Streamlining processes at your organization can, from the outset, look complex and difficult to achieve. Processes, like employee onboarding or Microsoft Teams governance, require multiple steps and need the contribution from employees in different departments. If there is no visibility across a process, important steps can be missed along the way.
Process mapping is a proven method of improving visibility across a process. It uses a diagrammatic form (a map) to capture the steps and decisions in any workflow process. A visual representation of tasks assigns accountability, improves collaboration across teams, and facilitates iteration. Using a process map will refine a business process over time, highlighting bottlenecks and streamlining task handover for greater efficiency.
At Nintex we provide our customers with specific process mapping templates that help them save even more time when it comes to improving how their business operates. Here we look at our top four most downloaded process map templates of 2021.
What are the features of a good process map?
A process mapping template shows the steps of a process in visual form.
As you can see in the image above, a complex business process will involve multiple teams, tasks, and can take place over several weeks or months. A good process mapping template will illustrate the flow of work and assign tasks to specific team members. The trajectory of a process map will vary according to the process, but features of a good process map should include:
- Detail: a process map should illustrate a drilled-down version of a process. A sub-task might seem small or intuitive, but it must always be included and assigned to a relevant team member. Why? It’s often the “nuts and bolts” of complex processes that fly under the radar, causing bottlenecks to form and creating delays in the process overall.
- Assignation: ensure every task in a process map is assigned to a team member (rather than a general department or team). Specific assignation generates accountability across tasks, making it more likely for that task to be performed.
- Time-tracking: tracking the time spent on every task in a process will help identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. As issues are smoothed out, processes become more refined, facilitating quick iteration.
- Visibility: a common problem with business processes is a lack of visibility across tasks. With more employees working from home (and communicating less) transparency across a process is vital. The visibility provided by process maps creates better collaboration between teams. It generates a sense of shared responsibility and shows individual tasks in a broader context, adding value for employees.
What are the top process maps of 2021?
At Nintex, we provide process mapping software to help businesses refine their business processes. But what is the value of process mapping, and how does it help streamline processes? Let’s find out by looking at the top four process map templates downloaded this year.
Invoice processing is a back-office process vital to the financial health of an organization. Steps include receiving a supplier invoice, approving it, paying an invoice, and making a record. If one of these steps is delayed, it can damage business relationships and put the reputation of an enterprise at risk. Our process mapping template ensures that steps in this process are carried out with due diligence. It will prompt action when necessary (i.e. when an invoice is overdue) and mitigates the risk of discrepancies with improved visibility across the scope of the process.
Release management is the process of handling software initiatives and deployments. There are various steps involved, including the testing and development of software, as well as its deployment. Broken processes can result in downtime across a company, or bugs that infiltrate and denigrate a system. An effective release management process map will strengthen a company’s IT infrastructure, reducing the risk for IT failures and supporting software development across a life cycle.
Business continuity planning is the process of creating a prevention and recovery plan from threats (like flooding, cyberattacks, or—a hot topic—the Covid-19 pandemic). Since 2020, it has become imperative for businesses to have a solid business continuity plan in place. With supply chain interruptions, a change in consumer demand (from in-store to online), and risks to employee mental health, businesses have had to quickly draw up and implement contingency plans. You can really see the value of process mapping in business continuity planning. It helps coordinate the planning process from start to finish, by prompting user action, enabling contribution from stakeholders, and ensuring better plans can be built faster.
Undertaking purchase requests has become a broken process in many organizations, with budget overruns through overordering, companies using overpriced vendors, or delayed approval stages holding up purchase of items. With a process mapping template, purchase orders are created using digital forms. Requests are routed through to the right assessor, speeding up the approval process. The map template provides visibility across requests, highlighting overspending and fast-tracking orders—giving employees what they need when they need it.
To learn more about the value of process mapping, request a demo at Nintex today.