What is Business Process Analysis? (2022)

Learn what business process analysis (BPA) is and the types, methods and steps for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to consider.

Business process analysis (BPA) is an approach to analyzing business operation processes. It is a detailed, multi-step examination of each part of a process to identify what is working well in your current process, what needs to be improved and how any necessary improvements can best be made. There are different business process analysis methods, but all apply the underlying principle that optimized systems generate better overall business results.

Common desired outcomes of BPA are greater cost savings, increased revenue and better business engagement. For instance, you might use BPA to analyze customer engagement and where there are downturns, blocks or unexpectedly low conversions. Business process analysis can also reveal what in your business operations or policies creates low employee engagement.

Business process analysis (BPA) vs. business analysis (BA): What's the difference?

There might be a little confusion about the difference between business process analysis (BPA) and business analysis (BA). These are related areas of business process management but are not the same. BPA focuses on specific process analysis and business process modeling. BA, on the other hand, is applied to the greater business operation landscape. BA focuses on the analysis of other areas, such as financial forecasting, cost analysis, budgets, hiring and cuts.

Benefits of business process analysis

The overarching benefit of business process analysis (BPA) is optimized, daily functionality across your business operations that strategically aligns with your business goals and decision making.

For SME businesses, BPA can create the following improvements:

  • Increase efficiency in existing processes: BPA increases time-to-value for product applications. It also lowers time in operational cycles for workflows, such as employee onboarding and customer or patient in-take processes.
  • Reveal capacity issues: In any process, resources can be limited. BPA identifies where the capacity limit lies, how it affects the process and how to improve it. This is a strong consideration for scaling. For instance, digital tools and platforms you currently use may limit current organizational needs and workflows. BPA can help you identify changes you need to make that are specifically aligned to your organization’s growth.
  • Clarify policies and rules: As organizations move to more remote work and greater adoption of digital devices, a common misalignment exists in security and device usage. The analysis can identify a path for faster IT approval processes and uniformity in security policy enforcement.
  • Create better governance practices: Risk management is increasing as a priority for businesses. Compliance is a costly endeavor for organizations to maintain, and it is even more costly to address when issues arise. Business process analysis can reveal where compliance measures have faltered. For example, your organization may be out of compliance in the frequency you audit application security measures. BPA can set an improvement plan in place that considers resources and compliance needs to ensure a process can be executed — and sustained.
  • Identify cost savings: BPA reveals redundancies in tasks and labor. Organizations that have moved to digital document workflows are a good example how reduced human error and time in searching for documents creates cost savings.
  • Solve for bottlenecks: Bottlenecks occur when channels for communication, development and execution are siloed. A business process analysis can expose communication gaps and resolve approval process obstructions.
  • Optimize deployment and release processes: Efficient processes create smoother releases and deployments.
  • Improve integration and adoption processes: Similarly, adopting new technology across an enterprise or department is a monumental process. BPA sets processes in place that can include useful training programs and workflow visuals that support higher adoption rates.
  • Strengthen company culture: A better process in any area is a housecleaning of sorts. The improvements breathe new life into employee experience on a daily basis. The result is better morale and better engagement for internal processes. For customers, optimized processes — such as a better website or customer service experience — increases engagement and positive perception of your business.

Methods of business process analysis

There are two predominant philosophies that guide business process analysis (BPA) methodology:

(Video) Business Process Analysis

  • Six Sigma approach
  • Lean Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a five- to seven-step methodology that most businesses today use to analyze efficiencies and restraints. Lean Six Sigma differs slightly in that it is a combination of the Six Sigma approach and Lean philosophy. It's a collaborative approach that focuses on eliminating tasks and resources that don't provide defined value.

You'll gain a sense of how a business process analysis is executed when you consider the detailed-nature intrinsic to every step.

