how do we simplify understandings into complex processes?
process mapping is the practice of researching, and then laying out step by step a series of actions taken to achieve a particular end. this makes it easy to understand end-to-end inputs and outputs, and subsequently identify opportunities for improvement or automation.
the following projects highlight different approaches to how process maps can be built and used.
01_methodology / 02_virtual chatbot / 03_operations optimization / 04_investment security review / 05_api management
whether through a structured workshop or 1-on-1 conversation, i always talk to the people (or individuals with intimate knowledge) who live and breathe the process being documented.
i use structured user research activities such as empathy mapping, painpoint discovery, and journey mapping as they serve as a framework for both discussions and format for capturing details which will later inform the process map itself.
once the existing as-is process is documented, i will also ask users what they think should be changed; when designing the aspired to-be process, this gives me a sense of what kinds of changes could make the most impact.
the ask: this global bank wanted to implement an ai driven chatbot to help employees with their IT related questions in the return to work post-pandemic. the end goal was to alleviate the high volume of calls their help desk is currently dealing with and shorten resolution times from days to minutes.
outcomes: i carried out a series of discovery activities focused on understanding why an employee might seek IT help, as well as the procedural steps for how a helpdesk agent troubleshoots an issue over the phone. the synthesis of these activities were used as a framework to design the conversation flow for the virtual chatbot, and to train the ai to recognize specific intents of the user. the process map of the conversation was used by the developers to implement dialogue flows into Watson Assistant.
the ask: this oil and gas company wanted to apply combinatorial optimization to their fuel dispatching process, which is currently done manually, and almost entirely based off of dispatchers' experience and intuition.
outcomes: i developed the process map through a discovery workshop that surfaced the general procedure dispatchers follow when scheduling fuel deliveries. this was supplemented with a series of detailed 1-on-1 interviews focused on understanding their tools, touchpoints, and thoughts at every step of the way. the resulting process map was used by the data science team as a reference to build their models, and as a base for business process mining by the automation team.
05_investment security review
the ask: as part of the process for foreign entities to invest in certain businesses, this organization is responsible for conducting the review process, which spans multiple governmental departments. due to the volume and legally binding timelines, the team was asked to explore opportunities to increase workflow efficiencies.
outcomes: due to the confidential nature of the review process, the mapping was kept at a high level. instead, the focus was put on identifying painpoints at each step in the process, and then highlighting how a combination of workflow automation and content management systems could alleviate those pains and improve overall efficiency. in this way, process mapping was used as a storytelling tool.
the ask: this bank wanted to implement automated API governance and management for their developers in order to create a full self-serve experience that would both be efficient, and integrated with their current infrastructure.
outcomes: due to the highly technical and specialized nature of this project, there were disconnects between the technical team and everyone else (including the client executive who wasn't familiar with the process). i sat down with solution architects on the team to understand what the developer's current process looks like, and how automation might change that. by translating the technical jargon into plain english and illustrating the process in an easy to understand diagram, i was able to bring everyone on the team to the same page.