In 1977 20th Century Fox unknowingly “gave” Star Wars director George Lucas billions of dollars. Certain that the new sci-fi film would flop, Fox executives agreed to allow Lucas to keep all licensing and merchandising rights to the film instead of paying him an additional $500,000. Over the years Lucas has realized in excess of a billion dollars from this deal.

This is an example of an organization making a decision based on minimal information – not seeing the big picture. When we focus only on what we do, but don’t understand the impact to other areas within our organization, we make uninformed decisions. Uninformed decisions can lead to unfortunate outcomes or consequences.

Business Process Mapping is a technique companies use to clearly define all roles, responsibilities, and interactions within an organization; and help an organization see the end-to-end processes. This allows decision-makers to have a better grasp of how each area impacts another and a better understanding of the results a decision will have across an organization.

When you map out your business processes you not only identify who does what, but you can also see where the problems are. Knowing the root cause of any issues, delays, bottlenecks, or inefficiencies will help organizations implement solutions to correct these and eliminate the waste of money, time, and resources.

Seeing the entire road-map helps you make better decisions. Much like today’s GPS allows drivers to not only view their route, but also to review traffic congestion, construction, and accidents, allowing them to make the best decision on how to get where they’re going with the least disruption.

BPM provides several benefits:

  • End-to-End Processes
  • Interactions between departments and roles
  • Integration of manual and technical processes
  • Identify issues, inefficiencies, and bottlenecks
  • Training resource
  • Ensure consistent processes
  • Facilitate compliance
  • Support Change Management

In the poem The Blind Men and the Elephant, written by John Godfrey Saxe in 1872, and based on an ancient Hindu fable, Saxe gives a vivid explanation of how not seeing the big picture can lead you down the wrong path.

Six blind men were trying to figure out what an elephant was.

The first fell against the side of the elephant and claimed the elephant is like a wall.

The second grabbed the elephant’s tusk and claimed the elephant is like a spear.

The third felt the trunk of the elephant and claimed the elephant is like a snake.

The fourth wrapped his arms around the elephant’s knee and claimed the elephant is like a tree.

The fifth grabbed hold of the elephant’s ear and claimed the elephant is like a fan.

The sixth hung on to the elephant’s tail and claimed the elephant is like a rope.

 Each was right, and each was wrong.

If you want to be right, more often than you are wrong, then make sure you do what you can to always see the entire picture before making a decision. Business Process Mapping is a valuable tool you can use to do this.