A concept map or conceptual diagram shows the relationships between concepts. Typically, a concept map represents ideas, information or concepts as graphical boxes connected through labelled arrows. The relationship between the depicted concepts can be articulated in linking phrases such as causes, requires, or contributes to. It is a common graphical way of visualising and organising information or knowledge.
Conceptual diagrams are extremely useful for practitioners as they help to understand the highlighted concepts and its interactions, and they facilitate clear communication with stakeholders.
In a previous blog post, I focused on scope diagrams, which in a way, are process concept maps as well. However, they rather show processes and it’s interactions with “external entities”. In this blog post, I want to focus on conceptual diagrams that connect corporate processes with other processes in-scope: Value Chain models and Process Landscape diagrams.
Value Chain Models
To analyse how an organisation creates value from transforming business inputs into valuable outputs, practitioners often use Porter’s Value Chain. From there, they start decomposing the high-level activities of the value chain into more granular processes until the level of the individual process steps.
Rather than looking at business functions like departments, Porter focuses on the organisation as a system, illustrating how inputs are changed into outputs purchased by consumers. Using this high-level viewpoint, Porter describes a chain of common business activities decomposing them into primary and support activities. The way these business activities are carried out determines costs and affects profits.
Porter’s generic Value Chain model depicting the primary and support business activities:
The figure below illustrates a Value Chain model from the railway industry, adopting Porter’s idea of primary and support activities that create value for the customer.
Porter’s Value Chain is a useful management tool that allows you to perform a profound value chain analysis. It helps organisations to achieve excellence in things that really matter to customers.
Process Landscape Diagrams
As described in a previous blog post, process scope diagrams show processes and its business interactions with “external entities”. To illustrate how processes connect with other processes within scope a Process Landscape diagram is very useful as a tool.
A Process Landscape diagram is a coherent set of interrelated or interdependent corporate processes that enable stakeholders to better understand how an organisation delivers work.
The purpose is to present the key processes in a structured, illustrative way usually in combination with other in-scope entities such as business functions, business services, business capabilities, locations, or business activities.
A first example is this Finance Operations framework in the figure below. The model represents the core financial processes that are typically performed in a Finance department. It also describes the communications (i.e. transactions) that occur between the processes that are part of the framework. Each financial key process is further detailed with one or more workflow models, describing how work is accomplished and who is responsible.
A second example shows the inputs and outputs for the ITIL Service Lifecycle Implementation processes. It shows the dependencies between the connected processes by using labelled arrows to describe the inputs and outputs flowing between the processes in combination with appropriate storage assets. Building this model usually requires the creation of a process catalogue and a process profile for each process in order to ensure accurateness and completeness.
Process concept maps like Value Chain models or Process Landscape diagrams provide a valuable addition to a practitioner’s set of process models. They are extremely useful to gain a better understanding of the different levels and perspectives of an organisation’s Process Architecture. They also enhance communication with stakeholders and support process redesign or process improvement initiatives.
Want to know more about our Process Architecture offering? Read more.
About the author:
Bart is an international professional with 10+ years of experience of business change using a variety of business modelling techniques to produce coherent architectural models.Bart gained a wealth of enterprise modelling experience working in many organisations and sectors across Europe and the EMEA region assisting in tool implementation and modelling.
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