Process vs Data

Which came first?

The chicken or the egg?  The process or the data?

Peter Schooff’s of BPM.com posed a question ‘process first, then data?’

Someone suggested that you sort out all of your data first and then figure out what processes you can support.

I contend that all data is created within or as a result of a process.  Some examples follow.

When I write a blog, I read articles and postings looking for a topic. Scott Francis’ posting on this topic got my interest.  I write a rough draft.  I wait a day to edit and may do multiple edits.  I post on specific sites.  That is a process even though there is only one person involved.

When composing something as simple as an email, each of us has our own process that we follow before we hit send.  The email is a result of that process.

When an author writes a book, they have a process that they go through.  During steps of that process, they will save their work.  All of the work is created as a result of a process.

When your accounting department creates a spreadsheet, they create it as a part of a process.  They may be creating spreadsheets to determine billing.  They may be creating spreadsheets to become part of their financial statements.  Creating the spreadsheets is a part of a process.

You will likely tackle business process management when you have a process that is complex – it involves several people and likely information that gets compiled into one master piece of information.  This complex process could be taking too long.  It could be error prone.  If your business requires compliance, you may not be able to easily track how the information moves through your process.

So, the real question is – if data comes first, how did it get there?

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