Business Process Analysis and Design
Business process analysis follows the lifecycle of business process management. Business process management is an approach that focuses on capturing and improving business processes to make an organisation more efficient. This can be achieved by first capturing the current-state end-to-end process of an organisation and then documenting the steps in process maps.
A business process is a set of logically related business activities that combine to deliver something of value to a customer. An organisation’s business processes are best described by means of a business process model. A defined set of business processes can be used as a framework for assessing the impact of changes across the business. It assesses how well the process achieves its end goal.
Business process analysis identifies and examines every part of the structure, including the process itself, the participating parties, the information exchange, and others. Accordingly, it can help identify potential improvements within the process, making it easier to carry out a re-engineering initiative sometime down the line.
The Steps Involved During The Lifecycle Are Described Below
- Socialise and Monitor
- Mapping current process
- Evaluate current process
- Model future process
- Perform Gap Analysis
- Implement new process
The results of the analysis phase are then fed into the design phase, whose purpose is to:
- Investigate options for achieving improvement by redesigning the processes currently in operation
- Identify and prioritise areas for improvement
- Implement process design according to an agreed schedule.
One of the decisions that needs to be made early in the project is what kind of analysis is needed – strategic (“top down”) or tactical (“bottom up”):
- A strategic perspective is higher level (i.e. managers) and seeks to understand the processes that make up the business and deliver its value.
- A tactical perspective is lower level (i.e. practitioners) and seeks to understand the activities that support processes. It is driven by the task requirements for operational efficiency.
In some projects the workshop teams will spend most of the time analysing existing processes, whilst in others they will spend most of the time designing improved ones, according to the nature and perspective of the project. For example:
1. Design-led projects
In a “clean slate” approach, the workshop team designs new processes with little regard for the current situation, and then considers their impact on the current organisation. However, a degree of analysis is still required as part of the design phase in order to develop a consensus amongst the workshop team members about the key failure points in the current processes and which opportunities for improvement should be prioritised.
2. Analysis-led projects
In many IT-driven projects, the purpose of the analysis phase is to understand the processes that are going to be automated. This ensures a good fit between the processes and the selected technology, and indicates how that technology should be configured. In this situation, little or no time might be allocated to improving the existing processes. However, some design work is almost always required to ensure the best use of technology.
Here are some popular techniques that are used in Business Process Analysis.
- Gap Analysis (Find out what information you’re missing about the process)
- Value-added Analysis (Identify if each activity in your process adds value to the process or your organisation. If not, remove it)
- Root Cause Analysis (Find the core reasons for a problem and see what can be done to fix it)
- Observation (Observe the process in action on the floor, see if it works as intended or not)
- Experience Examination (Talk to experienced staff in your organisation, see what inputs they have)
The first three can be done in facilitated sessions.
Other Analysis Techniques
- Other useful and frequently-used techniques include:
- Critical Path Analysis
- Customer Requirements Analysis
- Matrices Analysis
- Correlation Matrix
- Pareto Analysis
- Process Constraint Analysis
- Cultural Factor Analysis
- Customer Focus Groups
- Supplier Feedback
- Comparisons to Documented Procedures
- Role Playing
The Seven Steps of Business Process Analysis:
- Step 1 – Define the Process
- Step 2 – Uncover Opportunities
- Step 3 – Measure for Success
- Step 4 – Analyse the Process
- Step 5 – Take Effective Action
- Step 6 – Establish a State of Control
- Step 7 – Monitor for Effectiveness
Business process analysis is essential in finding potential improvements within your processes, as well as for bigger initiatives such as BPM or BPI.