If you want to digitalize a service, process modeling is everything

Author: Henna Paananen

Process work is the crucial starting point of the whole digitalization. Spending good time on the process first is definitely time well-spent, because if you rush further to designing forms, choosing technology etc. you might have to come back to the process multiple times as the work goes on. You might have to come back anyway, but the changes you will have to make are more likely to be little tweaks rather than major changes that might overthrow a large part of the work you have done.

Bring everybody together for a process workshop

Identify who can give you most information about the process and invite these people to a process workshop. Together

  • write down all the steps of the process
  • what data is needed at which point
  • where does the data come from

Simply put: who does what. Who here means which part of the organization (a service unit, academic personnel), usually there is no need to be more specific.

Post Its are a fine tool at this point – no need for anything fancier.

Be curious and willing to learn

At first one of the biggest difficulties is finding the right level of description – how detailed the presentation of the process should be. Often we try to describe everything, but detailed instructions of how the work should be done is not what we are after when we are describing a process.

Instructions are needed, but only much later – when your new digitalized process is ready to use. At this stage you will have describe who does what, not how.

Be open and be prepared for surprises

There is no way of knowing what the process actually looks like for different schools/departments/service units before you bring all schools together. The basic process is probably much alike for all units, but when digitalizing a process the devil is in the details. There will be many little differences and you will have to decide what to do about them.

Will there have to be changes for all units? For some, but not all?

All through this discussion, you will have to keep in mind two goals: a high quality customer experience and a lean process.

Author: Henna Paananen