Translated by
2019/12/20 11:24:24

TADetails: How to avoid errors at business process modeling?

Digitalization always goes hand in hand with business process management. Such approach helps to avoid a problem of "the automated chaos". Before optimizing business process, it should be described – to simulate. And there are several approaches. In what shortcomings of development of business processes from a status "as are" to "as should be" what shortcomings approach process mining has and what advantages the extending business process modeling method gives, Alexander Goncharov, the expert in creation of business processes of ICL Services company helped to understand.


What are business process modeling techniques

Today there is a set of techniques of business process modeling. As a rule, modeling of processes happens as follows. The consultant polls participants of business process, those give a picture "as is". Then the consultant creates and will approve a business process model "as is", and it is a starting point for model "as should be", permanent improvement or reengineering of processes. Shortcomings of such approach following: first, initially there is an orientation to the settled work model, secondly, modeling is based on not always adequate data, thirdly, modeling takes place in two stages "as is" and "as should be".

Other option – use of process mining technology: the consultant on the basis of unloading of these logs of information systems builds model "as is". It solves a problem of inadequate initial data, but does not solve the second – orientation to how we work now.

In this material we will in detail consider the extending business process modeling method. Using this modern approach it is possible to try to solve both problems and during the modeling to find possibilities of increase in efficiency of process. As well as in methodologies of lean production, a method it is focused on the value which business process creates for the consumer. He helps both with modeling of separate business processes, and when modeling a business process network of all organization.

The first principle of the extending method: it is obligatory to register all inputs and exits

Business process is understood as systematic activity of any part of the organization for conversion of inputs to exits. At process modeling it is necessary to register all significant inputs and exits. At the same time it is convenient to classify inputs of process on reformative, convertible and managing. In figure 1 the inputs and exits of process located according to methodology of SADT and a notation of IDEF0 are represented.

Principle second: we move not from the beginning by the end, and on the contrary

Often when developing model as a starting point serve initial transactions of process, just because is so more usual. In the extending method considered by us it is offered to begin with final transactions, with the end results of process. Let's consider simple process of delivery of pizza to the buyer. At first we will decide on exits. As a result of process the client should have a pizza, and the courier has a payment for it. Thus, process will have at least two exits.

Payment – an exit of the transaction "Accept Payment", the delivered pizza – an exit of the transaction "Transfer the Order to the Client", at the same time most likely the client at first will take the order, then will pay. In model in process there are two transactions which create these exits.

We consider transactions in more detail. The transaction "Accept Payment" can be executed using the point-of-sale terminal (a reformative input), for it there has to be an instruction (a managing input). That the nobility how many money to receive from the client, the courier should have the document with the corresponding amount, the form of the order (a convertible input). To transfer the order, the courier should receive the order ready to delivery, at the same time the maximum delivery date most likely is determined by regulations of delivery (a managing input). Thus, on the scheme of process it is possible to add inputs. From them two will be internal for process (are results of other transactions of the same process) and it is possible to untwist further process by the beginning, revealing the previous transactions. There were also three inputs, external for process, which are in turn exits of other business processes.

Principle third: at once we note discrepancies

When modeling it is possible to compare the received process to reality. If in life process is built not so (for example, at first payment, then transfer of the order), it is an occasion to understand why process is constructed quite so, and to often find inefficiencies "so it consisted of discharge".

For example, as a result of "pulling" of transactions we see that for any transaction inputs from two others are necessary. It means that these transactions can be executed in parallel. If in real life we see that transactions are executed strictly consistently, perhaps, it is inefficiency and it is worth rebuilding process.

How to apply the extending modeling method to all organization

The extending method in the same way is applicable during creation of process model of all organization, only at the same time not transactions of process, but business processes "are extended".

Here it is recommended to follow the concept of four types of activity. Practically any organization can present activity in the form of processes which are grouped to 4 areas on the basis of results which turn out as a result of activity.

