Business process modeling is the process of documenting a business process with a combination of written text and graphical images. A business process is any multistep procedure that is repeated within the firm. An example of a business process is the hiring of a new employee. Information is gathered from multiple sources and then entered into a computer system, triggering a series of activities for multiple people, across several areas.
The purpose of business process modeling is to clearly illustrate the current procedures. It is the first step in business process re-engineering, which is the detailed review of a current process and the issuing of recommendations to increase efficiencies. A business analyst, using a wide range of software tools designed specifically for this task, usually completes business process modeling.
It is very important to have the model reviewed and corrected by the subject matter experts (SMEs). These staff members are responsible for the actual tasks in the process. Although managers may be familiar with the process at a high level, the details can either add value or take time in a process. Many people are wary of this type of exercise, feeling that the company is planning to reduce staff. This is not necessarily the case, and communication between management and staff should be clear on this subject, to reduce anxiety and increase cooperation.
Training in business process modeling is available from a wide range of sources and is usually part of a course in business analysis. Look for post-graduate certificate programs as the most likely location for finding this type of training. Be sure to review the credentials of the instructor and school in advance. Business process has its own terminology and it can be difficult to separate the knowledgeable instructors from the less qualified.
There are several very good software packages available for business process modeling. A skilled business analyst should be able to use at least one. Talk with other analysts in your industry to determine which tools are most suitable. Invest in the training course to learn the skills necessary to use the software efficiently. This type of work is not intuitive and neither is the software.
An accurate, detailed, and complete business process model highlights the strengths, weaknesses, and bottlenecks in the current procedure. While it would be ideal to create the perfect process, it is much more realistic to remove the most severe bottlenecks and reduce duplication of effort where possible. These two items alone will reduce the time required and increase efficiency without requiring a totally new process.