When is business process mapping useful?

Posted by Dr Jason Colton - Chief Technology Officer.April 9th 2017

When is business process mapping useful?

If you have tasks to do in an organisation Business Process Mapping (BPM) can be a great tool for working smarter. It’s not just a way to visually map procedures it’s also a powerful tool in identifying what steps are taken within an organisation and what the links and workflow are between discrete procedures and stakeholders. BPM is also an important pre-cursor to automating reporting processes.

Let’s take drinking water standards (DWS) compliance reporting as an example. There are several facets to this recurring task and a large number of organisations and staff involved such as Operators, Plant Supervisors, Instrument Technicians, IT Managers, Samplers, Laboratory Managers and Drinking Water Assessors. The interactions between these people are complex and are often unique to organisations due to the way in which they conduct their business. Critical steps are often not documented and are often the sole responsibility of an individual. This presents a risk to an organisation if this person leaves or is incapacitated.

A workshop with all the stakeholders from an organisation is required to uncover all the interactions and workflow for an activity such as DWS compliance reporting. The outcomes of such a workshop are often surprising for the participants e.g. “ I didn’t know that we did that, I thought that was Bob!”.

Following the workshop a series of BPM can be produced giving organisations a clear picture of how they currently undertake activities and most importantly where improvements can be made. Single points of failure can be addressed increasing resilience and reducing risk. Workplace efficiency can be increased by eliminating double-ups and reducing training time, particularly when onboarding new staff.