Business process mapping is a visual representation of a company’s business processes. It can be used to document, analyze, and improve current business processes.
Business process mapping can be done at various levels of detail, from high-level overviews to detailed step-by-step maps.
A business process map can be used to:
- Identify inefficiencies in a process
- Communicate a process to those who are not familiar with it
- Pinpoint areas for improvement
- Establish a shared understanding of way of working
In this post, we’ll give you an overview of what business process mapping is and how you can use it to visualize and improve any processes.
What is Business Process Mapping?
Business process mapping is a visual representation of a company’s business processes. It can be used to document, analyze, and improve current business processes. Business process mapping can be done at various levels of detail, from high-level overviews to detailed step-by-step maps.
By creating a map of the process, businesses can identify inefficiencies and potential bottlenecks. Additionally, business process mapping can be used to create standard operating procedures. This can, for example, be helpful for onboarding new employees or for training employees on new processes.
There are many different ways to create business process maps, but the most common method is to use flowcharts. Flowcharts are diagrams that show the step-by-step flow of a process.
Business process mapping
- A tool that can be used to visually outline the steps in a business process
- Helping to identify inefficiencies and potential bottlenecks by creating a process map
- Used to create standard operating procedures
- Supporting in creating a common understanding of processes and way of working
- Can be done at various levels of detail, from high-level overviews to detailed step-by-step maps.
Image source: Datarundown
Why is Business Process Mapping Used? Benefits of Process Mapping
By understanding how a business process works, businesses can make changes to improve the efficiency of the process and, as a result, improve the overall efficiency of the business.
There are many benefits to business process mapping, including:
- Improved communication between team members
- Increased clarity of the business process
- Improved understanding of the business process
- Easier identification of areas of improvement
- Improved efficiency of the business process
Process mapping can be used to improve a wide range of business functions, from customer service to manufacturing to human resources. Process Mapping is a valuable tool used in business intelligence.
In addition, the technique can be applied to both simple and complex processes, making it a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of situations.
Business Process Mapping in BPM
Business Process Mapping is a technique that is used in Business Process Management (BPM) in order to visually depict the steps in a business process.
By creating a map of the process, businesses can more easily see where there are gaps or bottlenecks in the process. This technique can also be used to improve communication between different departments within a company.
There are various types of business process maps, but one of the most common types is the one called Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). BPMN charts show the sequence of steps in a process and how they are interconnected.
Image credit: Mediamodifier at Unsplash
Process Mapping vs Process Discovery vs Process Documentation
The terms process discovery, process mapping, and process documentation are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between them.
- Process mapping is the act of visually representing the steps in a process. Process mapping, on the other hand, is typically a more top-down approach, where businesses start with a high-level understanding of the process and then map out the details.
- Process discovery is the act of uncovering and understanding the steps involved in a process. Process discovery is a more bottom-up approach, where businesses start by analyzing data and then work to understand how the process works
- Process documentation is the act of creating a written record of the steps in a process. This means outlining a detailed description of how a process needs to be executed.
Process Mapping and Process Mining
Process mining is a data mining technique that can be used to discover, monitor, and optimize business processes.
Process mining techniques can be used to automatically map process models from event logs. The algorithms take event data as input and then generate a process model that represents the events in the log.
Process Mapping Levels
There are four levels of business process mapping, each with its own purpose and level of detail.
Image source: Datarundown
What are the Levels of Process Mapping?
Level 1: High-Level Overview
Used to create a high-level overview of the company’s processes. This is typically described as the organizational level as level 1 diagrams illustrate organizational relationships. This level focuses on how, for example, teams are aligned within different business areas.
Level 2: Process Map
Shows the process divided into different sections and illustrates the dependencies between different processes with each other. This type of diagram shows the process steps in more detail and assigns each step to a specific team or individual
Level 3: Process Model
This level provides a detailed view of the process, showing all the steps involved and the order in which they are performed.
Level 4: Task level
The final level contains the lowest level of detail and has detailed instructions and tasks outlined. This level represents task level information, detailing how tasks are carried out manually by a process worker or automatically by the system
This means that the task level has the detail of the task as a set of actions or if required as a process model. This is the micro view, which shows the process at a very granular level.
Process Mapping Software Tools
Process mapping software tools are a great way to visualize and document business processes. By using a process mapping tool, you can easily visualize your processes, see how different processes interact with each other, and where bottlenecks may occur.
Here are a few process mapping tools to get you started
Lucidcharts is a powerful and easy-to-use online diagramming tool that helps you create professional diagrams for all sorts of purposes. It allows you to create, collaborate on, and share diagrams.
- You can create flowcharts, mind maps, org charts, network diagrams, and more
- Wide range of templates and shapes to help you get started quickly and easily.
- Powerful, web-based and easy-to-use application
- Price: Application is free to use as users can sign up for a free account
Image credit: Lucidchart
Google Drawings is a free, web-based drawing application that you can use to create and collaborate on diagrams and other visual projects.
