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AI reveals a process diagram’s hidden secrets

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Home » Blog » AI reveals a process diagram’s hidden secrets

The power of UPN

Universal Process Notation is the Salesforce recommended business process mapping standard. There are Trailhead badges and it is part of the BA Certification. UPN has proven to engage stakeholders at every level across the organization because it is easy to understand. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity. It can convey a huge amount of information because of the diagram hierarchy and the notation.

There are multiple audiences:

  • Senior Management: It can be used by senior management to understand the end-to-end flow at a high level and identify the key metrics.
  • Line Management: It shows the responsibilities and the handoffs between teams
  • Business Analysts: It is a critical document to validate requirements, get shared stakeholder agreement, and support solutioning. It can highlight ERD entities, handoffs, and automation possibilities.
  • Developers: It can be used by development teams to automatically generate user stories (using ElementsGPT), and identify integrations.
  • End Users: It can be used by end users at the lowest level as training material. 
  • Auditors: It can be used by auditors to show regulatory compliance.

Using AI to uncover process secrets

Whilst the UPN diagram at first glance shows the business flow from activity to activity, look more closely and there is more “hidden” information.  You just need to know what to look for.

Quality of diagram

In an earlier blog we looked at how AI can evaluate a process diagram, in any format – flowchart, UPN, BPMN, UML, SIPOC – against a set of test criteria and suggest improvements. I suggest you do this first, so that you are working with the best possible process diagram

Here is the article. https://elements.cloud/blog/gpt-evaluating-process-maps/

Data model

The process also implies the data model (ERD).  We can identify the entities – the nouns in the diagram – and can explore logical relationships between those entities.

And here is the ERD, and you can make the links between the entities based on the process flows.

Handoffs

The flows and resources can imply there are integrations with other systems. This is easier if the systems are listed as resources on the activity boxes. But there are also opportunities for automation.

Each process step has resources. The lines between the process steps, show the flow. These can be human or systems. If the resources (human) between the boxes connected by flow lines are different, then it is a handoff. For example between activity box 1 and 2 there is no handoff, but between box 3 and 4 there is. 

Solutions

If the resources (system) are different between the boxes connected by flow lines, then this is an integration. We can also look at potential automations based on the flow.

Improvements

Looking at the process diagram AI may be able to identify some quick wins in terms of process improvement. AI looks at the process diagram and its experience of similar processes. It helps if the prompt also includes a description of the process including the start and end points.

Metrics

The process step, the outcome and the resource can be used to identify the metrics.  Be careful because people act as they are measured. Also, look for the leading rather than lagging indicators. The leading measure for sales is “contract signed” or “POC started”. A lagging indicator is “Revenue last quarter.”

Prompt

BTW this prompt will work with any notation, but it is better with UPN. Use a screenshot of the process diagram and enter the following prompt into ChatGPT. As we said, if you can give more context such as a description of the process it will help with the process improvement recommendations.

Please evaluate this process diagram It covers the XXX process from the YY to ZZZ.

The process diagram has activity boxes that have a resource which can be human or a system. It also lines with text and these are the handoffs between activities.

Highlight the following when you evaluate it, by following these steps:

  1. Number the shapes from top left to bottom right so that you can refer to them. 
  2. Identify the key handoffs between human resources. This is where a flow goes from one activity box to the next, where the resources are NOT the same on both boxes. Do not list an activity where the resources are identical between activity boxes. 
  3. List the key data entities, and what are the relationships between the entities. Entities are probably nouns in the text in an activity box or on a line. If there are many-to-many relationships between entities, create an entity that resolves it.
  4. Identify the key integrations. This is where a flow goes from one activity box to the next, where the resources are not human and are not the same on both boxes.
  5. Look for potential automation possibilities.
  6. Suggest any metrics that can be used to measure the success of each activity box. 

Final word

Process maps are more than transactional documents. They are a valuable asset that is the institutional knowledge of the business. Using AI we can make them work even harder and support process improvement and development activities. Build consensus, collaboration, and communication within your organization, with the help of business process mapping.

Connect with the Elements.cloud team today, and understand how Elements.cloud facilitates documenting your business processes quickly.

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