processes, operational excellence, performance excellence, process mapping, growthProcesses form the backbone of every customer-centric organization. They orchestrate the harmony between people, technology, and business results and driving revenue, improving profit margins, and increasing employee productivity. Process excellence serves as the foundation for operational excellence, and facilitates growth and success in a highly competitive market. In this article, we will explore three reasons to perform process mapping and how it positively impacts business performance, 6 ways process maps help your business and seven steps for effective process mapping.

3 Reasons to Engage in Process Mapping 

If you care about enhancing efficiency and productivity, reducing costs, minimizing errors and risk, and optimizing results, process management matters.  The impact of process mapping on operational excellence and business performance is supported by robust data and research. Here are three data points on why process management matters.

  1. Forrester research found that business process management (BPM) typically delivers 30-50% productivity gains.
  2. Seventy-two percent of participants in the State of Business Process Management study agree or strongly agree that BPM practices and technologies have led to improvements in their organizations.
  3. Gartner research stated that 80% of organizations conducting business process management (BPM) projects will experience an internal rate of return better than 15%.

But here’s the rub. Per the State of Business Process Management study, only 1.5% said all their processes are modeled and documented, with most organizations admitting that less than 25% of their processes were modeled and documented.

Question: Why don’t organizations map their processes?

Answers cited most often: People think process mapping is:

  • Too hard. Mapping the process is relatively easy, and we’ll share the primary steps below.
  • They believe they know how the processes work and that as long as it is working, why bother?
  • Too time-consuming. Today there is software that can help streamline the process.

Question: Why do process mapping initiatives often fail to deliver the expected benefits?

Answer cited most often: Implementing the change that emerges to improve the process can be difficult.  That is true. But we have found that the longer the process of mapping processes is put off, the harder it is to make process mapping a priority.

6 Key Ways Process Mapping Leads to Better Business Results 

business planning, process mapping, dashboards, customer centricity, analytics, market research, growth, processes, operational excellence, performance excellence, process mapping, growthProcess excellence is a required element of operational and performance excellence. By continuously refining and optimizing processes, organizations can drive efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Process mapping provides a clear roadmap for improvement and optimization. We have found that process maps play a significant role in six ways:

1.Customer-Centricity: Process mapping enables businesses to better understand and address customer needs and preferences. By streamlining customer-oriented processes, companies can enhance the overall customer experience, driving customer loyalty, repeat business, and advocacy.

2.Talent Development: Well-defined processes create clarity and consistency in job roles, empowering employees to perform their tasks more efficiently. This fosters a culture of continuous learning and development, enabling employees to grow and contribute to the organization’s success.

3.Improved performance: Process mapping provides a comprehensive view of each process, helping identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. By streamlining and optimizing processes, organizations can reduce costs, improve cycle times, and enhance overall process performance.

4.Innovation: A thorough understanding of existing processes can reveal areas for innovation and improvement. By identifying pain points and opportunities, businesses can implement innovative solutions to enhance their products, services, and overall business model.

5.Internal collaboration: Process mapping allows businesses to identify dependencies and touchpoints between different processes and departments. These insights facilitate effective collaboration and partnerships, leading to greater value creation and shared success.

6.Scalability: Process mapping helps organizations identify opportunities for automation and technology integration. By leveraging technology to streamline processes, businesses can achieve greater efficiency and scalability.

If you’ve mapped your processes, especially those that are core processes, fantastic. We hope you keep them up to date and continue to refine them as needed.  Wonder if your performance and operational excellence could be more effective? Purchase our Performance and Operational Excellence Assessment.

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For those less familiar with process mapping, we’ve recapped the seven primary steps below.

Don’t Skip Out on These 7 Process Mapping Best Practices 


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Process mapping is the critical first step toward achieving process and operational excellence. Process mapping is akin to charting a path through the complexities of business operations. It involves visualizing and documenting each step of a process, from initiation to completion, in a clear and concise manner. By mapping processes, organizations gain valuable insights into inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and areas for improvement, setting the stage for transformative change.

Step 1: Identify the Process

The first step in process mapping is to identify the specific process that requires mapping.  We recommend that if you don’t have process maps in your organization, begin with a core business process that directly impacts customers and therefore revenue.  For example, order-to-cash or customer onboarding, or a critical support process like tech support ticket management.

Let’s use the example of customer onboarding for a software company to illustrate the remaining steps.

