Benefits of process models and process modelling
The course syllabus distinguishes between
- Benefits of doing process modelling;
- Benefits of having a process model;
Benefits of doing business process modelling
Benefits to the business analyst.
The syllabus mentions the following advantages:
- Business analyst can develop effective working relationships and a rapport with the organisation’s ‘business staff’.
- The business analyst can gain a better understanding of the business. This should increase the analyst’s ability to perform their role; their role is, at least in part, to help to extend and improve the capabilities of the business.
Benefits to the business
The syllabus does not specifically mention benefits to the business of doing business process modelling.
We have included some possible benefits here. These are intended to promote discussion. They might also help a business analyst to make a case for doing business process modelling.
Business benefits are those results that contribute to an organisation’s achievement of its strategic objectives.
The act of doing process modelling, i.e. analysing existing processes and designing new processes, could contribute to achieving such benefits in a variety of ways, e.g.
- Leads to better understanding of how the existing processes really work.
- Supports process improvement. The gaps between the current and the desired levels of functionality and performance can be identified and a model of the desired processes can be created.
- Helps to explore and identify the ‘end to end’ processes that involve multiple organisational units and functional specialisms. This can help an organisation to move away from the ‘silo’ approach to an approach that focusses on the customer.
- Promotes discussion as to whether the processes are effective in contributing to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the business.
- Promotes discussions on the best way of measuring the performance of processes and staff.
- Promotes assessments of the customer value of current processes.
- Supports change programmes. Processes form a significant part of the business architecture and need to be explored in detail during many types of change programme, e.g. to improve customer service, support new opportunities, create a more agile organisation and to remain ahead of the competition.
- Helps to identify problems in processes. Modelling processes aids their analysis which in turn facilitates identification and removal of problems.
- Modelling a new process allows us to identify design problems at that stage rather than after implementation.
- Allows the modellers to see if all supposed processes have a triggering event and clearly identified outcomes. This helps the business to see if what they they think are processes, really are processes.
Obviously some of the above business benefits could also benefit the business analyst.
Benefits of having a business process model
The syllabus states that having a business process model is ‘useful’ to both the business and the business analyst. The syllabus does not give any examples of how it can be useful. We have made some suggestions below.
We have separated benefits to the business and benefits to the business analyst. The lists are intended primarily to promote discussion. We recognise that some of the following suggestions could apply to both the business and the business analyst.
Benefits for the business
- Provides a base for continual monitoring and improvement of the process.
- Helps to achieve a consistency of approach to operating the process. Processes can be supported by standards that must be adhered to by all persons who participate in them.
- Demonstrates how processes work across the organisational units.
- Demonstrates roles and interrelationships. Process models can clearly identify who does what, when, where and with who.
- Demonstrates the contribution of each organisational unit to the end to end processes.
- Enables design for process transparency. It is vital that business operational units are able to see where any particular transaction has got to in the overall process. E.g., Has an order been taken? Have the goods been shipped? Has payment been received? This is ‘transparency’.
- Provides context to requirements. Processes are an excellent basis for requirements discovery.
- Facilitates testing of the processes and the software systems that support them.
- Provides a training aid. For example, new staff can be shown how things should be done.
Benefits for the business analyst
- The business analyst can use the model to understand the business and identify problems and propose improvements in the processes.
- Business analysts who are new to the organisation can quickly learn about the business processes.
Answering exam questions on this topic
The current exam format, which is open book, is probably unlikely to pose questions about the value of modelling. The planned multi-choice version of the exam potentially could.
The syllabus gives only a couple of benefits of doing process modelling but no examples of having a process model.
With multi-choice questions, the possible answers will be given to you; there are always four options for the answer. The following suggestions can help you to determine the correct response.
In all cases it is vital to read the question. This sounds obvious but is easy to misread things.
Does the question ask about benefits of doing process modelling or benefits of having a model?
If the question asks about benefits of having a process model, does it specifically refer to either the business or the business analyst? Because the syllabus does not mention advantages to the business of doing process modelling, we think it is unlikely that the exam will ask about this. We mention it here, ‘just in case’.
If such a multi-choice question asks for a choice, and you feel that more than one answer could be correct, consider which option would give the MOST advantage.
Look for clues in the wording. For example, if an option for an answer says ‘Demonstrates’ something, this should refer to having a process model. If you don’t have it, you can’t demonstrate.
Use our examples to help you think through your choice of answer in an real exam. Obviously we cannot know in advance what the actual questions will be.
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