In business, process mapping is the task of defining what exactly a business does, who is responsible, and what is the standard by which the success of a business process can be judged. This is not to be confused with business process modeling, which is focused more on the optimization of business processes.
In process mapping, the organization is seen as a single entity with interconnecting parts. Each of the interconnecting parts directly or indirectly adds value to the end-product or service.
Though both activities serve to create a graphical representation which ultimately serves to improve business processes, modeling incorporates business and economic rules while mapping is more directed towards clarifying roles and procedures. Mapping can be useful in compliance with the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 (SOX Act of 2002). This federal law requires a certain amount of understanding and visibility of compliance issues.
Process modeling often allows users to go deeper into the relationships among the tests and outcomes. BPMN is an industry standard used to graphically represent process steps and actions in a process model. It is essential that stakeholders be able to see how the process flows and, upon execution, determine where inefficiencies and bottlenecks reside.