ARIS Community - We Love BPM

Process mapping

Overview of Process Mapping

Download free modeling tool ARIS Express

The method of process mapping aims at making processes more transparent and efficient. For this, process participants get together in order to gather detailed information on a current process and visualize the relevant process - including specific roles and tasks of process participants - based on all available data. Thus, an important step of process mapping is the identification of the actual situation, which helps identify critical areas as well as potential for process improvement. This is the basis for the second major step that consists of defining to-be processes, goals that are to be achieved, as well as initiatives to be taken in order to obtain the required results.

Process mapping can be realized with the help of process maps. A process map shows all process-related activities, including input/output, approvals, exceptions, and cross-functional hand-offs. The main goal of the map is to provide an overview of the relevant business processes, so that organizations and individuals  participating in a process are able to understand their specific role in the overall structure.

The free modeling tool ARIS Express  supports different possibilities of mapping processes. For example, you can use the model type “Business model” to map your business process or the model type “BPMN diagram” if you want to document workflow processes.

A simple BPMN diagram may look like this:

Example of a BPMN diagram

Figure 1: Example of a BPMN diagram

How to create a process map

To create a process map you need to identify the key process objectives and main activity steps. When collecting and analyzing information about the process you should consider such factors as process complexity, the number of organizational and individual teams involved, as well as time and cost issues. The process map should highlight bottlenecks and delays, required rework times, unnecessary work steps, and authority ambiguities within a process. It is recommmended that you represent the process flow from the customer’s point of view, thus showing whether each step of the process helps create a clear value for the customer.

Reasons for creating process maps

Typical reasons for creating process maps are:

  • Process maps break down the complexity of processes and thus improve the understanding of process flows. This enables the management of a company to define steps for process improvement.
  • Process mapping skills combined with analytical skills facilitate communication among management, staff, and customers as the processes in question become more transparent.
  • Process maps can be used to identify efficiency issues. They also help find out how systems can support a process in such way that an increase in productivity can be achieved.

Advantages of process mapping

Process mapping can be extremely valuable because it enables you to identify improvement potential in a number of work areas.

Process maps

  • improve the understanding of work processes 
  • illustrate resource allocation
  • document training procedures
  • track workflows
  • increase staff awareness

A process map helps clarify specific roles and contributions of process participants and identify process improvement potential. As it provides an overall view of the entire business structure, a process map can be understood as a framework for multiple management approaches and allows process reengineering on a clear, comprehensible and customer-oriented basis.

Let's start modeling process maps!

From here you can start to learn how to map your processes with ARIS Express. The required steps are: Download ARIS Express, have a look at some model samples or video tutorials, start modeling, share your models and discuss them with other users, and if you haven't joined the ARIS Community yet, do it now! ;-)

Back to the BPM Glossary