Business is all about different processes, and if some of them are maladjusted or stop working smoothly, you'll notice it. A concise, clear, and simple form of visual representation is better perceived and understood than written descriptions by employees, stakeholders, and clients alike. Therefore, more companies start to map their processes using charts and diagrams.
Basically, process mapping tools enable you to present a particular process in the visual form of an algorithm with stages, participants, actions, and links between them. Applying these instruments helps to gain a clear vision of the process and analyze it. You can use these schemes to adjust the workflow, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Overall, process mapping tools can provide plenty of benefits for your company, including:
● Helping your team members to identify their roles and responsibilities, improving their performance.
● Estimating the effectiveness of the particular process.
● Better communication between employees, stakeholders, and customers.
● Increased transparency leads to a higher trust level.
● Quick identifying of the weak elements and spotting areas that call for improvement.
● Customizing and analyzing help to spark new ideas and try different scenarios.
In a process map, you can represent concepts, deadlines, individuals, and actions using a variety of symbols. Each individual who performs a task inside a workflow is listed on a process map.
Process mapping is destined to help a team deal with understanding and planning. You merely split a project into small tasks and establish responsibilities for every team member. You communicate with the team with the help of the special tool, defining all processes of the company.
A process map is convenient not only for planning but for managing employees and projects. Have a look at the principal types of process maps:
It’s a simple diagram for someone who has no idea what process mapping is. A perfect start with the use of shapes for the visualization of the process. It’s a perfect choice if you’re:
Interested in new concepts but have no idea where to start;
Dealing with the documentation of the company;
In need of solving issues;
Interacting with your team, discussing ideas.
It will help you deliver a product to a consumer. This flowchart helps you understand whether you waste anything in the process of the delivery or not. It’s a perfect tool if you’re:
Regularly fixing the information about finances and materials;
Concentrating on brand-new projects;
Willing to know how to make right decisions.
It’s a general process map. It does not involve specific details. Nevertheless, a value chain is suitable when you’re:
Analyzing the steps of a process;
Some people call it a swim lane diagram. It involves your employees and steps of the business process. You’ll need cross-functional mapping if you’re:
Checking and stating important roles of a process and their relationships;
Demonstrating how a process functions throughout the business;
Interested in dealing with failures, affecting the business process.
Dealing with process documentation;
Specifying the business process details.
SIPOC stands for Supplies, Inputs, Processes, Outputs, and Customers. It is used to create a general depiction of the business. It’s helpful if you’re:
Arranging a complex business process;
Specifying its elements;
Thinking of its improvements.
Each process map makes your business beneficial from a certain side. You should pick out the map that will be in line with your purposes. For instance, if you have to understand how to communicate with the clients and promote your product, choose a value stream map.
Now that you’ve finishes with the identification, it’s time to involve your employees in the planning. Your managers and other team members are crucial for the efficiency of planning and further development of the process.
Have a talk with your team and establish the responsibilities. Create a timeline specify the steps for each member. Every detail is important. Pay attention to the following:
Current process: To serve as a reference, illustrate the current process to your team.
Workflow: Determine your company's general workflow.
Tasks: List each step that the workflow requires.
Events: Determine events that occur between each activity, such as management approval.
Connections: Identify the connections between the events and possible obstacles.
People: Make sure you’ve chosen the right people for all processes and roles.
Systems: All members of the team are part of the process – all systems should be involved in it.
Each step of the process should be performed orderly. It’ll make the brainstorming session effortless.
Now you have enough knowledge to draw the process map. Use shapes or symbols for visual representation of the process in the plan. Use arrows to connect the aspects and diamonds for the representation of decisions.
Have a precise look at your map and decide what can turn out to be a problem. Weak efficiency or redundancy can become troublesome. A map will also make you understand whether you need any improvements.
It’s time for testing! You’re on your way to success! Make sure everyone is a part of the process you’ve outlined in the process map. If you already have improvement suggestions, share them with your team. Small scale improvement (a single work project, for instance) can turn out to be very helpful. Don’t introduce your improvement ideas to the entire company, unless you work them through on smaller teams or departments.
The modern world requires almost every document to be digital. Your colleagues would be surprised if you sent them a map that you drew using a pen. Luckily, advanced contemporary technology equips us with plenty of online and offline solutions to create a comprehensive process map. Plus, they are often combined with additional collaboration, sharing, and analysis features. Let's take a closer look at the 11 process mapping tools you might find most useful in 2022.
