- Cloud explained
- Cloud in business
- Cloud tutorials
What Is Business Process Modeling?
1 October 2021 6 min read
IBM Cloud Education, IBM Cloud Education
Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Facebook Share this page on LinkedIn E-mail this page
Business process modeling gives organizations a simple way to understand and optimize workflows by creating data-driven visual representations of key business processes.
Most enterprises have a pretty good idea of the various business processes powering their daily operations. However, when they need to ensure that those processes consistently drive optimal outcomes, “a pretty good idea” isn’t enough.
If an organization wants research and development (R&D) investments to produce sufficient returns, IT issues resolved with minimal downtime or a highly accurate lead qualification workflow, it needs to understand these processes on an objective and comprehensive level. Even the business users directly involved in these processes may lack total transparency into exactly what happens at every step of the way.
Business analysts can gain end-to-end views of the business process lifecycle through business process modeling , a business process management (BPM) technique that creates data-driven visualizations of workflows. These process models help organizations document workflows, surface key metrics, pinpoint potential problems and intelligently automate processes.
What is business process modeling?
A business process model is a graphical representation of a business process or workflow and its related sub-processes. Process modeling generates comprehensive, quantitative activity diagrams and flowcharts containing critical insights into the functioning of a given process, including the following:
- Events and activities that occur within a workflow
- Who owns or initiates those events and activities
- Decision points and the different paths workflows can take based on their outcomes
- Devices involved in the process
- Timelines of the overall process and each step in the process
- Success and failure rates of the process
Key aspects of business process modeling
- Process models are not made manually. Rather, they are produced by data-mining algorithms that use the data contained within event logs to construct models of the workflows as they exist.
- Because process models are based on quantitative data, they offer genuinely objective views of workflows as they exist in practice, including key data, metrics or events that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. For example, by creating a model of its new account creation process, a software company might discover that a significant number of customers are abandoning the sign-up process because it takes too long. A model could even help the company pinpoint the exact stage at which these drop-offs occur.
- Arrows represent sequence flows
- Diamonds represent decision points or gateways
- Ovals represent beginnings and endpoints of processes
- Rectangles represent specific activities within a workflow
- Swimlanes are used to identify who owns which components of a process
- Business process models shouldn’t be confused with process maps , another common type of business process diagram. Process maps are based on employee reports, are created manually and provide higher-level views of workflows. Process models are data-driven deep dives that present more objective views of workflows.
Learn more by reading “Process Mining vs. Process Modeling vs. Process Mapping: What’s the Difference?”
How business process models are made
To fully understand business process modeling techniques, one must first understand the relevant business process modeling tools — event logs and process mining .
Most enterprise IT systems maintain event logs . These event logs are digital records that automatically track state changes and activities (i.e., “events”) within the system. Anything that happens within a system can be an event. The following are some common event examples:
- A user logs in
- A user updates a record
- A user submits a form
- Information is transferred between systems
Event logs track both the occurrence of events and information surrounding these events, like the device performing an activity and how long the activity takes. Event logs act as the inputs during the production of process models.
Process mining is the application of a data-mining algorithm to all of this event log data. The algorithm identifies trends in the data and uses the results of its analysis to generate a visual representation of the process flow within the system. This visual representation is the process model . Depending on the process targeted for modeling, process-mining algorithms can be applied to a single system, multiple systems or entire technological ecosystems and departments.
Business process modeling use cases
Process models offer unprecedented levels of transparency into company workflows, making them a key business process management tool. While process models can be leveraged in any scenario that requires analyzing business processes, these are some of the most common use cases:
Gaining 360-degree insight into processes
A single process model can contain a wealth of workflow data, allowing team members to analyze a workflow from multiple perspectives. Business analysts often use business process modeling to zero in on the following workflow components in particular:
- Control flow: “Control flow” refers to the order in which steps and commands are executed within a process. A process model depicts a flowchart of a given process so that a team can clearly see what steps are taken and when. This perspective also helps the team identify any dependencies between steps.
- Organization: A process model can capture who is involved in a process — including people, teams, systems and devices — and how they interact with each other. This perspective illuminates the connections between people and systems that form the organizational social network. In this way, a process model offers insight into how various components of a business function together.
- Time: A process model can record how long a process takes, overall, and how long each step takes, allowing the team to identify delays, slowdowns and bottlenecks within the workflow.
- Case: A process model can offer a general view of how a given workflow typically plays out, or it can reflect a particular case – or instance – of a workflow. Teams often use this case perspective to analyze anomalous process outcomes. For example, if a specific instance of a workflow results in lower-than-average outcome quality, teams can isolate exactly what went wrong.
