Running an organization, particularly as it starts to scale up, requires a clear sense of perspective. It isn’t enough simply to have a plan; indeed, the most competitive businesses out there constantly review their strategies and processes in order to optimize their efficiency. This not only allows them to meet their goals quicker and with fewer wasted resources, but can also help to boost confidence and morale amongst their most valuable employees.
This is where BPMN comes in: the ‘Business Process Model and Notation’ is a standardized graphical language used to display business processes and flows in an accessible format. BPMN models are based around ‘events’, ‘activities’, ‘gateways’ and ‘flows’, with each element containing a number of variations and outcomes. While understanding business process diagrams and the language of BPMN can be challenging at first, particularly as employees first start to utilize licensed BPMN software, the improvements in terms of awareness and efficiency can be huge.
For one, BPMN diagrams can be clearly understood by less technically minded executives, providing them with greater clarity for making important decisions. By understanding the ways in which processes are linked, actors from across disparate departments can all contribute to making improvements and, where possible, automating processes in order to enjoy major savings. BPMN process models can also be passed on to developers, allowing them to construct systems based on optimized BPMN specifications.
Of course, as nice as this sounds, businesses which have little experience in process modeling may wonder what makes BPMN stand out. After all, to look at a BPMN model, you may believe that the general style can be recreated easily.
The truth is that there are a number of reasons why BPMN sets the global standard in business process modeling – let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits on offer!
How can BPMN benefit my business?
Failing to fully understand how your business works will inevitably lead to lost opportunities and wasted resources. In contrast, ensuring that important decision makers can comprehend your most valuable processes will enable them to continually point out where they can be improved. Not only will this leave you better able to make major gains for less, but it will also encourage an atmosphere of continuous improvement, which could hugely benefit your business in the long term.
For example, you may use BPMN to track the origin and direction of a key process, as well as the ‘gateways’ which divert it to different potential endpoints. In doing so you could find that there are changes which would make your desired endpoint, such as delivering a product or service of a certain quality, cheaper and easier for employees to reach.
This level of understanding can be applied to virtually any business domain. However, BPMN also accounts for the connections between departments, allowing actors to see how they are contributing towards a shared goal (and how each decision will affect the business as a whole).
You may say that this level of perspective simply requires instructions for higher-tier executives. However, one of the key benefits of BPMN is its clear graphical language, which is much easier to comprehend than simple narrative text. To put it bluntly, BPMN is super efficient in enabling efficiency!
In the modern world of business, it’s impossible to escape the reach of IT. What used to be seen as simply another tool now permeates virtually every aspect of modern enterprise, including customer service, communication and even the most basic of business processes.
Even so, organizations still have both technical and non-technical actors in key positions. Because of this, it can often be a challenge to ensure that business strategies are fully aligned with IT capabilities. Failing to do so can cause wasteful delays in achieving key goals, adapting to new challenges and overcoming more fluid competitors.
The process mapping techniques used in BPMN are perfect for communicating the branching role of IT within an organization. The language can be molded to suit audiences of varying technical backgrounds, simplifying key elements and processes in a way that makes their capabilities clear regardless of the audience. Even basic BPMN training can provide invaluable experience for business analysts who are less used to dealing with the technological aspects of modern organizations.
As technology continues to evolve, organizations must be ready to adapt in order to remain competitive. For example, many customers now demand access to services via apps and handheld devices, while the growth of international outsourcing has required companies to invest far more heavily in digital onboarding and induction programs.
That being said, it is all too easy for organizations to hear about new technology and get over-excited. It goes without saying that not every new gimmick or trend will be suitable for every company out there, and trying to incorporate a new feature or process without fully understanding it will often lead to wasted effort with minimal gains.
Utilizing the BPMN framework, companies can easily predict how changes could potentially benefit their most vital processes. They can also assess potential risks, allowing them to make informed decisions and adapt to challenges as efficiently as possible.
The fluidity of BPMN also ensures that models can be adapted to include future technologies, frameworks and processes. In short, BPMN can boost the adaptability of businesses and cut down on expensive guesswork not only in the short term but also for the foreseeable future.
Collaboration and morale
The clarity offered by BPMN diagrams and notation is not relevant only for a business’s most top-tier decision makers. It can also improve the collaboration between employees in different departments, companies or even industries, with shared terminology to put everyone on the same level.
Being able to understand a company’s goals, combined with the confidence of knowing that they are being pursued as efficiently as possible, can also do wonders for employee morale. BPMN terminology and documentation can make team members certain of what they need to do, as well as how and why. This can also enable ‘rapid knowledge transfer’, with employees using knowledge and experience to document processes in a way that everyone, including both new starters and high-level executives, can learn from.
Induction and onboarding
When it comes to finding and retaining key talent, it is crucial to make a good first impression. The clarity offered by BPMN is perfect for this, as qualified and experienced employees will be able to see that your business has both a clear goal and well-refined processes to help meet it. BPMN graphs can also help completely green starters to become productive as quickly as possible by helping them to focus on the most important elements for learning their new roles.
As useful as BPMN is for onboarding key actors, it can also help businesses to survive their departure. When BPMN is used properly, each and every process, even those from employees with niche skills and experience, can be fully laid out for others to observe and comprehend. This can make the process of replacing these employees much easier, as newcomers will have to spend far less time getting to grips with their work.
Of course, having a solid plan in place is one thing, but actually learning to stick to it is something else entirely. Luckily, the clarity and perspective offered by BPMN make it easy for managers and executives to ascertain why key processes are not being completed and, when necessary, hold key actors accountable.
This is not only relevant for managers controlling large-scale processes, but also for employees working on the ground. These actors will be able to understand how their work has an impact on wider organizational goals, motivating them to make the necessary contributions on their end.