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The APQC Process Classification Framework

The APQC Process Classification Framework (PCF) is another tool we can use when reviewing administration processes, particularly for support functions such as HR or Finance. The PCF is a cross-industry  taxonomy of business processes, intended to allow the objective comparison of performance within and among organizations.  Although it models commercial businesses rather than universities, it includes a section on management and support services covering HR, Finance, Estates, External Relationships, and so on.

Each section is basically a hierarchical catalogue of business functions.  To take Finance as an example, the framework includes top-level items such as "Perform revenue accounting", "Perform general accounting and reporting", "Process payroll", and so forth.  Each of these are broken down into sub-tasks, such as "Report time", "Manage pay" and "Process payroll taxes".  The image below illustrates the structure of the framework, showing the first page of the section on HR.

In the context of Enterprise Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, the PCF provides a useful baseline for the aspects of the business process that we should consider.  At simplest, it is a basic checklist to help ensure that we don't overlook aspects of the business process.  By using the PCF, we take advantage of the experience that the authors have encoded in the framework to guide our own reviews.  There is nothing complicated about this; it is just a very useful reference point.