Optimizing and standardizing processes
Process models accurately reflect existing workflow inefficiencies, making it easier to identify opportunities for process optimization. Once workflows have been optimized, businesses can use process modeling to standardize workflows across the entire enterprise. The model acts as a template for how processes should play out, ensuring that every team and employee approaches the same process in the same way. This leads to more predictable workflows and outcomes overall.
Assessing new processes
Process models can take the guesswork out of implementing and evaluating new business processes. By creating a model of a new process, business users can get a real-time look at how that workflow is performing, allowing them to make adjustments as necessary to achieve process optimization.
Analyzing resource usage
Process models can help companies track whether money and resource investments produce suitable returns. For example, by creating a model of the standard sales process, an organization can see how sales representatives are utilizing the tools and systems at their disposal. It may turn out that a certain tool is used much less frequently than anticipated, in which case, the organization can choose to disinvest from the tool and spend that money on a solution the sales team actually uses.
Process models transform complex processes into concrete images, making it easier to disseminate and discuss processes throughout the organization. For example, if one department has a particularly efficient process for troubleshooting technical problems, the business can create a model of this process to guide implementation on an organization-wide scale.
The benefits of business process modeling
Business process modeling arms an enterprise with objective business intelligence that supports more informed decisions for resource allocation, process improvement and overall business strategy. With a clear view of processes, enterprise teams can ensure that workflows always drive the desired results. As a result, operating costs are lower, revenue is higher and business outcomes are stronger.
Specifically, business process modeling allows companies to do the following:
- Access and utilize quantitative process data: Without a process model, teams are limited to discussing and analyzing workflows in qualitative and subjective terms. As a result, teams may not accurately understand their workflows; they may make business decisions based on misunderstandings, assumptions and/or incomplete knowledge. With process modeling, teams have access to quantitative workflow data, including success rates and error rates, allowing for a more rigorous analysis of business processes.
- Streamline and accelerate process automation: Before a process can be automated, an organization needs a clear understanding of how that process plays out in reality, including the business logic underpinning each decision point. A process model illuminates both the way a workflow unfolds and the relationships between events, actors, tools and systems within and between processes. This viewpoint helps a team document the process itself and the business rules that guide its execution. This information makes it easier to effectively automate workflows the first time.
- Keep operation costs down: Process models provide organizations with an easy way to identify opportunities to optimize existing processes. This makes it easier for the company to ensure that processes consistently produce the desired outcomes. As a result, business processes require less investment to maintain and generate positive outcomes at a lower cost.
Business process modeling and IBM
Process modeling forms a cornerstone of any automation effort or business process management initiative. Without comprehensive views of existing processes and their undergirding business logic, enterprises cannot effectively optimize and automate workflows at scale.
Take the next step:
IBM Blueworks Live is a cloud-based business process modeling software designed to help organizations discover business processes and document them in a collaborative fashion across multiple stakeholder groups. Teams can work together through an intuitive and accessible web interface to document and analyze processes. No download required.
IBM Cloud Education
Follow IBM Cloud
Be the first to hear about news, product updates, and innovation from IBM Cloud.
IBM Cloud Technologies
- Data science
- Disaster recovery
- Hybrid cloud
- Internet of things
- Open source
Supporting Business Resiliency During Disaster: Continuous High Availability with IBM MQ Appliance
By: Sharon Osahon
16 February 2023
G2 2023 Best Software Awards
By: Shannon Cardwell
13 February 2023
IBM Tech Now: February 13, 2023
By: Ian Smalley
Be the first to hear about news, product updates, and innovation from IBM Cloud
Get updates to your inbox.
Book onto our upcoming leadership webinar sessions here
Business process modelling.
Please login to like or save this resource
Business Process Modelling (BPM) is a modern term and methodology which has evolved through different stages and names, beginning during the 'division of labour' of the late 1700s, when manufacturing first moved into factories from cottage industry.
Broadly the term 'business' in Business Process Model/Modelling/modelling is interchangeable with 'organisation'. Business Process Modelling is not only carried out in conventional businesses; the methodology is increasingly applicable to all sorts of other organisations, for example government agencies and departments, charities, mutuals and cooperatives, etc.
Confusingly, the acronym BPM can mean different things, some closely related to Business Process Modelling; others less so. 'Business Process Management' is an example of a different and related meaning. More details are in the glossary below.
Business Process Modelling is a method for improving organisational efficiency and quality . Its beginnings were in capital/profit-led business, but the methodology is applicable to any organised activity .