Bitrix24 is a complex solution that contains a variety of instruments for marketing, sales, HR, finance, IT, customer support, and many other important aspects of your business. Its process mapping tool can be used by any of your teams or departments. If you want to visualize a process, you just need to select a template and customize it. In case you can't find the appropriate template, you can develop your own. Project managers will find this application incredibly useful because it offers templates for every project regardless of its framework or methodology.
Wide selection of fully customizable templates and ability to create your own.
Additional communication and collaboration features that allow you to share, edit, and discuss it with your coworkers.
Desktop and mobile versions.
Free for 12 employees.
It isn't completely free, but the prices are reasonable
It wasn't d
esigned specifically to create process maps. With all the necessary functions, it also offers an excessive number of unrelated features.
GitMind is a collection of tools for visualizing and brainstorming ideas or processes. Using it, you can build a mind map, organizational chart, UML diagram, or a process map. It has a big library of templates and styles, so you can create the chart or diagram that suits your requirements the best.
Offers a plethora of templates and styles.
Has plenty of visualization instruments.
Allows you to import, export, and share your map.
Doesn't require any payments (100% free).
Has desktop and mobile versions.
Available offline and online.
Some templates are more intuitive than others.
Templates could use more customization.
Creately presents you with a variety of instruments for planning, visualizing, analyzing, and brainstorming together with your coworkers. You can select the type of chart or diagram, you'd like to use. You can create a UML diagram, flowchart, mind map, sequence diagram, or process map. Plus, you can sort templates based on who (e.g. marketing, HR, IT, strategy and planning) or what (e.g. education, manufacturing, engineering) you need it for.
Thousands of customizable templates.
Simple drag-and-drop interface.
Ability to import, export, share, and edit it together with your colleagues.
Communication capabilities to discuss it with your teammates and receive feedback.
Integration with many other applications.
Cross-platform availability and online access.
No mobile version.
Exhibits many glitches and technical issues.
Has a limited free version, and you need to send an individual request for a trial period.
LucidChart is an advanced diagramming software with great process mapping tools. With this application, you and your colleagues can easily create, edit, discuss, analyze, improve, and adjust any of your business processes in real time.
User-friendly, intuitive, and customizable templates
Real-time collaboration tools
Desktop & mobile versions (cross-platform, online & offline)
Very limited functionality of the free version
Handful of templates for specific cases and fields
EdrawMax offers visualization software designed for experienced professionals. You can use its process mapping tool to create flowcharts, fishbone or UML diagrams, floor plans, etc. Enhanced capabilities even provide automatic layout for mind maps.
Wide selection of charts and diagram types
Advanced editing features
Extensive import/export capabilities
Cross-platform desktop version and online solution
Broad functionality can be overwhelming and complicated for inexperienced or non-tech users
No mobile application
No free version
As a diagramming solution, Gliffy is perfect for beginners and those who work on a tight budget. It has plenty of visual representation forms, such as flowcharts, network & UML diagrams, or wireframes. You can learn to use all of its instruments, including process mapping tools, really fast. Plus, its solutions are reasonably priced.
Various types of templates for business, designers, and software engineers
Linked diagrams (if you edit one of them, the others will be updated automatically)
Collaboration features, such as ability to share your document, so your colleagues could view, edit, or comment on it
Export and import instruments
Search within diagram & history of versions
Integrated with Confluence and Jira
Affordable solution with a trial period
Incredibly user-friendly and easy to use
Offers many templates, but needs to add more shapes, colors, fonts, etc.
Has limited and glitchy export tools
Available only online or on the Atlassian marketplace
Microsoft has always been the leader of the software development industry, and when it comes to diagramming applications, it sets standards for others to follow. Visio combines a variety of visualizing, brainstorming, and collaboration features (process mapping tools included) with technical excellence. You can go with flowcharts & org charts, fishbone & network diagrams, and modify them as you like. It is a solution for those who are willing to pay for the quality or those who commit to Microsoft products.
A plethora of stencils, templates, and starter diagrams
Real-time collaboration options
Integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft products
The software is impeccable from a technical point of view
With its extensive number of features, it might be a bit overwhelming for a non-professional user
Has only online & desktop versions
The prices are high, and the license has to be acquired separately
If you're not looking for the extensive functionality of premium segment professional diagramming software, you should definitely take a look at Google Drawings. It is a simple and 100% free solution that presents only basic stencils, but has robust customization and integration capabilities. You won't find templates for flowcharts or fishbone diagrams, but you can easily figure out how to turn available drawing instruments into your process mapping tools.
