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What Is a Digital Blueprint and Why Do You Need One?

6 min read
Mar 1, 2022 1:00:00 PM

Process Design Documents (PDD) and Process Models are common mechanisms used by business analysts, business process architects, and Enterprise Business Process Analysis (EBPA) teams to visualize and document that steps of a business process. While a common practice, they may not be the most effective tools for understanding and improving work across a large, diverse business.

Documents and basic diagrams invite delay, bottlenecks, errors, missed requirements, and rework into your process improvement initiatives. Documents are complicated, siloed, hard to collaborate on, impossible to visualize, and aren’t scalable.

Process diagrams, while more visual, are difficult to manage and edit for complex, multi-layered processes, and are generally lacking when you are looking to capture approvals, edits, and changes to an existing process. Plus, they’re a huge time and value suck - business users are slow to make them, developers don’t read them close enough, testers struggle to ensure proper test coverage, and compliance teams are often left out of the mix entirely. No surprise here - no one is happy, and nothing gets done on time.

To deliver impactful business solutions effectively and efficiently, organizations require modern, feature-rich tools that are more iterative, automated, and collaborative, while also allowing you to integrate seamlessly with other tools in your process improvement stack.

Enter the Digital Blueprint.

What is a Digital Blueprint?

A Digital Blueprint encompasses everything you need to effectively and efficiently deliver mission-critical business solutions for your process improvement initiatives. A Digital Blueprint is a digital version of a process diagram and includes highly detailed process flows, functional and non-functional requirements, and all regulatory requirements, amongst other critical information. It can be used to automatically generate user stories and acceptance test criteria for development projects, quickly and efficiently automate a process through an RPA tool, and even for LoCode-NoCode development.

A Digital Blueprint also significantly improves how teams create, modify, and review processes, as everything can be collaboratively reviewed, edited, and tracked, all in one system.

Why do you need a Digital Blueprint?

Managing your process improvement initiative without the right tools is like trying to put together a piece of IKEA furniture without having the blueprint of what you’re building and where you’re putting it. Nearly 50% of all process improvement projects fail to meet their objectives because organizations are:

Failing to prioritize their projects and align them to strategic goals:

Most organizations take on a process improvement project as a quick-fix solution. They review a process and provide improvement recommendations, but fail to consider how the process fits into the larger enterprise context or how it will interact with other processes. The challenge is that without considering the business process and your greater goals from end-to-end, your basic design diagram is going to overlook critical elements that will lead to product delivery delays, redundant processes, cost overruns, and wasted effort.

A Digital Blueprint considers all of these details. A Digital Blueprint works directly within the enterprise context making it easier to understand how the business process you want to improve flows from end-to-end. This level of visibility enables you to effectively optimize business processes to ensure the process is reliable, resilient to change, and keeps costs low.

Limiting Their Downstream Options:

Automation is used to improve a process. Teams decide which processes are going to be automated by asking themselves questions like:

  • How repetitive is the process?
  • How complex is the process?
  • How standardized is the process?

This method is as effective as a coin flip—every department has their own set of criteria, so every department will choose their own processes to develop which only creates chaos. The PDD and process diagram only exacerbates the problem by only providing a single perspective on the business process, therefore making it impossible to accurately determine if you’ve chosen the best option for process improvement.

On the other hand, the Digital Blueprint adds rigor and certainty to process selection. When teams take a holistic approach to process improvement and have several downstream improvement options, they can see:

  • How easy or complex it would be to automate the process
  • If the process is even worth automating form a cost standpoint
  • What business applications their automated process will interact with
  • What development architecture their automated process will interact with
  • What stakeholders will be impacted by this change 
  • What other output options may be available

This level of granularity ensures that you’re choosing the best process for automation. In addition, with the Digital Blueprint you will be able to reduce the risk of future disruption because you’ve considered the process from end-to-end.