In general, BPA follows this structure:

  1. Define: Start by identifying the processes you want to analyze. Typically, these are where you see problems first. Process analysis can start with (and also include) process diagrams for each step. Analysts begin with as-is processes and look at formal and informal processes, such as documented processes and processes specific to an organization’s culture.
  2. Measure: Next, review how the process functions against defined metrics. This step is also at the root of helping to create improved KPI metrics. If those are well-defined first, a business will measure processes against the KPIs. KPIs include efficiency versus effectiveness indicators, quality, productivity, profitability and value indicators. They also include competitive and capacity indicators. For instance, customer engagement workflows might be measured by quality and effectiveness versus efficiency metrics.
  3. Analyze: There are several types of analysis techniques, and each one serves a different purpose. Business process analysts might run a value analysis, a gap analysis or root cause analysis (RCA). These are extensive analytical methods that each include their own set of steps. A gap analysis reveals what's missing in the process. A value analysis conveys what is of value within the process — and what is waste, as a result. A root cause analysis applies certain "why" questions and methods that help you to work backward to the root cause of the problem in a process.
  4. Improve: Business process managers collaborate with analysts to create and execute plans that improve problem areas. Improvements may mean re-mapping a process, increasing resources or shifting communication approaches and channels. Again, this can be a detailed step that can apply a variety of improvement methods.
  5. Control: After such a significant analysis, controlling the new standards and processes is the final step. Decision-makers can use the analysis to then manage resources, responsibilities, hiring processes, IT, administrative and executive processes. Stakeholders also monitor these changes and set time markers for future analysis.

When to implement business process analysis

If you've recently adopted new technology that's being underutilized, or if you have recurring turnover in one area of your business, business process analysis (BPA) is a useful tool to uncover the reasons for these outcomes and then to set process improvements in place.

Your business goals determine where and how you implement business process analysis. Organizations that value employee and company-wide problem-solving and process improvement as a core part of their culture set a foundation for better morale, lower turnover and better customer experience. So, whether you apply business process analysis tools informally, or you formally audit processes quarterly or annually, it should be a fundamental part of your business function.

Business process analysis begins with analyzing as-is processes. Business process mapping is a common tool used in BPA. It is an important visual resource and document to draw upon for your analysis. Using the documentation and insights gained from the analysis, your organization can then create a business process improvement plan. Business improvement plans will typically generate new business process models, using flowcharts, with improved process flows.

(Video) How to Analyze a Business Process: Business Process Modeling Made Easy

Keep in mind, business process analysis relates solely to your business operation processes. It is not the method of analyzing areas of business that aren't specifically process-related. Process analysis in business is its own defined discipline. It is a guide for optimizing every operational area of your business.

Examples of BPA include the following:

  • Reviewing employee on-boarding to align with business culture and better engagement.
  • Analyzing marketing processes to reconcile whether metrics and paths align with key performance indicators (KPI), such as how well customers are converting or how many qualified leads are engaging with your business.
  • Uncovering where inefficiencies exist in technology adoption processes.

Tools of business process analysis

In process analysis, analysts use diagrams to define input and output points, tasks sequences and what processes are sub-processes nested under main processes.

Analysts also use software to map and create workflows. This includes software that automates business process analysis (BPA) and enables organizations to apply end-to-end process modeling to map when a process starts and determine when it ends.

Process modeling and process mapping tools are integral to BPA. Organizations use business process model notation (BPMN) diagramming and supplier, input, process, output, customer (SIPOC) model diagramming as two workflow solutions for better operations. These visual tools are an excellent way to show changes in a process. They can be used as a “before and after" visual guide to train employees, for instance, or to map every process improvement back to your key business goals.

Who oversees business process analysis?

You might be wondering at this point, who in an organization is responsible for BPA, given roles, resources and skill sets?

(Video) How to Analyze Business Processes and Flowcharts using the 3 R's Process

Certainly, resources can be limited for SMEs. Working with an outside business analyst consultant might be the most viable route.

At the enterprise level, businesses employ business process analysts and process architects to perform business process analysis. These are different terms for similar roles. Both of these roles might work with business architects or work with executives and division leads.

