Business processes are ultimately what make up every business. As part of the process, new products are invented, services are delivered, company policies are enforced, compliance is maintained, and the organization is moving towards its goals at all times.
Many interconnected and interdependent activities within each business process work together to produce a specific business outcome.
Business processes are often recorded using both terms interchangeably. Both process modeling and mapping can describe visual representations of business processes; they are somewhat similar.
We have highlighted the differences between process mapping and process modeling below.
What is process mapping?
Process mapping illustrates what happens step-by-step, visually, describing all the steps in a business process. Process mapping is also called a workflow diagram. In the most simple of terms, a process map is a guide to help you through business processes or workflows. Business owners use them when recording and capturing a business process as they provide a clear picture of all the steps in the process end-to-end.
Process maps can support monitoring and reporting activities and compliance activities like auditing.
What is process modeling?
A process model is a graphical representation of a business process or workflow as expressed in detail and in the context of an organization’s operations. Process models will include elements of process documentation, detailing everything necessary to implement the process properly and its integration into the organization as a whole. Modeling the process will provide a foundation for continuous improvement as stakeholders can use the model as a single point of truth to identify bottlenecks and optimize the process.
In the process modeling world, BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation, or BPMN for short) is the industry standard based on different shapes for depicting other functions. As a result, all stakeholders can understand process models through standardization, making it easier to examine and discuss the models when improving processes.
How is process mapping different from process modeling?
Business process mapping involves designing a graphical representation of the steps in a flow of activities creating a business process. Process diagramming serves primarily as a reference point, while process modeling simulates and optimizes operations.
How is process modeling different from process mapping?
Process modeling supports processes throughout their lifecycles and continuously improves the overall organization, making it a dynamic, agile approach.
Process mapping is more about understanding the current state of a process, while process modeling is more focused on analysis and optimization.
Pros and cons of process modeling and process mapping
Companies must gain a deeper understanding of their workflow processes through process modeling. These models, however, cannot capture the following types of data:
Pro: In process modeling, human error is avoided, and assumptions are removed to reveal what workflow looks like in practice.
Pro: Process models can be used to analyze business logic and processes in more detail by incorporating quantitative data such as time, error rates, and success rates.
Con: The outcome of process models cannot be determined by qualitative data collected from employees’ real-world experiences; event logs can only inform them.
Process mapping is an effective way to gain a broad understanding of processes quickly and easily, but it is not 100% accurate since it relies on qualitative reports from employees:
Pro: Maps of processes can provide qualitative information about how workflows manifest in real-life employee interactions and activities.
Pro: It does not take much expertise to produce process maps, and they can be done quickly and easily.
Con: Process maps are derived from employee workshops and interviews, making them less objective than process models and liable to contain insufficient, inaccurate, or incomplete data.
Process understanding is essential to business automation. Generally speaking, before an enterprise can effectively automate a workflow, it must understand how it works. Modeling and mapping processes provide an organization with quantitative and qualitative data that can be analyzed to generate unprecedented levels of transparency into workflows.