The main business processes create value for the external consumer (final or intermediate). In many organizations the main business processes integrate in value creation chains.

The providing business processes provide resources for other spheres of activity: HR, IT support , etc.

Managerial business processes create plans and managerial influences for other groups of processes. Treat managerial, for example, formation of product strategy of the trading company.

Processes (and projects) development carry out changes in the organization. Several groups treat this sphere of activity:

  • processes of continuous improvement of activity (TQM, Lean)
  • the standardized developments (for example, opening of new shop in network retail operator)
  • global changes (for example, restructuring of the company or implementation of new strategy)

Creation of network of processes by the extending method should be begun with basic processes.

How to model basic processes

Starting point for basic processes is the product or service for the external organization. Often in basic processes there is multi-stage conversion of a product, then it is possible to speak about a value creation chain.

How many different types of products or services – are so much processes, or value creation chains.

We model the providing processes

Basic processes for functioning require resources which arrive from the outside or from the providing processes and functions. Having identified the resources created in the company, we find starting points for "pulling" of the providing processes. Modeling of such processes takes place similar to modeling of the main.

The providing processes of the following level can be suppliers of resources for the providing processes. Eventually all resources for the providing processes (except monetary) will arrive from the outside, on it modeling of the providing processes will come to the end.

Recommendations about modeling of management processes

Find management processes a little more difficult as corrective actions on the main and providing processes are not always documented. Besides, there are many different levels of management. Two concepts are useful to modeling of management processes: management system for activity and levels of management.

The first concept – a management system for activity.

Management processes are connected with the main in a uniform guidance loop. Activity in the organization is usually planned (formally or informally); any plans are an exit of the management process connected with planning and a managing input of the management process connected with regulation (adjustment) of activity (see fig.).

Primary activity of the organization generates information flows which are usually processed by the providing process preparing the reporting for management processes.

Management process of regulation assesses a situation and if necessary creates managerial impacts on basic processes.

Management process of planning uses the reporting under process for drawing up plans for the following time frames.

The second concept – levels of management.

According to it three activity levels of the organization are selected.

On operational (technical, local) level results of separate processes on compliance to the purposes and criteria set on top are estimated. It is possible to refer management of manufacturing enterprise of workshop, management of bank of credit and cash office to such level. When the purposes and indicators are defined, the manager's task at this level – to achieve effective objectives with the necessary efficiency.

At the managerial (system) level compliance of systems constructed in the organization is estimated (operating systems, control systems, motivation, quality management, etc.) to strategic objectives, decisions on development or change of these systems are made. Examples of solutions of such level: upgrade or replacement of the equipment of manufacturing enterprise, opening of new credit and cash office.

At the strategic (institutional) level it is estimated as far as the organization successfully interacts in environmental conditions, the strategic (long-term) objectives are established and decisions of strategic character are made.

Understanding of these concepts helps to define management processes. Having found a managing input in the main business process, it is necessary to understand to what level of management it belongs and to define the corresponding management process.

What developments cannot be simulated

Modeling of activities for development depends on the nature of this activity.

If it is about activity improvement processes, then it is possible to apply the extending method as well as to the main and providing processes.

For the standardized developments elements of both process, and project management, as a rule, are applicable. Opening of new shop in retail network can be managed using methodology of project management, but as it is the repeating activity, processes of this project are standardized and they can be described using a pulling method.

At last, global changes are usually unique inherently, and to them business process modeling methods are inapplicable, it is a project management subject.

Advantages and shortcomings of the extending method

The method has two important advantages. The first – aiming at value creation for consumers of the organization. The second – its high efficiency: the method allows to describe processes for the minimum time, at once noting discrepancies of process and a possibility of its improvement.

At the same time the method has restrictions which can be shortcomings in certain cases. The received business process model of the organization can be incomplete therefore it is necessary to provide verification of model. Besides, the method is not really applicable for the purposes meaning the total description of activity of the company (at system implementation of quality management or "continuous" automation).