The increasing transparency and accountability of all organisations, including public service and government, together with the modern complexity, penetration and importance of ICT (information and communications technology), for even very small organisations nowadays, has tended to heighten demand for process improvement everywhere. This means that Business Process Modelling is arguably more widely relevant than say Time and Motion Study or Total Quality Management (to name two earlier 'efficiency methodologies') were in times gone by.
Put simply Business Process Modelling aims to improve business performance by optimising the efficiency of connecting activities in the provision of a product or service .
Business Process Modelling techniques are concerned with ' mapping ' and ' workflow ' to enable understanding, analysis and positive change. Diagrams - essentially 'flow diagrams' - are a central feature of the methodology.
The diagrammatic representation of Business Process Modelling is commonly called 'notation'. Many and various proprietary software (off-the-shelf computer programs) exist to enable this, but the basic principles of Business Process Modelling can also be applied using a pen and a table-napkin or a flip-chart or a bunch of sticky notes, and in some cases these are still effective aids for creating and communicating fundamental ideas. Computers sometimes get in the way, over-complicate simple things, and exclude groups. So choose your devices wisely. Business Process Modelling generally needs support from people to work in practice.
While Business Process Modelling relates to many aspects of management (business, organisation, profit, change, projects, etc) its detailed technical nature and process-emphasis link it closely with quality management and the analytical approaches and responsibilities arising in the improvement of quality.
Business Process Modelling is a quality management tool, like for example Six Sigma , and is useful especially in change management .
SWOT Analysis , Balanced Scorecard and Project Management methods provide further examples of change management tools, and Business Process Modelling can be regarded as working alongside these methods.
The term Business Process Model (also abbreviated to BPM) is the noun form of Business Process Modelling, and refers to a structural representation, description or diagram, which defines a specified flow of activities in a particular business or organisational unit.
A Business Process Model (BPM) is commonly a diagram representing a sequence of activities. It typically shows events, actions and links or connection points, in the sequence from end to end.
Sequence is significant and essential to most aspects of business process modelling, but there are exceptions to this especially at the higher level of organisational operations (see the note about sequence ).
Typically but not necessarily, a Business Process Model includes both IT processes and people processes.
Business Process Modelling by implication focuses on processes, actions and activities, etc. Resources feature within BPM in terms of how they are processed. People (teams, departments, etc) feature in BPM in terms of what they do, to what, and usually when and for what reasons, especially when different possibilities or options exist, as in a flow diagram.
Business Process Modelling is cross-functional, usually combining the work and documentation of more than one department in the organisation.
In more complicated situations, Business Process Modelling may also include activities of external organisations' processes and systems that feed into the primary process.
In large organisations operations Business Process Models tend to be analysed and represented in more detail than in small organisations, due to scale and complexity.
Business Process Modelling is to an extent also defined by the various computerised tools or software which are used in applying its methods. These methods and the standard features within them continue to evolve, which means that we should keep an open and curious mind as to how BPM can be used, and what people actually mean when they refer to it.
A Business Process Model diagram is a tool - a means to an end, not a performance outcome in its own right.
The final output is improvement in the way that the business process works.
The focus of the improvements is on 'value added' actions that make the customer service and experience better, and on reducing wasted time and effort.
There are two main different types of Business Process Models:
- the 'as is' or baseline model (the current situation)
- and the 'to be' model (the intended new situation)
which are used to analyse, test, implement and improve the process.
The aim of modelling is to illustrate a complete process, enabling managers, consultants and staff to improve the flow and streamline the process.
The outcomes of a business process modelling project are essentially:
value for the customer, and
reduced costs for the company,
leading to increased profits.
Other secondary consequences arising from successful Business Process Modelling can be increased competitive advantage, market growth, and better staff morale and retention.
There are no absolute rules for the scope or extent of a Business Process Model in terms of departments and activities covered.
Before committing lots of resources to Business Process Modelling proper consideration should be given to the usefulness and focus of the exercise - ask the questions:
- Does the modelling have the potential to produce gains that will justify the time and effort?
- Will the modelling be structured so that people will understand the outputs (not too big and complex as to be self-defeating)?
- Do people understand why we are doing it, and "what's in it for them"?
As with other management tools, there is no point producing a fantastically complex model that no-one can understand or use, just as it is a bit daft to spend hundreds of hours analysing anything which is of relatively minor significance.
Business Process Modelling is a powerful methodology when directed towards operations which can benefit from improvement, and when people involved are on-board and supportive.
