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Ultimate Guide to Business Process Mapping [+Templates]

By Letícia Fonseca, Jun 28, 2022

business process mapping

Looking to improve your company’s workflows? Business process mapping should be step one.

When I started mapping business processes, everything changed. Okay, maybe not everything. But I was able to clearly outline tasks, identify areas of improvement and streamline our processes from start to finish. 

In other words, business process management got a whole lot easier. 

So if you’re struggling with managing processes within your organization, a business process map may be just what you need. Read on to see how making this type of chart can help you — and your team members — work more efficiently. 

 

Click to jump ahead:

What is business process mapping?

Just what it says on the box! Business process mapping refers to documenting the steps of a specific workflow, including different branches depending on inputs. Generally, this involves creating a visual flowchart or diagram that outlines each step of a process — from start to finish. 

business process mapping
 

A process map like the one above can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. It’s like a game of choose your own adventure. But in most cases, it’s helpful to start with a high-level overview of a process before drilling down into more detail. 

You can use process maps for all sorts of purposes, including:

  • Identifying and documenting tasks within a business
  • Improving workflows and making your business more efficient
  • Finding and fixing bottlenecks in a process
  • Helping new employees learn the ropes
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations

Broadly speaking, mapping your business processes can help you improve communication and collaboration within your company, as well as identify areas for improvement. By documenting your company’s various workflows, you can make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what their role is in the process (#businessprocessgoals).

What’s the difference between business process mapping and business process modeling?

The answer here is nuanced. Business process mapping and modeling are closely related in the sense that they’re both ways to visualize and analyze processes. But there is a difference… 

Business process mapping involves creating a map from qualitative data (i.e. speaking to other team members or drawing on your own experience). On the other hand, business process modeling involves gathering quantitative data to create a process model (i.e. how users navigate a system based on IT logs).

In other words, process mapping relies on experiences, while process modeling draws on data-mining. 

Still with me? Great, let’s dig into some examples… 

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Business process mapping examples

At this point, I hope the definition of business process mapping is clear. But you may be wondering, “Which processes should I be mapping, anyway?” These examples should give you some ideas: 

Mapping a sales process

A sales process is a great example of a map-worthy process. By creating a flowchart of the steps involved in a sale or a certain aspect of a sale, you can make sure your sales reps and account execs are all aligned — no one is stepping on each other’s toes, everyone knows what needs to happen and when.

business process mapping
 

This can be especially helpful if you’re onboarding a new employee. They can use the flowchart to get a visual overview of the process (and get up to speed quickly!). 

Mapping a manufacturing or service process

Manufacturing processes can be complex, to say the least. Plus, the different steps involved can be difficult to visualize. Enter flowcharts. A flowchart can help illustrate the steps involved in these processes, logically and sequentially. 

business process mapping
 

By mapping a manufacturing or service process, you can identify and fix bottlenecks and make your operations more efficient. Win, win, win. 

Mapping a customer service process

Your customer service processes deserve a flowchart, too. Not only are these visuals helpful for training new employees, they can shed light on where there may be a gap in service or where common issues crop up.

business process mapping
 

For example, mapping an escalation process (whether it’s for collection, customer complaints or employee performance) is a good way to make sure your team knows how to navigate trickier situations.

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5 benefits of mapping business processes

No matter what kind of map you make, there are some common benefits of visualizing your business processes. Here are the top five: 

  1. Improve communication and collaboration

By documenting your company’s workflows, you can make sure everyone is on the same page. Individuals know which tasks they own. Departments know which areas they’re responsible for. 

Not only can this streamline communication and collaboration, it also prevents overlap. For example, sales and customer success reaching out to the same client about upgrading their account. Or worse, underlap… that is, gray areas that no one takes responsibility for. 

  1. Increase efficiency 

Efficiency is everything, right? And process maps can help you identify where you’re wasting time or resources. By fixing these bottlenecks, you can increase the efficiency of your business — one process at a time. For more insights on how to use business process maps to increase efficiency, check out these flowchart templates and design tips

  1. Provide clarity on business operations

Have you ever worked at a company where you weren’t sure whether you were making an impact? If the answer is yes, I’m guessing you didn’t stay there very long! 

Understanding how a role contributes to a company’s overall success is key for employee satisfaction and retention. And process mapping can help foster an environment where everyone knows how their role fits into the bigger picture and, most importantly, why it matters. 

  1. Support training and onboarding 

Starting a new job is always a bit overwhelming. But quality onboarding can greatly reduce that stress. Being able to refer to a process map for everything from how to set up accounts to how to request time off, makes it much easier for new employees to get up to speed. Or, teach existing employees a new process.

  • Help with problem-solving 

Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s a natural part of business (and life for that matter!). With a business process map, you can prepare team members for this eventuality. Not to mention, guide them in the problem-solving process.

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Types of business process mapping

Of course, there are many ways to map a business process. You can use a flowchart, diagram or table to document the steps. You can also use icons and symbols to represent different tasks or actions.

Here’s an overview of some common business process maps:

Flowcharts

A flowchart is a type of diagram that shows the steps in a process. It’s usually drawn from left to right, with each step represented by a different symbol. 

Flowcharts are often used to map simple processes, like customer support guidelines. They can also be used to map more complex processes, like steps for qualifying leads. 

Top-down process flowchart 

business process mapping
 

A top-down process flowchart starts with the high-level steps of a process and drills down into more detail. This type of diagram is helpful for visualizing the precise flow of a process. 

Deployment flowchart

business process mapping
 

A deployment flowchart shows how a process is implemented in different parts of your company. This type of diagram can be helpful for understanding what various departments need to do (at the same time!) to accomplish a task or goal. 

