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In the modern landscape, every organisation recognises the imperativeness of digital transformation, automation, and the implementation of ERP projects as vital drivers of competitive advantage. But what underpins the success of these initiatives?
The answer lies in process mapping. Organisations need to have clarity in their as-is business processes to identify the right opportunities for automation, digital transformation and other enhancements in their current operations.
Process mapping is the first key step, setting in motion the entire BPM lifecycle, encompassing process analysis, improvement and automation. Hence, any issue at the process mapping stage has a ripple effect on the subsequent stages.
This blog post presents the findings of a global ‘survey involving 4,000+ BPM professionals, shedding light on the critical objectives that drive organisations to engage in process mapping, key mistakes that organisations make, and the challenges that BPM professionals encounter along the way.
These findings provide critical insights that can be used by organisations to improve their process mapping strategies, understand training requirements and fill implementation gaps.
What is Business Process Mapping?
Business process mapping, or process mapping, is a technique used in business process management (BPM) for visually representing the steps involved in a process. It provides a clear, graphical depiction of how a process functions from start to finish.
Business process mapping helps identify all the tasks or activities involved in a process. This includes understanding what needs to be done, who is responsible for each task, and when each task occurs. The mapping illustrates the sequence of tasks and the flow of information or materials between them. It shows the dependencies and relationships between different steps in the process. Once a process is mapped, it becomes easier to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and opportunities for improvement. Hence, it plays a pivotal role in streamlining processes, reducing costs, and enhancing overall efficiency.
Top 3 Objectives of Process Mapping
As modern businesses increase their digital push and look for opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, process mapping is emerging as a strategic objective. So, what are the key objectives that organisations want to achieve with process mapping?
According to the survey findings of 4,000+ BPM professionals, the top 3 goals with process mapping include:
- Continuous Improvement: A substantial majority, 67% of respondents, consider continuous improvement as a top goal in their process mapping endeavours. Process mapping serves as a catalyst for identifying inefficiencies, redundancies, and bottlenecks in existing processes, paving the way for ongoing enhancements.
Continuous improvement relies on data and evidence to drive informed decisions. By making data-driven decisions based on process mapping insights, organisations can target specific areas that need attention, measure the impact of changes, and ensure that the improvements are having the desired effect.
- Preparation for System Implementation: Another significant objective, rated by 45% of respondents, is preparing for system implementation. Organisations recognise the value of process mapping in ensuring the smooth integration of new systems and maximising the benefits they offer.
Introducing a new system is often a substantial investment in terms of time, money, and resources. To ensure that this investment yields the maximum benefits, organisations must understand how the new system will impact their operations. Process mapping allows them to visualise the before-and-after scenarios. It helps in identifying areas where the new system can bring efficiency, cost savings, or enhanced functionality. By mapping out the processes that the system will affect, organisations can fine-tune their implementation strategies to optimise the utilisation of the new technology.
- Knowledge Management: Organisations also prioritise process mapping for effective knowledge management, which secured the third spot. As per the survey, 44% of BPM professionals said they use process mapping to ensure critical knowledge remains within the organisation.
Process mapping provides a structured framework for capturing knowledge or information, making it shareable. It enables organisations to extract insights and best practices from their seasoned employees and ensures that this knowledge remains within the organisation even when key personnel decide to leave. This also accelerates the onboarding process and ensures that new employees quickly become productive contributors.
Key Process Mapping Mistakes
While the survey clearly highlights that organisations recognise process mapping as a strategic enabler for achieving many of their key objectives, organisations often miss crucial preparatory steps to process mapping that impact the overall results. The survey brings to the fore two crucial oversights:
- Diving into process mapping without a process architecture: An alarming 50% (2,206 respondents) of 4,412 BPM professionals said their organisations started creating process maps without a process architecture. Only 25% of respondents said their organisations had a detailed architecture before they started creating process maps.
The survey findings highlight a concerning trend, as without a detailed architecture, organisations are shooting in the dark, unaware of the scope and potential of the process mapping initiative. A process architecture provides a bird’s eye view of the business, equipping organisations with critical insights necessary for effective process mapping. These insights enable organisations to strategise their mapping efforts for maximum returns.
- Mapping Processes without a Business Process Improvement Methodology
Another concerning finding the survey revealed was that over 50% of BPM professionals said they operate without a well-defined Business Process Improvement methodology.
A methodology is at the heart of consistent and standardised process maps as it provides insights on the level the process should be mapped, specific information to capture, elements to be included in process maps and gathering the right process information.
Without a methodology, organisations risk generating inconsistent and suboptimal quality process maps, which may subsequently impact the process analysis and improvement outcomes.
