Let’s consider the terms “business process” and “define the business process.”
In this section, we will explain business processes from two perspectives and discuss the merits of using workflow (*1) for defining business processes.
Note: *1. Workflow can also mean “business flow” or a diagrammatic representation of it, but for the purpose of this article, we will use the definition of workflow to mean workflow software/system.
What is a Business Process?
Business processes are often described as “workflows” or “procedures”. However, this may not be a satisfactory description. Therefore, let us compare work to a train and business processes to a train line along which a train runs. Each station on the line is a task/process to be performed.
For example, even the simplest business process of requesting work includes multiple tasks such as:
- Making a work request
- The person who received the request performs the work and reports the completion
- The person who made the request checks the work and the deliverables
You could say that a business process is a route (business process) that connects stations (tasks) so that a train (job) follows a well-designed route from the start of the business process to the goal.
So what is Business Flow? – Define the Business Process –
However, not everyone works with a complete understanding of business processes. Depending on the industry, there may be many cases where people are working without being aware of their business processes.
In such cases, it is difficult to know, for example,
- What stage the work is at
- Where the work is stalled
- How the work starts and how it is completed
This can lead to problems such as mistakes, duplicated work, and delays.
Therefore, it is necessary to define business processes in a form that is easy for everyone to understand.
There are various ways to define business processes, but the typical method is to draw a flow diagram. This is generally called a business flow (*2). “Business Flow Diagram” and “Business Process Diagram” are also terms with the same meaning.
In other words, defining business processes means visualizing them.
Note *2…In this article, business flow is defined as a diagrammatic representation of the flow of business operations, but there are cases in which the term “business flow” simply refers to the flow of work. In this case, business flow means almost the same thing as business process.
The Benefits of Defining Business Processes
So what are the benefits of defining (visualizing) business processes?
One of the major advantages of drawing a business flow diagram is that it makes it easier to grasp and share business processes.
Specifically, by drawing a diagram, the start and goal of the work, when, who, in what order, and what kind of work is done can be seen at a glance, and an overview of the work as a whole can be obtained. If the information is clearly presented in a diagram, it is easy to share it with others.
In addition, since the workflow will clearly show at a glance the time taken to process a task and what type of tasks each member has, it will be easier to grasp factors such as:
- Work stagnation status
- Points where work is held up (bottlenecks)
- Workload on each person
The more we can understand the flow of work, the easier it is to uncover any issues or problems that may be lurking there. This is a very important point for improving the quality, procedures, and efficiency of work.
Workflow to Support Business Process Definition
Now, workflow is a strong ally in defining (visualizing) business processes and conducting business improvement activities as described above.
It is true that a business flow diagram can be created with a pen and paper, and the business process may be shared if it is posted in a conspicuous place in the office. However, it is time-consuming to redraw the diagram every time a process is changed, and a different approach is needed to grasp and share the progress of work with a paper flow diagram.
Workflow solves all these problems together.
Workflow not only allows you to easily visualize your work on your computer, it also allows you to automatically follow the flow diagram you have created. Processes can also be modified, updated, and shared quickly.
Workflow is software that makes it easy to define business processes and supports business improvement activities such as automation and streamlining.
Let’s Define Business Processes with Questetra BPM Suite
Questetra BPM Suite is a cloud-based workflow.
As mentioned in the above section on the benefits of workflow, the advantage of a cloud-based system is that you can easily access and work from anywhere on the same system as in the office. It is also suitable for teleworkers, as they can access defined processes from home or in the car on the way to work.
Most software such as workflow and BPM tools require a lot of preparation before use, such as setting up on a server, but Questetra BPM Suite can be used immediately after application. In addition, you can easily try to define business processes with a wide variety of templates that can be applied to a variety of business operations.
Please take this opportunity to try Questetra BPM Suite, which you can start for free.