begin their advertising campaigns.
These services are virtually identical to consulting services, with one key exception.
With consulting services, the consultant doesn’t have any skin in the game. All they’re providing is advice, and the implementation is up to you.
With professional services, the service provider has more responsibility and a vested interest in the outcome.
Legal services are a good example of a professional service.
Software as a Service
Software as a Service or SaaS in short has exploded in the 21st century as the preferred way for businesses to secure the software they need to run their business.
Instead of purchasing the software outright, businesses lease their software on a monthly or yearly basis and pay a licensing fee for each user in the company.
This managed solution provides the business with software, maintenance, and support.
For businesses that manufacture products and bring them to market, prototyping is a critical service.
Prototyping services allow businesses to quickly and accurately create production prototypes to serve the development of new products.
Another service that every business with a physical location will require is property management.
These services can include real estate sales and leases and maintenance and upkeep on the property.
Finance & Banking
Financial services such as banking and investment are critical to every business, and they include services such as lines of credit, business loans, acquisition services, and many more.
These services can provide a business with the capital needed to achieve business objectives, business processes, and more.
Quality of Life
These services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses as they look for new ways to serve their employees and deliver more value to them.
Quality of life services can include daycare services, gym memberships, on-site mental health services, and more.
Business Process vs. Business Service: Understanding the Differences
Now that we’ve broken down business processes and business services in greater detail let’s look at what separates these two areas.
Every business engages in business processes to make the company function. But, not every company provides business services.
Business processes are a collection of related tasks that a business must complete to achieve the desired outcome.
To refer back to our hiring example from earlier, if the desired outcome is for a business to hire a new marketing director, then the business process is the steps involved with adding that professional to the team.
Meanwhile, business services deliver value to a business within the ecosystem that a particular service belongs to.
An example of this would be an IT company providing hardware and software solutions to a business so that they can carry out the business processes they need to serve their customers.
In essence, business services provide companies with the resources they need to complete business processes.
Where things get a bit complex is when you look at it from the perspective of a company that provides business services.
Using our IT example before, let’s say an IT service provides your business with the laptops and software you need to run the business.
The IT company is providing a business service to your company, and that service, in turn, helps to power your business processes.
From the perspective of the IT business, by providing you with laptops and software, they’re executing a business process.
Or, when a member of your team calls the IT company for help, the customer support they provide is another example of them executing a business process.
Regardless of the type of business that you’re in, business processes and business services are two crucial pieces of the puzzle that help drive successful companies forward.
Business Process vs. X
There are many activities in business that are similar but yet different to a business process.
Below you find a list of the most important distinctions between different business activities and a business process:
- Business process vs. business function
- Business process vs. business logic
- Business process vs. business model
- Business process vs. business procedure
- Business process vs. business rule
- Business process vs. business workflow
- Business process vs. operational process
- Business process vs. use case
- Business process vs. SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
- Business process vs. technical process
- Business process vs. system process