Many of us use maps on a daily basis. With Google Maps, we are becoming increasingly familiar with the idea of zooming out to see the bigger picture and zooming in to see detail at the touch of a button. These new tools also allow us to switch on layers, adding detail in context that increases the value of these maps for the specific needs of the navigator. For most of the earth we can now get the right map, with the right scope, and the details we want in seconds.
For business processes we are some way behind. Even the best mapped businesses have standard operating procedures, and end-to-end process flows, and enterprise architectures that can seem unrelated. How often do you speak to a team about their process and find that they drown you in unfathomable detail. This detail is important to help new joiners, but it does not help managers up the hierarchy. Equally, I’ve seen teams presented with business architectures lauding a great new operating model, but they cannot and will not be able to find their valued contribution on it.
The take-away is that we need to recognize that we need different process maps at different levels, with the right detail available, and wouldn’t it be nice if we could zoom in and out. We have not yet seen a commercial Business Process Mapping product that does this effectively.