- Simple to use with a variety of features that make it a great tool for both individual and group projects
- Create flowcharts, mind maps, and other diagrams. You can also insert images, shapes, and text to further customize your project
- If you need to collaborate with others, you can easily share your drawing and work together in real-time.
- Has a free storage without expiration
- Price: Free
Image credit: Google Drawings
Diagrams.net (formerly Draw.io)
Diagrams.net is a free online diagramming tool that can be used to create a variety of diagrams, including flowcharts, UML diagrams, mind maps, and more.
- Simple to use and offers a variety of features that make it a great choice for creating diagrams
- Create anything from simple to complex diagrams
- You can share your diagrams with others for collaboration
- Price: Free
Image credit: Diagrams.net
Microsoft Visio is a powerful diagramming tool that can be used to create a variety of different types of diagrams. In addition, Visio integrates easily with other Microsoft applications and programs.
- Can create a variety of diagrams, including flowcharts, org charts, and floor plans
- Create diagrams manually or to import data from other sources, such as Excel or SharePoint
- Makes it easy to share diagrams with others, as you can export them to a variety of different formats, including PDF and HTML
- Price: Paid (with a free test month)
Image credit: Microsoft Visio
Nintex Promapp is a cloud-based business process management software that enables organizations to map, document, and improve their business processes.
Nintex Promapp has:
- Simple and easy to use interface that makes process mapping quick and easy
- Includes a library of pre-built business processes that users can easily adapt to their own needs
- Personalize dashboards to bookmark the processes and actions that are most relevant to you
- Price: Paid. See the latest prices here
Image credit: Nintex Promapp
Types of Business Process Maps
There are a variety of different types of business process maps, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most common ones
The most common type of business process map is the flowchart, which is a graphical representation of the steps in a process. Flowcharts are easy to understand and can be helpful for complex processes.
The image below shows a simple flowchart with some of the most common symbols. A flowchart can have several different symbols with different meanings.
Image credit: Datarundown
Another type of business process map is the swimlane diagram, which shows the steps in a process and the responsible party for each step. Swimlane diagrams are helpful for showing who is responsible for each step in a process.
Image credit: Datarundown
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping is a technique developed from lean manufacturing that used to understand and improve the flow of materials and information in a manufacturing or service process.
Value stream maps are useful for mapping out the steps in a process and identifying areas where there is wasted time or motion.
Image credit: Datarundown
Best Practices for Business Process Mapping
There are many different ways to create a process map, but there are some best practices that should be followed to ensure that the process map is effective. Here are a few tips:
- Use a simple and consistent notation
- Identify and involve relevant stakeholders
- Gather all the necessary data and make sure the data has right quality
- Include all relevant information in the process map
- Make sure the process map is easy to read and understand
- Use different colors or symbols to represent different types of information
- Periodically review and update the process map
Challenges with Process Mapping
While business process mapping can be incredibly helpful, there are a number of challenges associated with it.
Let’s look at some of the challenges
Get The Correct map
It can be difficult to create an accurate map of a process. To create an accurate process map, you will need to understand the process from start to finish and identify all of the steps involved.
It requires a deep understanding of the company’s operations, as well as a keen eye for detail
To create a thorough and accurate map, you’ll need to spend some time, for example, observing and documenting the process. This can be difficult and time-consuming to do if the process is long and complex.
In addition, it can be time-consuming to maintain and update the map as the process changes
Capture every part of the process
Process mapping may not be able to capture every detail of a process, which can make it difficult to use for more complex processes. Some steps may be hidden or take place behind the scenes.
Related, it may be hard finding the appropriate level of detail in the processes and being consistent throughout the organization.
Conclusion: Process Mapping
Business process mapping is a visualization tool that can be used to document, understand, and improve business processes. It is a graphical representation of the steps involved in a business process, and can be used to develop a better understanding of that process.
FAQ: Business Process Mapping
What is process mapping?
Business process mapping is a visual representation of the steps involved in a business process. It is often used to document and improve business processes.
What are the process mapping levels?
There are four levels of business process mappingu003cbru003eu003cbru003eLevel 1: High-Level Overviewu003cbru003eLevel 2: Process Mapu003cbru003eLevel 3: Process Modelu003cbru003eLevel 4: Task Level
What is a level 1 process map?
Level 1 is described as the high-level overview and is used to create an overview of the company’s processes. This is typically described as the organizational level as level 1 diagrams illustrate organizational relationships.
What is a level 2 process map?
Level 2 is called the Process Map. It shows the process divided into different sections and illustrates the dependencies between different processes with each other. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThis type of diagram shows the process steps in more detail and assigns each step to a specific team or individual
What is a level 3 process map?
Level 3 is the process model and this level provides a detailed view of the process, showing all the steps involved and the order in which they are performed.
What is a level 4 process map?
The final level contains the lowest level of detail and has detailed instructions and tasks outlined. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThis level represents task level information, detailing how tasks are carried out manually by a process worker or automatically by the system