Why process mapping software brings your processes to life

What is business process mapping software?

Good processes are vital to any organization. Unfortunately, they are often unrecorded, kept in the memory of a few key staff, or at best written up in dusty documents that never see the light of day. To be of benefit, processes need to be accessible and understandable, and that is where great process mapping software comes in. It’s the tool that helps build, manage and use the processes that define your business. What’s more, the right platform can put you on a path to continual improvement that adds value and reduces costs for your organization.

What does good process mapping software do?

The right tool does more than picture your processes. Good process mapping software provides a platform for teams to engage with the processes, refining and reviewing them as part of a continual improvement program. By making them accessible and visible, teams are more likely to use the processes. A good process map will also reveal opportunities for greater efficiency and where waste might occur.

How to create a process map

Process maps can be built with any kind of visual editor, but process mapping software is more than just a flowchart tool. The right software will take a written process and render the visual map, connecting the activities and recognizing the various roles and responsibilities. The key to creating a great process map is designing the process well, understanding who the stakeholders are and the optimal flow of activities. By recording these clearly in the process mapping software, the map will be a clear reflection of the best practice.

How to do business process mapping

The key to business process mapping is collaboration and an organization-wide commitment to ongoing improvement. The right tool will engage teams with capturing processes and refining them to produce accurate and helpful process maps. Facilitating feedback and providing opportunities for review make processes dynamic and useful documents that teams can keep contributing to.

Web based process mapping options

The best solutions for process mapping software are versatile and dynamic, and often this comes from an online platform. Web-based applications allow teams to engage with the processes in real time, and update them on the go without worrying about version control or their local database getting out of sync. An online solution also provides maximum visibility across the organization, with ease of access for virtually any team at any time.

How to get the most out of your process mapping software

Once you have settled on a good process mapping tool, you need to employ it effectively. Here’s 5 tips to set up for success with your process mapping software:

  • Engage your team - The people who use the processes day-in, day-out are the best people to point out inefficiencies, inaccuracies and potential issues in them. Getting the teams that are responsible for carrying out the processes to contribute to building the process map helps foster commitment to getting them right, and team engagement with making them better.
  • Build a culture of improvement – Capturing processes is just the beginning. Once you have clear process maps it’s time to gather feedback on how they could be improved. Providing opportunities to contribute suggestions means the experts at the coal face can identify the best ways to add value and reduce waste.
  • Empower champions – It’s hard to gain traction capturing and improving processes without committed champions. Assigning passionate people who understand the organization and where the processes sit within it ensures the program won’t lose momentum. Empowering them to create change gives champions the opportunity to encourage teams and management to keep investing in great processes and build on existing improvements.
  • Capture clear processes – this seems like an obvious step, but simple, sound processes are essential. Process maps that are tangled up in unnecessary complexity or fail to capture the typical flow of work won’t help and may actually hinder further improvement efforts or reduce efficiency.
  • Foster executive buy-in – Change comes from the top down, and without executive support, any process mapping initiative won’t gain much traction. Helping senior management recognize the potential returns of well documented processes will smooth the way for investing in good process mapping software and ensure that they support the initiative once it’s under way.

Process mapping, process improvement, and process management

Process mapping software is an essential tool in the journey to better business processes. It helps uncover opportunities for improvement and drive innovation. By creating dynamic process maps that engage teams, process management becomes everyone’s concern and is embedded in the organization’s culture, fostering ongoing improvement. Creating great process maps is one part of the program, but an essential one that is worth investing in.

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