CRM, ERP, BPM, BPA …
There are so many business management tools a business can adopt that a lot of leaders and entrepreneurs are in doubt about which are the most important for their organizations.
The truth is that only by looking at the specifics of your business – preferably with the help of a good strategic planning – you can define the most useful management tools to achieve your goals.
However, it’s important to take one factor into account in this equation: business process analysis, or BPA.
For two reasons:
- First, because without proper management of organizational processes and their optimization, other tools may not be properly leveraged.
- Second, because the analysis and optimization of processes themselves can determine which tools should be acquired or discontinued to optimize processes.
Bearing that in mind, in this post, we’re going to show you what process analysis tools are – the so-called BPA tools – and how to apply them in the implementation of organizational processes.
See also on our blog: 7 features that all workflow automation software must have
What are BPA tools?
BPA tools, or Business Process Analysis Tools, are some of the most commonly used tools for performing, analyzing, documenting and redesigning business processes.
But before we delve deeper into the definition of what BPA tools are, how about we have a better understanding of what is process analysis itself?
What is process analysis?
Process analysis is the set of procedures used to conduct a thorough review, in order to obtain a clear understanding of a company’s business processes.
These procedures involve reviewing each of the process components, including:
Next, you analyze the interactions between each of these elements and how they lead to the desired results are analyzed.
Process analysis covers the evaluation of important factors, such as time spent; cost; productive capacity; resources employed; as well as the quality of the process and of its deliveries.
Now that you master the concept of process analysis, let’s get a deeper understanding of what BPA tools do.
Business Process Analysis tools: What do they do anyway?
Many professionals confuse BPA tools with mere process design tools.
In fact, for a proper organizational process management, it takes much more than drawing processes and producing a diagram.
Do you know what a process diagram is? Here’s an example of a Service Desk process diagram:
In this context, Business Process Analysis Tools provide a much more detailed and comprehensive work than just a process design. It includes 6 components:
- Process repository
- Graphical modeling and documentation
- Process publication
- Process version control
- Treatment of process improvements
Check out the details of each of these components in the following items.
The 6 components of BPA tools
Using BPA tools makes the implementation of organizational processes a lot more agile and assertive.
And, if the tool is online, cloud-based and with a nice and intuitive interface, the engagement of the team will be much more natural and spontaneous.
Check out the six components of Business Process Analysis tools:
1- Process Repository
One of the components few remember when considering BPA tools is how processes are archived and accessed.
A good process repository requires a centralized basis, a “single source of truth”.
In addition, processes need to be well organized and easily found through a structured directory or search engine.
Of course, some safety measures should be taken:
- Access to the repository is restricted to authorized users
- Password and other user authentications are required
- Levels of interaction with process diagrams, such as visualization, editing, and deletion, should be stipulated.
HEFLO relies on a cloud-based process repository, allowing you to modify or disseminate processes using only a web browser.
2- Graphical modeling and documentation
Graphical process modeling involves creating a representation of a process in the form of a process diagram or flowchart.
For this, the process is studied in search of the resources and elements involved in its execution. These include documents used, business rules, customers, agents and process owners, information that needs to flow, decision making, inputs, and outputs.
After a proper recognition of these elements, a process diagram is created so that all this becomes easy to understand in a visual way.
Generally, good BPA tools use BPMN notation, the most commonly adopted notation. In this way, all those who have access to the diagram “will speak a common language”, therefore avoiding misinterpretation.
Check out this video from HEFLO’s BPMN process modeling course.
After modeling your processes, it’s critical to document them.
Many wonder how important this is and even claim that it causes unnecessary bureaucracy.
Actually, process documentation is very important and brings a number of advantages to managing organizational processes, as you see below:
Benefits of Business Process Documentation
- The formation of a knowledge base for documented processes, which can be used as a model for similar new processes.
- A reference for users, customers, process owners and even analysts and consultants to clarify any questions they may have.
- Formal descriptions of objectives, steps, procedures and other process elements help to avoid controversy.
- Great source of information for creating manuals or for training.
- When new employees are hired, process documentation ensures they can consult a reliable and formalized source.
With HEFLO, you can create documentation immediately without leaving the interface, with a few mouse clicks.
Here’s a tutorial on how to do it:
3- Process publication
Now that your modeling is ready, how do you publish process diagrams so that everyone can have access to them?
Ideally, this should be done in an agile and practical way, without complications.
The best Business Process Analysis tools publish processes in the cloud, which makes it easier for everyone in the organization to access them. In this way, process participants can access diagrams wherever they are and, in many cases, using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Of course, data needs to be secured through data encryption.
Here’s a process diagram being viewed on a smartphone:
4- Process version control
Making processes available in the way mentioned in item 3 above is very practical and certainly makes life easier for analysts, consultants, agents and clients that need to consult them.
But how to manage new versions of a process?
Every time you make a change, do you need to create a new process diagram? How do you name all these versions and know which is the most recent one?
With HEFLO, every time you change or improve a process diagram, previous versions are automatically saved.
Therefore, you don’t need to create a series of individual files, one for each improved process diagram. And, to consult previous versions, just access the process itself and check the changes that have already been made.
5- Treatment of process improvements
The goal of BPA tools is not just to analyze business processes.
What we recommend, after analysis, is to initiate continuous improvement.
To do this, with the help of the process diagram, the analyst looks for opportunities for improvement.
These consist of procedures, tasks or other elements of the process that are making it less efficient and productive.
- Bottlenecks: points in the process where there is an accumulation of tasks that prevents continuous progression.
- Waste: use of an excessive amount of resources.
- Delays: when one task has been poorly estimated relative to the others and takes longer than desired.
- Handoffs: an exchange of information or responsibilities between teams, people or systems. Failure to do so may cause errors in the process.
These are just a few examples of improvement opportunities that you can detect by analyzing process diagrams and other means.
Then, these improvements should be addressed. Thus, it is necessary to look for alternative ways of executing the process without the delays, wastes, non-conformities, bottlenecks and handoffs identified, among other possible improvements.
The best BPA tools are cloud-based, precisely so to provide easy collaboration between team members and process users.
In the case of HEFLO, a Collaboration Portal streamlines all this, helping in process approval and also in collecting suggestions by other members of the company.
To do this, once you’ve finished modeling and documenting the process, you publish it all in the Collaboration Portal.
You then notify the process owner, who will use the portal itself to study and approve the newly modeled process.
But the cycle of improvement does not end there!
After that, anyone who wants – and has access to the portal – can review published processes and offer suggestions for improvement.
Therefore, collaboration is much more agile and dynamic. This is accomplished through comments that are discussed among the participants, without leaving the software’s environment.
Understand how to do this by watching the following tutorial on our YouTube channel:
Do you use a BPA or BPM tool in your company?
What software do you use for the analysis, modeling and automation of BPM processes?
Share your experience with us in the comments!