The application is a part of Google Drive Suit
User-friendly and intuitive
Many export, import, and integration options
Great editing, modifying, and customization capabilities
100% free of charge
It is an online, web-based application
It offers only a limited number of basic templates
Visme is a business software with an impact on design and creates eye-catching content. You can use it to develop presentations, infographics, proposals, book covers, and even zoom backgrounds. With significant emphasis on providing templates not only for businesses, but also for designers, marketers, bloggers, and teachers, Visme's charts and diagrams library cannot be considered extensive. But you can easily adjust the existing templates and use them as process mapping tools.
Highly customizable templates
Ability to add photos, videos, icons, or stickers and create interactive content
Collaboration tools and analytics
User-friendly and intuitive interface
Allows use of free templates
Only basic types of charts and diagrams available
Premium version is relatively expensive
Canva is not exactly a diagramming software. Due to a wide selection of business card, menu, newsletter, banner, flyer templates, it is perfectly suited for designers, bloggers, and marketers. However, it's enhanced capabilities allow transforming infographics, charts, and diagrams into process mapping tools. You can also use stickers, photos, or animation to make your maps more creative, engaging, and fun.
Rich library of fonts, shapes, icons, and other elements
Allows adding photos, videos, stickers, animation, and short clips
Integration with major social media permits you to share your creations or schedule publications
Its collaboration tools will empower your coworkers to edit, comment, and view your document
You can use content planner to schedule creating new process maps
Available on both mobile & desktop
Developed primarily for bloggers or designers
Limited selection of pre-made charts & diagram templates
You cannot create unique elements
Can be challenging to use it on small screens
Cacoo is a diagramming application for those who can appreciate the importance of team effort. You can invite your colleagues to view, edit, video chat, and comment on your document with just a link that doesn't even require logging in to access. It contains templates for flowcharts, wireframes, network diagrams, project timelines, etc., and almost all of them can be used as efficient process mapping tools.
Easy to use
Advanced collaboration tools and presentation mode
Enables you to add images and notes
Wide selection of chart & diagram templates
Integration with a variety of applications
Grouping images and connecting elements might be tricky
Free version has significant limitations
Might need to add more templates and shapes to catch up with major competitors
No mobile version
This process mapping tool is among the most common choices for software development companies interested in agile project management. What is it? It’s a convenient management process split into smaller tasks that can be managed easier.
Intuitive, drag-and-drop interface.
Extensive library of shapes.
Easy map creating process.
Interaction and collaboration with the team, stakeholders, and customers.
Weak support team.
Integration with the other tools is limited (TOGAF and ArchiMate are not supported).
The program is a bit glitchy.
Another type of process mapping software allowing you to create maps and visualization and share them with your team members. Unfortunately, the functionality is very restricted. You can only build a total of three concept maps until you get your subscription to one of the premium options.
User-friendly, effortless interface.
Automatic mind map layout.
Seamless navigation, sharing, and presenting.
Detailed productivity tool boosts up learning and organization.
Possibility to create projects and presentations and share them within the team.
Too many options to orient yourself if you’re a newbie.
There are concerns about keeping personal information safe.
Uploading content into the program can be tricky.
The software isn’t exactly dedicated to process mapping tools. It’s free, and, at the same time, it has enough functions for someone who deals with process mapping for the first time. Create diagrams, flowcharts, or SIPOC diagrams through the simplest steps.
Super easy to use.
Free for personal needs and businesses.
Offers integrations with numerous applications.
Limited uses for diagrams.
You can make process maps, but you’ll need an internal server to share it with the team.
Process mapping is not the core element of the tool.
The usage is free.
Process mapping tools are software solutions letting you present a specific process in the visual form of an algorithm with stages, participants, actions, and links between them. They are helpful when you need to analyze and regulate the workflow, cut on costs, and boost up productivity.
According to the article, some of the top process mapping tools for 2023 include Bitrix24, GitMind, and Creately, among others.
Bitrix24 is a multifunctional solution offering numerous customizable templates, extra communication and interaction features, integration options, and a mobile version. You can use it free in the team of 12 employees.
Bitrix24 CRM is not completely free, but the prices are reasonable. It wasn't designed for the creation of process maps also. Nevertheless, it has a huge number of unrelated features that may turn out to be helpful.