Business Process Analysis using BPMN 2.0
What is BPMN?
For those unfamiliar with this term, BPMN refers to Business Process Modeling Notation. In short, BPMN is the use of symbols to clearly determine the flow and processes of business designed in a process diagram. Its primary goal is to eliminate and confusion when the process diagram is presented.
BPMN version 2.0 (BPMN 2.0) marks the most recent update to lay out and visually communicate in a BPM context. It was developed with the specific goal to establish a standard, common language when modeling business processes.
It is through this design that you are able to use universal symbols that are understood by business professionals using this international standard notation.
BPMN 2.0 has been widely received globally as an exceptional solution with respect to representing processes.
Goal of BPMN
• For tech experts in charge of business implementation
• For business analysts creating and improving processes
• For managers monitoring and controlling processes
BPMN 2.0 Updates
BPMN version 2.0 represents some of the biggest changes since inception. A few of them are:
• Choreography diagram added.
• Conversation diagram added.
• Non-interrupting Events for a Process.
• Event Sub-processes for a Process.
Technical changes include the following:
• XSLT between XMI and XSD formats
• Removal of reference tasks.
• Process execution semantics definition
• Metamodel is shown via class diagram figures
• XMI (interchange) and XSD (XML Schema Definition)
• Abstract syntax model interchange formats in both XML Metadata
BPMN 2.0 Advantages
• Management of business processes is supported
• Non-expert users are given an easy and intuitive way to understand a process diagram in BPM.
• Semantics of complex processes are represented easily and in a legible format.
• Bridges the communication gap between the design team creating the business process and the team implementing it.
• Noise communication is reduced between execution and management and process design and implementation.
• Given the intuitiveness of the process, it is very easy to facilitate the integration of other professionals using BPM (business analysts, staff directly working with the processes as well as the managers having access to the data used to control and monitor a process.
What does As-Is and To-Be Have to Do with BPMN 2.0
An effective output technique of transforming a vision into results would be to develop and populate two types of BPMN diagrams. One is an “As-is” diagram while the other is a “To-Be” diagram.
The As-Is diagram would describe the present state with respect to an organization’s culture, capabilities and processes. The To-Be diagram on the other hand will describe the future state of the same items. In other words, it describes how the organizations culture, capabilities and processes will appear in the future.
To study the As-Is and To-Be process is to identify the gap between them. In short, this gap is the difference between the current and target states. This is critical information required for any business process improvement process.
An As-Is diagram will work out exactly where improvements are required and will identify what the starting point for change will be. The To-Be diagram requires creativity to flow from business analysts to solve problems and design processes to accomplish business outcomes, based often on information that is not 100% vetted about what the organization wants to achieve.
When conducting current and future state process reporting business can expect to:
• Align operations with business strategy
• Improve training and process communication
• See operational efficiency increases
• See increases in control and consistency throughout the organization
• Achieve a competitive advantage
Steps involved in an As-Is process
This begins with gathering a list of all products and services to clearly understand the outline of the company’s value chain. Once compiled, move on to identifying all processes the company uses to create the products and services at each level. Order these chronologically.
It is important to connect with all those involved who oversee all aspects of each process to create an accurate report.
Perform this with stakeholders as well as managers and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) involved in the process. By gathering personal reports, you will glean insight into processes that work well and some that do not. You may also see steps illuminated that you haven’t seen earlier.
It is important not to make conclusions based solely on reporting by any one individual.
Direct Observation: In addition to interviewing, take time to observe the processes in action.
Surveys: Surveys or questionnaires can be sent to process participants. This is where you collect formal responses. Surveys work well as you have the chance to ask very specific questions you did not receive answers to during the interview and observation stages.
Group Meetings: As another option, you may wish to host a group session of stakeholders and outline the processes under review and to confirm the findings previously made. It is important to meet often so all remain on the same page.
Once all the information is collected from interviews, you will need to document this clearly in a BPMN 2.0 process map.
This should identify all process inputs, support functions, detailed descriptions on processes and of course, all process outputs.
Identifying the Gaps
You will not be able to build out a future state design without first taking a detailed look at your current state. It is good to analyze this state for the following:
Bottlenecks: Determine if any stalls exist in your processes and if you can see what is causing them. It may be too many meetings, delayed approvals or too many people involved with approvals.
Gaps: this is where you will need to locate gaps in the process hindering the intended output or performance.
Weaknesses: The right processes may in place but there may be a weakness in the existing process. A good example is where communication could be better, or handoffs of information can be streamlined for efficiencies..
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