In addition, business process analysis relies on the expertise of subject matter experts. These might include a number of employees, stakeholders and consultants, such as analysts, data scientists, quants, IT, administrators and employees who are closely aligned to a process.

Automation and BPA

Currently, hyperautomation is considered one of the highest priorities across enterprise businesses. Gartner has forecasted that the industry will reach $600 billion by 2022. Hyperautomation steadily decreases the amount of human intervention for a fully automated, responsive process — or a smart process.

Your organization may want to consider specific questions to move toward automated processes:

  • What key areas do you seek to automate and why?
  • Are there more common manual errors or misapplied policies?
  • Where are there costly and high-volume processes?
  • Has the organization determined obvious process problems?
  • What creates customer dissatisfaction?

Business process analysis (BPA) can help your organization create a documented, mapped path to integrating automated processes and moving toward a goal of hyperautomation. As an example, moving from a hybrid to fully automated customer chatbot support is one way service centers lower costs and optimize customer support with hyperautomation.

(Video) Business Analysis Techniques - Process Analysis

How small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can apply BPA

How do SMEs best apply business process analysis (BPA) to start?

First, target mission-critical processes with the highest business impact. Then, consider mapping a process for automation.

Next, standardize automation documentation — as well as process documentation — across departments and your organization.

For instance, IT can use BPA to map the process for software security protocols for various roles, which enables your organization to better manage onboarding and scaling as a result.

Business process analysis and IBM

IBM provides process templates for project-based process analysis that are based on BPMN diagramming. Process mapping is integral to an optimal automation strategy.

Learn how IBM Business Automation workflows enable your business to mine process data to gain critical insights and automate digital workflows on-premises or in the cloud.

(Video) Business Process Analysis Webinar

Download IBM Process Management for Dummies as a resource to learn the basics of process management to drive competitive practices and processes.


Why is business process analysis important? ›

Business process analysis (BPA) is one proven method that organizations use to examine and improve their processes. More specifically, BPA offers 3 significant benefits including improved visualization and understanding of processes, highlighting bottlenecks and weaknesses in workflows, and identifying cost reductions.

What is process analysis in your own words? ›

Process analysis is an ongoing improvement process where organizations analyze the way they do things in order to find more efficient methods to perform a particular task. This analysis is based on the three elements of any activity: input, process and output.

What is business process in simple words? ›

A business process is a collection of linked tasks that find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. A business process has also been defined as a set of activities and tasks that, once completed, will accomplish an organizational goal.

Why is Process Analysis important? ›

The main purpose of process analysis is to explain; however, it might also prove something about the process itself (perhaps its ease or difficulty) or evaluate it (perhaps its close parallel to guidelines issued by an authoritative agency).

What is a business process analysis? ›

Business process analysis (BPA) is an approach to analyzing business operation processes. It is a detailed, multi-step examination of each part of a process to identify what is working well in your current process, what needs to be improved and how any necessary improvements can best be made.

What is an example of process analysis? ›

Process analysis = sequence of related events to excplain how things work/ how things happen. Directive process analysis = how to do something step-by-step; directions for completing work (to make something). Examples: recipes, model kits, sewing patterns, etc.

What is the process analysis essay? ›

A process analysis essay explains how to do something, how something works, or both. The process analysis essay opens with a discussion of the process and a thesis statement that states the outcome of the process. The organization of a process analysis essay typically follows a chronological sequence.

What is a process analysis paragraph? ›

Updated on September 28, 2018. In composition, process analysis is a method of paragraph or essay development by which a writer explains step by step how something is done or how to do something.

What is BPM with example? ›

BPM is usually defined as a discipline or practice, but it is also an umbrella term to describe tools. Here's a fundamental example: BPM is usually defined as a discipline or practice – similar to DevOps, for example – rather than something you buy or otherwise simply implement and complete.

How do you write a business process? ›

How to write a business process
  1. Identify company goals. The first step in creating a business process is to define the company's current and long-term goals. ...
  2. Create a structured plan. ...
  3. Assign tasks. ...
  4. Test the process. ...
  5. Integrate the process. ...
  6. Measure its success. ...
  7. Make changes as needed.

