Defining complex processes

Some complex processes require proactive management by knowledge workers. Many (but not all) complex processes are more manual and knowledge-based and feed into core processes peripherally.

Let’s explore a few examples within banking to highlight where core and complex processes differ. Core processes include events like:

Applying for a new credit card

Getting a mortgage

Downloading a mobile banking app

There are myriad complex processes that support these core business functions. For example, a client could be applying for an interest rate change on their credit card, or they may wish to add a beneficiary to their mortgage. These complex processes feed into the upstream core processes in an important way, but they’re not as high profile because they’re not generating the new client. Still, these complex processes are a key part of the relationship you have with those clients.

Another example of a complex process is an event or activity that is important to clients but is very circumstantial. This type of process is complex and requires input from knowledge workers, but the frequency for any one client is low. In banking, the power of attorney form, where a client grants someone rights to make decisions on their behalf, is one such example.

There are a lot of complexities that go into the power of attorney process, but it’s a workflow that’s kind of tucked away. When someone is asked to handle it, they must fumble through what needs to be done.

Over time, complex processes don’t command the same attention and resources that core processes do. As a result, they often get classified as legacy processes and have little to no proactive management. However, individually and cumulatively, complex processes have a massive impact on an organization’s success—making them a problem IT and business teams can no longer ignore.

By the virtue of change, all core processes can potentially transform into complex processes.