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The importance of Business Process Modelling


Hitachi Solutions > Blogs > 2020 > 01 > The importance of Business Process Modelling

When implementing ERP solutions one aspect that is often overlooked is Business Process Modelling (BPM). This is a key element in both driving implementation and the adoption of the solution in the longer term. I have experienced projects where BPM has been fundamental to the implementation process, and other projects where there has been little or no emphasis or understanding on BPM. Given the choice – I would suggest the former and here’s why…

The problem

Firstly, let's look at the problem. As Client’s move through the project lifecycle, more and more knowledge is transferred from the Consulting team to the Client team. This knowledge typically resides in employees’ minds and losing this knowledge is at risk should team members leave the project. Also, the knowledge transfer process can be inefficient and labour intensive where critical information can often be missed. Often business process modelling is paper-based and can often be laborious to maintain and become quickly out of date. This also brings the problem of trying to audit paper-based processes and the further challenges of trying to introduce process improvements. This can provide difficult for single legal entities, multi-company projects can take these problems to a whole new level…

The fix

Investing in a BPM solution as part of your ERP implementation can help overcome these problems. By using a BPM solution, rather than living with a paper-based approach, or worse no BPM consideration at all, it becomes possible to map the organisational structure of the client’s business from high-level business functions down to sub-level business processes in graphical format. This helps provide a standard way to represent the business that is readily understandable by all business stakeholders, including business analysts who create and refine the business model as well as the Functional and Technical team members responsible for helping implement the overarching business solution. Having a system held BPM provides a roadmap for the Client organisation and provides a common language easily understood by all project team members, helping to bridge any perceived communication gaps within the team.

Industry Aligned

BPM’s make it possible to depict an organisation based on a predefined model, assuming there is a close enough fit to differentiation or industry. Working with partners who build and maintain libraries of standard BPM’s against their industry vertical IP makes it possible to leverage a hybrid implementation approach, such as Consensus Essentials. So rather than following a traditional waterfall model where a client might ‘start from scratch’ it becomes possible to use a pre-existing industry BPM as a starting point to develop a Client-specific BPM saving both time and money. An approach made even more valuable if BPM, Methodology and IP are aligned from the outset.

The benefits

Knowledge that was previously at risk of being lost is now formally defined and controlled via a BPM solution. This solution also manages changes and employs version control for audit purposes. The BPM makes onboarding of new users easier and gives valuable insight into the context of their role within the wider organisation. A further possibility is to link the BPM to the underlying ERP solution to allow user privileges to be linked to the process library. From a legal entity perspective, it also becomes possible to share common aspects of the BPM and still allow for localisations of the BPM held at a regional level, a scenario common to multi-company ERP implementations. Once live the BPM solution doesn’t remain static, the solution is dynamic allowing for future enhancements to be made ‘real-time’ and made available to all applicable users once approval has been given.

The use of BPM solutions makes it possible for Client’s to have the tool they need to map their existing business processes and manage these processes, including any refinements or changes, in the most efficient manner possible. The ability to react and adapt to change so quickly offers a competitive advantage to Client’s and helps maximise their ERP investment.

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Jason Winstanley

With a background in computer aided engineering, 20+ years in ERP and CRM implementation and a 10 year seniority with Hitachi Solutions in the UK, Jason Winstanley is the author of the Consensus methodology that today drives many Hitachi Solutions integration projects.

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