Why Process Mapping is Worth the Investment
The fundamental concern for a C-Level director is bottom line revenue. So when they interrogate different business functions, they want to understand the value its bringing the business. What is the exact payoff? How much money is it making the organization? How is it lower the total cost of ownership? For those working in business modelling the benefits are often implicit, but they don’t always translate into concrete financial numbers.
So how best should you respond? How can you build a business case when looking for extra investment?
There are a number of different points to make that speak directly to the directors’ fundamental concerns.
Access to information essentially means visibility. Unfortunately, many of us have worked at organization’s where no-one knows how any tasks that fall outside of their own day-to-day remit are undertaken. Trying to understand why something is the way it is, or even how a specific task falls into the wider project, can start to look like the plot of a second rate detective novel. There are a lot of questions, half-baked answers and uncertainty in terms of who is responsible for what as the information slowly unravels. Hopefully there isn’t a nasty twist at the end!
So how does this relate to the C-Level concern? The physical act of trying to decipher a task or project can take half a day, perhaps more. Multiply this by 10,000 employees and the scale and cost of the problem becomes apparent – itself slowly revealed – but only after the damage has been done.
Bottlenecks, missing links and manual handoffs all lead to excessive delays, confusion and spiralling costs. Often it can be difficult for the organization to understand why something hasn’t gone as planned; and even when they realise establishing exactly where or why this has happened can create further problems. It is only by mapping out each processes and establishing their duration, as well as how frequently run they are.
This information can be used to create a heat map, detailing which processes require rework and further investment.
In a large organization, it is not uncommon for four different teams to be carrying out the same (or a slight variant of) the same process. While, on occasion, there might be a good reason for this, more often than not it is simply due to people and departments working in silos, and duplicating systems – systems that might be worthy of automation when considering the amount of times they are executed across all the different groups that use them.
Addressing these areas can lower overheads, encourage efficiency and allow for staff to be reallocated to more innovative and productive projects, delivering further value to the business.
Documents constantly get bounced around different departments and pass through a number of hands – often back and forth. This creates a number of handovers which can lead to mistakes and impose overhead. By simply aligning and restructuring the order in which work is done, we can eliminate a lot of these handovers and the associated costs.
There’s a running theme in all of these points: transparency. Fundamentally, transparency provides the underlying value of process mapping, helping to shine a light on the inner workings of a business. It enables the organization to understand and refine its processes in a way that lowers costs, while driving business growth and gaining efficiency.