Business Process Mapping (BPM) Explained: Purpose, Benefits, and How-To

An organization's business processes demonstrate its existence. Whether a company is a start-up or a worldwide corporation with several operating centers, efficient and painless business processes are essential to success. What methods do you use to understand business processes to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations? 

Enter the Business Process Map (BPM). Process mapping can aid in understanding a process from beginning to end.

Business Process Mapping

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We will offer an overview of business process mapping and its benefits to any business, large or small.

What is Process Mapping?

Business process mapping is an approach to visualizing a company's processes and procedures, which is associated with business process management. it offers a conclusive view of a process by laying out its events and how they unfold.

There are various strategies for achieving business mapping, including:

  • Flowcharts
  • Diagrams
  • Charts
  • Symbols

What is the Purpose of Process Mapping?

By devising a business process map, one can answer critical questions that can help in the progression of operations, such as:

  • In the course of this process, what tasks are necessary to complete?
  • Who is responsible for each task?
  • What is the time frame for each task?
  • What is each step of the process?
  • Who are the parties responsible for completing it?
  • What are the conditions that must be met for it to occur?
  • What are the "why, where, who, and when" of each assignment?.

Having a high-angle view of processes and particular procedures helps businesses better understand how things work and adhere to appropriate practices. By doing this, they can also anticipate potential problems and dangers and take steps to avoid them.

In summary, process mapping seeks to understand more fully the processes that help manage an organization and how they contribute to business objectives so that they can operate their business efficiently, effectively, and flexibly. An organization with a good understanding of its operations processes can also enhance efficiency, lower costs, save time, and add other benefits.

The Benefits of Business Process Mapping

It is the goal of every company to be productive, cost-effective, and successful, and business process mapping can help businesses achieve these. Having a visual overview of how things work allows them to recognize and adhere to the best process handling.

However, without process mapping, employees may not understand their responsibilities when operations become chaotic. Because of this, they interpret the process and create their sequences, regardless of whether they align with the organization's goals.

The following are some of the benefits of business process mapping:

  • Employee Engagement

    Employees are the businesses' most valuable asset. Businesses often fail to leverage employees' expertise, talent, and effort to solve complex challenges and run a better business. 

    The best way to boost employee happiness is to actively engage them in defining the processes in which they operate and seek their feedback on solving obstacles that hinder them from performing well at their job, and then help them improve the work they do within their responsibilities. Engaging more employees and increasing their value is a real competitive advantage.

  • Defined Roles and Responsibilities

    Employees might have a skewed understanding of their responsibilities and how they fit into a process. When employees don't know what steps to follow, they tend to make up their own, resulting in confusion, mayhem, and blame - along with higher failure rates.

    Process map makes it easier for employees to understand their jobs and get answers to their questions about the nuances of a process. In addition, it ensures the proper focus on what they need to accomplish and the goal of each step.

  • A High Level of Customer Satisfaction

    A lack of alignment within the business process can result in a less than stellar customer experience for businesses. Perception determines the value of customers. Business processes mapping can provide an organization with a comprehensive view of the customer's wants and needs, and tailoring business processes to them. Additionally, it gives a considerable competitive edge over time because it systematically examines consumer desires and needs. 

  • Standardized and Transparent Processes

    Developing and upgrading existing processes is difficult without a fully functional model. By optimizing and introducing business process maps, best practices emerge, improving existing processes or creating new ones. It also contributes to uniformity because it establishes a quality standard that should be adhered to uniformly for future process planning.

  • Return on Investment

    Engaging and retaining customers is only part of the equation. For an organization's stakeholders to benefit from its investment return, it must achieve a positive economic outcome. A business can create a process map to lower operating and support costs.

  • Onboarding Assistance

    The most effective approach to training new employees or onboarding new team members is organizing and structuring all process elements. The process map's visual representation allows team members to understand processes more comprehensively, which minimizes confusion. 

    A set of defined processes in a process map can shorten transition and training times and other activities for the new employee, yielding a consistent onboarding experience.

  • Reduced Compliance Risk

    Regulation compliance is a part of almost every business, and if the risk isn't considered beforehand, it can be very costly. The best approach to gaining business process knowledge is to invest in front-line employees who can dedicate their time to owning the business objective. Establishing and regulating a basic process map can significantly reduce the risk of non-compliance and potential ruin of a business.

  • Streamlined Auditing and Improved Communication

    End to end process mapping is also an excellent method for enhancing communication inside and outside the company. It aims to visually represent a company's processes so that everyone inside it can better understand it than instructions in just plain text.

    Process maps can also assist with internal audits, as they can help ensure that the work is always done according to its standards and procedures. It may also lead to improvements in processes. Once a process has been mapped out and understood, it can be examined to improve it.

  • Effective Risk Management

    Although a procedure may seem feasible at first glance, determining its overall efficacy requires an in-depth review of all steps involved. Drawbacks can occur anywhere and at any time, but having a business process map makes identifying risks and concerns easier.

    An overall view of the process can help you recognize potential issues, giving you the information you need to address them before the problem arises.

  • Improved Problem-Solving Abilities

    Performing a cause-and-effect analysis can be cumbersome for businesses. To determine what went wrong and fix it, teams often have to redo their work and use trial-and-error tactics. The use of a business process map that details a process step-by-step makes it easier to pinpoint the problem. When issues are easier to identify, teams can spend more time and effort resolving their root causes.