Step 2: Gather Stakeholders

Processes typically touch multiple parts of an organization, such as marketing, sales, customer success, and finance who most likely will have different perspectives about and insights into how the process currently and ideally should work. As a result, process mapping is a collaborative effort and often requires participation from different functions and departments across the organization.  Therefore, before you begin mapping, be sure to engage all the key stakeholders involved in the process.  This step is essential to gaining a comprehensive understanding, accurately mapping the process, and securing buy-in for any changes made to the process. In a customer onboarding process, we will want to invite representatives from sales, customer success, and product development teams to provide their input.

Step 3: Document the Current State (As-Is)

dashboards, metrics, process mapping, growth, customer centricity, business planning, operational excellence, processes, operational excellence, performance excellence, process mapping, growthCarefully document the current state of the process. This includes capturing every step, decision point, queue, and handoff that takes place during the process and the typical length of time for each. Use visual aids such as flowcharts, swim lane diagrams, or process maps to make the information more accessible and understandable.  In our example, we’d include steps like these in the current customer onboarding process, along with who is responsible for each step, and the typical time for each step:  initial contact, the proposal, proof of concept, customer sign-up/purchase of the product, customer contracts/PO, product activation, account implementation plan and milestones, product configuration and set up, training and support, first review.

Step 4: Analyze and Identify Improvement Opportunities

Once the as-is process is mapped and everyone agrees that the map reflects the current state, analyze the mapped process to identify inefficiencies, redundant steps, and areas for improvement. Look for bottlenecks, such as queues (what we refer to as white space) that slow down the process and opportunities to streamline and automate tasks. You may identify several places on the map that need improvement.  It might be difficult to revise all steps at once time.  Select one or two of the steps that you believe will create the greatest value for your customers and organization to improve.

In our example, we identify the proof of concept (PoC) step as a critical area to improve that will impact the customer experience, overall cost of acquisition, and time to revenue.  In analyzing PoC data, we learn that a typical software PoC typically takes a team of 2-3 developers about 2-3 weeks to complete.  In our example, according to the current process map, the PoC typically takes 6 weeks to complete and a minimum team of 5 developers.

Step 5: Design the Future State (To-Be)

Based on the insights gained from the analysis, design the future state of the process – the ideal, optimized version. In our example, we decide to focus on redesigning the PoC process in the customer onboarding process.  We set a goal to reduce the time and number of developers in half.  We quantify the cost of the change along with the savings in headcount, reduction in time and cost to customer acquisition, time to product adoption, and increase in positive reviews and/or referral rates.  Being able to quantify the value of changing the process, and setting targets, are an important part of process mapping.

Step 6: Test and Implement Changes

You may have a really good feeling about a process change.  But before you implement it throughout your organization, it is a good idea to test it with a pilot group or in a controlled environment. In our example, we might run a pilot program for the new PoC step in the customer onboarding process with a select group of new customers.  Use the pilot to ascertain where there are potential “wrinkles” in the new process that need to be ironed out and to determine whether the targets are being achieved.  Once everything seems to be operating as designed, the process is ready to be implemented.  As part of the implementation be sure to have communication and change management plans to support the implementation.

Step 7: Monitor and Measure Performance

metrics, business planning, dashboards, analytics, market research, operational excellence, customer centricity, processes, operational excellence, performance excellence, process mapping, growthPerformance management is also closely linked to process mapping. By setting measurable goals and KPIs based on the mapped processes, businesses can monitor progress and make data-driven decisions. This ensures that the organization stays on track to achieve its strategic objectives. After implementation, monitor the performance of the new process and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess its impact on business outcomes. Continuously review the process and make further improvements as needed. In our example, we will want to monitor customer experience, onboarding time, product adoption rates, customer acquisition rate and cost, and referral rates.

Better Process Mapping Reveals Insights to Optimize Operations 

By mapping customer-oriented processes, businesses can enhance the customer experience, leading to increased customer retention, cross-selling, and upselling opportunities. Streamlining processes reduces operational costs and enables employees to perform tasks more efficiently.  Process mapping provides a framework for setting performance targets, measuring progress, and identifying areas for improvement.  By visualizing and documenting the current state (as-is) and designing the future state (to-be), businesses gain valuable insights into their operations, enabling them to optimize processes for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

As businesses strive for operational excellence and superior business performance, process mapping becomes a crucial tool for optimizing operations, driving efficiency, and enhancing customer satisfaction. With process mapping, businesses can navigate the complexities of the ever-changing market with confidence and clarity. Have a question about process mapping or performance excellence? We have better answers.


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