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Process Mapping – Top 5 Tools for Beginners

In All, Process Improvement by Tamara3 Comments

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Process mapping is a visual way of representing the key steps taken in a process to give a clear understanding. But you might find yourself put off at the thought of starting the long and tedious task of process mapping. In this blog I am going to go through 5 process mapping tools that will make your life much easier! So, by the end of this blog, you should feel equipped and motivated to start process mapping.

I have chosen the top five process mapping tools I think are useful, however we are not affiliated with these companies in any way and it is purely opinion based.

1) Microsoft Visio

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK
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Microsoft Visio is a downloadable software available from £139.99 as a one off payment. The software is designed for people who are looking to create powerful diagrams, allowing you to use the built in stencils to simplify complex information through diagrams.

Advantages:
– You can create professional diagrams quickly
– You can link diagrams to data
– There is a wide variety of shapes to choose from

Disadvantages:
– The software only works on Windows OS
– The one off payment means it’s expensive
– The software does not run on mobile devices
– The software does not support collaborative editing

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK

2) Microsoft Excel

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK
Image credit: http://www.breezetree.com/articles/article_images/excel-12-flowchart.png

Microsoft Excel is a downloadable software available from £55.93. Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet software with graphing and diagram tools to create simple process maps.

Advantages: 

– You may already own the software if you have the Microsoft Office packages
– Most people are familiar with the software
– The software is simple when Creating things such as a flowchart
– The software is good for very basic process mapping

Disadvantages:
– In comparison to other software the ease of use is not very good
– The software is not solely created for process mapping so things that should be simple are not
– You cannot create images

3) Lucidchart

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK
Image credit: https://marketplace-cdn.atlassian.com/files/images/ee699989-23a5-4311-adb7-c6a6fa649569.png

Lucidchart is an online diagram software available from £3.23 per month*. The web-based software allows users to collaborate in real time to create mind maps, charts, flowcharts and other diagram types.

Advantages:
– Lucidchart is fully compatible with other programs (inc. Google apps)
– The software offers complete support for Microsoft Visio documents
– There is flexible exporting options
– There are thousands of shapes and icons for business use
– Flexible pricing and account types

Disadvantages:
– No advanced tools
– 3D objects are not included
– Too many account types to choose from, making you feel the need to pay more to get the most out of the software

4) OmniGraffle

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK
Image credit: http://blogspace.com/rdf/omnigraffle.gif

Omnigraffle is a downloadable application available from £65.15*. The software is a digital illustration app for all Apple devices, allowing users to create diagrams, flowcharts and process information visually.

Advantages:

–  OmniGraffle is the diagram Software leader for Mac
– There is a variety of shapes and templates
– The software is quite attractive
– There are standard or Professional accounts

Disadvantages:
– High prices due to less competitors for Mac users
– Mac only

5) Gliffy

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK
Image credit: https://marketplace-cdn.atlassian.com/files/images/c113d39d-b356-48b8-b8bb-70e74504d0fe.png

Gliffy is an online application available from £2.60 per month*. The application allows users to, share, create and collaborate on projects to create flowcharts and diagrams.

Advantages:
– Online applications have better support collaboration
– Easy to share
– Very simple and easy to use
– Good layout
– Great menus

Disadvantages:
– Adobe Flash is needed to run Gliffy
– Exporting to print is overly complicated
– Repetitive need to re-enter password even after page refreshes

*Prices have been converted and may not be accurate when you come to purchase the product due to currency conversion changes.

Top Tips for Process Mapping

Timing is very important and guessing the time it takes you to perform a step within your process is out of the question! Grab a stopwatch and actually time the steps one by one whilst someone performs it. You may find that you underestimate the time it takes you to do something quite dramatically. This stage of process mapping can help you recognise when time is being wasted, even on small things like computer, software and report loading times.

It may be a good idea to get an outsider to perform the process you are looking at mapping. So, a member of your team from a different department could perform the steps whilst someone else times them, or you could try and get them to perform it from the diagram you create. This is useful because you may find it takes them longer to do because they are not used to the task, giving you an indication of future hiring and training processes.

Another useful tip is thinking about times when you deviate from the process. If and when you do, how much time does it take you? How often do these deviations occur?  And are they relevant?

So there you have it! I hope this blog gives you the necessary knowledge to help you start process mapping. Before you run off in excitement to get started, I have one final tip which is vital when starting process mapping… Take your time. Don’t try and rush process mapping, avoid mapping all of your processes at the same time; do one at a time and make sure you’re thorough in the process.

Process Mapping - Top 5 Tools for Beginners - Sage UK


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Tamara
Tamara is the creative one. Her PC reflects her imaginative mind, colourful and with 2,857 tabs open in the browser.

She's the one who sits in the corner of the office busy working on our website. Even though she sits in silence, if she's not in, our team is not complete.

When she's not at her desk clicking away on the web, she enjoys traveling, seeing the sights of the famous landmarks and using one of her many camera's!