CTMS has worked with various software solutions for creating process diagrams and optimising business processes, and some key capabilities stand out as ‘must-have’ features when choosing this type of software platform.
But first, what do we mean when we refer to a process management platform?
A process management platform is software that helps organisations streamline and optimise their business processes. These platforms enable you to manage workflows, document processes, measure process efficiency, identify bottlenecks, and more. They are a critical tool for businesses looking to improve their operational efficiency and productivity.
Some of the main capabilities of a process management platform are:
Process Mapping: These platforms often include process mapping tools that allow you to visualise your business processes, making them easier to understand and optimise.
Process Analytics: Process management platforms can collect and analyse data about your processes, allowing you to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement.
Document Management: This feature enables users to store, manage, and share documents related to specific processes. This ensures that important information is easily accessible and organised.
We have listed ten essential features you should look for if you are considering investing in a process management platform.
1. Process mapping should be easy for your team members to use without the need for the expertise of a business analyst
Processes are more likely to be reviewed and improved if departmental or specific process teams can create new process diagrams or review existing ones regularly. Rather than wait for a specialist business analyst to manage a process review meeting, why not build regular process reviews into your ongoing weekly or monthly operational reviews?
2. The process diagram shape format should be simple and provides consistency in building and understanding process diagrams
The process format notation should be easy for anyone to understand and also make it easy for anyone to create a process diagram. If you have a process mapping format standardised across an organisation, there is no possibility of confusion about how to read or build a process map.
For example, a process workflow diagram could include just two necessary notation elements, a ‘What Box’ to explain what occurs in a process activity step and a ‘Why Box’ to explain why the activity occurs.
3. Allows you to build process diagrams in real time during a process workshop
Process mapping software should be fast and agile. You should be able to easily create a process diagram as fast as people can explain the process. This means that everyone in the process meeting can be fully engaged. It is a significant advantage for the attendees to comment on and agree on the process immediately without a business analyst having to write up all the notes and workflows later. Having a virtual whiteboard as part of the software platform is helpful during a workshop as you can use it for brainstorming process improvements using virtual ‘sticky notes’.
4. Encourages process improvement ideas by easily sharing process details
A process management platform should be easily accessible, so ideally, use a cloud-hosted system. If processes are easily shared, process users, owners, or stakeholders can review and comment on them.
5. Flexible data capture to provide real-time analytics during the creation of a process diagram
Having the flexibility to collect as much information as you require as you build a process diagram ensures that you gain insights into your business within minutes, such as hidden costs, lost time and opportunities for process improvement. Flexible data capture as you create the process allows you to enter information such as role responsibilities, risks, costs etc.
6. Allows you to easily zoom in or out of process detail for different audiences
Creating a sub-process or drilling into extra detail is a handy feature in a process management system. For example, you can present a top-level process view to senior management, a more detailed process to end users and another view which shows the system’s technical configuration, including code, for the technical designers.
7. Easily aggregate process information across a team, department or the total organisation
Find out how much effort and involvement is consumed by individual people roles across multiple processes, teams or departments. Selecting a role and automatically creating a detailed description of all the process activity interactions is very useful for generating job descriptions. This type of information can be helpful for headcount planning, people and process alignment and in-depth staff appraisals.
8. Facilitates the building of a departmental or cross organisation process library
You should store processes in a repository which users and editors can easily access on a permission basis. The interface for users should be intuitive to use and having the ability to customise web-based landing pages for access to processes by department, category etc., helps.
9. Aligns responsibility definitions to each process step
You should be able to use responsibility models such as RACI, RATSI and RASCI, etc., and create your own custom responsibility models. You need to be able to add as many roles as you want to individual process steps and align each role to a specific level of responsibility for the step. You should also be able to differentiate between human process activities and activities carried out by a system.
10. Provides audit trails and tracking of process versioning and user interaction
Process Management systems should be able to store revision history so you can view changes to previous processes or roll back to earlier versions if required. You should also be able to see any changes system users make, such as adding or changing users, access rights, system roles, approvals for moving processes from draft to published status, etc.
When considering investing in a process management platform, there are essential features that should be prioritised. These features include user-friendly process mapping tools that do not require the expertise of a business analyst, a simple and consistent process diagram format for easy understanding, the ability to build process diagrams in real-time during workshops, and the option to easily share process details to encourage collaboration and process improvement ideas.
Flexibility in data capture is another crucial feature, enabling real-time analytics during the creation of process diagrams to gain insights into hidden costs, lost time, and opportunities for improvement. The platform should also allow for easy zooming in and out of process detail to cater to different audiences, such as senior management, end-users, and technical designers.
By selecting a process management platform that encompasses these essential features, organisations can streamline their business processes, improve operational efficiency, and drive productivity. It empowers teams to collaborate effectively, identify bottlenecks, and implement continuous improvements, ultimately leading to enhanced performance and success.