What are the Types of Process Mapping?

Process mapping is helpful in various industries, as well as for different corporate initiatives. There are also other types of workflow process mapping. The following is a list of some of the most popular business process mapping examples:

  • Flowcharts

    A flowchart is the most common business process map example. A process can be represented in a flowchart or more straightforward way, such as implementation or a top-down flowchart. In addition to project planning and problem-solving, this form of business process mapping can be used for better communication and workflow analysis.

  • Swimlane Diagram

    Swimlane diagrams are similar to traditional flowcharts, except each stage is distributed among multiple teams or individuals. The chart resembles lanes in a swimming pool, so as a result it was named "swimlane". The benefits are the same as those of flowcharts.

  • Value Stream Map

    For complex procedures, a value stream map may be preferable. At first glance, they appear more complicated and confusing than flowcharts. However, evaluating a value stream map reveals a wealth of information about the sequence's flow.

    Lean six sigma applications often use this type of business process map to inspect processes thoroughly.

    It is adaptable enough to allow for information about the assignment, who is responsible, a timeline, extra details, and the participation of several departments. As a result of their complexity, value stream maps are not commonly used in typical commercial scenarios.

  • SIPOC Diagram

    A simplified business mapping process is termed "Supplier Inputs Process Outputs Customer" or SIPOC. Dividing the procedure into key pieces simplifies the sequence and removes unnecessary information. SIPOC diagrams emphasize a few of the most important aspects of a process and the personnel required to accomplish each task.

  • Data Flow Diagram

    The goal of a data flow diagram is not to provide a complete overview of the whole process sequence; instead, it shows distinct paths that take data from unprocessed to processed. Large blocks in the diagram represent the most critical tasks linked to arrows that indicate which steps need to be taken to achieve the desired result.

How Do You Create a Business Process Map?

It doesn't matter what type of business you run or the structure of your operations; a business process map is helpful.

If you want to make better decisions and increase operational efficiency, a process map can provide a visual representation of the current state of your processes.

Steps for Creating a Business Process Map

The following steps from Rindle can help you understand how to create process maps:

Determine What Process You Need to Map

Decide where you want to begin. Do you have trouble with the process? Does your new strategy involve the process? To reach the desired result, you must investigate and identify the process you wish to design and map out for your organization. In other words, you must consider the output before considering the input. It is imperative that you clearly define your intent and knowledge to map the process.

  • Collect Information

    Gather as much information as possible about the process. You have to determine the process's goal, its duration, the necessary resources, and the expected result. You can gather data by watching each of the stakeholders or interviewing them.

  • Gather the Ideal Team

    If you want to cover every aspect of the process when mapping it, you'll need to hear from all parties involved. Team members should be those who do and manage the process, as well as those who provide the input.

  • Identify Customers and Suppliers

    Identifying the essential players in a project will allow them to assign roles and maximize resource usage. In addition to identifying the suppliers and customers, one must identify the team members who will execute different roles during the process. Suppliers initiate the process, and customers receive the results.

  • Defining the Start and End Points

    It is essential to identify the boundaries of a process to define and map it. Start points are all the activities that initiate the process, while endpoints are the results of the process. At times, there are several endpoints to a process.

  • Prepare a Baseline Process Map

    Creating new and enhanced processes and removing steps from your current operations requires establishing a baseline map. Using this diagram, you can see your current workflow and all the steps you are taking, as well as any blockages.

  • Create the Action Sequence

    When the starting point and objectives have been identified, along with the stakeholders, the next step is to determine the order of task execution. By doing this, the organization can align the process with the overall purpose. 

  • Identify Areas for Improvement 

    As the process is mapped, repeated actions, inefficiencies, and blockages become apparent. Additionally, a business process mapping diagram can highlight inefficiency in resource distribution, deviations from the intended process, and missing phases. By reviewing the process map, you can make all necessary changes and updates. Plan the process while keeping in mind that it is constantly improving. An adaptable business process mapping framework is required to handle future process changes and upgrades.

Best Practices for Business Process Mapping

Follow these best practices to get the most out of your business process map:

  • Ensure that your process map is as straightforward as possible so that anyone can understand it.
  • Whenever you draw a process map, be sure to use the correct symbols.
  • Before you move on to the steps, identify the process's start and finish points. Establishing boundaries is easier this way.
  • Consider your primary objective when creating a process map and keep it in mind as you go.
  • Include only the information that is necessary on your map.
  • To prevent missing any important process details, make sure all critical stakeholders are included in the mapping process.
  • Using business process mapping tools, you can collaborate with your team in real-time and sketch a visual representation of the process.
  • Review your process map frequently to continue to develop it.

Business Process Mapping Tools

You can make your business processes more efficient with the help of business process mapping software. Through these business process mapping tools, you can track the progress of the methods and identify missed deadlines, blockages, and other roadblocks that are causing delays.

The automation of business processes offers the advantage of automating the creation of process maps and providing employees with other tools for managing their jobs and to-do lists. Management will also be able to track all activities with ease.

The following are the top 5 business process map tools:

The Takeaway

In terms of the process mapping definition, it is a visual flow diagram that uses symbols to represent parts of business processes, which can not only aid employees in their job performance, but can increase customer satisfaction, and help identify possible areas for faster process improvement, time savings, and, most importantly, cost savings.