BPA Methodology Analyse existing processes


Business Process Analysis (BPA) can be used to identify possibilities to overcome trade barriers. Especially if previous examinations, surveys, or expert reports suggests to optimize the underlying processes, this methodology should be chosen. Administrative processes can be related to trade barriers and can raise issues with trade documents. The main reason to analyze the involved workflow is to document these issues and provide information about the environment of the issue. BPA can provide information about who is using what information from what source (i.e. document), and in which sequence does this information processing happen. Further details about Business Process Analysis (BPA) can be found here.

Project initiation

During the project definition and set up, the project sponsor establish the team, defines the project aims and goals, and provides the needed resources . Either the sponsor or the project team can then define the scope of the BPA. The scope defines who - which acting party in the process - will be interviewed, and at what level of detail the processes will be analyzed.
For example, a scope-setting decision for a trade facilitation project may be whether to include traders (private) in the process analysis, or just focus on the administrative (public) part of the trading process. Knowledge about the internal procedures of the involved traders may uncover synergies. The overall process can be adjusted to fit the optimal overall performance, not only the performance of one party. A commercial transaction should be analyzed and optimized by including both sides the traders may improve the communication between both involved actors, by always aligning both sides of each communication process– the requesting and the responding part.

Also typical sources of errors can be avoided by the reuse of existing data sets. If the information fits the requester's requirements, the responder can reuse the existing output of one system to fulfill the request. Additionally the responder may automate this transaction. Or if the amount of responders with potentially automated systems is high enough, the whole transaction can be a candidate for electronic B2B communication. Manual processing of data from one system into another one is one of the most typical source of error.

The wider the scope is set by the project responsible the higher the impact of such findings may be, because more transaction partners are considered for possible process simplification. To define the scope is the first critical task. If the team defines a to broad range of processes to be analyzed, the project will work inefficient, but if not all involved actors and processes are covered, synergies and opportunities for improvements might be unreached.

BPA as a framework for the trade facilitation project

BPA as a methodology provides a framework for projects which aims to reduce trade barriers through process improvements. To discover potential room for improvement a documentation of the current state is needed. BPA delivers a documentation which covers all involved information flows and related requirements. This documentation - called As-Is Model – is the first deliverable of the BPA. It can be further analyzed to unveil potential improvements and specify scenarios with reduced effort and costs for the involved parties. To do so, the project coordinator needs to setup a team of experts. Their roles and duties are well described in the UNNEXT BPA Guide [1]. Additional to the project sponsor, who is responsible for the overall project and resource management, a BPA project need interview and modeling experts (business analysts). Those experts derive the information from the domain experts, which are executives involved in the daily business of the identified role. It is ideal to have at least one expert per role, because their different point of views makes it possible to grasp the transactions between their roles in full comprehensive way. Resources from the main stakeholder are important to manifest their involvement, and the project team needs meeting facilities to conduct the interviews and feedback rounds. On the management level the sponsor needs to make sure the project focus on the agreed project goals. To ensure this, milestone and review meetings should be held frequently.

Summary - BPA deliverables:

  • Project goal and scope definition: Can be extend to a well defined scope definition of the intended measures and their impact. Due to the uniform language of the model, the planned, the targeted, and the achieved measures can be compaired
  • Documentation of the As-Is situation: The basis of a variety of decisions how to proceed with the trade facilitation aims. The process maps shows impacts of changes, potential improvements, and estimates the effort to achieve the aimed goal
  • Models of possible To-Be situations: The process maps shows impacts of changes and acts as a technical specification of the chosen and modeled solution