Detailed flowchart 

business process mapping
 

A detailed flowchart is just what it sounds like… compared to a top-down flowchart, this type of chart is simply more detailed. That means it’s ideal for outlining complicated processes with different branches, depending on an action or event. 

Data flow diagram

business process mapping
 

A data flow diagram (DFD) visualizes the movement of data through a process. It’s usually drawn from left to right, with each step represented by a different symbol. With this type of diagram, there are no decisions and branches — it simply represents how information flows. 

SIPOC diagram

business process mapping
 

SIPOC stands for “Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers. As you may have guessed, a SIPOC diagram shows how all these elements work together. Again, this type of diagram can help make responsibilities clear and ensure everyone is accountable for their respective areas.

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How to create your own business process map

Now that you know the different types of process maps, it’s time to create your own! How? Here are the different “processes” you could choose from (see what I did there?): 

Draw up your business process map by hand

A common way to create a business process map is, quite simply, to draw it up by hand. This method works just fine for simple processes or to get your ideas down on paper, but it can quickly get out of hand (sorry, last pun I promise). You’ll also need to recreate your drawing digitally. At least, if you’re planning on sharing it with your team. 

Create a flowchart with Microsoft PowerPoint

You can create a business process map in Microsoft PowerPoint. This is a decent option for processes with a little more detail. You can also add shapes and symbols to represent different steps in the process.

But there’s a catch: using a program like PowerPoint for visual design is time-consuming, and frankly, frustrating. The end result won’t be super shareable either. You’ll want to get a professional to redesign it before sharing with your team or resign yourself to a less polished process map. 

Use an online flowchart maker like Venngage

If you want to create a process map quickly and easily, you can use an online flowchart maker like ours. If you’re tired of trying to bend PowerPoint to your will, but you’re not a designer adept at Adobe, this is your best option. 

With Venngage, not only can you start with a professionally-designed template (more on this in literally a sec), there are also endless ways to customize your design. You can easily edit and style text, add images and icons, and pull in your brand colors and logo to your design. Plus, you can share your diagram with a live link or export it as a high-resolution PNG or PDF.

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5 business process mapping templates from Venngage

As promised, let’s talk templates. With Venngage’s wide selection of business process mapping templates, creating your own has never been easier. Here are my five favorite business process mapping templates to get you started:

  1. Health and Safety Process Flowchart Template
business process mapping
 

This detailed map is a good template to use if your process involves decision-making. Modify this template by adding your own icons, swapping out the colors and fonts and more. (Pro-tip: with Venngage, customers on a Business plan get access to My Brand Kit, which makes it easy to brand your documents in a single click.

  1. Lean Six Sigma DMAIC Process Flowchart
business process mapping
 

If you just need a simple process map, this is the template for you. You can edit the icons and text and use your preferred font styles to customize this template to suit your needs. Simple as that. 

  1. Teal Escalation Flowchart Template
business process mapping
 

A job aid like ensures your team gets the job done! And does so in a company-approved manner. You can easily customize the text to fit your company’s needs and modify the colors to emphasize key parts of the process. 

  1. Proposal Process Flowchart 
business process mapping
 

Make them a proposal they can’t refuse. That’s the quote, right? Jokes aside, this simple proposal flowchart is great for outlining different actions based on inputs. Again, you can customize the colors, text and visuals in a few quick clicks. 

  1. Employee Termination Process Flowchart 
business process mapping
 

Not the happiest process but one well-worth documenting. This flowchart shows the simple steps a department should take when terminating an employee. That said, it could easily be customized to work for a different process. Not one with decision-making though!

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FAQs about business process mapping

What is the best tool for process mapping?

There’s no such thing as the “best” tool for process mapping. It really does depend on your needs and preferences. 

That said, if you want to create a professional-looking process map quickly and easily, an online flowchart maker like Venngage is a great choice. With a wide range of templates to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect starting point to create your process map. 

What is the sequence for business process mapping?

When creating a business process map, it’s important to start with the end goal in mind and work your way backward. This will ensure you capture all of the steps in the process, in a logical order. In addition, it’s helpful to map out how data flows from one step to the next and who’s involved in each step to create a comprehensive map. 

How do you model business processes?

Although there’s no one way to do it, there are a few factors to keep in mind when modeling business processes. First off, your process should be easy to understand and easy to update. Second, it’s helpful to use icons, symbols and diagrams to better illustrate different steps in the process. 

Finally, be sure to test your process map before implementing it. Ask your team members to follow the process map and give you feedback. That way, you can ensure it’s accurate, efficient and comprehensive. 

What is the purpose of using business process mapping?

Where to begin! Business process mapping has many purposes. One of the primary purposes is to aid with learning and development. In the same vein, these maps can improve communication and collaboration between teams. And of course, process mapping can highlight inefficiencies and help identify solutions.

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Get efficient and accomplish more with business process mapping 

The more efficient your processes, the greater your chances of success. I’m sure that’s on a poster somewhere!

So if you’re looking for a way to increase efficiency, business process mapping is a great place to start. And aren’t we all? Looking to be more efficient, that is.

With a process mapping tool like Venngage, you can create a professional, visually appealing business process map in a matter of minutes. Take your pick from Venngage’s wide variety of templates, add your own text, images, icons and colors, and share or download your process map as a PNG or PDF. 

Get started by signing up for a free Venngage account and start reaping the benefits of business process mapping for yourself! Note, some Venngage templates are free to use, while others require a small monthly fee.

 
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