To attain optimal results from process mapping efforts, organisations must recognise and rectify these oversights, adhering to a systematic, step-by-step approach that is built upon a solid foundation.
Top 3 Challenges Limiting Outcomes
As per the survey, BPM professionals have highlighted the key roadblocks that limit them from achieving the objectives of their process mapping initiatives.
- Absence of Well-Defined Rules and Standards
One of the most prominent challenges, identified by over 40% of respondents, is the absence of well-defined rules and standards for process mapping. This challenge is in line with one of the oversights identified in the survey. Lack of clear guidelines results in inconsistent process maps, which affects the quality of data available for analysis and improvement. For a uniform and structured approach, organisations should define the methodology and rules and symbols to be followed for process mapping.
- Inadequate Time Allocation
Nearly 37% of BPM professionals have flagged the challenge of inadequate time allocation by businesses. Effective process mapping is a comprehensive and meticulous exercise that demands an investment of time. Rushed or incomplete mapping efforts can lead to suboptimal outcomes. To address this challenge, organisations must consider the scope of the initiative and available resources to decide the reasonable timeline for the activity.
- Lack of Skills
Skills shortage is another major roadblock, highlighted by 35% of survey respondents. Effective process mapping requires a diverse skill set, including analytical thinking, data collection, and knowledge of a globally accepted process mapping language, such as BPMN 2.0.
Alarmingly, the survey reveals that 60% of BPM professionals rate their BPMN proficiency as average or below average. Organisations need to assess the skill gap in the team and address that. Alternatively, they can seek expert help in creating accurate process maps. PRIME BPM’s Fixed Cost Business Process Mapping is one such service that is designed to help businesses quickly navigate the process mapping stage with standardised process maps created by BPM experts, delivered in a shorter time frame.
Leveraging Process Mapping Software to Address the Challenges
Process mapping software can help you navigate many of the above challenges and set you on the right path towards achieving your business objectives. However, much depends on selecting the right software with the functionalities to support quality process mapping. Carefully evaluate the criteria below before zeroing in on any process mapping software:
- Inbuilt BPMN 2.0: Process mapping software that comes inbuilt with a worldwide recognised language for process mapping, BPMN 2.0, helps in creating standardised and accurate process maps. Process maps with recognised symbols and rules can be created quickly despite the team lacking these capabilities.
- Intuitive and Easy-to-use: Look for an intuitive process mapping tool with drag-and-drop functionalities that even allows business users to participate in creating process maps. This helps ensure process maps are aligned with business objectives.
- Feature-Rich and User-Friendly: The right process mapping software strikes a balance between user-friendliness and rich features. Consider features like:
- Process Prioritisation: Helps you identify the processes that offer the biggest opportunity as per your business objective, cost efficiency, productivity enhancement, customer satisfaction, etc.
- Rapid Process Mapping: Some software, like PRIME BPM, have a pre-built table to complete your process mapping in minutes simply by filling a templated table.
- Capturing Process Attributes: Process mapping is not just about capturing the process flow. Additional process attributes need to be captured for a thorough analysis. At a minimum, a process map needs to contain four distinct components: tasks, roles, documents and applications. Look for a process mapping tool that also allows you to capture key process attributes, such as RACI, KPIs, systems, etc., to get a 360-degree view of the process.
- In-built Methodology: Look for a tool with in-built methodology to guide through the entire lifecycle of BPM from process scoping, mapping, monitoring and improvement to implementation.
- Collaborative Features: Opt for software that supports real-time collaboration, enabling multiple team members to work concurrently on process maps. Teams should be able to suggest improvements and acknowledge and approve process changes from a central place.
- Support and Training: Apart from functionalities, it is crucial to assess the customer support training. Adequate support guarantees that any issues are promptly addressed, and training materials empower your team to maximise the software’s functionalities.
- User review and Reputation: Gathering customer reviews and testimonials is paramount before you make the selection. Customer success stories provide insights into the software’s usability and support team.
Where to Get the Right Process Mapping Software?
If you are looking for a tool to accelerate your Business Process Mapping, then PRIME BPM is definitely worth considering. Designed for both process experts and business users, PRIME BPM has drag-and-drop functionalities and built-in BPMN 2.0 to allow organisations to create quality and accurate maps. You can also use Rapid Process Mapping functionality, which automatically creates process maps in minutes as you complete a templated table.
PRIME BPM includes best-in-class functionalities, including one-click process prioritisation and the ability to capture process attributes (Business Rules, KPIs, Text descriptions, Roles, Documents, etc.) to create consistent process maps.
Apart from process mapping, PRIME BPM also allows you to analyse, improve and automate your business processes from a single integrated platform.
PRIME BPM has helped many leading organisations embark on their process mapping journey to achieve their goals, including digital transformation, organisational restructuring, etc.