Table of Contents
Maintaining a successful business is time consuming and often very stressful. Successful business owners must be dedicated, organized, and motivated. They must keep a close eye on their accounts to ensure that they know what is coming in and what is going out. The performance of the business must be monitored on a consistent basis to identify problems early. The staff should be monitored to ensure that they are happy. If the staff is unhappy, they will perform poorly. Many of today’s businesses are focusing on the logistics of their business process. Essentially, business process modeling is a computerized method that companies use to improve the efficiency and quality of their products and employees services. Modeling tools are an important asset to companies which want to ensure they understand all aspects of their company. By using modeling tools, companies have a visual representation of their business’ process. These tools map workflow and the companies’ profits. Two examples of tools examined in the article are PowerPoint and Visio. The authors of From Informal Process Diagram to Formal Process Models sought to present an approach for converting informal process diagrams into formal process models. They believe this can be effectively done by using the Visio model.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the research completed by Mukherjee, Dhoolia, Sinha, Rembert, and Nanda that presented a method for automatically changing informal process diagrams into formal process models that can be managed in a BPMS. This process is important because process diagrams contain uncertainties that need to be clarified. Current process diagrams use shape names to represent information. Often, the same shape is used to represent varies types of information. This aspect makes modelers confused what what diagrams represent. The authors propose using standard classification techniques that can emulate human reasoning. So, instead of the results being read by a human, they will be read by a computer trained to reason like humans. The tool is called iDiscovery. According to the findings of the 185 practice runs the researchers completed, the iDiscovery achieved a 90 percent overall rating; whereas, the other modeling tool was in the 60 percentile range. As a result, the researchers believe that implementing a process modeling tool will improve the organization’s business strategy, communication, consistency, efficiency, and competitive edge.
Review of Literature
All of the literature researched seemed to convey the same idea: Visio is not a modeling tool, it is a drawing tool. Many companies are experiencing this same difficulty because they are unaware of what a modeling tool is supposed to do. These tools should enhance a business’ performance, reporting, and management when used correctly (Bandara and Gable, 2005:275). Determining the modeling tool is just as important as logically thinking through the organization’s business process. If a company chooses the wrong tool or something other than a tool, it will not benefit from implementing it. Some tools are more advanced than others, but choosing the right tool for the organization can be done effectively with a little research (Fowler and Hope, 2007: 30). Process modeling documents the steps from beginning to end in a way that is useful to the organizations. A set of drawings will not benefit an organization, especially if they are unaware of what the icons represent. The authors said “This is inadequate because often the same shape is used to represent different semantics” (Mukherjee, Dhoolia, Sinha, Rembert, Nanda, 2010). The major drawback of the Visio drawing tool was the fact that several icons could represent several different things. It proved confusing for the software readers.
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Business Strategies Aligned with Operations
An effective business model should include details about expenses, revenue, profits, labor costs, and operating strategies. Competent managers are essential to ensuring that business strategies and operations are aligned. Managers must lead by example. Managers should be goal-oriented and loyal to the organization’s mission. Implementing a formal business process model will require changes in the business’ operations and employees’ performance. The business process model is an important tool that ensures that practices are consistent throughout and organization. The analysis performed through business process models help to identify inefficiencies within the organization (Jenkins, 2006:250). Once these efficiencies are identified, the iDiscovery is even able to suggest possible solutions to the problems. The iDiscovery can produce a dashboard on the information provided. The created dashboard allows organizations to consolidate data into one form, have quick access to data, and make better decisions concerning the data.
A business’s internal communication is the most important aspect. Ineffective communication in the organization can lead to a high turnover rate, misunderstandings, and poor employee performance. Poor communication can frustrate the employees and lead to internal conflicts. As a result, managers must be able to clearly express the company’s goals to the employees. Consequently, some organizations require their management team to attend workshops or seminars on effective communication methods. In order to maintain a successful business, all constituents must know what role they play and the requirements of that particular role. Concise communication is a must. The business process models offer a unified language and process to be used. Process models can turn the employee’s knowledge into a documented process (Mukherjee, Dhoolia, Sinha, Rembert, Nanda, 2010). It is vital to the training of new employees. New employees will have hands-on access to information that directly relates to their job specifications.
Well-designed rules and processes ensure that a business will succeed. Consistency is applying the same process each time. Consistency is important regardless to the type of business you are maintaining. Informal knowledge can be converted into formal, documented knowledge by a process model. Employees will be able to make better decisions because guesswork will be eliminated (Fowler and Hope, 2007:30). Consistency affects all areas of an organization. In other words, inconsistency equals inefficiency. Whether the company is a fast food restaurant or a national retailer, the more consistent its practices are the better daily operations will be. Attitude and performance should be consistent. Managers can ensure that employees are working in a consistent environment by demonstrating desired behaviors, offering rewards or bonuses to employees who display consistency, and utilizing flow charts to map progress. Overall, consistency in an organization will increase levels of comfort, employee understanding, and productivity.
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Every business owner wants to ensure that his/her business is achieving less wastage as possible. Efficiency in an organization is important because it determine whether a large amount of resources are used or not. To do lists are a good way to keep employees on task and ensure proper usage of time. It includes collaborating with other staff and sharing information and strategies; being open to strategies that will shorten the amount of time needed to complete a task. Rather than trying to do it all themselves, managers can delegate tasks to trustworthy employees. Process models increase productivity by allowing employees to do more with fewer resources because it eliminates experimentation. Efficiency is the most cost effective way to operate a business. Likewise, models increase efficiency. Process models will eliminate the man hours needed to complete tasks and analyzing by hand (Fowler and Hope, 2007:28). Employees will have up-to-date information readily available. The initiation of a process models allows management and employees to focus more time on other strategic growth because less time is spent converting and analyzing data (Mukherjee, Dhoolia, Sinha, Rembert, Nanda, 201).
Studies show that companies that invest in process models are more successful than organizations that do not. The improvement of one process can lead to an overall better business process. Providing a good service or product at a low cost will definitely give an organization a competitive edge over its competition. The most effective way to do this is by keep internal costs low. Nonetheless, quality is very important. Producing high quality services and products will prove less expensive in the long run as the organization will not have returns or requests for do-overs. A more efficiently ran company provides a significant competitive edge for its owners. According to Porter, and Kramer, an effective business strategy can ensure that the company’s resources are used properly. A company’s resources can be anything from the employees to the company’s reputation (2006:80). Modeling tools will help a company create strategies that will detail how to effectively use the company’s resources, which will give a competitive edge over the competition. Modeling tools can assist in the development of new products and sales (Mukherjee, Dhoolia, Sinha, Rembert, Nanda, 2010).
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Some businesses fail immediately; however, steps can be taken to ensure success and that all employees know what their role in the organization is. Provide proper training for all management team members. Employee feedback is very important. One should always look for ways to improve the organization. If the workplace is a pleasant environment, employees will more than likely perform better. Productivity should be constantly monitored to enhance profitability. All of these aspects can be monitored and evaluated with an effective process model. There are many types of process models, and some are more advanced than others. The type of process model a business needs depends on the task that needs to be performed. However, be certain not to confuse a drawing tool with an actual process model. Process models will allow businesses to grow efficiently. With process models, organizations can target areas of weakness to ensure improvement. Process models will save the organization time by speeding up work flow. Overall, implementing a process modeling tool will improve the organization’s business strategy, communication, consistency, efficiency, and competitive edge.