Process mapping or process modelling?
February 13, 2017

Tony Brine, Partner


“What’s the difference?” I hear some of you ask?

Well, put simply, business process mapping is like having a street map in your car glovebox (remember those days when you had a ‘driver’ and a ‘navigator’ on long trips!).

The traditional street map will tell your navigator how a process runs from start to end given an existing (and sometimes outdated) version of the street map without much related environmental information. If you didn’t have the street map, you could get by asking someone for directions and often scribbling down notes, or drawing a rough map on whatever paper you had at hand. Both these methods usually got you from A to B.

In comparison, business process modelling is like having hands free Google Maps. The richness of information and functionality contained within Google Maps means you can select between multiple route options, have visibility of estimated transit times, easily change routes on the fly, have visibility of other issues such as speed camera/zone locations, receive updates on map changes, be provided real time guidance through each step of the map and so on.

The simple street map analogy illustrates the nature of the differences between business process mapping and business process modelling tools.

A business process modelling tool has the capability to capture a vast array of attributes associated with a business process such as legislative references, risks, controls, policy and procedural linkages, cost information, time and motion data, RACI information and so on. In collecting this information, the business process mapping exercise provides a wealth of information, which can subsequently be used in business process modelling to model optimal pathways, perform impact assessments, automate RACI diagrams, and even automate the development of procedure documents.

I haven’t used a street map for years, and I’ve personally come to enjoy the wealth of information which lives in my Google Maps app. I enjoy pushing the app to its full extent, continually learning how I can use the app to different ends. I have a similar attitude in relation to business process modelling. Why settle for a traditional process map, when technology can give you so much more!

If you are a business analyst or if you have skills in business process mapping/modelling, I would love to hear from you as we are always in the market for good people who share a passion in this field.