#What does Reconceptualising mean? Business rules are essential for determining what you need to do. To innovate, you will need to find the process that gives you the best outcome using the available resources.

To be an excellent process, it will need to meet or exceed what your competitors are offering.

You need to compare the various process options to your existing resources, limitations and strengths. An excellent place to start is by determining if the process is a core or supporting function.

‘Core’ functions are more important to the operations of the business and should be ranked above ‘supporting’ functions. When reconceptualising your processes, you can use this distinction to decide what is to be automated or outsourced, giving your staff more time to focus on the core activities.

Core Business Functions

You can use operational plans, business plans or mission statements to help you identify the ‘core’ business objectives, but the in its simplest form, the organisation’s core objectives can be determined by completing the sentence “The purpose of our organisation is to…… “

What is your organisation’s purpose? Not everything is a core function. Organisations have supporting services to meet incumbent systems needs, compliance or procedural obligations. Knowing which processes are core and essential makes it easier to focus your attention where you needed it.

For training providers, training delivery, training compliance, assessment and certificate issuing are core functions.

Supporting Business Functions

Supporting functions are any team, divisions, tasks or activities that support the core functions but are not driving them.

Accounting, administration, records management, reporting, marketing, etc. are usually supporting functions. They’re things you need to do to let you carry out the core functions. e.g. For a training provider, bookkeeping and payroll is a supporting function, whereas for a bookkeeper this would be their core function.

Mapping and Analyzing Processes

It’s not always clear what is a core function and what is a supporting function. A good way to analyse this is to map it. One form of mapping is described below. Each area is given an estimate of 1-5, and this is used to map how likely the process is to be a ‘core’ function. (All the numbers are estimates, designed to be a quick guide, and help you break down processes or tasks.) </p> We’ve created a Calculator to help you.

Is it a core function or supporting function?

You’ll need to consider the following factors when identifying the core or supporting functions:

  • frequency
  • complexity
  • employee skills required
  • time and/or opportunity costs
  • risk

Frequency / Completion time

How much of the organisation’s time had it taken up by the process? How often it the process? How many staff does it take and for how long?

To get an idea of this, use the total process time multiplied by the number of repetitions over the calendar year. An audit might only happen once a year but can take weeks so that you may give it a 5. On the other end, you may be sending confirmations of enrolment daily but would be very quick, so that would be a 2.


This score should reflect how difficult it would be to complete the process correctly.

If it’s a simple task that doesn’t need a lot of internal training or supervision, like answering the phone, then it’s a 1.

If you need do much internal training or have it signed off by management before it can be completed, like a Learning and Assesment Strategy, it gets a 5.

Specialised Skills

How specialised are the skills needed to complete the task unsupervised?

Some processes need staff that are highly trained and specialised, like Training Managers, who would be ranked 4 or 5. Others need generalised skills. Administrators who have more broad skills and would be 2 or 3.

NB: Complexity and Specialised Skills does not represent the value of your staff, it measures the level of formal training or on the job experience required. Generalised staff are adaptable and valuable to your organisation. A score of 1 does not mean unskilled or unimportant.

Time / Opportunity costs

Time and opportunity costs should be ranked much like frequency - if it takes three years to create and implement, it’s a 5. If you could set it up in a week, it’s a 1. For example, a Website redesign might be a 5, whereas designing an electronic Direct Marketing (eDM) Campaign may be a 2.


Risk is a measure of the potential impact of failure or poor execution. Ask what would happen to your organisation if you failed to do this task or process effectively. It should reflect your obligations under legislation, regulations and standards.

e.g. If there is a risk you could be de-registered for non-compliance, it’s a 5. If it’s something students would probably not expect or notice, but is good business practice, it would be a 1.

The breakdown

Using this model, the higher the score, the more likely a process or task is a ‘Core’ function and should be kept in-house. A good guide is

Core, Supporting and Recommended action

If it’s 19 or higher, it needs to stay in-House.

Click here to download the Calculator.

This is the second in a series of articles relating to Business Process Improvement. The other articles are: