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Every Company Needs a Narrative
- John Hagel III
It’s more than just a story.
Corporate narratives offer a powerful opportunity for differentiation. A good narrative helps companies go beyond the fear of things like ever-increasing competition and an unyielding the pace of change. Unfortunately, very few companies are good at crafting an inspiring, customer-focused narrative. To do one well, resist the temptation to simply hand task off to your PR team. An authentic narrative should be led by the C-suite. Second, go beyond your product or service to truly understand your customers’ unmet needs. Finally, find some stories of people who have already addressed the opportunities you’ve identified.
Companies are missing a big opportunity – to craft an inspiring corporate narrative.
How do I define narrative? It’s not a story. Stories are generally self-contained in that they have a beginning, a middle and an end. I see narratives, in contrast, as open-ended. There’s some kind of threat or opportunity looming in the future, and it’s not at all clear how things are going to work out. The resolution of the narrative hinges on the choices and actions of those involved, which makes it a potentially powerful call to action.
In the corporate context, a narrative should be about the customer, not the corporation. Building a successful narrative requires a deep understanding of your customers: How are their needs evolving? What are the big opportunities that would excite and inspire them? What are the challenges or obstacles they would confront in seeking to address those opportunities? What actions will they need to take in order to overcome those obstacles and achieve the opportunity? Are those actions something that the company could help them to pursue?
Unfortunately, very few companies are good at crafting an inspiring, customer-focused narrative. One of the best examples comes from Apple. In the 1990s, Steve Jobs articulated a narrative that was condensed by his marketers into the slogan “Think different.”
To understand the impact of this slogan and its supporting narrative, we need to go back to the early days of digital technology. Many people felt it took away our personas and made us data points. It put us in cubicles and made us cogs in a machine. The Apple narrative suggested that a new generation of digital technology would enable us to express our unique potential and personality. To harness the real potential of this new generation of technology, we needed to think different. Would we do that?
To make this narrative more credible, Apple told stories about famous people like Einstein, Picasso, Bob Dylan and Muhammad Ali who did “think different” and what they were able to accomplish. When sharing this narrative in the marketplace, Apple made very little reference to itself. It was all about the customers and the opportunity available to customers, if they would take action. It’s one of the reasons that Apple in the early days became the equivalent of a religion – it spoke to something that was a deeply felt need among people at that time.
That’s just one example. There are a few others including “Just Do It” by Nike and “Belong Anywhere” by Airbnb – slogans that embody inspiring narratives. So why are they do hard to do?
We live in a world where customers are becoming more powerful and demanding. They have the ability to access more options, gain more information about those options, and switch from one vendor to another easily if their needs are not being met. More broadly, trust is eroding in our institutions . People are increasingly tuned in to how companies and others are pursuing their own interests, often at the expense of the needs and interests of their customers.
In part, this is the result of intensifying global competition. As companies experience mounting performance pressure, their time horizons shrink, and they become obsessed with internal efficiency.
In that kind of world, there’s an opportunity for powerful differentiation. Customers will be drawn to a compelling corporate narrative with a long-term view that demonstrates a deep understanding of their needs and aspirations and, importantly, that helps them to see what actions they need to take to address those needs and aspirations. Creating such an authentic connection with your customers is also an opportunity to rebuild some trust.
These narratives can also inspire and motivate a growing number of third parties who seek to help customers achieve more meaningful impact. In the Apple example, its corporate narrative was a key element in spawning a large ecosystem of companies seeking to develop new applications and digital tools that could help customers to “think different.”
But there’s an even more compelling reason to embrace corporate narratives at this point. As I discuss in my new book, The Journey Beyond Fear , fear has become a dominant emotion around the world. In a business context, there are many forces drawing out this fear. Competition is intensifying on a global scale, workers increasingly feel they are at risk of losing their jobs to robots, the pace of change is accelerating, and extreme events come in out of nowhere to disrupt our best-laid plans.
While there are reasons for fear, fear is also very limiting. We are all seeking ways to move beyond fear to cultivate emotions like hope and excitement that will help us to achieve more impact that is meaningful to us. I believe corporate narratives can play a powerful role in helping us to move beyond fear — if we can do them correctly.
First, resist the temptation to hand this off to your PR team. Corporate narratives will only have impact if they are deeply authentic. Recall the example of Apple. A key reason for the success of that narrative was the fact that both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak thought different every day of their lives — it wasn’t just a marketing slogan. Sure, the marketing team can play a role in taking the message out to the market, but the key is to get the C-suite actively engaged in crafting the narrative and developing a deep understanding of the untapped opportunities available to their customers. In the end, you want all your employees to embrace the narrative and understand the implications it has for the work they do in terms of where and how they can help customers to address the opportunity ahead.
Second, expand your horizons beyond the product or service you offer. Explore the broader context of your customers and what their bigger unmet needs and aspirations are. Tie those back to your own personal needs and aspirations – the most powerful opportunities are the ones that excite and inspire you as well.
Third, be clear about the actions that your customers can take. Make sure they aren’t too overwhelming but also not so easy that they can be done without much effort.
Finally, find some stories of people who have already addressed the opportunity you’ve identified. Then put it all together into a simple and compelling narrative that can speak to your customers and, if possible, condense it into a slogan to get their attention and motivate them to want to learn more.
To create more value in a world of mounting performance pressure, we need to expand our horizons. Developing a deeper understanding of the unmet needs and aspirations of your customers is part of that expansion. Then you can look ahead to frame an opportunity that will be truly inspiring to them. And you can look within to find ways you can be more helpful to your customers in addressing that opportunity. If done right, your customers and your company will move past the fear-driven instinct to shrink your horizons, and focus on the longer-term opportunities ahead.
- John Hagel III recently retired from Deloitte, where he founded and led the Center for the Edge , a research center based in Silicon Valley. A long-time resident of Silicon Valley, he is also a compulsive writer, having published eight books, including his most recent one, The Journey Beyond Fear . He will be establishing a new Center to offer programs based on the book.
Why Model Business Processes?
July 14, 2014 Tom Karasmanis, Senior Consultant - Business Architect, BA, QA, PM -->
Understanding how work is done within an organization is very important in deciding change. To do this, business analysts may use a model to see how business processes work within a unit. A business process is a repeatable flow of activities initiated by a business event that may have multiple paths to completion. So why do we model business processes? A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) version 2.0 defines business process models as follows:
“A [business] process model is a visual representation of the sequential flow and control logic of a set of related activities or actions.” (9.21.2)"
We model to see how multiple people or groups collaborate over a period of time to perform work. These processes are often complex. A model is a simplified view of the entire business unit that can be drilled down to varying degrees of detail. Two states can be modeled: the “as-is” or current state and the “to-be” or future state. We often model a number of future states based on requirements, and then we decide the change management process as we then decide how to get from the current state to that future state.
Modeling business processes helps with many things, including but not limited to:
- eliminating irrelevant details,
- presenting processes in a common format for all stakeholders,
- assessing efficiency, and
- understanding cost.
Start with a set of questions to determine what information is required. Begin with a “one-pager”, a high-level overview that captures the key elements. Then, drill down layer-by-layer until the required level of detail is reached. At that point, a stakeholder may wish to expand specific processes, but it is important to drill down not by individual process, but by the entire model as the whole.
Business Process Modeling vs. Use Cases
Use Cases define specific processes as a series of sequential steps with alternate flows where necessary. Process Modeling is a collection of processes in an entire business unit (e.g. organization, department, operation). Take, for example, handling a mortgage. A Use Case may detail how to perform any one process, such as applying for a mortgage. A Process Model will include every process involved in handling a mortgage, including applying, reviewing, renewing, cancelling, etc. A use case provides an individual narrative, where a process model will collect all relevant narratives in one model.
UML vs. BPMN
The two most widely used notations are Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Business Process Model Notation (BPMN). With the introduction of BPMN, UML is being used more for systems modeling and BPMN has surpassed it as the best practice for business process modeling. However you can still use UML quite comfortably to model business processes. Each notation uses its own unique symbols and terminology, but all models consist of the same basic parts:
- Activity: triggered by an event, an activity within a process
- Event: an action (manual or automated), condition (rule), or temporal instance (passage or period of time), that triggers an action or process
- Gateway: a split pathway in sequence flow, where either multiple paths may be taken or a decision on a path must be made per a condition
- Flow: the direction of the sequence, or order of events and actions
- Swimlanes: a visual distinction of responsibility, or who is doing what, within a process
One significant advantage of BPMN is the inclusion of intermediate events. These allow that, if in the middle of a group of activities something fails, you can break out of the whole group of activities and branch out into exception handling. BPMN is more powerful than UML, and looks a little better. Models are easy to read and understand, but can often be difficult to write. As you gain experience in modeling processes, there are more techniques and symbols you can learn to make your models more effective. Modeling business processes is a simple way to examine all the ways in which work is done within an organization. No matter the requirements, process modeling can be an easy way to display, strategize and manage change for all different types of stakeholders.
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How to Write a Business Process Document
Last Updated: January 16, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis . Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 373,185 times.
A business process document (BPD) acts as an agreed upon communication guide that all employees, managers, customer service employees, even outsiders can reference to see how a process within the business should be performed. It can also serve as the baseline for training documents to prepare new workers for that process. Whether you're writing for your own organization, or preparing a business process document as a professional writer, the process is helpful and often critical to success.
Defining the Process
- Another option is to bring in subject-matter experts from outside the business organization who can provide knowledgeable and unique input.  X Research source
- For many assignments, you will be writing several individual process documents. There should be one for each of the processes in a complex operation, but repeatable processes can have material duplicated from a singular document.
- As a general rule, it's better to make each document cover as small a process as possible. This makes the process, and the list of people who must understand it, as clear as can be.
- Be sure to describe the impact, positive and negative, that the process has on the organization.
- A typical scope: This process pertains to flight record-keeping. Unrelated records, such as the details of aviation maintenance or quality control checks, are not pertinent within the scope of this process.
- A poorly named business process would be Filing .
- A well named business process would be Flight record-keeping
- For example, one of the most well-defined and commonly-used forms of business process modeling is simply referred to as Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) .
- This systems uses shaped "flow objects" to indicate specific types of tasks and "connecting objects" to show the relationships between them. In addition, "swim lanes" are used to show partitions in the process, like different departments responsible for parts of the process.
- This notation is used frequently and is therefore suited for collaboration and standardization across an organization.
- However, different process call for different modeling techniques. For example, Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams are more effective for modeling complex logic processes and are more suitable for software system modeling than BPMN.  X Research source
Clarifying the Steps of the Process
- Printing out the form XYZ
- Determine personnel responsible for filling out specific sections of form XYZ
- Create chain of custody for form XYZ
- Determine method for integration of form XYZ into filing system
- Regardless of the format you decided on, it may be beneficial to utilize typical flow diagrams symbols at this stage (e.g. squares are steps, diamonds are questions, ovals are start/end points).
- Example: Upon completion of the flight, pilots shall utilize flight record computer system on airplane tablets to print out form XYZ.
- For instance, the decision matrix for maintenance could involve line leaders, shift leaders, multiple manager levels, up to even the plant manager.
Writing the Business Process Document
- If there is pertinent industry terminology pertinent to the process, there can be a section that covers abbreviations and terminology.  X Trustworthy Source Official UK government website Official website for the public sector of the UK government Go to source
- The introduction can be a simplified method for delivering the overall concept to new employees who may not be able to follow the entire BPD.
- A sample introduction could start similar to the following: This introduction provides pertinent background data and justification for improving the flight record-keeping within Blackhawk Inc. At Blackhawk Inc, improvement of the flight record-keeping is mandatory, and this process will ensure standardization.
- Pilots shall fill out post-flight form XYZ, and note any irregularities (00:30).
- Pilots shall place form XYZ in the maintenance inbox, signing the check-in form (00:05).
- Maintenance shall sign-off form XYZ when all irregularities are inspected and corrected.
- Maintenance shall turn over form XYZ to flight record clerical staff for proper filing (00:05).
- An improper linkage: Mr. Johnson in Office 123 will separate and file documents.
- A proper linkage: Flight record clerical staff will separate and file documents.
- Multi-national businesses should focus on the exception process, including caveats for language and legal issues unique to the region.
- If changes are approved on a wide-scale, include whatever suggestion form is being used to accept changes.
- Example: When pilot tempo does not permit timely completion of form XYZ, co-pilots can fill out the form.
Sample Business Process Document
- Edit and proofread the document. To ensure a professional and easy-to-understand final product, carefully review the entire document, including tables or graphical sections. Try reading everything out loud, backward, or having someone read the entire document to you. Ensure the smallest word and detail receives ample attention.  X Research source ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- In some cases, especially if compiling an employee manual, you may also want to format the business process document to make it more attractive and easy to read. A good employee manual reads like a textbook, complete with diagrams and illustrations, while a document for internal auditors needs only the simple text. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://blog.lucidmeetings.com/blog/how-often-should-you-meet-selecting-the-right-meeting-cadence-for-your-team
- ↑ http://klariti.com/business-process/how-to-write-business-process/
- ↑ http://creately.com/blog/diagrams/business-process-modeling-tutorial/
- ↑ https://www.mindtools.com/a4wo118/smart-goals
- ↑ http://creately.com/blog/diagrams/business-process-modeling-techniques/
- ↑ https://workspace.google.com/products/sheets/
- ↑ http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/ar-procdoc/
- ↑ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269377/eBulk_Business_Process_Document_v4_0.pdf
- ↑ https://aimultiple.com/process-modeling-software
- ↑ www.cio.ca.gov/opd/pdf/itla/21/BPM-Guide.docx
- ↑ https://www.flowable.com/blog/testing-business-processes-an-introduction-and-overview
- ↑ http://www.biomedicaleditor.com/proofreading-tips.html
About This Article
To write a business process document, start with an introduction that explains why the process is important to the overall operation of the company. Next, give a general overview of the process, including how it starts and what determines when the process has ended. Then, outline and detail each step of the process in the correct order, and assign who is responsible for performing each task. After you’ve completed a draft of the document, test the steps to help you weed out inaccuracies or fill in missing pieces. For more tips from our Business co-author, like how to choose a format for your document, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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AWS Startups Blog
Startups: how to use amazon’s narrative process to set goals and think clearly.
Guest post by Richard Howard, AWS Startup Business Development
If you’ve ever read anything about the internal processes of Amazon, you may know that Amazon eschews PowerPoint presentations in favor of written documents. There are a couple of different documents that Amazonians write, and they’re used for different things. In this post, I’m going to discuss the concept of the “Narrative” and how it can help startups think more clearly, set goals, and keep themselves accountable.
What is a Narrative?
First off, a narrative is a document that everyone at Amazon uses to set out team, organization, or individual planning, typically for the year ahead. It is limited to a maximum of six pages (but can have a reasonable number of appendices), and you can’t cheat that page count with non-existent margins or tiny fonts.
Starting your Narrative
A narrative should be written so that anybody within your organization can read and understand it without any prior knowledge of the proposal. Within the context of your startup, that means that a narrative written by your head of sales should be comprehensible to product managers, engineers, and marketers. As such, it’s important to start any narrative with its ‘Purpose’ and some ‘Background.’
In the ‘Purpose’ section, you should tell the reader why you’re writing the document, what information you expect to present, and which topics you will—and will not—touch upon.
‘Background’ is crucial to give the reader context of what you as an individual or business area owner are trying to achieve. Tell them why it’s important. Everything in your narrative should be based on facts rather than speculation. Don’t use words like ‘should.’ Instead, back everything up with research, including internal and external data.
Below is a fictional example from an e-scooter company of a narrative written by the head of marketing. In reality, you’d want it to be more detailed, but this should give you some ideas for getting started:
The purpose of this document is to set out the 2020 strategies for customer acquisition in Funky Scooters EMEA markets. This document will be used to inform global leadership.
Funky Scooters operates in 10 cities within 4 EMEA markets (UK, France, Germany and Ireland). According to Important Independent Research Co, the e-Scooter market for these 4 countries is worth £100million and is expected to grow 100% year over year. Currently, Funky Scooters is in 3rd place in all of the markets behind Better Scooters and Best Scooters. We have 19% market share and our current customer acquisitions costs are £10… You get the idea.
What You’re Going to Do and How
Once you’ve provided the purpose and context, it’s time to get to the real meat of the document: what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. This is a combination of goals/initiatives and how you’re going to achieve and track them.
Going back to our fictional scooter company, below is an abbreviated initiative example:
Initiative 1 – Acquiring more female customers 18 – 29
Funky Scooters overall market share is 19%, however, amongst women aged 18 – 29 it is 10%. According to Important Independent Research Co, women aged 18-29 made up 44% of e-scooter rides in EMEA in 2018 as they are more environmentally conscious and more likely to use scooters than their male counterparts. Increasing our usage amongst this customer cohort is incredibly important to Funky Scooters continued growth. In order to drive growth, we will be using health and fitness influencer marketing campaign. Specific influencer details can be found in Appendix A. This campaign will cost £100,000 and is expected to provide a revenue uplift of £500,000 increasing our market share to 23%.
Be realistic and don’t set 50 goals that will be impossible to achieve. Instead, set a small number of goals and lay out the step-by-step plans to achieve them. Let the reader know what the expected outcome is as well as how you arrived at that outcome.
You’ve laid out everything you’re going to achieve and how you’re going to do it. Now it’s time to lay out some of the risks and dependencies. Who or what teams are you going to be relying on to help you execute and achieve your goals. Also, what are the risks to you not achieving your goals – these can be internal risks, market risks, or even macro risks, like global political instability.
What to Do Once Your Narrative is Finished
At Amazon, when we discuss narratives, we print out the documents and invite a lot of stakeholders into the room to start the discussion. We spend the first 15 minutes of the meeting just reading the document and making notes. Once those 15 minutes are up, we’ll go around the room making comments, asking questions, or asking for clarification. These meetings help bring the initiatives and strategies into focus, sharpen the document, and can make the writer think differently about certain problems. Once the meeting is done, it’s time to either iterate on the document and improve it based on feedback or go and execute.
Narrative writing is something I’ve even taken into my personal life to try and achieve my personal goals. Writing things down clearly can really help sharpen your thinking. You can also refer back to the document throughout the year to make sure that you’re doing what you said you’d do. Some initiatives may not work out but having a clear insight into your thinking at the time can help you critically assess what you did, what you were trying to achieve and why it didn’t work. Writing narratives would definitely have helped at all of the startups I worked at and I’m sure it’ll work for yours, too.
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Business Process Modeling Techniques with Examples
Updated on: 5 January 2023
In one of our previous articles about BPM we briefly touched upon various business process modeling techniques. And as promised here’s a more detailed look at various BPM techniques and how to make use of them effectively.
Business process modeling is mainly used to map a workflow so you can understand, analyse and make positive changes to that workflow or process. Usage of diagram helps you to visualize this process and make better decisions.
Use the below table to quickly navigate to different techniques.
- Business process modeling notation (BPMN)
- UML diagrams
- Flowchart technique
- Data flow diagrams
- Role activity diagrams
- Role interaction diagrams
- Gantt charts
- Integrated definition for function modeling
- Colored petri-nets
- Object oriented methods
- Workflow technique
- Simulation model
Lest start with the latest techniques.
1. Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
Simply put BPMN is a graphical representation of your business process using standard objects. If you want to get more technical It can also be defined as a set of graphical objects and rules defining available connections between the objects.
BPMN consists of the following basic building blocks;
- Flow objects: events (circles), activities (rectangles with rounded corners), and gateways (diamonds)
- Connecting objects: mainly comprising arrows, these indicate sequence flow (filled arrows), message flow (dashed arrows), and associations
- Swim lanes: pools (graphic container) and lanes (sub-partition of the pool)
- Artifacts: data objects, groups, and annotations
A business process modeled using BPMN
Creately has a separate library with the latest BPMN 2.0 object included in the library. Plus you get intelligent grouping elements, professionally designed BPMN templates and much more. Check out how Creately makes it easier to model using BPMN .
The biggest advantage of BPMN is that it’s a standard with well-defined syntax. So many business analysts are familiar with it which makes collaboration much easier. Also, most modeling tools support BPMN which makes it much easier to share and edit if even using different software. All these together makes BPMN the most popular business process modeling technique at the moment. Click here to start creating any complex BPMN diagram .
A process modeled using BPMN that has swimlanes
Find more BPMN Examples to use for free to draw business process modeling notation diagrams.
2. UML Diagrams
UML is a modeling language mainly used for specification, visualization, development and documenting of software systems. But business professionals have adapted it as a powerful business process modeling technique.
With 14 different UML diagram types , it offers a flexible and powerful way to visualize almost any business process. They are typically used for modeling the detailed logic of a business process. In many ways, UML diagrams are the object-oriented equivalent of flow charts.
As mentioned above one of its main advantages is its flexibility. But with 14 different diagram types, some might find it difficult to understand the diagrams. Add to that the same process can be modeled using different UML diagrams. So probably not the most popular choice among analysts.
It’s flexibility makes UML a popular business process modeling technique
Our UML software supports drawing of all UML diagram types. We have templates, separate libraries for various UML diagrams and knowledge article to guide you through the process. Click here to start drawing UML with Creately >>
Business process modeling goes back a long time and BPMN and UML evolved from some techniques used a while back. However, some of these earlier techniques are still been used in business process modeling. Listed below are some of those techniques that are still used today.
3. Flowchart Technique
Flowcharts are probably the most popular diagram type in the world. Because it has few standard symbols it can be easily understood by many. Simplicity makes it powerful and an effective tool.In fact, BPMN can be considered as an advanced version of the basic flowchart technique. Also, most drawing software support creation of flowcharts it is used by a much wider audience as well.
Flowchart uses a sequential flow of actions and does not support a breakdown of the activities. The Flow Chart model is possibly the first process notation. It has frequently been used over many years although there is no exact date for its origin.
A simple flowchart with processes, decision blocks etc.
You can use our flowchart software to easily come up with a professional flowchart.
4. Data Flow Diagrams – Yourdon’s Technique
Data flow diagrams (DFD) show the flow of data or information from one place to another . DFDs describe the processes showing how these processes link together through data stores and how the processes relate to the users and the outside world.
They are used to record the processes analysed as a part of the design documentation. A DFD can be seen as a method of organizing data from its raw state. DFDs are the backbone of structured analysis that was developed in the early sixties by Yourdon.
A DFD diagram used in modeling done by Data Flow Diagram Tool
5. Role Activity Diagrams – RAD
Roles are abstract notations of behavior describing a desired behavior within the organization. They are often organizational functions. They also include software systems, customers and suppliers. RADs provide a different perspective of the process and are particularly useful in supporting communication . They are intuitive to read, easy to understand and presents a detailed view of the process and permitting activities in parallel .
Role activity diagram used in business process modeling created by our Activity Diagram Tool
6. Role Interaction Diagrams – RID
Activities are connected to roles in a type of matrix. Activities are shown vertically on the left axis and the roles are shown horizontally at the top. Text and symbols are used together in order to represent the process.
Although slightly more complex than flow diagrams, RIDs are fairly intuitive to understand and easy to read but they tend to be messy, with many arrows pointing left and right and are therefore quite hard to build.
Inputs to and outputs from the activities are not modeled. Therefore, important information is lost. RIDs are not as flexible as flowcharts, for example. They have quite rigid notation. But compared with other modeling techniques, RIDs are nevertheless flexible. They can be drawn using an Activity Diagram Tool
Role interaction diagrams offer flexibility but somewhat harder to draw
7. Gantt Charts
Gantt charts relate a list of activities to a time scale. Although it can be used to represent a process graphically it’s strength lies in the ability to monitor the current situation, project timeline, and resource allocation. Although things like dependencies can be highlighted in it the modeling part is severely lacking. Probably the reason why it isn’t popular anymore. If you’re using to monitor timelines then you’ll be pleased to know Creately supports drawing Gantt charts .
A Gantt chart is a matrix that lists on the vertical axis all the tasks or activities to be performed in a process. Each row contains a single activity identification, which usually consists of a number and a name. The horizontal axis is headed by columns indicating estimated activity duration, skill level needed to perform the activity, and the name of the person assigned to the activity, followed by one column for each period in the project’s duration. Each period may be expressed in hours, days, weeks, months, and other time units. In some cases, it may be necessary to label the period columns as period 1, period 2, and so on.
Gantt charts are used for time lines in processes
8. Integrated Definition for Function Modeling (IDEF)
IDEF is a family of methods that support a paradigm capable of addressing the modeling needs of an enterprise and its business areas (IDEF, 2003). The IDEF family is used according to different applications. The most important parts are: IDEF0, IDEF1, IDEF1X, IDEF2, IDEF3, IDEF4 and IDEF5. However, for business process modeling, the most useful versions are IDEF0 and IDEF3.
The IDEF model
9. Colored Petri Nets ( CPN )
Colored Petri nets are a graphical oriented language for design, specification, simulation and verification of systems. It is particularly well suited for systems that consist of a number of processes, which communicate and synchronize .
Colored nets are extended Petri nets in which symbols are differentiated by ‘COLORS’. A CPN model consists of a set of modules which each contain a network of places, transitions and arcs. The graphical representation makes it easy to see the basic structure of a complex CPN model, i.e. to understand how the individual processes interact with each other. CP-nets have a formal, mathematical representation with a well-defined syntax and semantics. This representation is the foundation for the definition of the different behavioral properties and the analysis methods.
A diagram modeled using Colored Petri-Net
10. Object Oriented Methods
This method is based on three concepts: objects that represent a real-world entity. An object has a state, i.e. one of the possible conditions in which the object may exist represented by the values of the properties (attributes). State changes are reflected by the behavior, i.e. how an object acts and reacts determined by the set of operations the object can perform on itself, and also knowing its interface, functions and methods. A set of similar objects is called class. For example, the attributes for the class animal are having four legs and a tail. Its behaviors are sleeping and eating. Then possible instances or objects of the class animal are cat, elephant, and horse.
Finally, messages are requests for the receiver objects to carry out the indicated method or behavior and return the result of that action to the sender objects. States change through behavior when the object receives a message. There are many different techniques based on OO. Unified Modelling Language (UML) is considered the standard OO modeling language. Coad and Yourdon’s method precedes UML.
11. Workflow Technique
Workflow is a flow of tasks between computer applications or people in an organization. Two or more members of a workgroup to reach a common goal can define a workflow as well as any task performed in series or in parallel. The work flow is more than a technique to model a process. It is a method to analyze and improve a process, including its modeling.
The workflow development process uses work flow models to capture the relevant information of the processes. This process comprises four stages: Information Gathering, Business Process Modelling, Work flow Modelling, Implementation and Verification & Execution. You can get started easily using our workflow diagram templates.
Work flow concept
Simulation model comes in handy when you want to study a complex real-world system. You want to learn more about the system to make an informed decision but the complexity of the system prevents you from doing that directly.
Therefore you proceed indirectly by creating and studying another entity (the simulation model), which is sufficiently similar to the real-world system. Simulation can have many forms (for example, discrete-event simulation, continuous simulation, system dynamics, Monte-Carlo simulation, qualitative simulation, etc.).
Final Thoughts on Business Process Modeling Techniques
Most of the legacy systems are outdated or used sparingly. However, it must be noted that some of them are used far more effectively in other industries and for different purposes.
For example, Gantt charts are not very effective as a business process modeling technique but they are extremely useful to monitor timelines in complex projects. Similarly, flowcharts are great to quickly describe uncomplicated processes. One might argue BPM helped popularize those techniques.
Hope now you have a good understanding of the BPM techniques. We’ll be discussing the importance of the BPM methodology through our next article.
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More Related Articles
how do Use a process flow technique to explain each of the CERTs working model.
Very helpful, would anyone know how to get Business process modeling notation (BPMN) certification, And if there is an online study/ certification option
how to make role activity diagram using any software for business processes.
Thanks for the article. What kind of modelling methodologies are used for Smart Process Automation (SPA) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Where are the references? Most the above mentioned information was written from “Aguilar-Saven, R.S., 2004. Business process modelling: Review and framework. International Journal of production economics, 90(2), pp.129-149.”
it is good material, it has improved my understanding of BPM
Thanks for the examples. I wonder if that UML diagram is usually true for companies? What if there’s a need for CSR? What if there are defects on the product? I understand that it’s a basic sample, it’s almost an accurate model but I quickly remembered my Mass Comm lessons before I changed my course.
I am a CS B.E student and i am looking for mathematical model for bussines process mapping web application.Will u please help….
Thanks. Good article. Supported me to improve my knowledge om BPMT
I’m CS student,
And I found that creately is very helpful in developing UML Diagram.
please a need help in designing an ER schema
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The Daily MBA
Tips, Tools, and Techniques to be a Better Entrepreneur
Writing Your Business Narrative
November 29, 2009 Jarie Bolander
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
People love a good story. We gravitate to stories because they are easy to understand and if told well, stick with us. A narrative is a powerful tool to tell your business story, without all of the complexity of a business plan. People tend to have a difficult time starting a business plan or even a pitch because the ideas rattling around in their gray matter are just not cohesive. Throw in the desire to get the business off the ground or fund it and most people just give up.
Writing a narrative about your business is the first step in formulating those random thoughts into a story that you can tell prospective investors and employees. It’s also a great way to get past the anxiety of looking at detailed rows and columns of numbers that really won’t make sense until you formulate the genesis of your business.
Table of Contents
First Things First
Before getting started on your business narrative, you need to brainstorm or free write. Doing this allows your brain to get geared toward creating a good narrative. So, before you move on, do one of the following exercises:
Exercise #1: Free write for 15 minutes, without stopping, about your new business idea. Just write. Don’t edit. Don’t correct spelling. Just write about it.
Exercise #2: For 15 minutes, brainstorm all the words and phrases you can think of about your business. Write them all down on a piece of butcher paper or record it.
Now that your brain is primed, it’s time to start structuring those thoughts into a narrative. Take another 5 minutes to circle or underline the main themes, words, sentences from the exercises about. These themes will be used to answer and expand upon the questions below. To better illustrate the process, I will build an example narrative in parallel along with you.
Question 1: Name Your Business
Naming your business is the first step in making it real. This is the main character of your story and the name should reflect the attitude of the company. Look at the items you circled in the brainstorming session. Are there any recurring themes or words? What jumps out at you? Try and incorporate that into your name. Spend 5 minutes to name your company.
Business Name: The Daily MBA
Question 2: Describe What the Business Does
Be as specific as you can when it comes to describing your business and what it does. The more specific the better. Being too general will defocus your efforts. Use action words or phrases that are easily understandable. Try to refrain from fuzzy words or muddled concepts. Again, make it simple.
What The Daily MBA does: The Daily MBA is about helping new entrepreneurs and managers navigate the complex world of business Through relevant posts and topical discussions, The Daily MBA provides a fresh perspective on the day to day hardships that face entrepreneurs and managers.
Question 3: What Makes the Business Special?
Like any good character, your business needs to have that something special that resonates with readers/customers. This description needs to be written with vivid words that conger up feelings that people can relate to. Even though it’s a business, that personal touch will make it memorable.
What Makes The Daily MBA Special: The Daily MBA is written by a practicing manager and entrepreneur who knows firsthand how painful it can be to start and manage a business. His unique perspective allows for readers to connect with his point of view because he can empathize with their plight. The Daily MBA style is also informal and comes across more like a mentor or friend than a stodgy professor.
Question 4: What Market Does the Business Address?
Understanding your market space is vital to a successful business. Markets are complex, so it’s best to be as specific as possible in choosing what market you will address. You don’t have to be formal about it or even know the correct buzzwords. Just simply describe the market that your business addresses.
Markets Addressed: The Daily MBA addresses the management and entrepreneurship education market worldwide.
Question 5: Who Are Your Customers?
Customers are an important part of your marketing effort. You need to reach them in order for them to purchase your goods and services. The best way to think about this is to describe your ideal customer. Ideal customers may not exist but they are a great way to focus your products and services to customers that come close.
Customers: The people who read The Daily MBA are either in business or want to start a business. They have a natural drive to create products and services and tend to seek out advice. The ideal customer for The Daily MBA would be the new entrepreneur or manager that wants to start a business or manage their group better.
Question 6: What Customer Pain/Benefits Do You Cure/Provide?
Most customers only buy something they need (or want). These purchases are usually driven by solving a problem or curing the customer’s pain. These pain points are what drive your customers to seek out your products or services.
Customer Pain Solved: The Daily MBA provides a comprehensive resource that answers the questions entrepreneurs and managers have while also giving them a step by step way to succeed. Too often, new entrepreneurs and managers don’t have good mentors or resources to answer their pressing questions. Schools do provide some instruction but this is mostly theoretical.
Question 7: What are Your Long Term Business Goals?
It’s always a good idea to look ahead a bit to see where you want your business to go. When doing this, be pragmatic and realistic. Don’t assume your next gig will be as big as Facebook or Google. Rather, look at what you want to achieve and set realistic goals. These goals can be one, two or five years out. Whatever it may be, put it down.
Long-Term Goals: Within two years, The Daily MBA will be garnering 10,000 unique visitors a month, generating $5,000 dollars in revenue per month (via ads and related book sales) and be ranked as a top entrepreneur and management advice site.
Question 8: What Resources/Actions Are Need to Achieve the Goals?
Now that you have a long-term goal, you need to figure out what it will take to achieve it. This may be getting investors, developing products or services or hiring staff. This is critical since, without some idea on how to achieve your goal, you will flounder.
Resources Needed: To achieve our long-term goals, The Daily MBA needs to apply Inbound Marketing techniques to get found. Part of this strategy will be to guest blog, be an active part of the entrepreneur/management community, publish topical books, develop seminars, produce at least one original post per week and provide three to five commentary posts per week on topical business posts outside The Daily MBA.
Question 9: Summarize Why You Will Succeed
It’s always best to end with a summary of what the reader just read and come to some resolution. This pulls the narrative together and allows the reader to leave satisfied. The summary does not have to be long or fancy or even original. It can just be a compact synopsis of what you just said.
Summary: The Daily MBA is all about helping entrepreneurs and managers thrive in the chaotic world of business. It’s a content rich site that provides a needed resource for entrepreneurs and managers. Through original content, community stewardship and topical books, The Daily MBA will achieve upwards of 10,000 unique visitors and $5,000 in revenue per month within the next two years.
Assembling The Narrative
Now that we have the pieces (or bones) down, we can assemble the bits into a flowing narrative. To do this, you need to read your pieces again and edit them for grammar and content. Once you have something you think is pretty good, read it aloud to see how it sounds. The way the written word sounds is a great way to refine your voice. If it sounds weird, then it will read weird. You also want to ensure that it actually sounds like the way you talk. It’s okay to be informal as long as it’s clear and communicates your vision.
Once you have gone through the pieces, the next step is to assemble them together. Start with question #2 and string together your pieces into paragraphs. In the end, you should have between 3-5 paragraphs. Now that you have your business narrative, you can start to fill in the details and refine what you want to achieve. The narrative will be your anchor during the business planning process. It will provide the focal point when your plan starts to get messy or you stray from your desired objectives. Good luck.
Example Business Narrative: The Daily MBA
The Daily MBA is about helping entrepreneurs and managers navigate the complex world of business Through relevant posts and topical discussions, The Daily MBA provides a fresh perspective on the day to day hardships that face entrepreneurs and managers. It is written by a practicing manager and entrepreneur who knows firsthand how painful it can be to start and manage a business. His unique perspective allows for readers to connect with his point of view because he can empathize with their plight. The Daily MBA style is also informal and comes across more like a mentor or friend than like a stodgy professor.
The Daily MBA addresses the management and entrepreneurship education market worldwide. The people who read The Daily MBA are either in business or want to start a business. They have a natural drive to create products and seek out advice. The ideal customer for The Daily MBA would be the new entrepreneur or manager that wants to start a business or manage their group better. The Daily MBA provides a comprehensive resource that answers the questions entrepreneurs and managers have while also giving them a step by step way to succeed. Too often, new entrepreneurs and managers don’t have good mentors or resources to answer their pressing questions. Schools do provide some instruction but this is mostly theoretical.
Within two years, The Daily MBA will be garnering 10,000 unique visitors and $5,000 dollars in revenue per month (via ads and related book sales) and be ranked as a top entrepreneur and management advice site.To achieve these long-term goals, The Daily MBA needs to apply Inbound Marketing techniques to get found. Part of this strategy will be to guest blog, be an active part of the entrepreneur/management community, publish topical books, develop seminars, produce at least one original post per week and provide three to five commentary posts per week on topical business posts outside The Daily MBA.
The Daily MBA is all about helping entrepreneurs and managers thrive in the chaotic world of business. It’s a content rich site that provides a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and managers. Through original content, community stewardship and topical books, The Daily MBA will achieve upwards of 10,000 unique visitors and $5,000 in revenue per month within the next two years.
Special thanks go to Joe Malo at Jan Medical for his insights and discussion about writing a good business narrative.
Jason has a great post about questions you should ask if you are thinking of starting a business. This lends itself nicely to a business narrative and you should try and include the answers to Jason’s questions as well.
Your Business Narrative is your internal compass while your PR Narrative is your external one. Once you finished your Business Narrative, then take a crack at your PR narrative. It should be a lot easier to write and give you some useful insights into how you want the external world to view your business.
Also published on Medium .
December 2, 2009 at 11:17 am
However, I feel that “Name Your Business” should not be on top of this list. Ideally after the sixth point. I think it would make more sense naming your business once you have answered questions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Overall, I like your points very much.
December 2, 2009 at 11:21 am
Harsh- Thanks for the comment. You make a good point. You can change the name at anytime since the process is iterative. My thought was it was good to name it something first so that it feels a little more real. Maybe I should change it to a working name or make it optional. I need to ponder that a bit.
[…] much more likely to succeed. If this seems too overwhelming, then you might want to work on your business narrative first and then come back and work on […]
What is Business Process Modeling Notation
What are your requirements regarding bpmn diagrams, very recent history, purpose and benefits, bpmn 2.0 diagram elements and symbols, who does business process modeling, sub-models within a bpmn diagram, other diagram types, key tips for business process modeling, how to do business process modeling with lucidchart.
Professionals in sales, project management, and other areas use business process modeling software to map out their approach to any specific process. Learn the essentials of BPMN and BPMN 2.0, along with the history, purpose, benefits, symbols, diagram types, and key tips for business process modeling.
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What is BPMN?
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a flow chart method that models the steps of a planned business process from end to end. A key to Business Process Management, it visually depicts a detailed sequence of business activities and information flows needed to complete a process.
Its purpose is to model ways to improve efficiency, account for new circumstances or gain competitive advantage. The method has been undergoing a standardization push in the past few years and is now often called by a slightly different name: Business Process Model and Notation , still using the BPMN acronym. It differs from Unified Modeling Language (UML) used in software design.
Business Process Modeling Notation was developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) and has gone through a series of revisions. In 2005, that group merged with the Object Management Group (OMG) , which took over the initiative. In 2011, OMG released BPMN 2.0 and changed the method’s name to Business Process Model and Notation. It created a more detailed standard for business process modeling, using a richer set of symbols and notations for Business Process Diagrams. Since 2014, BPMN has also been complemented by a decision flow chart method called the Decision Model and Notation standard, since BPMN doesn’t naturally lend itself to decision flows.
At a high level, BPMN is targeted at participants and other stakeholders in a business process to gain understanding through an easy-to-understand visual representation of the steps. At a more involved level, it’s targeted at the people who will implement the process, giving sufficient detail to enable precise implementation. It provides a standard, common language for all stakeholders, whether technical or non-technical: business analysts, process participants, managers and technical developers, as well as external teams and consultants. Ideally, it bridges the gap between process intention and implementation by providing sufficient detail and clarity into the sequence of business activities.
The diagramming can be far easier to understand than narrative text would be. It allows for easier communication and collaboration to reach the goal of an efficient process that produces a high-quality result. It also helps with communication leading to XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents needed to execute various processes. One main XML standard is called BPEL or BEPEL4WS, standing for Business Process Execution Language for Web Services.
BPMN depicts these four element types for business process diagrams:
- Flow objects: events , activities , gateways
- Connecting objects: sequence flow, message flow, association
- Swimlanes: pool or lane
- Artifacts: data object, group, annotation
These are the individual elements and how they are used to define a business process:
A trigger that starts, modifies or completes a process. Event types include message, timer, error, compensation, signal, cancel, escalation, link and others. They are shown by circles containing other symbols based on event type. They are classified as either “throwing” or “catching,” depending on their function.
A particular activity or task performed by a person or system. It’s shown by a rectangle with rounded corners. They can become more detailed with sub-processes , loops, compensations and multiple instances.
Decision point that can adjust the path based on conditions or events. They are shown as diamonds. They can be exclusive or inclusive, parallel, complex, or based on data or events.
Shows the order of activities to be performed. It is shown as a straight line with an arrow. It might show a conditional flow, or a default flow.
Depicts messages that flow across “pools,” or organization boundaries such as departments. It shouldn’t connect events or activities within a pool. It is represented by a dashed line with a circle at the start and an arrow at the end.
Shown with a dotted line, it associates an artifact or text to an event, activity or gateway.
Pool and swimlane
A pool represents major participants in a process. A different pool may be in a different company or department but still involved in the process. Swimlanes within a pool show the activities and flow for a certain role or participant, defining who is accountable for what parts of the process.
Additional information that developers add to bring a necessary level of detail to the diagram. There are three types of artifacts : data object, group or annotation. A data object shows what data is necessary for an activity. A group shows a logical grouping of activities but doesn’t change the diagram’s flow. An annotation provides further explanation to a part of the diagram.
Diagramming is quick and easy with Lucidchart. Start a free trial today to start creating and collaborating.
Business Process Modeling can range from simple, hand-drawn diagrams to more involved ones with expandable elements to provide sufficient implementation detail. At its most sophisticated, BPMN is conducted by credentialed analysts. The Object Management Group (OMG) provides five certifications in BPMN 2.0 called OCEB 2 , which stands for OMG-Certified Expert in BPM 2.0. One track is business-oriented, and the other is technical. OMG intends for BPMN 2.0 to standardize business process modeling in the same way that Unified Modeling Language (UML) standardized software modeling.
BPMN requires a commitment of time and energy, but the payoff in understanding and improvement can be huge. Version 2.0 builds on previous versions by providing a richer standard set of symbols and notations, allowing more detail for those who need it.
The idea behind Business Process Management is to create a life cycle of continuous improvement. The steps are model, implement, execute, monitor and optimize. BPMN diagrams play a key role in that.
The diagrams are used to communicate with diverse audiences, both non-technical and technical. Sub-models allow the diverse viewers to easily differentiate between sections of the diagram, finding what’s most applicable to them. The types of sub-models are:
- Private business processes. These are internal to a specific organization and don’t cross pools, or organizational boundaries.
- Abstract business processes. These occur between a private/internal process and another participant or process. The abstract process shows the outside world the sequence of messages needed to interact with the private process. It doesn’t show the private/internal process itself.
- Collaboration business processes. These show the interactions between two or more business entities.
In BPMN 2, there are these other diagram types: conversation, choreography and collaboration.
- Choreography diagram: Shows interactions between two or more participants. It also may be expanded with sub-choreographies.
- Collaboration diagram: Shows interactions between two or more processes, using more than one pool. All combinations of pools, processes and choreography may be used in a collaboration diagram.
- Conversation diagram: In general, this is a simplified version of a collaboration diagram. It shows a group of related message exchanges in a business process. It may be expanded with sub-conversations.
- Clearly define the scope of the process with a beginning and end.
- You might first map the current business process to highlight inefficiencies before modeling a better way with BPMN.
- Aim for BPMN diagrams that fit on one page, even if the page is poster-sized, as some are.
- Lay out sequence flows horizontally. Show associations and data flows vertically.
- You can create different versions of the diagram for different stakeholders, depending on the level of detail needed for their role.
- BPMN is not appropriate for modeling organizational structures, functional breakdowns, or data flow models. Although BPMN depicts some information flows in business processes, it’s not a Data Flow Diagram (DFD.)
It's easy to make business process models with Lucidchart. After signing up, simply log in, then create a blank document or start with a template. Be sure to open the BPMN shapes library, then drag and drop shapes onto the canvas as needed.
You can also stylize lines, format text, and reposition elements to get the look you need. Afterwards, share, download, or export your diagram however you like.
- Visio BPMN Stencil and Templates
- All About Business Process Mapping, Flow Charts and Diagrams
- BPMN Event Types
- BPMN & BPMN 2.0 Tutorial
- BPMN Diagram Symbols & Notation
- BPMN Activity Types
- BPMN Gateway Types
Lucidchart's complete BPMN shape library along with its easy-to-use interface make it the ideal tool for modeling your business process. Try it today!
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What is Business Process Analysis?
9 November 2021 8 min read
IBM Cloud Education, IBM Cloud Education
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Learn what business process analysis (BPA) is and the types, methods and steps for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to consider.
Business process analysis (BPA) is an approach to analyzing business operation processes. It is a detailed, multi-step examination of each part of a process to identify what is working well in your current process, what needs to be improved and how any necessary improvements can best be made. There are different business process analysis methods, but all apply the underlying principle that optimized systems generate better overall business results.
Common desired outcomes of BPA are greater cost savings, increased revenue and better business engagement. For instance, you might use BPA to analyze customer engagement and where there are downturns, blocks or unexpectedly low conversions. Business process analysis can also reveal what in your business operations or policies creates low employee engagement.
Business process analysis (BPA) vs. business analysis (BA): What's the difference?
There might be a little confusion about the difference between business process analysis (BPA) and business analysis (BA). These are related areas of business process management but are not the same. BPA focuses on specific process analysis and business process modeling. BA, on the other hand, is applied to the greater business operation landscape. BA focuses on the analysis of other areas, such as financial forecasting, cost analysis, budgets, hiring and cuts.
Benefits of business process analysis
The overarching benefit of business process analysis (BPA) is optimized, daily functionality across your business operations that strategically aligns with your business goals and decision making.
For SME businesses, BPA can create the following improvements:
- Increase efficiency in existing processes: BPA increases time-to-value for product applications. It also lowers time in operational cycles for workflows, such as employee onboarding and customer or patient in-take processes.
- Reveal capacity issues: In any process, resources can be limited. BPA identifies where the capacity limit lies, how it affects the process and how to improve it. This is a strong consideration for scaling. For instance, digital tools and platforms you currently use may limit current organizational needs and workflows . BPA can help you identify changes you need to make that are specifically aligned to your organization’s growth.
- Clarify policies and rules: As organizations move to more remote work and greater adoption of digital devices , a common misalignment exists in security and device usage. The analysis can identify a path for faster IT approval processes and uniformity in security policy enforcement.
- Create better governance practices: Risk management is increasing as a priority for businesses. Compliance is a costly endeavor for organizations to maintain, and it is even more costly to address when issues arise. Business process analysis can reveal where compliance measures have faltered. For example, your organization may be out of compliance in the frequency you audit application security measures. BPA can set an improvement plan in place that considers resources and compliance needs to ensure a process can be executed — and sustained.
- Identify cost savings: BPA reveals redundancies in tasks and labor. Organizations that have moved to digital document workflows are a good example how reduced human error and time in searching for documents creates cost savings.
- Solve for bottlenecks: Bottlenecks occur when channels for communication, development and execution are siloed. A business process analysis can expose communication gaps and resolve approval process obstructions.
- Optimize deployment and release processes: Efficient processes create smoother releases and deployments.
- Improve integration and adoption processes: Similarly, adopting new technology across an enterprise or department is a monumental process. BPA sets processes in place that can include useful training programs and workflow visuals that support higher adoption rates.
- Strengthen company culture: A better process in any area is a housecleaning of sorts. The improvements breathe new life into employee experience on a daily basis. The result is better morale and better engagement for internal processes. For customers, optimized processes — such as a better website or customer service experience — increases engagement and positive perception of your business.
Methods of business process analysis
There are two predominant philosophies that guide business process analysis (BPA) methodology:
- Six Sigma approach
- Lean Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a five- to seven-step methodology that most businesses today use to analyze efficiencies and restraints. Lean Six Sigma differs slightly in that it is a combination of the Six Sigma approach and Lean philosophy. It's a collaborative approach that focuses on eliminating tasks and resources that don't provide defined value.
You'll gain a sense of how a business process analysis is executed when you consider the detailed-nature intrinsic to every step.
In general, BPA follows this structure:
- Define: Start by identifying the processes you want to analyze. Typically, these are where you see problems first. Process analysis can start with (and also include) process diagrams for each step. Analysts begin with as-is processes and look at formal and informal processes, such as documented processes and processes specific to an organization’s culture.
- Measure: Next, review how the process functions against defined metrics. This step is also at the root of helping to create improved KPI metrics. If those are well-defined first, a business will measure processes against the KPIs. KPIs include efficiency versus effectiveness indicators, quality, productivity, profitability and value indicators. They also include competitive and capacity indicators. For instance, customer engagement workflows might be measured by quality and effectiveness versus efficiency metrics.
- Analyze: There are several types of analysis techniques, and each one serves a different purpose. Business process analysts might run a value analysis, a gap analysis or root cause analysis (RCA). These are extensive analytical methods that each include their own set of steps. A gap analysis reveals what's missing in the process. A value analysis conveys what is of value within the process — and what is waste, as a result. A root cause analysis applies certain "why" questions and methods that help you to work backward to the root cause of the problem in a process.
- Improve: Business process managers collaborate with analysts to create and execute plans that improve problem areas. Improvements may mean re-mapping a process, increasing resources or shifting communication approaches and channels. Again, this can be a detailed step that can apply a variety of improvement methods.
- Control: After such a significant analysis, controlling the new standards and processes is the final step. Decision-makers can use the analysis to then manage resources, responsibilities, hiring processes, IT, administrative and executive processes. Stakeholders also monitor these changes and set time markers for future analysis.
When to implement business process analysis
If you've recently adopted new technology that's being underutilized, or if you have recurring turnover in one area of your business, business process analysis (BPA) is a useful tool to uncover the reasons for these outcomes and then to set process improvements in place.
Your business goals determine where and how you implement business process analysis. Organizations that value employee and company-wide problem-solving and process improvement as a core part of their culture set a foundation for better morale, lower turnover and better customer experience. So, whether you apply business process analysis tools informally, or you formally audit processes quarterly or annually, it should be a fundamental part of your business function.
Business process analysis begins with analyzing as-is processes. Business process mapping is a common tool used in BPA. It is an important visual resource and document to draw upon for your analysis. Using the documentation and insights gained from the analysis, your organization can then create a business process improvement plan. Business improvement plans will typically generate new business process models, using flowcharts, with improved process flows.
Keep in mind, business process analysis relates solely to your business operation processes. It is not the method of analyzing areas of business that aren't specifically process-related. Process analysis in business is its own defined discipline. It is a guide for optimizing every operational area of your business.
Examples of BPA include the following:
- Reviewing employee on-boarding to align with business culture and better engagement.
- Analyzing marketing processes to reconcile whether metrics and paths align with key performance indicators (KPI), such as how well customers are converting or how many qualified leads are engaging with your business.
- Uncovering where inefficiencies exist in technology adoption processes.
Tools of business process analysis
In process analysis, analysts use diagrams to define input and output points, tasks sequences and what processes are sub-processes nested under main processes.
Analysts also use software to map and create workflows. This includes software that automates business process analysis (BPA) and enables organizations to apply end-to-end process modeling to map when a process starts and determine when it ends.
Process modeling and process mapping tools are integral to BPA. Organizations use business process model notation (BPMN) diagramming and supplier, input, process, output, customer (SIPOC) model diagramming as two workflow solutions for better operations. These visual tools are an excellent way to show changes in a process. They can be used as a “before and after" visual guide to train employees, for instance, or to map every process improvement back to your key business goals.
Who oversees business process analysis?
You might be wondering at this point, who in an organization is responsible for BPA, given roles, resources and skill sets?
Certainly, resources can be limited for SMEs. Working with an outside business analyst consultant might be the most viable route.
At the enterprise level, businesses employ business process analysts and process architects to perform business process analysis. These are different terms for similar roles. Both of these roles might work with business architects or work with executives and division leads.
In addition, business process analysis relies on the expertise of subject matter experts. These might include a number of employees, stakeholders and consultants, such as analysts, data scientists, quants, IT, administrators and employees who are closely aligned to a process.
Automation and BPA
Currently, hyperautomation is considered one of the highest priorities across enterprise businesses. Gartner has forecasted that the industry will reach $600 billion by 2022 . Hyperautomation steadily decreases the amount of human intervention for a fully automated, responsive process — or a smart process.
Your organization may want to consider specific questions to move toward automated processes:
- What key areas do you seek to automate and why?
- Are there more common manual errors or misapplied policies?
- Where are there costly and high-volume processes?
- Has the organization determined obvious process problems?
- What creates customer dissatisfaction?
Business process analysis (BPA) can help your organization create a documented, mapped path to integrating automated processes and moving toward a goal of hyperautomation. As an example, moving from a hybrid to fully automated customer chatbot support is one way service centers lower costs and optimize customer support with hyperautomation.
How small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can apply BPA
How do SMEs best apply business process analysis (BPA) to start?
First, target mission-critical processes with the highest business impact. Then, consider mapping a process for automation.
Next, standardize automation documentation — as well as process documentation — across departments and your organization.
For instance, IT can use BPA to map the process for software security protocols for various roles, which enables your organization to better manage onboarding and scaling as a result.
Business process analysis and IBM
IBM provides process templates for project-based process analysis that are based on BPMN diagramming. Process mapping is integral to an optimal automation strategy.
Learn how IBM Business Automation workflows enable your business to mine process data to gain critical insights and automate digital workflows on-premises or in the cloud.
Download IBM Process Management for Dummies as a resource to learn the basics of process management to drive competitive practices and processes.
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The beginner’s guide to using BPMN in business
What is bpmn .
Seeing is believing. A picture is worth a thousand words. Show me, don’t tell me. It’s idioms like these that have made Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) hugely popular across many different types of businesses, industries and professions. But what exactly is BPMN and how does it work?
In a nutshell, BPMN is a standardized flow chart method that allows you to create and share easy-to-understand diagrams. These diagrams can visually model the steps of a business process from end to end.
While there are several methods for modeling processes out there, BPMN has quickly become the de-facto standard for process modeling, and for a good reason.
What are its capabilities?
One of the most significant benefits of BPMN lies in its ability to produce flow charts that are as simple or as complex as needed. That makes it easy for business stakeholders at all levels (technical or non-technical) to understand them.
It’s this quality that likely accounts for the popularity of BPMN. A 2016 survey found that 64% of businesses are interested in adopting BPMN to simplify their business processes . The goal is simple for most companies: save money by reducing costs and improving productivity.
Why is it needed?
The stakes are high. Consider these stats from a 2018 survey of businesses:
- 37% percent of respondents reported that their organizations have multiple, high-level business process projects underway
- 93% of the organizations in the survey are engaged in numerous process improvement projects
- 79% said they were using process software tools to model the processes they were analyzing and planning to change
- In addition, 65% of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that BPMN processes and technologies have helped their organizations improve efficiency, versatility and customer satisfaction
- However, the majority (52%) of respondents said that they only occasionally model or document their company processes
Aside from boosting efficiencies, other relevant motivations for supporting business process work include:
- Increasing customer satisfaction
- Enhancing organizational responsiveness
- Improving business coordination and control
- Introducing a new product or business line
- Complying with new regulations
- Responding to unique events like a merger or acquisition
From IT, financial services, insurance and manufacturing, to education, telecommunications, retail, computers and software, every company can benefit from improved business or organizational processes.
How is BPMN used?
The goal of BPMN is to give everyone a clear view of a process from start to finish. It helps provide a visual path that’ll bridge the gaps, showing the sequence of business activities needed to get from one end of a process to the other.
Here are a few of the benefits that businesses can reap by using BPMN:
- Easier communication and collaboration to reach a goal
- Simple visual representation of the steps
- Ability to customize based on stakeholders’ roles (e.g., analysts, process participants, managers, developers, external teams and consultants)
- Identifying issues in the processes that may need a solution
- Insight into potential areas for improvement
- Encourage higher-quality results
Process modeling examples
Many professionals and organizations want to model a very high-level, people-centric process. In this case, sticking to a handful of symbols requires less in-depth knowledge of BPMN, so the notation is simple. Conversely, these models can also be adjusted to be extremely detailed for IT and other technical stakeholders.
Here are just a handful of examples of the types of processes these flow charts can visually depict:
- Handling customer call complaints
- Selling products on online
- Manufacturing workflow
- Processing insurance claims
- Job hiring flow charts
- Onboarding methods
As mentioned previously, you can make diagrams as granular as needed. For example, depicting IT-centric process flows, coding and more:
- B2B web services
- Visualizing the execution of code within a program
- Illustrating the structure of a website or application
- Seeing how visitors navigate a website
- Showing the flow of data in systems like data entry, processors and communication networks
In more intricate versions, you’ll be able to model complex business events, such as messages, timers, business rules and error conditions. Let’s explore more of these intricate versions of BPMN.
Elements and symbols in BPMN 2.0
BPMN notation has five basic categories of elements and, within those, many different shapes and symbols. Here’s a quick overview:
These show behavior in a business process and include:
- Activities: Work performed or tasks of a person or system (shown as a rectangle with rounded corners).
- Events: What happens during a process: Start, Intermediate and End (shown as circles).
- Gateways: Depict the sequence flow path in a process (shown as diamonds). Additional details can include decision points.
These offer information about the data in a process. Data is represented in four ways:
- Data inputs (shown as a page with one corner bent and right arrow) are tasks that are data-dependent. They can’t move forward until specific data is collected.
- Data outputs (shown as a page with one corner bent and solid right arrow) are used to show when the process generates data.
- Data collection (shown as a page with one corner bent w/three solid lines in the bottom center) is any act of data collection required in the process (e.g., a survey).
- Datastores (shown as a container) are used as a place to collect any data gained from the process.
These connect the flow objects to each other, or other information, and show the flow of a process:
- Sequence flows (shown a solid right arrow) depict the order of the activities performed.
- Message flows (shown as a dashed right arrow with a circle on the left side) depict messages and order of flow between participants.
- Associations (shown as a dotted line) link text and artifacts to an event.
This term represents pools and lanes.
- Pool: The “container” for a single process.
- Lanes: These classify activity inside the pool. Shown horizontally or vertically, they break up the pool into sections to show responsibility and the location of events.
These give extra detail about the process. There are two types of artifacts:
- Groups: Shown as notched boxes, these go around a group of elements to show they’re related.
- Text annotations: These are simply notes (preceded by a single left bracket) that readers can easily see without drilling-down. Also known as comments.
Simplify BPMN with software
When it comes to creating your flow chart, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, especially if you’re just getting started with BPMN.
Using a software tool will allow you to create your diagrams faster and make your business process model more effective. Be sure to choose software that enables you to:
- Start diagramming quickly by easily creating professional. BPMN flow charts with ready-made templates and samples.
- Give your diagrams a professional, appealing look with premade themes and effects.
- Leverage intuitive capabilities like drag and drop, align and position, and auto-connect to build diagrams more efficiently.
- Work in a content ecosystem that delivers the core set of BPMN 2.0 shapes and beyond, which constitutes hundreds of graphically different symbols.
- Have a level of support that allows for the creation of both basic BPMN diagrams, and more detailed diagrams with exception logic, resource and role information, basic data flow information and communication information between participants.
- Check for errors by validating your diagram against 76 logical rules related to visual correctness based on the BPMN 2.0 standard and presents a list of issues for you to review.
- Load your own custom set of logistical rules related to visual correctness.
- Share your work freely as a secure web-based link, attachment, image, or PDF and reply to comments online.
- Collaborate with others using co-authoring, commenting and annotation.
- Co-edit diagrams with your team to maintain a single version of the truth and minimize version conflicts.
- See who’s working on specific parts of the diagram, get notifications about changes and choose when to merge those changes into a master file.
- Integrate data-linked diagrams into Power BI dashboard. This integration can help drive operational and business intelligence so you can understand the overall picture better.
- Automate business process workflows yourself, expediting the creation process, and giving IT more time to focus on strategic initiatives
- Access diagrams from nearly anywhere in a browser or iPad® app.
Tips for getting started
From established businesses process owners to analysts, there’s a benefit to simplifying your business processes, no matter how simple or complex they may be. If the information seems a little overwhelming, keep this in mind: you can create a simple BPMN flow chart and then build on it from there.
If you want to see it in action, there are plenty of templates and how-to videos that’ll help you create a basic diagram and then you can add some detail as you get more comfortable. You can learn more about using BPMN compliant process and software with this step-by-step guide.
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A Complete Guide for Business Process Management (BPM) - 2023
You are Here : BPM Platform >> What is Business Process Management (BPM)?
Managing business processes is a huge challenge in most organizations. Many business owners assume that it is a huge expense or that it is only worth it for massive processes. However, BPM is important no matter what size your business is. Here’s a definitive guide to managing your business processes with the help of automation.
Table of Content
- What is BPM?
Business Process Management Strategy
- Why is BPM Important?
What is the Purpose of Business Process Management?
- Steps of a BPM lifecycle
- BPM Best Practices
What are the Benefits of Incorporating Business Process Management?
What are the various types of business process management, business process management examples.
- Features every competent Business Process Management tool should have
- Is BPM Like Task or Project Management?
- Is BPM Really Expensive?
Definition: What is BPM?
Business Process Management (BPM) is a combination of BPM tools and solutions that helps organizations achieve agility via process automation, management, and optimization. The purpose of BPM technology is to drive continuous improvement, scalability, and operational efficiency by using a holistic model approach and analyzing, optimizing, and improving end-to-end business processes in an organization to help achieve strategic business goals, such as the improvement of your customer experience framework.
Business process management (BPM) is also defined as an organizational discipline where a company takes a step back and looks at all of these processes in total and individually. It analyzes the current state and identifies areas of improvement to create a more efficient and effective organization.
Each department in a company is responsible for taking some raw material or data and transforming it into something else. There may be a dozen or more core processes that each department handles.
Business Process Management (BPM) strategy involves defining, designing, executing, monitoring, and optimizing business processes to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and agility.
Why is BPM important?
Business process management helps organizations improve efficiency, productivity, and agility. It involves defining, designing, executing, and continuously improving organizations' processes to produce goods and services. By streamlining processes and eliminating bottlenecks, organizations can reduce costs and improve the quality of their products and services. In addition, business process management helps organizations to be more responsive to changing customer and market needs and to adapt quickly to new technologies and business models. Organizations can become more competitive and achieve long-term success by effectively managing their processes.
Say no to chaotic work. Automate your tasks now.
When left unorganized and unsystematized, poor business processes can lead to mayhem. At the individual level, people only see one part of a process. Very few can scan out and see the full effects of a business process , where it starts and ends, the key data needed, and where potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies lie.
Unmanaged, chaotic processes hurt business and lead to one or more of these scenarios:
Lack of data
Organizations can improve their processes by applying business process management and keeping all operations running optimally.
Steps of a BPM Lifecycle
Step 1 : Design
Most processes include a form to collect data and a workflow to process it. Build your form and identify who will own each task in the workflow .
Step 2 : Model
Represent the process in a visual layout. Fix details like deadlines and conditions to give a clear idea of the sequence of events and the flow of data through the process.
-> Here are the detailed instructions for BPM modeling .
Step 3 : Execute
Execute the process by testing it live with a small group first and then opening it up to all users. Make sure you restrict access to sensitive information.
Step 4 : Monitor
Keep an eye on the process as it runs through the workflow. Use the right metrics to identify progress, measure efficiency, and locate process bottlenecks to ensure process monitoring is done effectively.
Step 5 : Optimize
As you analyze, notice any changes that need to be done to your form or workflow to make them more efficient. Consider business process improvement steps.
Best Practices in Business Process Management
Several best practices have emerged over time to assist in BPM, which is a complex process improvement strategy. Organizations can follow them to manage their business processes effectively:
1. Define clear goals and objectives
It is important to understand the desired outcomes of a business process and to ensure that the process is aligned with the organization's overall goals.
2. Involve stakeholders
Involving key stakeholders in the design and management of business processes can help ensure buy-in and support for process improvements.
3. Document and analyze processes
Detailed documentation of business processes can help organizations understand how they work, identify areas for improvement, and track progress over time.
4. Use process modeling techniques
Process modeling techniques such as flowcharts and BPMN can help organizations visualize and understand their processes and identify potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
5. Continuously monitor and measure process performance
Organizations should regularly monitor and measure the performance of their business processes and use this data to identify and address any issues or problems.
6. Use technology to automate and optimize processes
Automation and technology can help organizations streamline and optimize their processes, reducing the need for manual labor and improving efficiency.
7. Foster a culture of continuous improvement
Encouraging a culture of continuous improvement can help organizations stay agile and adaptable and ensure that their processes are continuously evolving to meet changing needs.
Here are some of the primary benefits of using BPM in your business:
- Gain control of chaotic and unwieldy processes
- Create, map, analyze, and improve business processes
- Run everyday operations more efficiently
- Realize bigger organizational goals
- Move toward digital transformation
- Improve and optimize tangled operations
- Closely track individual items as they move through a workflow
BPM systems can be categorized based on the purpose they serve. Here are the three types of business process management:
1. Integration-centric BPM
This type of business process management system handles processes that primarily jump between your existing systems (e.g. HRMS, CRM, ERP) without much human involvement. Integration-centric business process management systems have extensive connectors and API access to be able to create processes that move fast.
2. Human-centric BPM
Human-centric BPM is for those processes that are primarily executed by humans. These often have a lot of approvals and tasks performed by individuals. These platforms excel at a friendly user interface, easy notifications, and quick tracking.
3. Document-centric BPM
These business process management solutions are required when a document (e.g. a contract or agreement) is at the heart of the process. They enable routing, formatting, verifying, and getting the document signed as the tasks pass along the workflow.
Most business process management systems will be able to incorporate elements of each of these, but each one will usually have one specialty.
Have you ever felt your organization’s onboarding process is too complex and chaotic? Is your HR department asking the candidates to fill out paper forms that make them exhausted? This is because your HR department lacks the principle of Business Process Management (BPM). Applying business process management, helps you automate your HR processes end-to-end, thereby cutting down on cost, time, and paper forms. Here are a couple of examples as to how business process management helps your HR department to improve their processes:
- Approve employee timesheets faster
- Onboard new hires without hassles
-> Here are 6 business process management examples from companies that implemented BPM.
In most organizations, the sales team spends a significant amount of time in coordinating with the Accounts Receivable (AR) team, to get sales invoices approved. Even a small typo in invoices, ruins the lives of the salespeople. This is where business process management comes into the picture, since it automates the invoice approval process, thereby eliminating the chances of manual errors and the back and forth clarifications between the salespeople and the AR team. Here are a couple of scenarios in the sales department, where business process management can help them streamline their processes:
- Shorten your sales cycle workflows
- Be on time with quotes and invoices
A finance team is bombarded with paper forms and emails every day since anything that involves money has to go through them. For instance, if the asset management team wants to purchase 50 laptops, they send the quotation that they received from the vendor to the finance team for approval. This is just one case. Imagine, how many emails and paper forms they receive on a daily basis from various teams. Without a system in place, it is cumbersome for them to manage all of these. Business process management (BPM) software helps them manage all of this. Here are a couple of scenarios in the finance department, where business process management comes as a saving grace:
- One-click approvals for travel requests
- Customize workflows for unique scenarios
Features every competent business process management tool should have
Now that you know why exactly a BPM system is necessary, here’s a list of the features a good business process management system should have.
- Visual process diagramming tool
- Drag-and-drop form designer
- Role-based access control
- Mobile support
- Powerful administrator features
- Single sign-on (SSO)
- Integration with existing software systems
- Reports and analytics
- Performance for large user bases
- Process performance metrics
Read this article for a detailed explanation of the above features of a good business process management system .
Is BPM like Task or Project Management?
Business process management is neither task management (which focuses on individual tasks) nor project management (which handles one-time or unpredictable flows).
Task management is about handling or organizing a set of activities arising from a project. These projects are often one-time and non-repeatable. When these projects are well-organized, like in construction work, project management software like ‘Microsoft Project’ is used. Trello, Asana, or Kissflow Project are good tools for managing tasks in ad-hoc projects.
Business process management is focused more on repetitive and ongoing processes that follow a predictable pattern or process management.
Is BPM really expensive?
Usually, yes. Business process management (BPM) systems can get quite complex. Installing an on-premise solution might cost more than $250,000 after technology and consultant costs are included. But Kissflow BPM starts at just $390/month to make BPM much more affordable. Plus, there’s no extra fees for support. Pick a process that has been hard for you to automate and get started with Kissflow today.
Streamline Your BPM Process With Kissflow
You may also like:.
- What is BPMS? How Can It Help Your Organization?
- Business Process Management Software
- 10 Steps to a Successful Business Process Documentation With Example
- BPM Systems – The Best one MUST (will) have these 10 features
- How To Make Simple & Effective Business Process.
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How to Write a Business Narrative
How to Write a Philosophy Statement for Business Students
Stories sell, and in case you haven’t already noticed, they’re everywhere. From books and movies to TV commercials and print advertisements, stories help the audience imagine another world or what their life will be like with a certain product. A story can even help sell your business to potential investors and business partners.
While a complete business plan can be complicated to write, a business narrative is both easier to write and easier to read, two attributes that can help you sell your business. Writing a narrative report for your business plan is also a good way to make your ideas feel more cohesive. Sometimes ideas – even brilliant ones – can sound messy, but with a narrative, your ideas will sound better when they are thought out and composed.
Writing a narrative report for your business plan can also help you start thinking about how you will pitch your business in the future. Start brainstorming to tell a story about your business, and you’ll be off on the right track. However, like any kind of story, a business narrative has important components that you can’t skip. Find out what they are and how to put them together.
Do You Already Have an Idea for Your Business?
If you already have an idea for your business, that’s great. Start your business narrative by summing up your idea as quickly and succinctly as you can. Make sure you include what industry or sector your business is in, who your target market is and what you’re trying to sell.
If you don’t have an idea, it’s time to brainstorm . Try to think about things that are missing from the world or niches in the market that aren’t filled where you are. Your idea doesn’t have to be 100-percent original, but you do have to put your own spin on the concept, otherwise you might as well just be opening a franchise.
You can also try a free-writing exercise to get the ideas flowing. Get out a pen and a piece of paper and put your cell phone away. Write about possible business ideas for 15 to 20 minutes without stopping or looking anything up on the internet. At the end, read over what you’ve written to see if you can find the kernel of an idea.
Read an Example of a Business Narrative Report
Before you get started writing the narrative report for your business plan, you can prepare yourself to write a good one by reading as many examples as you can find . If you’re in business school, you can ask your professor or your classmates to share a business narrative report sample with you. You might also be able to find an example of a business narrative report at your business school’s library.
The best kind of business narrative report samples you can find are ones that were written to help start successful businesses. Your business school might have such samples from alumni businesses. You can also reach out to alumni to ask them about their business success. They might be more than happy to give you a few pointers.
Read each business narrative report sample carefully, making note of what they describe. Think about your own business concept in the same terms. After you read a great example of a business narrative report, ideas for your own business narrative will start to flow.
What Will You Call Your Business?
What a business does is important, but your business’s name is almost as critical. Having a catchy name for your business can mean the difference between success and failure. Will the name stick in anyone’s head, or is it forgettable?
Naming your business can be hard, but it’s important to stick to names with positive associations. Quirky is good too, but make sure your business name matches what your company will actually do and that it makes sense. Don’t be afraid to make interesting associations. If nothing immediately jumps to mind, read, surf the internet or use a thesaurus until you can make a list of possibilities .
Once you have a few candidates in mind, look each up in a search engine to make sure no one is already using it. You don’t want to have the same name as another business, and you definitely don’t want to infringe on someone else’s copyright. Do your due diligence to prevent problems from occurring down the line.
Business Narrative Report Sample Outline
All business narratives must include these details. First, it should start with your business’s name. Next, your business narrative should describe what your business does and how it sets itself apart from the competition. Your business narrative should answer the following questions:
- What does your business do?
- What makes your business unique?
- Who is your business’s target market?
- What are your customers like?
- What benefits does your business provide to your customers?
- What are your business’s long-term goals?
- What do you need to accomplish those goals?
- How will you succeed? (In other words, what does the rest of the story look like?)
How to Improve Your Business Narrative
You have to do more than complete those questions with straightforward answers. Try to be as specific as possible when describing each aspect of your business. The purpose of a business narrative is to help investors understand what your business is and how it can grow in the future given the right capital. The more precise you can be with your narrative, the easier it will be to convince people to invest in your ideas.
The next step in improving your narrative is to compare it to the stories of similar businesses . If you did your research to find sample business narratives before you wrote your own, those will come in handy now. If your business narrative sounds too similar to the ones you read, you’ll need to figure out a new angle for your business to help it stand out from the competition.
Don’t forget to ask for feedback . Just like with any other piece of writing, asking others to read it will offer different perspectives, and these fresh eyes can tell you how you can improve. Listen to the feedback you receive and use it to sharpen your narrative until it represents the company you would like to form.
Writing Nuts and Bolts
Even though business narratives tell a story, meaning you can get a little more creative with them, writing mechanics are still important. In fact, they are more important than ever because they can make a difference between investors taking your business seriously or not giving you the time of day.
After you’re finished composing your business narrative, read it over again, paying extra attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation . Don’t be fooled by the tools in your word processor; it’s more than likely that your computer will label some things as mistakes when they aren’t and miss other mistakes entirely.
If you’re unsure about your spelling and grammar skills, ask a friend to read over your work before you turn in your paper. If you’re working on a business narrative for a professional project outside of school, consider hiring a writer. You’re the head of a company now. The most important lesson you can learn at the start is to hire qualified people and not try to do every little thing by yourself.
Benefits of Professional Business Etiquette
How to Write an Excellent Self Introduction Speech Really Quick
How to Teach Yourself Business
Business Project Examples
How to Write a Lab Report Title
How to Write an MBA Thesis
How to create commercial projects for school.
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- Harvard Business Review: How to Build a Strategic Narrative
- Inc: 3 Powerful Steps to Write Your Brand Story
- Travel Market Report: Four Tips For Creating A Compelling Business Narrative
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Business Process Design Templates – MS Word, Excel + Visio
Download these Business Process Design templates (MS Word, Excel + Visio) to capture the procedures that govern how your business works from technical and operational levels.
Use these MS Word, Excel and Visio templates to capture the events, inputs, resources and outputs associated with different business processes.
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A Business Process is a set of activities designed to produce a specific output. It is used to capture the specific ordering of work activities, including inputs, outputs, triggers and actions. These Business Process templates will help you to:
- Introduce the process and outline its purpose, goal, and outcomes
- Identify the fundamental assumptions behind this process. For example, what assumptions does the process audience have in relation to this process and how does the process support those assumptions
- Identify where and how the process interfaces with other processes or whether it is a component or sub-components of other processes
- Use Visio flowcharts to illustrate process activities, including inputs and outputs, decision points and user activity
- Identify data to be collected, such as reports, forms, and policies
- Identify reporting requirements associated with the performance of the process and the format it must be delivered in
- Identify the audience, role, and individuals who will use the process definition, and the responsibilities of these roles
Business Process Templates: Blue Theme
These forms, checklists and guides will help you map the scope of proposed systems (as-is processes) and how it will be implemented (to be processes). As business process are often visualized in a flowchart as a sequence of activities we have included three Visio flowcharts in this package.
Business Process Templates: Red Theme
You get two templates in the zip file. One blue theme, the other red. The red theme of the MS Word template has the exact same content as the blue theme. You can change the color scheme by updating the styles.
NB: Let me know if you need any help with this.
Microsoft Word Business Process template – 30 pages
Business Process template for a standalone process
Excel templates to support the process design project
Sample screenshots of the main process design document
Examples of process narrative, including inputs, output, triggers, with supporting If-Then tables
Business Process: 7 Free Excel Templates
Roles and Responsibilities
Gap Analysis template
Other Excel templates include Clarifications, Document Control, Roles and Responsibilities, and Project Schedule
Business Process: 3 Free Visio Templates
Business Process Flowchart – 3 Swim lanes with SOX Controls
Business Process Flowchart – 2 Swim lanes
Business Process Flowchart – 4 Swim lanes
Business Process Templates: Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary
1.1 Identification 1.2 References 1.3 Naming Conventions 1.4 Process Flow Guidelines 1.4.1 Numbering 1.4.2 Decision Points 1.4.3 Start 1.4.4 End 1.4.5 Off Page References 1.4.6 On Page References 1.4.7 Format 1.4.8 Fonts 1.4.9 Sarbanes Oxley 1.4.10 Systems
2 Process <Name> 2.1 Process <Name> Steps 2.1.1 Process <Name> Narrative 3 Process <Name>
3.1 Process <Name> Steps 3.1.1 Process <Name> Narrative 3.2 Process <Name> Diagram
4 Process <Name> Level 1
Business Process Design: Template Pack
The templates are in Microsoft Word , Excel and Visio format and can be downloaded online for only $9.99 .
The template pack includes the following documents:
File Format : Microsoft Word (.docx) Excel format (.xlsx), and Visio (VSD).
File Size: Download file is 1.7 MBs.
Getting Started: Depending on your MS Office settings, the files may say Read Only when you open them. If this occurs, click File , Save As and save the files. There are no security settings on any of the files.
Images: All of the images in the templates are copyright free.
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- WHAT IS A BUSINESS PROCESS MAP?
- MAPPING VS MODELING
- BPMN SYMBOLS
- HOW TO MAKE A BUSINESS PROCESS MAP
- BUSINESS PROCESS MODELING NOTATION
- BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT LIFE CYCLE
- BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT EXAMPLES
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Business Process Map
What is a Business Process Map?
Business process mapping is a way to visualize what a business does by taking into account roles, responsibilities and standards. Business process modeling (BPM) takes this one step further by providing a visual way to understand, analyze, and improve upon a current method of working. There are a number of reasons why organizations map their processes.
- ISO 9001 compliance. This set of standards is geared toward ensuring organizations meet the needs of customers while complying with government regulations pertaining to a product.
- Compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. This is also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002, Sarbox, or SOX. It's a federal law that requires visibility and proper disclosure of compliance issues for all publicly traded companies to insure that proper controls are in place. Process documentation is a key component of compliance with the act.
- Onboarding new employees. Having a set of documented processes for new employees to follow can shorten training time, put less strain on other staff members, and help to ensure consistency and continuity of output.
- Communicating processes to others. At times it is necessary to be able to show a process to others. The visual structure of a business process map makes it easier to understand the process without having to read (and try to comprehend) a long, narrative description.
- Internal audits. Make sure work is done in line with the company's standards and policies.
- Process improvement and re-engineering. Once a process is documented and understood, it can be analyzed to improve efficiency.
What's the Difference between Business Process Mapping and Modeling?
Sometimes business process mapping and business process modeling are used interchangeably to refer to simply documenting of how a business operates, how inputs and outputs flow through a system. In reality, business process mapping is the tool focused on documentation. It shows how work is done, not necessarily how it should be done. Business process modeling is more about in-depth analysis and optimizing inefficiencies and bottlenecks.
Here are some of the symbols used during business process mapping. A rectangle represents a simple activity or step. Add a symbol inside the rectangle to represent loops, sub-processes, or multiple instances.
Gateways are represented with diamonds. An additional symbol inside the gateway can modify the meaning to make the gateway data or event based, parallel, and more.
How to Make a Business Process Map
- Identify the process you want to document
- Gather information from process participants via interviews or observations
- Identify the start and end points of your process
- Break the process into distinct tasks and decision points
If you want to perform a detailed analysis, you may want to continue by creating a business process model.
SmartDraw will let you make a simple business process map or model using a template and built-in symbols.
Make a BPMN Diagram with SmartDraw
Sign up for smartdraw free, basic components of business process modeling.
- Process. The overall workflow from a starting point to its successful completion.
- Tasks or Activities. Something performed by a person or a system.
- Flows. This is indicated on the process map by connecting lines and arrows.
- Events. These are triggers that cause a process to begin, end, or may redirect a process to a different path.
- Gateways. Decisions that can change the path of the process depending on conditions or events.
- Participants. Specifically naming the people or systems that perform the tasks or activities.
A business process model follows a structure that is similar to a flowchart . The difference is that it follows a standardized set of symbols developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI) known as Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). These elements are included in the SmartDraw business process modeling symbols library.
An event is an occurrence that triggers or creates a task or activity. Usually all business process maps will have a start event and an end event, but they can also have intermediate events that redirect the flow to a different path.
There are many different triggers for intermediate events.
Message events are calls, emails, letters, or any communication that initiates a task.
Timer events are useful for inserting breaks that may interrupt the flow. These breaks allow you to display tasks that repeat at some frequency like hourly, daily or weekly. You can show how long a task may take or show a specific date (or time) a task is to start.
Conditional events will interrupt the flow until a condition is met.
Signal events are not addressed to any particular participant but are visible globally. For example, a signal event would be a customer seeing an ad on social media before calling to place an order.
Error events are used in analysis. They're not naturally part of any process. The notation may help discuss any potential problems in your process.
Activities are tasks that must be executed during the process. They can be performed by an individual or the system. An activity is depicted with a rectangle with rounded corners. Activities can have sub-processes, loops, multiple instances, and compensations.
A sub-process is a set of activities that can show a task in more detail. For example, the activity "deploy web page" may include the sub-tasks of checking it into a source control, merging code to the production servers, and copying from production to the live servers. A collapsed sub-process is depicted with a small plus sign on the activity symbol and the sub-process is visualized in a separate diagram.
A loop repeats until one or more conditions are met.
An activity with multiple instances means all subtasks must be completed before proceeding to the next task. These instances can be executed in sequence or in parallel. For example, you might model a process during which 3 stakeholders have to approve an outline before a video can move into production. Those three approvals would be an activity with multiple instances.
A compensation event appears in the process in response to something that needs undoing such as a cancellation or denied authorization.
A transaction activity is a special type of process used for payment.
A call activity is a reusable sub-process throughout the entire system.
Gateways depict a decision step, a point of convergence or divergence of flow in the process. They can be exclusive or inclusive, parallel, complex, or based on events or data.
An X inside a gateway symbol indicates a decision between mutually exclusive choices. In programming terms, this is an "or" event. The flow will travel down only one path.
A parallel gateway, indicated with a plus sign inside a diamond, requires that the process continues to flow in both directions from the decision point. We basically want to have our cake and eat it too. This is an "and" event.
An inclusive gateway allows the flow to travel down more than one outgoing path.
Event based gateways are triggered by events rather than conditions, for example a message, elapsed time, a signal, and so on.
Flows connect the activities that are part of a business process. These connections are meant to indicate relationships.
A sequence flow is the most frequently used flow type shown as a straight line with an arrow. This type of flow indicates the sequence in which tasks are executed.
A message flow depicts the flow of messages from one participant to another. It is shown with a dashed line with a circle on one end and an arrow at the other. Make sure messages don't connect activities or events in the same pool. Never attach a gateway symbol to a message flow.
An association, represented with a dotted line (sans arrow), is used to show a relationship between an artifact like data and tasks on your diagram.
Artifacts are not part of the process, but may be relevant to it. These are usually annotations or data.
Using Swim Lanes to Define Participants in BPM
Lanes help define roles, functions, and responsibilities more clearly. Each lane represents a role and the tasks they're responsible for executing. Read more about swim lanes.
Business Process Management Life Cycle
The purpose of mapping and modeling any business is to improve and optimize. This often can't be done in a single step, but rather follows a cycle of observations, modeling, implementing changes, and monitoring.
The steps in a BPM life cycle are: model, implement, execute, monitor, and optimize.
Business Process Map Examples
See some examples of business process maps and models before you make your own.
Click on any of these business process maps included in SmartDraw and edit them:
Browse SmartDraw's entire collection of business process map examples and templates
More business process mapping information
- Process mapping software
- Business process management software
- Process Description Software
- Organizational sustainability
- Process design
- Process flow diagram software
- Process documentation
- Flowchart maker
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The first step is to understand the context of the narrative. Research shows that our brains think of companies not as objects but as people. Every time someone engages with your brand, they are...
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Business Process Modeling Notation ( BPMN) is a graphical notation for specifying business processes in a process model. It is used to create diagrams that depict the flow of activities in a business process, from start to finish. The diagrams use a set of standard symbols to represent different types of process elements, such as tasks, events ...
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It is a method to analyze and improve a process, including its modeling. The workflow development process uses work flow models to capture the relevant information of the processes. This process comprises four stages: Information Gathering, Business Process Modelling, Work flow Modelling, Implementation and Verification & Execution.
U.S. Department of Defense
A business narrative simply tells a story through the events that happened. This is a way to analyze, explain and evaluate the services and products the company sells. As well as to evaluate how the business succeeded or failed. Business narratives are usually used as pep talk to inspire employees to do better in the future.
A narrative is a powerful tool to tell your business story, without all of the complexity of a business plan. People tend to have a difficult time starting a business plan or even a pitch because the ideas rattling around in their gray matter are just not cohesive.
Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a flow chart method that models the steps of a planned business process from end to end. A key to Business Process Management, it visually depicts a detailed sequence of business activities and information flows needed to complete a process.
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The goal of BPMN is to give everyone a clear view of a process from start to finish. It helps provide a visual path that'll bridge the gaps, showing the sequence of business activities needed to get from one end of a process to the other. Here are a few of the benefits that businesses can reap by using BPMN:
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2.1.1 Process <Name> Narrative 3 Process <Name> 3.1 Process <Name> Steps 3.1.1 Process <Name> Narrative 3.2 Process <Name> Diagram. 4 Process <Name> Level 1. Business Process Design: Template Pack. The templates are in Microsoft Word, Excel and Visio format and can be downloaded online for only $9.99. The template pack includes the following ...
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The Business Process Model An introduction to the terminology and icons used in the Business Process M odel. Provides a quick introduction to some Unified Modelling Language (UML) concepts and how they are applied in Enterprise Architect's Business Process Model. A business process: 1. Has a Goal 2. Has specific inputs 3. Has specific outputs 4.
Business process mapping is a way to visualize what a business does by taking into account roles, responsibilities and standards. Business process modeling (BPM) takes this one step further by providing a visual way to understand, analyze, and improve upon a current method of working.