Business process modelling is the art of visually documenting processes so they can be understood by relevant stakeholders, analyzed more clearly, or adjusted to enhance their efficiency.
But business process modelling doesn’t just stand on its own. Rather, business process modelling plays a critical role in the process improvement equation. While business process modelling breaks down and clearly outlines the steps and tasks that make up a process, this forms the foundation of process improvement. Once the team can clearly see the steps needed to successfully complete a process, they can then make a low-level review to see what parts of that process can be improved.
With the review done, you can design an updated process model that incorporates all the improvements the team envisions. The art of breaking down a process (as-is) into its existing parts (before reviewing for improvement), as well as creating a picture of what the same process will look like after it’s improved is essentially what business process modelling is.
Business process modelling is outlining the steps, tasks, and interactions that make up a process in order to map what the process looks like and what it can become when necessary changes have been made to it.
Learn how you can leverage detailed process modelling to see what’s working in your processes, what’s not, and how they’d look after you’ve upgraded them.
What is the aim of business process modelling?
The aim of business process modelling is to:
- Outline what a business process currently looks like, i.e. to summarize all the steps needed to execute on it and get a desired outcome,
- Project how the process can/should be improved; this point is where business process modelling mixes with process improvement. This is achieved by asking the questions:
- What other functionality can this process achieve?
- How can this process be improved upon?
- What needs to be added to this process to deliver its intended targets faster and more efficiently?
- Creating an updated outline of what the process will look like with the proposed changes
Why is business process modelling essential?
The point behind business process modelling is simply to create a detailed outline of what a process looks like and what it can become when relevant improvements have been made to it. Here are five reasons why business process modelling is essential to your entire BPM success.
Process visualization is the backbone of business process improvement. It involves breaking the process down into the tasks, interactions, and workflows that make it up. This helps in analyzing a process from the ground up, to see what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do about it. Process visualization makes it easy to track lapses in a process so necessary adjustments can be made. So, indirectly, the visualization aspect of process modelling is what makes business process improvement possible at all.
Transparency entails a system and culture where the inner workings of a team’s work is clearly visible for relevant stakeholders to see.
Process modelling holds the key to it. Outlining the different steps involved in a process makes it easy for relevant stakeholders to stay up-to-date and to accurately estimate where work is and how it’s progressing at every stage of the process.
Business process standardization
Business process standardization refers to creating and enforcing a specific formula for carrying out a task and then duplicating it across any instance where such a task or process exists in an organization. Business process standardization helps minimize waste and builds predictability into the organization’s process operations.
When things get done a specific way, it’s easy to estimate how long they’ll take, how long they should last, the resources they’ll require, and what outcomes that can be expected from them.
This is where process modelling comes in. With the parts of a process clearly outlined, the team can see parts of their process that can be standardized or if their entire process can be replaced with a vetted solution the organization has approved.
Communication is the lifeblood of every business process since it’s only when relevant data and insights flow from one point of the process to wherever it’s needed can the desired outcome be achieved.
Process modelling offers a low-cost way for the team to plan how best to simplify processes in order to get information across them as quickly as possible.
With business process modelling in place, you can consistently improve your processes and as a results, stay on the cutting edge in your industry. A system whereby processes are constantly being reviewed makes it easier to run the processes that support your business, and as a result, achieve business targets and goals faster and more consistently.
Overall, business process modelling offers a background for change, and makes it easy to improve incrementally—without unusual friction in your operations.
Different ways to model business processes
In order to create simple and accurate models that represent how your business processes operate, there are several tested formulas you can use. Instead of reinventing the wheel, these formulas offer you a trustworthy background for modelling and improving your business processes. They include:
- Workflow Technique
- Gantt Chart
- Flow Chart Technique
- Role-Interaction Diagrams (RID)
- Integrated Definition for Function Modelling (IDEF)
- Colored Petri-nets (CPN)
- Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
- Object Oriented Methods (OO)
- Data Flow Diagrams—Yourdon’s technique
- Transformational Process Models
- Role-Activity Diagrams (RAD)
- UML Activity Diagram
Best practices for business process modelling
Business process modelling matters in the big picture business process improvement, but how do you go about outlining your processes so you can improve them?
Here are best practices and principles you can apply to better outline your business processes, analyze them and improve them over time.
- Project your desired outcome before you begin. Clearly define how you intend to improve a process while you’re outlining it.
- Document every stage of the modeling process so it’s easy to track and interpret changes more clearly. This way, you can know what was changed to get any specific outcome.
- Use process modelling templates to make it easier to improve processes at scale.
- Clearly outline the resources (human & technical) that apply in each process you’re outlining.
- Use a business process modelling tool.
- Break down all processes into their most basic steps
Applying these best practices will simplify your process modelling so it’s easier to outline, analyze, and update your processes to drive better outcomes.