Business process modelling within the Australian government context
February 27, 2017

Joe Brine, Senior Manager


Business process modelling exercises within government vary from entity to entity, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a variety of modelling engagements over the past three years that I’ve been at Synergy.

Business process modelling generally involves engaging with process owners to obtain an understanding of:

  • How processes are performed from start to finish;
  • Who performs those processes;
  • How long it takes to perform those processes;
  • What risks are associated with those processes and how those risks are controlled;
  • What policy and procedural documentation governs the processes; and
  • What legislative requirements are associated with each process step.

Smaller engagements involve modelling unique processes in isolation from the rest of the organisation while large engagements can involve modelling the integration of business processes across an entire organisation.

Through the use of business process modelling software, we are able to capture all of this information and make it available to our clients via a series of interactive webpages. The information presented on these pages can be tailored based on the position of the user accessing the information.

Depending on the needs of the client, we can build business process models that require control and risk owners to assert on a periodic basis that their controls are operating as designed and that risks continue to be appropriately mitigated over time. This type of model is an effective assurance mechanism to senior executive as it automatically generates ‘red flashing light’ emails when key controls are not performed in a timely manner or when risk owners indicate that key risks are not being appropriately mitigated.

So effectively, unless senior executive receive an automatically generated email in their inbox saying that something is going wrong, a business process model can provide them with confidence that key risks within the entity are being appropriately mitigated.

When we talk about business process modelling, we’re not talking about one solution fits all. It’s about consulting with management to understand what they want out of a business process model, then turning it into something they can actually use; that fits their needs.

Sometimes organisations want to document their business processes so they can develop standard operating procedures. Others want to build an assurance framework where they can gather information about risks and controls. We get really excited when a client wants to document the integration of processes on a large scale.

For example, with a recent Defence project, we’re taking a holistic approach. We’re modelling processes which are performed throughout the entirety of the organisation. Whereas in another organisation, there might be a particular branch head or director who has a particular concern, and we’ll deliver something that caters to them.

Synergy is technology agnostic, which means that when we walk in to a room, we don’t have a preference on the technology that we use. Generally, we do choose between Visio and Holocentric though. That choice is driven by the needs of the client. If the client wants something fairly simple, we’ll use Visio, but when a client wants something more complex and they want to invest in a long-term business process model, then we’ll generally use Holocentric.

We’re currently presenting to a variety executive across government on the benefits of investing in business process modelling software, such as Holocentric. In order to inform these presentations, we perform pilot process modelling exercises where we capture process information in Visio, but we also capture the process information within Holocentric to demonstrate its extensive capabilities.

Additionally, there’s a number of things we do to deliver innovative solutions to our clients and to support our clients after we walk out the door.

One of these is the ‘Holocentric Community of Practice’ and we have a standing invitation to all of our clients to attend. The idea is that people come together on a monthly basis and they talk about their experiences with Holocentric – how they’re getting value out of it, any queries they have, etc. – and because we have a number of stakeholders in the room from different perspectives, it’s quite a useful mechanism for providing value back to clients. When we do bigger engagements, we also setup a ‘Holocentric Community of Practice’ internally so stakeholders from different divisions and branches are in the same room to talk about their experiences.

If you’re a business process analyst, or if you have business process modelling or business process mapping experience, Synergy is currently looking for more people to join our team. Contact us today!