The fact is that while Business Process Management, Big Data, and Enterprise Content Management grab the headlines, mapping and Modelling is still the first crucial step in delivering the enterprise improvements that the headliners proclaim. If you don’t know where you are, then how can you know how to get to where you want go. For some time now, many have predicated the demise of the Modelling market and we have certainly seen acquisitions take place over the past few years. Yet, there still remains a committed core of agile vendors who are still able to carve out a niche for themselves.
Part of the challenge for vendors and users alike has been the explosion of free or very low cost tools. These tools, especially in the BPMN space, use the word “Modelling” in the headlines but, for the most part, are in fact, still just mapping tools. Some, of course, are very good at doing that mapping. However, most users still need to look at Modelling tools in order to make best use of their mapping and Modelling efforts.
Processes do not exist in a vacuum; they are interconnected and, as such, need to be captured in a way that such interconnectivity can be navigated. Of course, activities also take place at certain locations; these are carried out by particular people and of course produce or consume data/content. These connections, too, need to be captured and communicated.
Fundamentally, business management or change is all about being able to answer a set of “What-if” questions. Modelling tools are designed to be able to help you quickly get answers to these questions. Questions such as, “Who will be affected if I change this system”, “What data is at risk if this system fails”, “What process should we execute if this risk occurs”.
So the question is not, “do you need a Modelling tool or not”, but “which one will you use and how can you populate it in the most effective and timely manner”. The issue is not with the tools as much as it is with the focus. 80% of your time in using a tool should be focused on producing and communicating the information in ways that get people using the outputs; only 20% of your efforts should be spent on Modelling.
Frequently we hear that nobody needs a Modelling tool, but, the fact is, everyone has questions that a Modelling tool can and is best able to answer.
Mark McGregor has conducted in-depth analysis into the use of mapping and Modelling tools. The survey report looks at which tools people are using and how the various features contained in tools appeal or not to those who use them. The report also includes advice and commentary about many of the misconceptions surrounding the use of Modelling tools. One of the key strengths of this report is that it separates the views of users from consultants and vendors in order to understand the real uses and needs.
Download the report: Mapping and Modelling Tool Survey.