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What’s new in Business Process Management and Business Analysis

The Secret Behind Process Maps and Process Models

When you need to document a business process, a good starting point is to map the process. This allows everyone to share the same understanding of what work gets done. Even though this is widely regarded as very important, not many people know the difference between a process map and what a process model is, how useful process models can be or even how to convert a process map to a process model.

What is a process map?

A process map is an initial description of a business process in graphic form. Just like a road map, it shows you how to get from point A to point B. Process maps are frequently used to capture the sequence of activities that represent a single everyday scenario. They are often drawn using non-standard shapes, showing limited information from one narrow viewpoint or another.

Then what is a process model?

On the other hand, process models are an accurate representation of how your business works, containing essential information that can't be understood from a simple process map. A process model includes additional elements, such as data related to relationships, events and activities in a process. To capture this detail, the analyst should use standardised shapes and set notation rules, for example by using Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 (BPMN) which is easy-to-learn and a global standard.

So why do we need process models?

While process maps are useful for quick visual analysis of a process, without a narrative alongside them, a process map makes it difficult to interpret or understand the process scenario correctly. Basic maps can't be used to test the logic of a process. This means that using static process maps to for process documentation causes your pursuit of business maturity to falter once you want to move beyond the basic description of business processes and into the phases of measuring, improving and managing them.

A real benefit of accurately defining processes using well-developed process models is to use a dynamic model to simulate the behaviour of real-world processes. When simulating processes, you can compare measured results against simulated cycle time, cost and resource utilisation. "What-If?" analysis can then be performed to determine the optimum future state.

Being able to build business process models, rather than process maps, is a fundamental of process analysis. Learn more about the secrets of business process mapping and modelling by attending our Business Process Mapping and Modelling Course.

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Set Your Business Analysis Career Goals: Aim for International Certification

More and more organisations need Business Analysts with a recognised certification. Attending Business Analysis courses and continuously upskilling yourself in Business Analysis methods and techniques is very important, but you should aim at obtaining certification by a recognised business analysis professional body to get to the top of your profession.

The International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®), the leading global certification body, has recently launched a new multi-level, competency-based certification programme enabling business analysts to obtain professional recognition at different stages of their career. This programme is a significant change because you can now set your career goals to suit your level of experience.

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Essential Skills a Business Analyst Needs to Develop

Business analysts enable change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value.

To achieve this broad goal, an effective analyst should have both left brain and right brain skills as well as a good knowledge of the business and its environment.

A left-brain skill a business analyst must have is to take a large business problem, break down that problem into its component parts, analyse the various aspects of the problem and then assemble and design an innovative solution to solve the problem. A thorough knowledge of business analysis techniques complements this skill.

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Understanding Customer Needs and Innovation Using Business Process Techniques

Harvard Business School professor and leading management thinker, Clayton Christensen has popularised and applied the concept of “jobs-to-be-done” to discover customer needs and opportunities for innovation. He has applied this idea to fields as diverse as education, healthcare and self-help. The concept is that people “hire” products and services to get a job done. Office workers hire word-processing software to create documents and digital recorders to capture meeting notes. Surgeons hire scalpels to dissect soft tissue and electrocautery devices to control patient bleeding. Farmers hire herbicides to prevent weeds from impacting crop yields.

This might sound obvious, but there is seldom a systematic approach to finding out exactly how customers get a job done so that innovation, even disruptive innovation, can be used to help people and companies get the job done in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

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How to Classify Your Processes to Structure Your Business Process Architecture

A useful way of classifying business processes is to identify and define core, support and management processes. Business process classification is important to be able to develop an effective business process architecture.

Core processes are end-to-end, cross-functional processes that directly deliver value to external clients or intermediaries. Core processes are often referred to as "primary" processes as they represent the essential activities an organisation performs to achieve its goals and objectives, fulfil its mission and attain its vision.

These processes make up what is called the value chain, which is the set of high level, interconnected core processes each of which adds value to the product or service. The value chain creates and delivers the product or service, which ultimately delivers value to customers.

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Our Business Process Management (BPM) Approach

In order to improve and optimise business processes and provide maximum value for process customers, we have developed an approach to BPM called the Viewpoint® Business Process Management (BPM) Methodology. This methodology is applied at two levels, the enterprise level and the process level.

At the enterprise level we conduct six activities, these are:

Communicate Business Process Management principles, concepts and benefits to senior management. This involves the full briefing of senior management to adopt the process view and support BPM initiatives. It also involves regular communication with senior management regarding the necessity for BPM and benefits achievable from BPM projects.

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