Executive leadership typically focuses time and attention on the direction, strategy, and structure of the organization. Through this focus, that same leadership often overlooks the vital role that business processes play in successful organization execution. All work must flow through business processes to deliver leadership’s intention and, collectively, it is those business processes that power the engine that drives an organization’s execution.
Clients have taught us that over 70% of all organization opportunities lie directly in business process deficiencies. We know that most business processes are undefined, too complicated, not followed, not measured, and loaded with non value-added reviews and approvals. Most leadership operates reactively to painful broken process symptoms by adding reviews, approvals, and complexity, while missing the underlying causes of performance shortfalls.
A Process Map is Valuable Intellectual Property
Reliable and capable business processes make the execution of a leader’s intention possible. Understanding how business processes perform relative to their capabilities provides a significant contribution to customer value and delivers sustainable competitive advantage. The process map is key to defining, understanding and executing high powered business processes.
Here are 11 reasons a process map is valuable intellectual property for any organization.
1. Articulates the Business Model.
Coupled with Business System Diagrams, a process map articulates the way in which the organization executes its business model.
2. Establishes Relevance.
Every process should have a well-understood purpose that serves a loyal customer, either internal or external, and fulfills an important need for the organization
3. Determines Responsibilities.
Defining who has what responsibility sets the stage for clear and understandable job descriptions that drive staffing requirements that add value for the organization.
4. Defines Work.
A valuable organization begins with a good foundation of business processes that are standardized and connected.
5. Aligns Work.
Well-defined process connectivity and boundary relationships are a necessary characteristic for the elimination of organizational silos, which stand in the way of high performance.
6. Captures Knowledge.
Knowledge is the intellectual property of the enterprise. Knowledge includes a wide variety of information and content, such as records, data, policies, standards, training, metrics, regulatory, bills of materials, specifications, trademarks and patents. It is accessed and utilized by business processes through tasks, events and decisions.
7. Communicates Performance.
A best practice process map will include basic analysis such as value added, handoffs, cycle time, process yield and an assessment of customer value.
8. Gives Measurement Meaning.
Nothing can be improved without measuring first. A process map will show where and how measurements are implemented. Measurement can take a variety of forms, including customer effectiveness, process efficiency, resource productivity, and product and services quality.
9. Captures Problems and Opportunities.
Every process map should have a companion process improvement plan. Continuous improvement requires a never-ending flow of new opportunities that get resolved.
10. Tracks Improvement.
Through process map revision control, an organization can monitor its performance, the status of improvement progress and the identification of additional changes to be made.
11. Enables Sustainability.
A sustainable process mapping effort may be the most important consideration to the long-term success of organization execution. An overall commitment to strengthening business processes is an essential component of a core strategy to improve performance.
A process map is valuable intellectual property, because an investment and commitment to building strong business processes provides ongoing significant tangible benefits, including focused accountability, greater customer value, cost savings, increased productivity, revenue growth, lead-time reduction, improved quality, greater customer value and alignment to strategy. The development and maintenance of process maps, including process knowledge, adds an additional and valuable dimension to the overall intellectual property portfolio of any organization.