10 popular process mapping tools (definition and benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organisations continuously look for ways to create more effective processes, increase production speed and improve the quality of their products and services. As a project manager, you can use process mapping to identify areas of improvement within the company. To make this task more efficient, it's helpful that you learn about some of the best software tools that serve to help you create visual process maps. In this article, we discuss what process mapping tools are, explain their importance and list 10 tools you might use to improve business efficiency in your workplace.

What are process mapping tools?

Process mapping tools are software programmes and digital applications that you can use to create visual process maps. These tools help you examine and enhance the processes that you and your employer use to maintain the company's day-to-day operations. Essentially, process mapping software serves as a virtual whiteboard, where you and your team can brainstorm ideas and visualise your collaborative and individual workflows.

Related: A beginner's guide to process mapping (with helpful tips)

Benefits of using digital tools for creating process maps

Process mapping applications are highly useful and effective tools that can improve the efficiency of your work. The following are some of the most important advantages of using them to map workflows:

  • Task automation: When designing tools for mapping processes, developers aim to create software that has the capability to automate many tasks that you'd normally perform manually. Using a tool of this type helps you finish projects and more advanced activities more quickly.

  • Less organisational waste: Developers design mapping applications to allow you to make sure you're maximising the time you spend on mapping processes. Coordinating your efforts with a virtual programme of this type helps you reduce organisational waste.

  • Better teamwork and communication: Many process mapping software act as a virtual whiteboard, which you can use individually or share it with your team to collaborate on projects. This makes communication easier and improves teamwork, even if you're a part of a remote team.

  • Higher-quality goods: When your team works together and communicates effectively, they're more likely to provide customers with high-quality services or products. Using special software to map workflows can help with that.

Related: Process mapping examples (with definition and tips)

10 effective process mapping tools

If you're looking to improve how you map processes, implementing process mapping software can be the right thing to do. Taking this step is often necessary when your team grows and requires better task automation. Here are some effective tools which you can use for process mapping:

1. GitMind

GitMind is a mapping tool aims to improve project management and team brainstorming. You can use it to record innovative ideas and encourage team creativity and productivity. The software gives you access to textual and visual elements, such as flowcharts and mind maps, which you can use to organise workflows. What's great about GitMind is that it offers users two types of services, free and paid ones. This means you can try it out free of charge before committing to purchasing and implementing it for your team.

Related: Guide to workflow: definition, components, processes and uses

2. Creately

Creately is a virtual workspace for ideating, planning and capturing concepts in a visual form. It allows you to organise workflows in a way that's easy to customise, thanks to which you can align your process maps with the team's unique work style and preferences. Some important features that Creately offers include:

  • Linking: In Creately, you can easily link information and data to visual elements.

  • Multi-perspective: Thanks to this feature, you can view the same item from a different perspective. For instance, as a sticky note or a stick figure.

  • Tasks: You can use this tool collaboratively with other members of your team. The software makes it easy for you to assign roles, tasks and responsibilities to specific team members.

3. LucidChart

LucidChart is an intelligent diagramming tool that facilitates real-time workflow building for teams. Thanks to its highly visual interface, each member of the team can quickly determine where in the process they are and if they've completed all important tasks that you or another project manager assigned to them. What's great about LucidChart is that it offers you a wide range of third-app integrations. This means it's easier for you to synchronise this tool with your document processing or communication software.

4. Edraw

Edraw is another effective mapping tool that professionals from various industries use for system planning or engineering projects. The programme helps simplify your workflow by offering you a few hundred pre-designed diagram solutions and templates that can accommodate any stage of your process. Edraw also offers you enterprise-like security, making your work's privacy their priority. It has several pricing plans that you can choose based on your team's needs.

Related: What is data security and why is it important? (With types)

5. Visual Paradigm

Visual Paradigm is a mapping and project management solution that's highly effective for software development teams. It gives you access to various diagram tools, which you can easily customise. For instance, remove items from the workflow or add new stages to better reflect what your team plans to accomplish during a project. This tool can be great if you'd like to reduce waste and improve your efficiency, as it allows you to automatically generate workflow reports. It also stores the reports so that you can use them for future reference.

6. Diagram.net

Diagram.net, formerly Draw.io, is a simple open-source drawing application which you can use free of charge. Thanks to its simplicity, it's a great application for junior project managers or those just starting to automate their processes. It allows you to work both online and offline. Just like other tools, it gives you the option to collaborate with other members of your team and import or export diagrams whenever you'd like to use other apps.

Related: What does collaboration mean in the workplace?

7. Canva

Canva is a universal online application that gives you access to numerous visual elements and tools. It gives you full organisational and artistic freedom to design workflows of any type, for which you can use traditional symbols and more unusual shapes. If you'd rather start mapping your process with a template, Canva has an entire library which you can use to search for pre-designed charts.

Related: Guide to project management frameworks (plus types)

8. Gliffy

Gliffy is a visual diagramming application that allows you to simply drag and drop elements to create your workflows. Thanks to its URL and embedding options, you can easily share your work with others, which can improve brainstorming and communication within the team. Just like in word processing documents, you can choose which users can view, comment and edit your files, making it easier for you to monitor any changes that others make. This application is highly versatile, which means organisations from any industry, including business or software engineering, might find it useful.

9. Cacoo

Cacoo is one of the most collaborative process mapping tools available. If you plan to have multiple team members work together to create a process map, this may be the solution for you. Cacoo provides activity updates to make tracking changes and receiving status updates easy. As a result, it can improve your communication and increase teamwork. The programme integrates with a wide range of other productivity apps to ensure your team can efficiently access all the information they use.

Related: 13 teamwork challenges in the workplace and how to solve them

10. Visme

Visme is an interactive tool that provides you with a wide range of appealing features. For instance, it offers you the ability to incorporate animations to give movement to your textual and visual elements like shapes. You can also apply transitions or pop-ups to create presentations that are visually appealing and engaging. What's great about this tool is that you can access it both online and offline or set a unique password to protect your projects.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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