How is process analysis done? ›

Process analysis is the action of conducting a review and gaining an understanding of business processes. It involves reviewing the components of a process, including inputs, outputs, procedures, controls, actors, applications, data, technologies and their interactions to produce results.

What methods can be used for process analysis? ›

5 Business Process Analysis Techniques to Know
  • Gap analysis.
  • Value-added analysis.
  • Root cause analysis.
  • Observation analysis.
  • Examining the experience.
5 Mar 2021

What are BPA tools? ›

Business process analysis tools are primarily intended for use by business end users looking to document, analyze and streamline complex processes, thereby improving productivity, increasing quality, and becoming more agile and effective.

What is a business analyst in simple terms? ›

A business analyst (BA) is a person who processes, interprets and documents business processes, products, services and software through analysis of data. The role of a business analyst is to ensure business efficiency increases through their knowledge of both IT and business function.

What makes a good process analysis? ›

Have a clear purpose and divide the process into basic, well-defined steps, usually following a time order. An outline will help you organize the paper. Use transitional words help clarify a process analysis essay. Phrases such as then, next, and after doing this help the reader.

How do you write a conclusion for a process analysis essay? ›

Process Analysis Essay Conclusion

Make sure you clearly describe each stage in chronological order. The final paragraph of your paper should contain the expected results that may be achieved through procedure completion. Don't retell the whole thing once again in the concluding part of the process analysis essay.

What is an example of a process? ›

An example of process is the steps taken by someone to clean a kitchen. An example of process is a collection of action items to be decided on by government committees. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result. The process of digestion; the process of obtaining a driver's license.

What are the two types of process analysis? ›

There are two types of process analysis: informative and directive. In a directive how-to, you are instructing your readers to follow certain steps. This often involves addressing the reader directly with the imperative verb tense.

How is a process analysis usually organized? ›

The organization of a process analysis essay typically follows chronological order. The steps of the process are conveyed in the order in which they usually occur. Body paragraphs will be constructed based on the aforementioned steps.

How do you start a process essay? ›

A good process essay outline should look like this: Introduction — brief your reader on your topic, explain why you have chosen it and how you are planning to approach the explanation of the process. Body — the biggest part of your essay that should be divided into paragraphs for easier understanding and structure.

How do you start an analysis paragraph? ›

The best introductions start with a hook such as a rhetorical question or a bold statement and provide global context, outlining questions that your analysis will tackle. A good introduction concludes with a thesis statement that serves as the north star for the entire essay.

What is Process Analysis in Operations Management? ›

Process analysis is defined as a breakdown of a process into step-by-step phases that are used to describe and convey the output, input, and operation that take place in each step. The concept is also used in improving the way a process operates by eliminating waste from the system.

How do you write a process paragraph? ›

A process paragraph has three main parts. The topic sentence states the process. The body sentences describe the steps. The ending sentence wraps up the process.

What is process description? ›

“Process descriptions are precise portrayals of events occurring over time that lead to some outcome.” They describe. The steps in the operation of a mechanism. The steps in a conceptual process.

Why is BPM Important? ›

BPM enables organizations to align business functions with customer needs, and helps executives determine how to deploy, monitor and measure company resources. When properly executed, BPM has the ability to enhance efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and minimize errors and risk – thereby optimizing results.

How do you describe BPM? ›

Business process management (BPM) is a discipline that uses various methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve and optimize business processes. A business process coordinates the behavior of people, systems, information and things to produce business outcomes in support of a business strategy.

What is a good BPM? ›

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.

What is the first step in analyzing a business process? ›

Business process analysis consists of 6-steps:
  1. Identify and define your goals.
  2. Identify the process to be analyzed.
  3. Collect information.
  4. Map out the process.
  5. Analyze the process.
  6. Identify the potential for business process improvement.
7 Oct 2020

Does it matter in business processes? ›

IT business processes must be considered as an integral part of the business process management. Therefore, it has to receive many resources and investments, so they can be improved and optimized in a continuous way, contributing to the developing and growth of the business. Also, see BPM and the process analysis.

