Business process modeling: What it is and how to make the most out of it
04 November 2019
Understanding your business and the operations it performs is very important. If you want to improve at this, then you might be interested in business process modeling. They are great tools that can be of help, especially when you are just starting your business.
This is a relatively new concept. The changes that it can produce in terms of business productivity and efficiency are really of good help. Keep reading more about this topic in this article created by our team at TMS, so you can draw your own conclusions regarding what it can do.
Understanding business process modeling
Business process modeling is a tool that is used in quality management. It shows the current processes of an organization in a simple and formalized way. This is helpful because it shows ways that you can use it to improve.
Business process modeling is also used in mapping different steps of the process. Usually, it focuses on two-time plans, the present moment without making any kind of changes and the future. In the future, all the changes or improvements have been made.
Business process modeling is used often in this mapping process and they are quite the same. They can be used to represent graphically different processes in order to show certain improvements or weaknesses that may have appeared.
Consider it an analytical process model that illustrates how a company is evolving. Therefore, it is very useful especially for good business management and not only.
What are the reasons to use business process modeling?
Business process modeling helps many companies to document the business processes that they have. This means they will be able to quickly analyze their workflow. On a long-term basis, it means that a company can adapt and improve with precision and effectiveness.
There are many business process model options to go for. The most basic model is to help with introspection. What happens is that you get a better understanding of how the entire process functions. Here is more useful information you should know:
- Business process modeling helps the entire team figuring out how the process is working.
- The documentation can be done using both words and visuals. This will help by bringing a clearer representation.
- It improves communication because when a company goes through a change the entire flow of the processes can still be kept using a process model.
- Knowing how the current processes are behaving is important because you can check if they are aligned with the organizational strategies.
- Business process modeling helps by offering constant processes.
- Organizations that work good rely on streamlined processes. They must map them out in order to see all the steps of the operations and keep everyone at the same level.
- It helps in reducing and kind on inefficiencies. This happens as better resource utilization is being done and when stakeholders begin to know their roles.
Tips for creating Business process models
Having a business process modeling is a strong strategy, especially to understand your business operations. If you want to really take advantage of your process model, check out these tips:
- Make clear the goals that you want to have for the process model. Start with questions that go into reasons and goals. By doing so, you will define how many details you will need to have for your model.
- Explain all the steps of each process. This is quite a common mistake because people think that understanding a simple diagram can be done easier, versus a complicated one. For sure this can be true. However, if certain details are not included in the process model the analyst can get confused and errors can appear.
- BPMN is also used to show the processes depending on the activity they represent. Activities are not business functions or states.
- Make models be valid. This business process modeling tools not only have a few buttons to play around, but they also offer lists with errors when certain specs are being violated.
- Keeping the business process model simple is probably the best choice to go with. This can be done by having sub-headers in the diagram. If you go for a printed version, then you can keep a top page. What it does is that, if it is highlighted, it shows all the important processes that take place.
Business Process Modeling Techniques
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
BPMN can be a series of symbols that represent certain tasks or workflows, allowing you to create your own set of symbols in the way you like. We recommend using the standard ones. This will help you make collaborations with outside analysts easier, and also saves you time from creating a visual language of your own.
BPMN 2.0 is used frequently by process analysts, together with those that are creating business modeling tools. It is quite an easy process because geometric shapes and lines are being used and are simple to follow. Their role is to communicate the flow of the process. So, a consultant that focuses on business process modeling can know exactly how BPMN 2.0 should be working.
Universal Process Notation
Universal Process Notation has a simple box that each task needs to be completed. The box shows details that are happening. Often, the UPN is used in IT for designing processes but also in management.
It also focuses on making building processes faster and easier. A simple overview would be the focus on what is happening, why is it happening, who was involved, and how it works.
Let’s check another business process modeling tool that we think is a great option. UML is a modeling language that is often used for visualization and documenting of different software systems. Many business people use it as a business process modeling technique.
It also offers some functions that can be adapted to business process modeling. The only problem that appears is that there are just 14 UML diagram types. For sure this is limiting them because understanding this kind of diagram is more difficult than interpreting BPMN ones.
They do not have a standard notation like UPN, for example, but they offer more freedom and creativity in order to visualize their processes the way they want. They are great for explaining all kinds of complex processes using a simple and effective way.
They can illustrate process steps and show the entire flow from inputs to outputs. Actually, flowcharts are a basic framework for BPMN that display advance process flow.
You can do a flowchart using a diagram option, such as Lucid chart, in order to create an original process. There are also many libraries to take advantage of together with drag-and-drop function.
Yourdon’s Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs)
Created in the 1960s by Yourdon, data flow diagrams (DFD) show how information moves from one place to another. DFD relates to the process that shows how all the flow is linked together. This is done using data stores.
Most of the time, they are used to record processes in order to create documentation. A DFD is also a method for organizing raw data. They can be considered the foundation of structured analysis.
Continuing with our process modeling options, Gantt charts are useful because they can show the entire process. It is better at showing the entire time that it takes to complete a project compared with other tools.
Even though it can be used in order to represent a process graphically, its main strengths lie in monitoring the project timeline. One of its disadvantages is that the modeling part is lacking. This has led to a decreased use of it and loss of popularity.
Ending thoughts on business process modeling
In conclusion, business process modeling tools are quite present online. This means you can have different options to choose from, and as a businessperson, you should utilize them.
The goal of these tools is to help you out with managing your business better and understanding all the processes. In a world where data is more and more important, in a business environment, it is even more relevant.
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