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Business Process Management:

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What is business process mapping?


Business process mapping is the activity of documenting your core business activities from a customer's point of view, from request to delivery, and its goal is to visualise how these requests move through your company, including the activities of many different roles.

As such, business process mapping has customer-focused processes as its focus and asks for all different roles to participate in these discussions. This 'horizontal' approach is very different to the vertical, departmental approach that is often the result of organisational structure.

Understanding the full end-to-end flow of operations within your organisation provides key insight into areas where bottlenecks may form, levels of efficiency in the delivery of products or services and how everything you do as a business fits together.

Mapping the process enables you to identify an ideal method of working. If this differs from the current setup, there are steps that can be taken to deliver improvements. Overall, business process mapping ensures you have full transparency regarding the operations of your business.


The key elements of business process mapping

Visualisation of end-to-end processes

Visualisation of the complete process - beginning from the first point of contact by a then-prospect, to the very last contact moment, often delivery of goods/services and invoicing.

Activities at the core of a process map

Where some companies focus on input, output, triggers, etc, the core of any process map should be activities. It should allow you to understand who is doing what at any given stage of the process.

Collaboration of all skills

As the process map reflects all activities that are needed for the execution of the process, it should do so by reflecting all roles/skills of the company, while taking into account the boundaries of specific internal departments - these departments are often internally-focussed and not a reflection of customer's needs.

Completeness requires insight into exceptions

As we realise the sum of all exceptions is often greater than then number of cases going through as a 'clean case', the process map should include all relevant exceptions. Mapping the clean case process only has no value.

Especially relevant to human activities

With ongoing digitalisation, companies increasingly give value to processes that can be automated and added to their IT systems (process mining). Whilst such process mining provides insight into activities that take place in these systems, business process mapping should focus especially on the human-centric part of the organisation - it is here that the most valuable activities take place, client interaction takes place, and new ways of working are defined. 

Add detail with activities as the basis

Business process mapping often includes adding lots of detail to the process steps. Detail includes input, output, documents, IT systems, compliance rules, task descriptions, locations, departments, etc. Make sure the process activities/tasks are reflected in this core information; your staff should intuitively be able to read the process map as easily as reading a comic.


Why is it so important for organisations to understand their processes?

Process maps are rapidly becoming the centre of all information for a company's activities. 

New employees are first asked to understand the process they will be working in and will thereafter understand their task instructions much more easily. 

Improvement efforts are based on processes being optimised, resulting in faster deliveries, lower costs and better quality. Meanwhile, new services, new partnerships or outsourcing, etc are all easier to set up and manage when based on key insight into processes. 

Ultimately, processes are becoming the common ground for any business activity.


Related content:

Find out more about what process mapping could offer your business

Learn more about how to create a process map

A Guide To Business Process Management

Want to know more about how process management works in practice? Download our whitepaper 'Starting your Business Process Management from Scratch'.

You can also learn about the wide range of products we offer, which are tailored to enhance the ability of our partners to deliver clear benefits through a focus on business process management.



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