What is BPM documentation? ›

The BPM document store is a CMIS-enabled embedded document repository that is used to store documents in IBM® Business Automation Workflow.

What makes a good process document? ›

Stay clear, concise, and to the point. Invest in visual process mapping. A picture is often worth a thousand words of documentation. So, instead of literally describing every step of a business process, help the readers digest the information by presenting it in the form of a diagram or a flowchart.

What is business process diagram? ›

A business process diagram is a diagram that depicts a directed flow of activities that are specified by using a subset of Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN). Tip: You can create business process diagrams using the new diagram editor, which is now the preferred tool for creating graphical artifacts.

What are the outputs of business process analysis? ›

Some outputs of business process analysis include: as-is model, to-be model, roles and responsibility matrix, organization impact, system impact and requirements documents. The objective of the process analysis and desired benefits should dictate what the appropriate outputs should be.

Is business process analyst same as business analyst? ›

Business analysts mainly work on the analysis part of the business processes whereas business process analysts work more on the operational part of business processes. Business analyst Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the domain and its business processes.

What are the benefits of interpreting the results of analysis in understandable ways for business leaders? ›

Across industries, organizations generate vast amounts of data which, in turn, has heightened the need for professionals who are data literate and know how to interpret and analyze that information.
The Benefits of Business Analytics
  • More Informed Decision-Making. ...
  • Greater Revenue. ...
  • Improved Operational Efficiency.
16 Jul 2019

What is the purpose of a business process? ›

A business process is an activity or set of activities that accomplish a specific organizational goal. Business processes should have purposeful goals, be as specific as possible and produce consistent outcomes.

How can process analysis be improved? ›

To improve a business process, follow these steps:
  1. Map the process.
  2. Analyze the process.
  3. Redesign the process.
  4. Acquire resources.
  5. Implement and communicate change.
  6. Review the process.

What is business process analysis with example? ›

Business process analysis, or BPA, is a method designed to help you review your processes. Processes are repeatable groups of tasks or steps in a workflow that produce a certain result. For example, you might have an onboarding process for new hires or a process for reviewing quarterly goals.

What is the difference between BA and BPA? ›

No, they are two different courses. BA is Bachelor of Arts while BPA is Bachelor of Performing Arts. They both are undergraduate degree courses.

What do you need to be a business process analyst? ›

Generally speaking, individuals in this profession begin by earning a bachelor's in business management or another relevant business degree. After graduating, some students immediately seek out entry-level positions, while others move onto advanced business degree programs.

How does business analytics contribute to business value? ›

Analyzing data more often than not increases efficiency, but also helps identify new business opportunities that may have been otherwise overlooked, such as untapped customer segments. In doing so, the potential for growth and profitability becomes endless and more intelligence based.

What are the challenges of business analytics? ›

  • Collecting Meaningful Data. With the high volume of data available for businesses, collecting meaningful data is a big challenge. ...
  • Selecting the Right Analytics Tool. ...
  • Data Visualization. ...
  • Data From Multiple Sources. ...
  • Low-Quality Data. ...
  • Data Analysis Skills Challenges. ...
  • Scaling Challenges. ...
  • Data Security.
20 May 2022

What happens when you analyze data well? ›

Analyzing data allows companies to learn what's working well for them and what to improve in order to grow. Businesses have been taking advantage of quantitative data for a long time now, but there are so many more insights you can gain from qualitative data.


1. Business Process Analysis for Requirements Discovery
2. Process Mapping For Business Analysts
3. What is Business Process Modeling?
(IBM Technology)
4. What is Business Analysis? | Understanding The Business Analysis Process | Invensis Learning
(Invensis Learning)
5. An Introduction to Business Analysis and the Business Analyst Process Framework
(Bridging the Gap)
6. The 6 Business Analysis Processes

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