Business Process Modeling and Gap Analysis

Business process modeling is a means of representing the business activities, the information flow and decision logic in business processes. It externalizes the business knowledge with a view to agree and bind all stakeholders in a representation that is shared within an organization and is reflected in its information systems. With the power of visualization, business process modeling is used to:

  • Communicate information regarding a process and the interaction it includes within/between organizations either among the persons reading a model or the persons who create it.
  • Presents multiple granularity levels: from a simple depiction of the workflow to simulation and execution. Addresses complexity by emphasizing on specific aspects and by reusing models.
  • Achieves a common understanding of business knowledge between an organization and IT experts and thus drives the design and implementation of software systems.

Business Process Management vs Business Process Modeling vs Business Process Analysis

Business Process Management is “old school”, while Business Modeling and Analysis are more trendy new stuff? With all terminology and current trends, it is easy to get confused. So what is the difference between them?

  • Business process modeling in business process management is the activity of representing processes of an enterprise, so that the current process may be analyzed, improved, and automated. It is typically performed by business analysts or domain experts who provide expertise in the modeling discipline.
  • Business Analysis is the discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, process reengineering: organizational change or strategic planning and policy development.
    • Business Process improvement is a continual process that aims at attaining efficiency through continual improvement by reiterating the processes. BPI is the way you improve current as-is state, where you have problems and issues (look for failure demands, wastes and eliminate them) – so you got to your to-be state.
    • Business Process Reengineering is a strategy based on aspiration which aims to redesign the process almost from scratch. You go first for customer value propositions. It takes into consideration the input and the desired output and comes up with an efficient process to achieve the aim. Thus, the business process reengineering is a radical approach to the current business process. Business process re-engineering necessarily means replacing the existing system.
  • Business Process Management is a holistic management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology. Business process management attempts to improve processes continuously.

Business Process Modeling for Business Process Improvement

A BPM methodology follows a particular “lifecycle” of phases wherein each phase, a specific set of activities are performed.  Simply put, these are the things you will do and the order in which you will do them to continuously improve and control your processes. The standard or common BPM methodology follows these life-cycle phases: Design, Model, Execute, Monitor and Optimize (DMEMO).

  1. Define – As is and to be modeling
  2. Model – analyze the process, perform “what if” analysis and compare the various simulations or process options to determine optimal improvements.
  3. Execute – select and implement improvements.
  4. Monitor – Periodically monitor the process against establishing metrics such as SLAs or defect rates
  5. Optimize – Iterate for continuous improvement

BPMN lifecycle

How to Define “As-is” and “To-be” Modeling with BPMN?

Business process modeling is the analytical representation or illustration of an organization’s business processes which is widely viewed as a critical component in successful business process improvement. It is used to map out an organization’s current processes (as-is model) to create a baseline for process improvements and to design future processes (“to-be” model) with those improvements incorporated.

Process modeling often uses Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), a standard method of illustrating processes with flowchart-like diagrams that can be easily understood by both IT and business managers.

How to apply “As-is” and “To-be” Analysis?

One effective technique for transforming vision into results is to develop and populate an As-Is and To-Be BPMN diagrams. The As-Is diagram describes the present state of the organization’s process, culture, and capabilities. The To-Be diagram describes the future state; in other words, how the organization’s process, culture, and capabilities will appear in the future. This studying of As-is and To-be process results in identifying the difference between the current and target business state, known as a gap, which is an important part of any business process reengineering/improvement initiative.

Capture the Current Process in As-is Process

In the online shop example below, the process begins with the sales representative receives a purchase order from a customer and proceeds to check the stock level. If there is enough stock on hand to meet with the order, the sales representative will pack them. The process ends with shipping them along with an invoice. In case of insufficient stock, the sales representative will suggest the customer amend the purchase order.

As-is Process Model

Create Improvement Actions with “To-be” Process

Once the business process of your existing operation has been created, you can then derive the to-be process model by considering and projecting the necessary improvements or changes needed to be made based on the existing to-be process. Walkthrough the steps in this tutorial to see how things work.

Re-design to Enhance the Current Process in To-be Process

Let’s just say that our business has grown so much that we now have a warehouse to keep our stocks. So we are looking for ways to improve our current (as-is) process to better allocate the new resources. Furthermore, we will show an example of modeling the enhancement below in a to-be process diagram.

To-be Process Model

BPMN in Visual Paradigm

Visual Paradigm is a modeling software. It supports various modeling standards including UML, SysML, SoaML and, BPMN.

Listed below are some of the key BPMN editor features:

Resource Catalog

Create new shapes quickly and accurately through drag-and-drop.

Drag and drop to create shapes

Expandable Sub-Process

Expand and collapse sub-process shapes to show or hide its internal process content.

Sub-process with thumbnail

Nested Pools and Lanes

Create multiple levels of pools and lanes to reflect the actual organizational structure.

Nested pool and lane

User Story Integration

Discover and record requirements from the business process model by creating and integrating user stories with tasks and sub-processes.

User story integration with BPMN

BPMN Process Simulation

Visually simulate the execution of the business process for studying resource consumption (e.g. human resources, devices, etc.) throughout a process.

BPMN process simulation

BPMN Process Animation

Clears barrier encountered in studying an animated process flow with static images.

BPMN process animation

Turn every software project into a successful one.

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