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Why Every Business Can Benefit from Process Mapping

Updated: Apr 3

I am always surprised when I encounter a business that is unfamiliar with process mapping, as it offers so many benefits to organisations.

What is a Process?

Everything we do is a process, from making a pot of coffee to hiring a new employee.

In simple terms, a process is a series of sequential steps to reach a desired outcome, whether a cup of coffee or a new employee.

What is Process Mapping?

If a process defines what we do in sequential steps, then process mapping visually represents those steps.

Process maps typically use a standard set of symbols such as squares to show activities (actions/verbs), diamonds to show decision points (another type of action), circles or pill shapes to show inputs and outputs (nouns/things we use and produce) and arrows connecting the shapes to show the directional flow of the process. The symbols used depend on the process mapping methodology adopted.

Recruitment Process Map
Triaster Limited Process Map (

The standard methodology is the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) developed by Object Management Group (OMG). However, my preferred process mapping methodology is the Noun-Verb method (as shown in the image above) as it very simple to use and easily understood by a large, non-specialist audience.

The Benefits of Process Mapping

Gives Visibility and Clarity to How Processes Should be Performed he key here is that the process must be visible to the end user (the employees). Too often, I see processes documented but then put somewhere inaccessible to the employees, such as stored in a locked-down shared drive, a desk drawer or a paper manual. I recommend that organisations implement a process management system where processes are instantly available to everyone via an online system. I have personally worked with Triaster for many years so highly recommend their software; however, there are close contenders out there.

Supports Cross-Functional Teams End-to-end process maps show how processes inter-relate across business areas. This means that employees can begin to understand how they fit within an organisation as they can see how their work feeds into other areas. Most importantly, during process improvement initiatives, it is vital that the end-to-end process is clear, as changes within one area may impact another area. Not doing this results in fixing one area and potentially breaking cohesion across the end-to-end process, as an output from one area is an input to the next area.

Leads to Process Improvement Just by documenting the process, you can achieve quick wins. Bottlenecks can be identified, and resource allocation or system usage can be improved upon. As W. Edwards Deming stated, 'If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.'

Helps with IT System Implementation Process mapping is vital to most large-scale IT system implementations, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. It provides the as-is definition of your business against which the ERP implementation can be planned. Process mapping can also highlight where systems are being used across the organisation, enabling disparate areas of the business to join up their work and streamline their use of systems.

Supports Knowledge Retention, Training and On-boarding Process maps can support your employees whether they are new to the organisation, new to a particular role or need to understand how to perform a process that is not performed every day. In addition, by capturing what your employees do, the organisation will feel less impact when an employee leaves the organisation. Implementing a process management system will give your organisation one source of truth for processes and relevant documentation.

Shows Compliance with Regulatory Bodies The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has introduced the Annex SL framework which calls for a process-based approach. I would recommend reading the BSI white paper What is the difference between a process and a procedures approach? as it explains the use of processes in ISO-compliant management systems.

Provides Real-Time Cost Savings Time, cost, effort and frequency can be captured within process maps. Some process mapping tools simulate data-rich process maps so that process changes can show real-time savings when moving from an AS-IS process (current state) to a TO-BE process (future state).

Empowers Employees to Continually Improve

Giving visibility and putting process ownership in the hands of your employees empowers them to implement improvements themselves, thereby creating more efficient processes.

Standardises Ways of Working and Outcomes

If you know working in a specific way results in the desired outcome, why wouldn't you standardise that way of working to ensure consistency? Process maps provide organisations with documented best practices.

The examples above are just a few benefits of process mapping; however, there are more. If you want to understand how process mapping can help your business, please get in touch or view what problems we solve.


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