Professional organizations, large and small, established or just starting out, use business process models (BPM) to standardize and communicate the procedures at the heart of their businesses, and thereby streamline operations and improve efficiency. In an increasingly competitive world, effective management of business processes is becoming ever more important. Many factors such as the rise in frequency of goods ordered, the need for fast information transfer, quick decision making, the need to adapt to changes in demand, more international competitors, and demands for shorter cycle times, are challenging the profitability and survival of big and small companies, and quick recognition and response to these factors are critical to success.
A standard graphical notation called Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is often used to create uniform process models. Basic BPMN uses traditional flowcharting shapes, which makes it easy for new users to learn. By communicating processes in a uniform manner, the outcome is increased effectiveness (value for the customer) and increased efficiency (less costs for the company), thereby allowing organizations to maintain or increase their competitive advantage. There are typically four steps to managing business processes, known as the BPM life cycle:
- Process Design: Business processes are created using business process modeling software like Lucidchart. Graphical standards like BPMN are dominant in this stage.
- System configuration: Synchronization of roles and organization charts - effectively matching the right person to the right job.
- Process Enactment: Business processes are deployed.
- Diagnosis: Identify and improve on bottlenecks and potential fraudulent loopholes in the business processes.
Tools such as Lucidchart can play an integral part in each of these steps.
1. Process Design: Quickly Model and Collaborate on Business Processes
Lucidchart’s intuitive interface lets users quickly model business processes, and its revolutionary real-time collaboration allows the entire organization to quickly and easily refine the model as needed.
To get started, open up a new document and choose from a blank canvas or a template. With your document open you’ll see the standard flowchart shapes on the left part of the editor. By hovering over each of these shapes, some text will appear that explains what each shape can be used for.
Start drawing by simply dragging a shape onto the page, adding text, dragging a line out of the shape, choosing the next shape from the auto-shape and then repeating as necessary. Diagramming has never been easier.
“Two heads are better than one.”
Process models are better if your colleagues or manager provide input and feedback. With Lucidchart, to collaborate or share a document, simply click the orange icon on the top of the editor. You can then share the document with specific people, or share with your entire organization with the click of a button. Collaborators can review and make changes to your process model directly; there’s no need to print out hardcopies or email attachments, and manually collate all the different suggestions. Quicker, better results, AND less work for you!
As changes are made by others, everyone will be able to see the history of the document and, if needed, revert back to or start from an earlier version. This powerful version control is unique to Lucidchart and makes diagramming with groups even more effective. Group chat is also built right into the editor so changes can be discussed.
2. System Configuration: Matchmaking
Now that the process is designed, you can refer to your orgnaization chart to match the roles with the right people. Building an organization chart in Lucidchart is easy -- simply click on Manage Library in the bottom left corner of the editor and add Org Chart. With a well-defined organization chart it’s easy to synchronize roles with the appropriate employees.
3. Process Enactment: Communicate the process
Lucidchart makes it easy to communicate your newly designed process model quickly across the entire organization. Simply, click the publish icon on the dock and choose what format you would like. Better yet, ensure that everyone in your organization has access to and is adhering to the latest process by publishing the model to your internal wiki or intranet. Simply embed a link to the model on your internal site, and your entire company will always have access to the latest, most up-to-date process. You can distribute the newly designed process in a variety of ways:
- Embed an image into your company wiki or website
- Attach it to an email
- Post it on a social media site
- Share the document through Lucidchart’s reader
Note: Interlinks between pages are preserved when publishing to PDF.
4. Diagnosis: Remove bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to test the process and gather data to determine where the bottlenecks and inefficiencies are, you can very easily go back and make changes to the process model and those changes will be shared across the organization immediately. No need to update your company wiki as the changes are applied to published images instantaneously. Using Lucidchart to effectively manage your business processes can streamline operations and thereby improve the bottom line leading you company to gain an advantage over competitors.
FOOTNOTES: Simchi-Levi et al., 2000) Simchi-Levi, D., Kaminsky, P. and Simchi-Levi, E. (2000), Designing and Managing the Supply Chain: Concepts, Strategies, and Case Studies, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York, NY.
van der Aalst, W.M.P., ter Hofstede, A.H.M. and Weske, M. (2003), “Business process management: a survey”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Business Process Management, BPM 2003, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 26-27 June.