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In contemplating the next step in defining our KPI’s and Process Maps it makes sense to determine the various levels of decomposition and their value to your process project.

While there are varying degrees of process descriptions; from Enterprise process frameworks to the finest grained process level map, not all have the same value in relation to the success of your business process automation projects. For instance in our last instalment we offered the notion that for most BPM process automation projects Enterprise mapping initiatives have little value as they are almost impossible to complete effectively and are almost immediately obsolete. That being said Enterprise maps can be assembled but we see such a picture evolving from a more iterative design process and be a natural function of a well executed Center of Excellence.

Process Level Hierarchy

So let us take a look at these varying levels of process decomposition.

The hierarchy is broken down into levels. The top two levels are focused on the entire organization and contain logical processes unconstrained by any organization construct or capability. These usually help define your business category and help develop vision and strategy. While important at some level and help set overall direction, these maps usually are utilized at the highest level of the organization, are prohibitively costly in terms of the actual value they can provide to effective execution of your BPM project. These maps are usually defined and assembled with the help of a strategic consulting partner and can run into the multi-millions of dollars for such an engagement.

The intermediate levels define logical processes focused on what the enterprise does and interactions between customer and organisational entities. It also contains physical models focused on operational activities. These mappings again are usually defined with the help of high level strategic consultants, are part of long engagements and costs

The detailed levels contain physical processes defining the lowest level of operational tasks transforming inputs and outputs. These maps contain a mixture of tasks and sub-processes required to accurately reflect the Activity.

As you can see, with the varying levels of Process Definition there is varying levels of value, to us as BPM implementors.  Some process maps have a high level of value and can help us in terms of speed of project completion and are integral (and maybe expensive) value BPM consultants can play for us, while other maps are prohibitively expensive, provide little value to the granular execution of BPM projects (although maybe NOT to the larger part of the organization) and for us are a waste of resources.

In the next installment let’s define what is a process and the difference between modeling and mapping.

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