7 Reasons for Process Mapping
by: Jerome Pearce
In our current business environment, we are surrounded by downsizing, acquisitions and consolidation. Companies are concentrating on cutting costs. One result of downsizing is the loss of intellectual capital that was built for years. The knowledge that terminated employees take with them may erode competitive advantage. The decision to cut jobs is more than an economic or human resource issue. It is a strategic one. Identification of work process that will not be needed in the future organization is vital to the success of any downsizing strategy. This identification effort also helps protect those processes that are key to an organization’s future from being affected by downsizing. Strategic thinking and operational implementation must focus on managing the creation, capture, and communication of knowledge. With knowledge management in place, key know-how will remain even if employees leave the company.
In this challenging global economy, information technology can help you drive immediate business value and streamline operational costs. “The downturn has created a fantastic opportunity for companies prepared to go out and grab them, and we’ve decided to invest faster in our software development and marketing to take advantage of the recession” said Webmart CEO Simon Biltcliffe. While deep downturns in the market are destructive and many people lose their jobs, now is not the time to cut resources to innovative efforts
Process Mapping now offer a simple and direct process mapping service that can transform your processes into HTML documentation, live usable prototypes for testing, and development specifications, in a very short time. All you need to do is provide a simple description of your business process to be mapped, with the steps involved, the roles, the data to be captured and used, and the business rules. This can be as simple as a written document, perhaps with a Visio diagram.
1. Kick-start Business Process Management (BPM)
If you have a need to start a Business Process Management or Process Improvement initiative, Process Mapping is the best place to start. Once started, the growth of your initiative can grow either ‘down’ into improvement and automation, or ‘up’ into process modelling and Enterprise Architecture. Both are a natural and organic extension of Process Mapping. For most initiatives, starting is the greatest hurdle. Once started, the rest often flows easily. It can be very daunting to start with a ‘fresh page’, and having an initial set of Process Maps is an invaluable base to start from. In our expensive experience with Business Process Management and Business Process Automation, we have found that Process Mapping is the first, most important, and above all the most significant step.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu
“The first step is the hardest” Madame De Vichy-Deffand
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” Friedrich Nietzsche
2. You can do it now!
You can start immediately. Process Mapping can start with short discussions and simple maps, created in Visio for example. No expert knowledge is required, and no long and expensive training. We can help you get your first Process Mapping exercise started today. Within couple of days you could have your first process mapped and ready!
“Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow.” Horace
3. Quick to do
The results can be seen very quickly. Typically a process can be mapped in a few hours, days at most. It does not take teams of analysts, merely someone who both understands the business itself, and the idea of process. With our many years of experience in Business Process Management we can help you get the absolute most from your Process Mapping exercise in the shortest possible time. One of the key benefits of BPM is the ability to quickly apply changes to business processes, based on an ever changing business environment.
“Move quickly” Gogen Yamaguchi
4. No expensive software is required
In the Process Mapping and Business Process Mapping space there are innumerable product vendors vying for your attention. They typically offer ‘silver bullet’ solutions that are simple and easy to use and will have a guaranteed and almost immediate Return On Investment (ROI). Unfortunately such software does not exist. The good news is that you do not need expensive software! There are many cheap or even free Process Mapping tools out there today. Some are better than others, and many are cut down or isolated versions of software products (such as Metastorm, Tibco, BizAgi). There is also a growing number of full-blown open source systems you can use, such as YAWL from Queensland University. All have their strengths and weaknesses, which we will discuss in a future article. We can help you choose the most appropriate Process Mapping tool for your current and future needs.
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Abraham Maslow
5. People get motivated
There is nothing like the ability to grasp a concept that you once thought was complex or hard to motivate people. Process Mapping, because it is simple and yet very beneficial, almost always generates that ‘so that’s what you mean’ feeling in people. Often those people are the most important people. These are the ones at the top, with the budget and the strategic plan, and the opens at the coalface who will be most affected, and often threatened, by any changes. We discuss the approaches to dealing with these groups effectively in a future article. We are able to provide you with the right documentation and tools from your Process Mapping exercise to give both groups something they want.
“Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz
7. Easy to understand
A process is a fairly simple concept, and it is simple to explain to others. We all know what a process is, and applying this concept to a business activity is vary easy to do. It is also often illuminating. Such understanding brings process participants into the Process Mapping initiative, allows and encourages them to get involved, and above all gives them a strong feeling of ownership. One of the best moments early in my BPM career was of a railway worker of 30 years who had no use for computers at all. He saw a Process Map we had built to document his work for the first time, and stated confidently after a minute: “Yup, that’s about what we do”. Such understanding brings process participants into the process mapping exercise, allows and encourages them to get involved, and above all gives them a strong feeling of ownership.
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Galileo Galilei
6. Permanent benefit
The benefit does not fade. The documentation produces as part of a Process Mapping exercise serves a large number of purposes. These can be for documentation and explanation, or even to create prototypes and specifications for future development projects. The uses are as wide or as focussed as you wish. Above all, the use does not ‘wear out’ and the Process Mapping exercise can be continued at any time. We can help you make the most immediate benefit and the best long-term benefit from your Process Mapping exercise.
“The excellent becomes the permanent.” Jane Adams
Don’t sit back and wait; the winners will be those that position themselves to take advantage of the upturn!