Article 3 – Map SharePoint Usage to Your Business Process Map
Create a High-Level Business Process Map Diagram (Process Framework)
In our last article we examined how the Value Chain can help you see your company from a wider perspective and better understand the types of business processes (Core, Primary and Support) your company performs to add value.
In this article, we will walk through creating a Process Map Diagram and how we will use the diagram to visualize SharePoint’s value to the company.
Below is a very basic example of a process map diagram for the primary and support activities.
Each of these high-level processes has several individual tasks that are performed within it. We don’t need to worry about that level of detail for what we are after – but those individual tasks are what you document and discuss in detail when building SharePoint-based solutions at your company.
Remember, we are after a high level graphical representation of how SharePoint is utilized within your company. We want a one or two page summary of why SharePoint is important to the company.
Map SharePoint Usage to the High-Level Business Process Framework
The reason we want this graphical representation of the high level business processes is to show which of these processes SharePoint plays a role in supporting or driving the process. This will provide a graphical representation of how SharePoint is utilized within your company. You simply color a process which SharePoint touches.
You should be able to discuss how SharePoint is supporting these high level processes, which usually is a combination of 1 of 3 ways:
- Utilize SharePoint to store documents to support business processes
- Utilize SharePoint to track tasks that support business processes
- Utilize SharePoint to automate and drive business processes
The map provides an easy to understand measure of SharePoint utilization within your company, which speaks to the fact that SharePoint is a true enterprise application and should be treated as such. Depending on which ways SharePoint is supporting your high level processes, you can provide case studies that show how SharePoint has added value to the company.
Ensure SharePoint Usage Maps to Corporate Strategy
Another benefit to this work is you now have a systematic approach for deciding whether or not to build the solution in SharePoint (governance anyone). You have an easy to explain process to go through with a department or person who is requesting a new site or solution to be built within SharePoint. During the process of examining their request, you go through the process map with them. They have to answer:
- What process or processes are being improved?
- How value is being added?
If you can’t map a request to one of your business processes, and understand how value is being added to that process, then you don’t build that solution in SharePoint. Once the solution is built, “colorize” your process map, and create your case study.
Where to Start? Look for Easy Wins
It makes sense to start with simple business processes that provide a lot of value to the company – solutions that can be built utilizing out-of-the-box SharePoint capabilities.
How do you identify an easy win? Identify business processes where email is the primary vehicle of collaboration. Daniel Dunne did a great job of explaining this, as well as providing the reasons why email is not the tool for the job.
To summarize Daniel, the moment that any recurring sequence of a value chain includes emailing someone and expecting an email response in order to continue, it becomes untraceable, immeasurable, and effectively out of control.
As a SharePoint professional, you know SharePoint plays an important role in your company. You know it can help improve the business and add value. The hard part is explaining, and showing, how. This series of articles suggests a systematic approach for you to do just that.
It takes a lot of work if the processes haven’t been defined within your company, but in the long run, it will make your job easier. Start small, maybe with one group you have done work with. Talk to your contacts in that group and make a high level process map just for that group.
This process will improve visibility into the importance of SharePoint with your executives – and that will help your visibility as well.