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To Be Or Not To Be – Process Modeling

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Where the ‘as is’ or current state process is defined by process mapping, the ‘to be’ process is defined by process modeling. Business process modeling is a method for improving organizational efficiency and quality. It is represented by flowcharts and maps similar to the ‘as is’ process definition, but these show the more efficient, streamlined and, to some extent, automated workflows.

Modeling analyzes the mapped ‘as is’ process and along with the goals outlined in the scoping phase, develops a vision of what the ‘to be’ or future state process will look like. The road-map will take into consideration process changes, potential system changes, possible policy changes, and effect on company culture.   It is an iterative method as every change needs to be checked against the project scope ensuring that the original questions are answered, problems are solved, time and money will be saved, quality is high, users are happy, and customers are satisfied.

Once all of the development, testing (system and process), and training have been completed to everyone’s satisfaction, it will be time to migrate the organization or functional area to the new processes. This will then become the new ‘as is’ – the benchmark against which process reviews are validated – and the old ‘as is’ becomes the ‘was’.

Documentation throughout the entire project is very important. There will come a time when the new ‘as is’ process will need to be reviewed, whether it is to incorporate new business or adjust for growth or even a system implementation. The staff may not be the same and memories are not always reliable so having the documentation will at least prevent the statement, “we have always done it this way”. Revisiting the drivers, rationale and decisions that defined the previous journey from ‘as is’ to ‘to be’ will be invaluable in subsequent process improvement initiatives.

By Ellie Trautman

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