Business Process Modeling: It’s Non-Negotiable

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Defining Business Processes for Your Organization (Part 1 of 2)

When setting up the project plan for a software implementation, companies often seek to cut out business process modeling in the interest of saving time and effort.

However, at Datix, this step is a non-negotiable part of our process, because we know there is immense value when our clients put the up-front effort and resources into process modeling.

If this is so valuable, why is there a desire to skip or skimp? In the first of a two-part series, Datix consultant, Jessica Becher, discusses and debunks the key misconceptions that lead to skipping business process modeling. In Part Two, Jessica examines why it’s crucial to have an experienced partner to lead the exercise.


There’s a misconception that we’ve found in working with multiple clients that business process modeling is not worth doing. They feel it’s either a waste of time, is too resource-intense or won’t capture how the business runs – or plans to run. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Skipping this step can lead to “fuzzy” implementations, expensive re-work and low adoption by end users.


Business Process Modeling is a Waste of Time

Misconception: I purchased a new system and want to implement changes. Why would I waste time on capturing our current, broken processes?

Reality: Business process modeling is the backbone of your project, and post-launch, this documentation serves as a key defense against the loss of tribal knowledge as employees’ roles change. Capturing current pain points is a critical success factor in a project’s lifecycle and ensures that your current pain won’t be recreated or overlooked in the new system design.

One of the first things Datix does with new clients is hold a business process modeling session. In this initial modeling session we document your entire business cycle by asking power users to come prepared with answers to the following questions:

  1. Where do you work?
  2. What are your current pain points?
  3. With whom do you interact?
  4. What activities are upstream and downstream from your work?
  5. What are your day-to-day activities?
  6. What historical data do you need to access?
  7. What data do you need converted to the new system?
  8. Where and how is the data stored in your current system?
  9. What is your pie in the sky?

The answers to these questions help us identify use cases, which document every interaction users will have with the system. Those use cases are then expanded upon in later stages of the project. This collection of information,  the current state layered with expectations and ideas for the future state system, lay the groundwork for a successful implementation. It’s important to understand that process maps are not stagnant documents, they evolve throughout the life of the project into a go-to guide that will lead anyone from an end user to the CEO to an answer they might be searching for:

  1. End User: “What point in the process am I in?”
  2. IT: “How was this customization deployed?”
  3. CEO: “Where in the process are we experiencing bottle necks?”

It’ll Take Too Long

Misconception: Business process modeling will be a long and drawn out process. It’ll take days, maybe even weeks to get employee input. My business can’t afford that.

Reality: The time it takes to conduct BPM sessions is a very short upfront commitment. Depending on the size of your company, process modeling takes about 2 full days to complete.

This is especially short considering the amount of time and money that will be saved by addressing and solving issues now instead of months or years down the road.

Datix breaks out process modeling sessions with power users by department to avoid pulling employees from their day job for irrelevant sessions about others’ workflows.This also helps to keep each session on track and focused, eliciting the most information about a specific area of business in the shortest amount of time.

The result? A project team equipped with the right information and power users who feel that their ideas and current pain has been acknowledged and will be incorporated in the end state design.


You Can’t Capture What We Do On Paper

Misconception: Our business, along with our processes, are far too complex to be captured in a process model.

Reality: The final process model captures those complexities and ties them to features and functionalities of the software.

As Datix has shown time and again, there is no such thing as too complex. It’s our job to capture the complexity. If we don’t work to fully understand the business, how are we going to design a system that works for you?

Our approach is to start with the high-level view and work towards a final business process model that encompasses everything. That is why we start with the identification of use cases, and then develop those use cases after they have been prioritized to make sure the software works even for your most complex transactions.

OK, those are the reasons not to skip business process modeling, and why Datix projects require this step. In Part Two, we’ll examine why it’s best to tackle process modeling with an experienced enterprise software implementation partner.

Are there other misconceptions we didn’t cover? Have a bad experience with business process modeling in the past? Join the conversation and share your experiences.


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7 Comments so far:

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