Process-Based Management: How to Identify and Map Business Processes

In order to establish a process-based management approach in an organisation, the three major types of processes must be identified: strategic, operative and support. Based on these, process mapping will help to identify the interrelationships of each one.

Process mapping

Making a process map is a complex task, but it can be key in the elaboration of a corporate strategic plan. But what exactly is a process map? What does it contribute to the company?

The process map is the graphic representation, or the diagram, of the existing interrelation between all the processes and subprocesses of the company. That said, it may seem easy to do, but the truth is that it is usually an arduous task involving the different departments of the company.

The objective of this map is to know in a very detailed and profound way the operations of the processes and activities in which the company is involved. It is usually carried out by a team with the heads of all the departments, which are in charge of identifying the processes, both the main and the secondary ones.

In fact, three main groups of processes are normally defined for the organisation: strategic, operational and support

Benefits of process maps

A process map is much more than a simple diagram. When it is well done, without errors, it provides a lot of vital information for the development of the company’s business activities. As a tool, it can be used to:

  • Detect competitive advantages
  • Identify possible improvements or corrections, as well as new opportunities for the business.
  • Manage the resources and activities of the company.
  • Identify the key roles of the company.
  • Define the responsibilities and functions of each employee.
  • Identify the current and future needs of customers.
  • Improve the flow of information between different processes and/or departments.

Embarking on a process mapping project in a company can generates many doubts about how to implement it but also about the benefits it entails. So, it is important to determine what the advantages are:

  • First, processing mapping helps to define roles and responsibilities within the organization.
  • Second, the flow of information between different functions is improved.
  • Third, the fact of having defined objectives at all levels encourages the different levels within the company to be aligned in the overall vision of the organisation.
  • In addition, it is also important to emphasise that with functions and processes oriented in a value chain, the objectives defined at all levels are aligned with the organisational vision.
  • Finally, we must understand that with process maps, key performance indicators are obtained and also serve to identify important opportunities. In short, with a process map, you get more order and align the visions of the company: key points to achieving a more competitive, and profitable, company.

Creating a process map

The processes of an organization are divided into 3 groups: strategic processes, operational processes, and support processes. Based on these, the smallest processes that belong to each group can then be identified.

Once all the processes of the company are known, the next step is to elaborate the process map. This could be considered as a “great web” of processes linked together and represented graphically.

It is a diagram that presents the global vision of the structure of the company, where all the processes that form it and its main relationships are presented. To elaborate it, all the connections must be known in addition to the inputs and outputs of each process, taking into account that the input has certain objectives in relation to the client and the output of this has to satisfy the client’s needs in relation to the objectives set.

As you can see, business management based on process mapping has a solid foundation, with a focus on objectives and results, and a global and transversal perspective of the entire company.

This type of management involves a process structure consistent with the operation and organisational structure of the company, a system of indicators that allows evaluating the efficiency of all processes as well as a designation of process managers, who supervise and improve compliance with the requirements and objectives assigned.