End-to-End Processes Challenges the Best of Us

January 27, 2011

Scrolling through threads in a BP discussion group about end-to-end processes it was clear that we all had a different take on what is really end-to-end. Can you imagine what would go on in the mind of a prospect looking to make some changes in processes if he were to speak with at least three us?

If he were to speak with a software engineer he would more than likely tell him end-to-end processing is input of data, capture data, data processing and generating output. If the question is put to a department manager the answer would be end-to-end involves a sequence of defined business processes entering his department or owned by the department, performing all the necessary steps until finished or an event triggers passing the next step in the process to another department. Now a COO or CEO would more than likely say end-to-end processing is all business processes that are performed within the enterprise.

End-to-end processing refers to coordination in performing a sequence of defined steps, also known as processes, to achieve business objectives, from the beginning to the end. Keeping this in mind, end-to- end process improvement projects can be as wide as the enterprise or as narrow as within a department.



  1. Your examples display the domain goggles each specialist wears. I do think your definition is still fuzzy and open to high interpretation. If you’d like to read my take on “end-to-end”. http://bit.ly/emtzdh

    • Hello Michael, it’s been a while since I have seen your comments, we share Linkedin connections. I read your blog on end-to-end, I recall reading it once before.

      I can agree with a localized strategy as long as it is in line with the more deliberate strategy, which can only be accomplished through an understanding of the business architecture. I differ with you that end-to-end is overrated. My professional option, many of the organizations struggling with sustainability is in part due to the lack of knowing and understanding end-to-end business processes within their domain. Too many business transactions take place in an organization, which cross boundaries to not know and understand the impact each has on other business units and their role in the value stream. Strategic planning requires inside and outside approaches. Your music scenario…each musician acknowledges the other musicians in the group, their instrumental talent and the sounds produced, and some familiarity with the varied instruments, yes, it is a collective effort that allows them to change melody according to the needs of their audience. The same with an organization, each business unit needs to understand the value chain, from end-to-end before engaging in individual strategic planning. Coordination cannot happen without knowledge. Business architecture requires representation from each unit for a collective understanding of how things are done from end-to-end, such an approach allows “sub-units (cluster, entities, business units) to find their own optimums through innovation and improvisation. “

      The domain goggles, as you described them, are very real and give some credence to your mind set about end- to- end as far as being independent clusters. It is for that reason that representation from all clusters be involved in strengthening the business architecture.

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