Business process modelling is usually implemented when looking at changing processes, implementing new processes or identifying problems with an existing process. To understand business processes and the importance of business process modelling it is important to understand the two ways of viewing an organisation. Organisations can be viewed functionally and as sets of business processes.
The functional view is characterized by the traditional organisation structure where the business is grouped by function, for example, accounts, sales and production. The advantage of grouping an organisation in this way is that it allows the functional areas to develop specific expertise, makes it easier to provide defined career paths and makes it easier to define a management structure.
The danger with this structure is staff only focus on their role within the function and so become unaware of cross-functional interaction. This can lead to staff focusing on functional goals rather than the goals of organisation.
The business process view of an organisation sees the organisation as a collection of business processes that cut across the various functions of the organisation. The process approach focuses on the end goal of the process.
Why many organisations are beginning to focus on their processes To understand why businesses are focusing more on their processes, it is useful to know how a business evolves. When a business grows, it gets harder to manage and to overcome this it splits into functional areas, with each area under a manager’s control. Each functional department is given objectives that together should work towards the main objective for the business as a whole. The problems lie with coordinating the work of the different units and that is where problems arise.
The business process approach and business process modeling attempts to tackle these problems. By modeling the business processes organisations can see where the problems are. These problems usually come about as processes evolved instead of being designed in a rational way and they were often affected by changes in conditions, takeovers and reorganizations. This led to mismatches where processes passed between functions and processes containing outdated and redundant content.
How business process modeling can reveal the problems Business process modeling uses diagrams and models to help gain an understanding of how processes operate across the organization. Mapping the process allows you to see the bigger picture and realise how the role played by one part of the organisation in the process has an impact on other parts of the organisation involved in the process. When you have a model of the existing process it makes the interactions more visible and makes it easier to see where an existing process needs to be updated to reflect changes or identifying problems with an existing process and look at possible improvements. With a new process, the model can show how the process will affect other areas and allows various scenarios to be tested before the live implementation of the process.
Business process modelling