What is Business Process Modelling?

Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme

On previous articles we’ve already established what are processes and how, even though you believe your company may be too small for it, you actually run more than one process – even if you feel like you haven’t done anything to create it.

Let’s take a step back to remind ourselves what is a process, shall we? According to the simplified definition by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a process is:

A series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result; A series of changes that happen naturally.

What does that mean? Well, it means that any series of actions repeated on a regular basis (such as the steps you take when making a sale) constitute a process. What can you do to ensure you’re running your processes as smoothly as possible? To begin with, you can start with process modelling.

Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry about it, that’s what this article is all about.

What is Business Process Modelling?

Business process modeling (also known as simply process modeling), is the analytical representation or put simply an illustration of an organization’s business processes. Modelling processes is a critical component for effective business process management.

Process modelling constitutes a technique for mapping out an organization’s current processes which can be especially helpful for understanding the “hows” of your company as well as identifying improvement possibilities.

It’s common to correlate process modelling directly to BPMN and flowcharts but with current technological advances (such as process management tools), it has became a lot easier to model, manage and improve processes with the aid of these tools.

Even though there’s a wide variety of software and tools that allow you to make process modelling a lot easier, it is a rather simple process and can be done with ‘offline’ visual elements such as pen an paper or a board with sticky notes – the most important thing is choosing and adopting the tools that are most adequate to your company’s and your team’s reality.

Some people find it harder to model processes using computers and other technological elements – they affirm that these tools overcomplicate simple activities and can be exclusive of those that aren’t used to the technology.

That can be true if we’re talking about technical software but there are alternatives, such as Pipefy, that allow you to easily model and manage your company’s processes on the go, making it possible to create a seamless workflow by integrating many different people at once.

Ok, so we’ve established you can choose the technique that best suits your needs when modelling your processes but how can you model a process? What’s the essential information you must include?

Well, for starters, process modelling is a ‘physical’ representation of your process’ activities and steps – it involves listing and detailing all events, action and connection points that exist between point A (the action that sets your process in motion) and point B (the overall result of your process).

It is essential to follow the right sequence of actions to make it possible for people to be able to contextualize and identify how does this process actually works.

Since some of your processes will eventually involve the participation of more than one team/department in your organization, it’s safe to say that business process modelling will quite often be cross-functional and rely on tasks and documentation from more than one department of your company. They can even involve activities from external players, such as suppliers, which ups the complexity of it a notch.

Why is Business Process Modelling important?

It’s important that you’re aware of the fact that modelling your processes isn’t your goal, it’s actually a means to an end where the ultimate goal is process improvement. We’ll go over the details of this goal later but, what you must always keep in mind that the focus of any process improvement is adding value and improving your overall customer experience.

As we’ve mentioned before, choosing the right tool – and methodology – when modelling your processes is essential for ensuring its success. There’s absolutely no point in creating an excessively complex model that no one will be able to use.

Always keep in mind that the ultimate goal when modelling and improving your processes is to make them better and more effective, adding value to both your internal and external customers as well as making your company’s teams more efficient.

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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