Not Fully Optimizing a Process First:

Many process improvement projects simply aim to get the project done. Analysts will often map the process, provide improvement recommendations, and move on to the next process. This may provide some benefit, but this method ignores your entire process landscape as a whole, which contains valuable data for optimizing your processes.

On the other hand, a Digital Blueprint supports your teams as they work to analyze and optimize business processes before any automation work begins. By giving teams enough context to understand how the process currently works they can effectively design processes that will deliver continuous business value. 

In addition, when you look at your process landscape holistically, you can find patterns and issues that will help you prioritize your improvement projects, such as commonly used applications, which processes cost the most to maintain, and the overall complexity level of your processes.

The Value of a Digital Blueprint

  • Significantly improve the quality of your processes: When you have a better way to define what you need in a process flow, a better way to collaborate with your peers, and a better way to manage dependencies and relationships between people, processes, and technologies, you can significantly improve your processes. Digital Blueprints inject a level of quality that is simply not possible using manual documentation.
  • Create a single source of truth: A Digital Blueprint allows enterprises to house all key business objectives, enterprise constraints, and regulatory requirements in one location and connects them seamlessly to process improvement opportunities such as RPA, LoCode-NoCode development, and many more.
  • Improves collaboration: A Digital Blueprint improves cross-functional collaboration between business and IT stakeholders through features that increase speed and agility, enabling your teams to deliver real business value faster.
  • Improves speed of design: A Digital Blueprint quickly ingests information captured by process discovery and mining tools as well as data from unstructured sources, accelerating the speed of process design. In addition, because it is stored within a centralized repository, teams can easily reuse elements from previous projects.
  • Simplifies change management: A Digital Blueprint makes change management simple because all critical information is stored within one central and versioned location making it easy to trace both internal and external changes to affected business processes. When there is a change within the Digital Blueprint all impacted team members will be automatically notified of the change.
  • Improves speed of development: Digital Blueprints can automatically generate all functional and acceptance test criteria, as well as sync over ‘skeleton’ versions of your process flows directly into your automation tools through our seamless bi-directional integrations. This not only significantly improves the speed of development, but ensures your developers have the complete context of what it is they’re building.
  • Reduces rework and maintenance costs: Given that all optimization activities are captured and completed within the Digital Blueprint, organizations can expect business solutions to be delivered at an accelerated rate with significantly less rework and maintenance costs.

How Blueprint Delivers Automation Success with Digital Blueprints

Blueprint provides large enterprises with all the fundamental capabilities needed to understand how work is getting done and then improving that work by leveraging Digital Blueprints, which reinforces collaboration and alignment and enables an accelerated time-to-value.

Blueprint captures and receives information about the current state of business processes from Task Capture and numerous other process mining and task mining tools, or even unstructured sources like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Visio to make downstream work more efficient. By ingesting this information quickly and translating it into a workable state, organizations can immediately get started on optimizing business processes or designing automations to deliver real business results faster.

While the benefits of a Digital Blueprint are clear, we understand that some organizations are mandated by internal policy or regulatory obligations to keep a paper copy of the Process Design Document. Blueprint can automatically generate a Process Design Document based on all of the information in your Digital Blueprint.  

We know that treating process improvement as an end-to-end change program is critical, so Blueprint integrates with leading RPA vendors to enable you to deliver automated processes at an accelerated rate with the enterprise context in mind. Blueprint can automatically transfer the information from your Digital Blueprints into your RPA tool of choice, providing clear instructions for bot development to ensure nothing is missed and dramatically reducing future rework.

Going Beyond RPA to Deliver Long-Term Business Value with Digital Blueprints

RPA is just one of many use cases for the Digital Blueprint. Blueprint’s Digital Blueprints allow you to critically analyze business processes within the enterprise context and ensure all decisions are delivering long-term business value.

By creating Digital Blueprints of all your processes and storing them in Blueprint, your organization can easily improve processes, enabling you to run like one powerful team where everyone is on the same page, errors are virtually eliminated, and all business processes are traced back to a specific business objective making things more streamlined and efficient.