The Right Modeling Tool to design your Processes
Enterprises leverage Business Process Modelling to achieve continuous process improvement and operational efficiency. Modelling combines process/workflow, functional, organizational and data/resource views with key metrics such as cycle time, costs, and responsibilities. This provides a strong foundation for analyzing bottlenecks, inefficiencies, activity-based costs, critical paths and value chains.
Over the years, buyers have invested in process modeling tools, but have ignored some critical factors while evaluating them. According to studies based on past process modeling projects, businesses have identified that process detailing, alignment to business goals, advanced repositories, analysis and reporting are essential needs that cannot be missed out. Businesses must also realize that standardization is not the be-all and end-all solution. Customization is an integral part of process modeling which allows businesses to address organization-specific requirements.
This paper highlights the three key aspects that govern Process Modelling – Process Design, Process Execution and Continuous Improvement. It also serves as a guide for enterprise buyers while selecting the right business process modeling tools for their organization.
The Process Need:
Alignment to Business goals and Visibility
Alignment of processes to business goals is crucial for any business. Non-alignment with goals often leads to failure in execution as overall organizational goals may get missed out inspite of accurate completion of the operational tasks. For ongoing success, the approach to align processes with business goals must be defined at stages where process management maturity is low and competing for project funding. This ensures that the processes are harmonized and can scale as per the business requirements.
Visibility (of processes, resources and business interactions) is another key reason why enterprises look at Business Process Modelling tools. Poor visibility into people and IT requirements, especially while implementing large process transformation projects, leads to inefficiencies that result in high project cost. The approach of management in enterprise is fast changing from ‘review-driven’ to ‘response-driven’. In the world of review, reporting and analysis was used as a means to extrapolate state of operations for future decisions. But, in the dynamic environment of today, management uses on-going visibility to proactively alter the course of operation based on potential trends.
The Dilemma of Detailing:
Standardization Vs. Customization
Another critical dimension that influences process modeling is the balance between ‘Standardization’ and ‘Customization’. Most standard processes (such as order management, procurement) across enterprises follow certain standard flows and guidelines but have minor variations in order to address the organization’s specific needs and challenges. Customization is required to accommodate the requirements of organizations. Lessons learnt across customizations feed into the best practices for a given process, and become a part of the standardized framework over time. Any business would want their process modeling tools to be able to address standardization and customization dilemma. Thus, modeling tools need be able to handle a blend of customizations and standardization; and combining both helps improve process efficiency and effectiveness.
What should Buyers look for in a Process Modeling Tool?
There are three key aspects that govern Process Modelling – Process Design, Process Execution & Continuous Improvement. Each has a particular set of features that buyers need to look for while making their Business Process Modelling decision. They are discussed as follows:
In the process design phase, enterprises are looking to design or redesign business processes to suit their ever-changing business goals. This begins with the objective of capturing detailed specifications of business processes. Buyers should look at Process modelers that are able to provide a high-level of detail in capturing processes and integrate elements of data, systems, process and roles in order to execute them. Some of the key aspects of process design are:
Process execution is the next key phase in process modeling. In this stage, the ‘As-is’ processes are mapped against prebuilt, industry standard process templates. Gaps identified are addressed and reviewed with stakeholders based on which the ‘To-be’ processes are built. Data generated from simulation is used to assess if the expected performance goals of the process are being achieved. The key aspects of process execution are:
Along with early visibility into process improvement opportunities, business process modelers should also be able to highlight opportunities for continuous improvement. After designing the ‘to-be’ processes they must be test simulated and matched with standard industry process templates.
Data generated from simulation is used to assess if the process is designed to meet the expected performance goals. Else, the process can be examined to identify and resolve the constrains or redesigned to match performance goals. The key aspects of Continuous Improvements are:
Transitions and integration do tend to impact the ‘big picture’, and seamless transitions could depend on how a firm deploys and uses business process modeling tools. Modern business process modeling tools have evolved over time to become more user-friendly, intuitive and non-invasive with increased functionality levels. They no longer require advanced IT skills to design, execute and continuously improve the processes. Process Modeling tools have thus become an integral part of any transition process and choosing the right one has the potential to make or break any transition.
Nithya Ramkumar - Vice President, Base)))™, Wipro Business Process Services
Nithya Ramkumar currently heads Base)))™, Wipro’s Business Platform group. She has spent 23 years at Wipro with experience in rolling-out innovation in IT and BPS solutions, across telecom, healthcare, energy and insurance verticals. Under her leadership, Base)))™ has developed a strong Process management know-how and filed for 15 patents in Business Operations Management space.