Abstract

This paper describes recent design research into prototypical ‘classes' of designs for operational business systems for micro-businesses of 1-10 employees typical of traditional craft and contemporary information economies. Business process design is an increasingly important and relatively new sub-field of design and design research. Its increasing importance is driven by three factors made more potent by information technology: increasing ability for very small business units to contribute to local and national economies; potential for increased efficiency of micro-businesses via reduction in Coasian transaction costs; increasingly competitive business environments leading to pressure on micro-businesses to deeply cut costs; and increased potential for improved design of micro-business processes to create significant benefits for the micro-businesses themselves and to local and national economies. The analyses used in this paper combine Tellefsen's perspective on constituent orientation with Beerian Viable System analysis and Cashflow Quadrant analysis (Beer, 1972, 1988, 1989, 1995; Kiyosaki & Lechter, 2007; Tellefsen, 1995, 1999, 2001; Tellefsen & Love, 2003). These analyses are used to identify promising foci of design effort particularly with the intention of automating and systematizing business activities. The paper first describes the importance of developing improved guidelines for design of organisational structures and business processes in the micro-business arena. It then outlines the structural, humanistic, financial, business management and computerized automation considerations that need to be addressed. Design issues are illustrated via mini case studies of three characteristic micro-businesses in the areas of publishing, plumbing, and rental investment. The paper shows how improvements to the design of business processes can be viewed through how four constituent orientations:
- Self employed
- Business managers
- Business owners
- Investors
The paper concludes by integrating the outcomes of the above analyses into a preliminary checklist for the design of effective and efficient automated and systematized business processes for micro-businesses and small business enterprises.

Keywords:

Business Process Design, Micro-Business, Viable Systems, Constituent Orientation, Cashflow Quadrant Analysis

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Jul 16th, 12:00 AM

Improving Design of Micro-business Systems via VSM and Constituent Orientation Analysis

This paper describes recent design research into prototypical ‘classes' of designs for operational business systems for micro-businesses of 1-10 employees typical of traditional craft and contemporary information economies. Business process design is an increasingly important and relatively new sub-field of design and design research. Its increasing importance is driven by three factors made more potent by information technology: increasing ability for very small business units to contribute to local and national economies; potential for increased efficiency of micro-businesses via reduction in Coasian transaction costs; increasingly competitive business environments leading to pressure on micro-businesses to deeply cut costs; and increased potential for improved design of micro-business processes to create significant benefits for the micro-businesses themselves and to local and national economies. The analyses used in this paper combine Tellefsen's perspective on constituent orientation with Beerian Viable System analysis and Cashflow Quadrant analysis (Beer, 1972, 1988, 1989, 1995; Kiyosaki & Lechter, 2007; Tellefsen, 1995, 1999, 2001; Tellefsen & Love, 2003). These analyses are used to identify promising foci of design effort particularly with the intention of automating and systematizing business activities. The paper first describes the importance of developing improved guidelines for design of organisational structures and business processes in the micro-business arena. It then outlines the structural, humanistic, financial, business management and computerized automation considerations that need to be addressed. Design issues are illustrated via mini case studies of three characteristic micro-businesses in the areas of publishing, plumbing, and rental investment. The paper shows how improvements to the design of business processes can be viewed through how four constituent orientations:
- Self employed
- Business managers
- Business owners
- Investors
The paper concludes by integrating the outcomes of the above analyses into a preliminary checklist for the design of effective and efficient automated and systematized business processes for micro-businesses and small business enterprises.

 

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