Business Process Mapping - Powering your today and tomorrow


You are an enterprise that serves clients of various orders and magnitude. It is a given rule that you have one or more teams catering to the needs of these clients and more importantly generating value for your enterprise. If you have a process, you have systems, and you have a governance in place to assess if all are in order. When you truly reflect on the factors of compliance to the process, the agility to change etc., you will agree that there is a difference from where you started to where it stands right now. In several cases, we see that it is way off! Does it affect your enterprise? Yes! If it hasn’t yet, it’s bound to weigh you down in the coming days.

On a closer look at several enterprises, we see a pattern that the process is documented once and there is no follow-through on keeping it current. As time passes, though the process gets evolved, the systems get updated but the procedure documents are not quite attended to. The implications are many, here are some that sting in the long run:

  1. Process non-conformance — Each executive derives their smart way of executing the process. in time the adherence to the regulatory or governance elements gets depleted.
  2. Training overhead — With low coverage of procedures, the onus is on the SMEs to train new employees. The cost of training keeps swelling.
  3. Wavering process efficacy — It becomes harder to measure the processing KPIs. And several times the KPIs themselves might become irrelevant to the evolving business needs.
  4. Depleting employee experience — Lack of standardization or adherence to standards takes a toll on employee morale too. Higher errors, lower productivity, and increasing attrition could be indicators of this phenomenon. 
  5. Agility to change — The ease at which changes – procedure/system/personnel tend to be low. The experience of implementing the change becomes convoluted, long and in some cases ends up being a disaster. 

Needless to say, these elements have a direct influence on the lowering customer experience and enterprise position. Enterprises unknowingly continue to bleed in their processes. 

Catalyst to Process Assurance and Operational Resilience

Gartner defines Enterprise Business Process Analysis/Mapping (EBPA) as the discipline of business and process modelling aimed at transforming and improving business performance with an emphasis on cross-viewpoint, and cross-functional analysis to support strategic and operational decisions. 

Adopting an EBPA regimen into the enterprise enables them to arrest this bleed. While Enterprise Business Process Analysis/Mapping does address understanding the sustaining BAU, the amplified value is derived in the following scenarios,  

  1. Enterprises looking to pursue an Enterprise Transformation Initiative (e.g. Digital Transformation, Core Modernization).
  2. Enterprises looking to acquire a new unit under their fold (e.g., merger & acquisitions of another unit, reorganization of units/product lines).
  3. Enterprises in pursuit of quality improvement, risk reduction, cost reduction, increase productivity, scaling for business growth, etc. 
  4. Enterprises pursuing automation of manual tasks.

Knowing specifics of how your processes are structured today, what part of it is manual vs. what part of it is systemic, which parts of it are paper-based vs. electronic, etc. It gives you a better handle on the scale of operations, the gaps between systems and sub-processes, the magnitude/complexity of business rules, and a context for the KPIs. EBPA enables enterprises to lay the foundation to establish a north star and put together the right path to reaching there. 

Enterprise Business Process Analysis/Mapping Tools 

Gartner states that EBPA is based on the principles of collaboration, short cycle delivery, lightweight but robust modeling and model governance. The foundational principles are set on “see the whole” (look beyond the process) and “understand the value network” (i.e., inter-department, cross-functional flows within the organization and the interaction/dependency of external elements such as clients, suppliers, business partners and ecosystems). 

The EBPA has an advantage against good old documents, flowcharts, swim lanes and spreadsheets by providing an electronic anytime accessible view of the process ecosystem or SOPs, along with some distinguishable features:

  • Ability to put forth contextual models, depict customer journey, showcase system interactions, information, rules, business requirements, etc.
  • Ability to record variations, the reasoning for those variations, the hand-offs, etc.
  • Record risks and controls.
  • Record KPIs measured.
  • Few tools also provide the ability to version the artefacts, workflow for approvals of these maps & procedures, modeling and analysis of business operations etc. 

Some Process Mining tools also cater to EBPA needs, however they tend to be pricier and need a good amount of groundwork to be able to establish within the enterprise. 

A few examples of EBPA tools are Blueworks Live (from IBM), Enterprise Process Center (from Interfacing Technologies), QPR Process Designer (from QPR Software), etc. 

Priming your automation pursuit with EBPA

Your automation pursuit will benefit from an EBPA initiative, as you are now focusing on a true baseline of process steps, interactions, variations, KPI etc. You can optimize the process first and then apply automation to arrive at the best state. The process discovery phase is slim, and you have a better handle on projecting the level of automation, and a business case that will be very close to real. 

The Sustenance Imperative

In an era of the new normal (COVID19, great resignation, etc.) enterprises have realized the need for agility to adapt to changing business scenarios. The agility of the enterprise enables it to sustain the volatility now and push through to strengthen ahead. Governance that would be focused and nimble is critical to hold the forte and surge ahead. Business Process Mapping hands you the blueprint, BPM tools enable you to be current and chalk your north star of success. 

Reference – Gartner Market Guide for Enterprise Business Process Analysis Tools

Authored by Gireesh Ullody

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