Business Process Design Definition and Tools, With David Mainville

Manuela Aggio November 24, 2023
- 6 min read

Business process design is the starting point of any solid business strategy. This runs for Service Management, but it can also be applied to the rest of the enterprise. It creates a roadmap for teams to follow and incorporate to their workflows, guaranteeing operational efficiency and that technology is being leveraged at its full potential.

On the 74th episode of Ticket Volume, David Mainville – CEO and Co-Founder of Navvia, a company dedicated to process documentation – breaks down the business process design to make sure it's accurate and thorough from the start. He also explores the tools that can assist the task and looks at some common pitfalls to avoid when doing so.

Keep reading for a concise overview of the episode, and remember to sign up for our monthly webinars to participate in real-time conversations!



How to design a business process

Designing robust and resilient business processes lays the foundation upon which everything else arises to operate smoothly and efficiently. However, not everybody necessarily understands exactly what business processes are and how they are built. 

To clear this out, David Mainville started the episode by defining what business processes are not; he explained that they are not procedures, and they are not tools. 

A procedure is more specific and its guidelines only define a certain part of the process that operates at a higher level. As for tools, although technology plays an important role in streamlining pre existing processes, it doesn’t mark out the rules that state how they should be carried out.

A business process can be best understood as a blueprint: it’s not just a flow chart, and designing it involves bringing together a wide range of elements. This includes rules, responsibilities, metrics, policies, and technical elements that set out the guidelines on how to carry out certain tasks. 



"What’s my rule? Who is the owner of the process? Who updates it? Who trains people on the process? Who communicates the value of the process? Who governs the process? So, it’s not the technology, it’s not the procedures, it really is that overarching blueprint that takes you from point A to point B."

David Mainville 
CEO and Co-Founder of Navvia
Episode 74 of Ticket Volume


So, David made the argument that a solid strategy has to combine the power of robust processes and technology that supports them. However, for this to work smoothly, designing your business processes is the first step to take and you have to dedicate enough time, effort, and teamwork to make it as accurate as possible from the start. 

This way, you will know which features to look for in a tool (for instance, in Service Management, what capabilities to consider or prioritize before choosing your service desk software) and avoid future rework and disruptions.

Business process design tools

Process documentation technology

Continuing along the conversation, David explained the work they do at his own company, Navvia. Although they started out in consultancy, they then built a productivity and process documentation tool that helps organizations throughout the design process work. 

All from a central source, the tool helps teams assess their processes, design a business process model, capture the user stories and requirements, and build the documentation for implementation and training, among other tasks. It also enables them to design these documents using different formats and makes them easy to share with whom they consider necessary.

The future of business process design tools

Being both a process-geek and working in the field, David followed up by sharing insights into where he thinks the future of business process design is heading towards. He pointed out process discovery, robotic process automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These capabilities can help organizations identify and document their current processes and provide them an automated overview of how everything is operating. 

However, related to discovery, David warned that a lot of the knowledge can’t be captured as it is stored in team member’s own experience or other informal instances. In this sense, automation tools have to be accompanied by interviews to not overlook this information. 



"There are technologies out there that you can install that will sniff out your processes. I saw a demo of one recently where it was installed into, basically, the ITSM system. And it was able to detect things like, how are these tickets routed, or how long did it take for the ticket to move from one state to another. So, it was an agent that sat there looking for all of this information and it was able to draw out these flows."

David Mainville 
CEO and Co-Founder of Navvia
Episode 74 of Ticket Volume

Common mistakes in process design

To wrap up the conversation, David shared some common mistakes he has observed across organizations when designing business processes. Here, he pointed out the importance of acknowledging the specific skills and knowledge the practice involves when taking on the task. 

Frequently, organizations add process work to team member’s day to day jobs, looking over the fact that performing a task successfully doesn't necessarily mean that you know how to document it. So, he encourages incorporating a subject matter expert that can take over the whole process design to make sure that it is carried out correctly and in a way that there are common criteria throughout the organization.

The bottom line

This was a succinct summary of David Mainville's feature on Ticket Volume, but for a more comprehensive understanding of the business process design and the technology associated to it, be sure to catch the full conversation with Matt Beran. 

The complete episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform. And don't miss out on our monthly webinars —subscribe here!

Read other articles like this : ITSM, Ticket Volume podcast, business process improvement

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