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Business process mapping

30 May 2013

Business Process mapping is becoming a higher priority for business as there is an increasing emphasis in organisations to document, understand and improve their business processes.

A procedure whereby the steps in a business process are clarified and documented in both written form and visually, Business Process mapping brings clarity to how things are done.

It also involved understanding and defining what each business entity does, who is responsible, and how the success of a business process can be determined.

Simply talking about processes isn’t understanding them. Looking at them t‘from 10,000 feet’ isn’t going to cut it, either.

The right information is in the heads of the people who do the work - the people who, day in and day out, are living the process that you want to document. It is the accumulated experience specific to the process that you want to harvest.

These people know what happens in their part of the process better than anyone else because it is what they do.

They know what appears to make sense in the process and what appears to be nonsense. They know how to make their piece of the process work and how to get around it when it doesn’t work.

When mapping business processes, be sure to find out if steps vary under different circumstances or for different people.

Focus on how the process is currently being done, not on how it is supposed to be done. Do that, and your chance of an accurate view of the business process is considerably improved.

Mapping business process has the following advantages:

Communication

Once a business process is successfully documented, business managers have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do, how they are supposed to do it and what the exact role of every team member is.

Clear communication of the operational processes is critical to facilitate the smooth functioning of a team.

Consistency

Business Process Mapping ensures that rules are consistently applied every single time instead of relying on individuals to remember to do the right thing.

Improve efficiencies

In the current business environment, every business unit wants to ensure that it is achieving the best possible results with the available resources.

Process mapping can increase the productivity of staff while improving resource use. In so doing, it allows the team to achieve more with less.

The mapping of a business process creates visual process diagrammes which often makes it easier for management to identify breakdowns, since it can see where issues occur. Management can then implement improvements to the process.

Training

Business Process Mapping helps organisations improve their training investments. Although handbooks and training guides may include every piece of information employees need to achieve success, business process flow chart adds a visual aspect to the training.

Charts and graphs created through business process mapping allow new hires to more accurately grasp the business concepts and tasks to be achieved.

Best Practices

Businesses that use Business Process Mapping benefit from the ability to identify best practices that they can implement across the company.

Of course, there are numerous pitfalls that can occur in the mapping process; however, when done correctly, Business Process Mapping should lead all involved to a better understanding of what the company is trying to achieve, a realigned sense of purpose, and a number of suggestions that can streamline operations while increasing customer satisfaction.

By Jayesh Jain - CBAP CSPO, senior business analyst