Question: “Why should we spend time and money to model our processes? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”
These are some of the questions and comments that we as Process Analysts get to hear a lot.
The answer is very simple.
“How do you know it ain’t broke?”
Unless everyone involved in the process knows what they are doing, how they are doing it, what is the impact of their activities on the process, and most importantly how are they doing compared to their competitors, one cannot tell if it’s broke or not. These are the answers you get from a process modeling effort. The mind map shown above lists a few reasons why process modeling is so important, and why every organization should invest in that effort.
Current State (AS-IS): The first step is to model your current end-to-end processes (a.k.a. as-is). Regardless of what techniques you use, so many unknowns will come to light that you did not even know were happening or causing issues.
Process Hand offs: Most processes run across departments. Within an organization you cannot work in departmental silos, yet each department is only familiar with their part in the process. Gaps, redundancies and incorrect expectations can be identified and eliminated when all stakeholders look at the complete process.
Common Language: Process modeling effort helps in eradicating all the homegrown process models that use notations only understandable to the teams that created them. Their meaning is lost in translation when someone from outside the team tries to understand them. Try searching for process models on the internet, and you will see plethora of notations that absolutely do not make sense.
Process Hierarchy: Creating hierarchies, helps model the process with correct level of details. It also helps communicate the right amount of information to different levels of management while talking about process improvement.
Enterprise Repository: Another advantage of this effort at organizational level is that it results in an Enterprise repository that is shared and is accessible to anyone. You always have access to all the versions of a process and comments from users who worked on them. Majority of tools now also provide collaborations i.e. multiple users can work on same process model.
Industry Benchmarks: When processes are modeled and various performance indicators are captured, it helps in benchmarking against organizations internal standards and industry standards.
Future State (TO-BE): Modeling of as-is processes is just the first step. Use the outputs from this activity to identify issues, bottlenecks, redundancies and gaps in the process. Look at opportunities to automate various unnecessary and time consuming manual handovers. This will help you come up with the future state where you would like to be and then continuously keep reevaluating (a.k.a. continuous improvement).