Adding Value for the Customer
Adding value for customers, whether internal or external customers, is at the centre of a Business Process Model. It starts with a customer need and ends with the satisfaction of that need. Unlike a workflow diagram, which is generally focused on departmental activities, a BPM spans departments and the whole organisation.
This point about customers being internal as well as external is crucial:
Staff are among the internal customers of modern right-minded organisations.
If you approach Business Process Modelling purely from a systems and 'things' viewpoint with a fixation on costs and profitability, and squeezing every activity to its theoretical optimum, then people (notably staff) tend to get squeezed too.
Organisations work well when people enjoy and support the processes that they are required to perform, and you will only add sustainable value for your customers, when you also add value for your staff too.
Successful BPM added value for customers is self-sustaining because for staff it contains the magical WIIFM element - 'What's In It For Me'.
BPM Added Value: Example
An example could be the actions involved in processing a customer order from an internet-based mail order company.
Starting with a customer placing an order (the customer need)
send IT-based information to the warehouse
packing and recording
sending the appropriate IT-based information to the distribution hub
sending IT-based information to the accounts department
generation of an invoice
allocation and organisation of shipment for the vehicle drivers
delivery of the item and invoicing (the customer need fulfilled).
This is a simple 'high-level' example. In practice each part or sub-process (for example, stock-picking) may require a 'low-level' BPM of its own.
Please note that : Added value for internal customers, notably staff, does not have to be financial , as is commonly imagined by many top business executives.
Consider Maslow , Herzberg , McGregor and Adams and what these concepts teach about motivation and reward, and attrition. Business Process Modelling has enormous potential to address many of the critical demotivators among staff (e.g., poor working relationships, confused structure, failure, etc) and also many strong motivators (e.g., the quality of work itself, recognition, advancement, new responsibilities, etc).
Think beyond merely adding value for external customers, and optimising efficiency and profit - make a special effort to look for added value for staff too , and then the BPM methodology will work on a much more effective level.
Sequence: Significance in Business Process Modelling
Sequence can have a pivotal influence on business process activities, but sequence is not always pivotal, and indeed certain situations are best analysed from a non-sequential viewpoint. As a general guide, sequence is usually vital for elemental processes, but sequence tends to become less significant - and require more 'cause and effect' flexibility - when elements such as already sequenced processes and resources are brought together in a bigger picture of organisational operations.
This Business Process Modelling summary necessarily concentrates on modelling systems which can be defined using sequence based techniques, since at an elemental level sequence is crucial to quality and related factors of process, quality, monitoring, management, and change, etc. Also, at an elemental level, i.e., when a big activity is broken down into its constituent parts, sequence can have a vital effect upon the effectiveness of each of the individual processes.
However a wider consideration is that many large scale systems commonly contain related processes and resources for which a fixed related sequence is not a specific or crucial or predictable aspect, and for which consequently it is not always possible or easy (or in many cases necessary) to define the exact sequential relationship of processes on a big systemic scale. An example could be the bringing together of separate sub-assemblies, or the buying in of stock, or the recruitment of sub-contract staff. This is especially so where demand is unpredictable. Importantly for these sorts of related process, a bigger priority is to focus on understanding and creating the necessary flexible connections between cause and effect relationships (see and make use of other project management tools for analysing and improving non-sequential elements), rather than try to force a fixed sequence into the analysis or modelling approach.
As with many other tools and methodologies, be mindful of the need for flexibility; use tools and methods as far as they are helpful, but do not blindly force a tool to fit your purposes if it is inappropriate or could distort common sense, or be too constraining, whether for planning, analysis, communications or implementation.
Sequence is always an important consideration, especially when trouble-shooting. Sometimes - at any level - it can be the key to finding dramatic improvements, but sequence is not a mandatory feature, and there is no need to search for and apply sequential conditions within any stage of process modelling or other type of project or change management, if doing so is unhelpful.
Background and History
The quest for standardisation and efficiency in business processes is a long one. Its history is characterised by surges of enthusiasm followed by disillusionment, when the fashionable idea of the moment tends to be dumped for a while before the next generation of process efficiency methodology makes the subject more exciting again. Well, as exciting as business processes can be.
CEOs, consultants and change managers get all fired up about an improvement push (mainly about profits and change and fees). And there lies the central problem: the people who actually put process improvements into practice have never been that excited by the concept. The explicit agenda is about the employer and organisation while the benefit for ordinary employees is not immediately obvious, if at all. For most staff, a new efficiency initiative looks like change, hard work and discomfort, and feels like a threat. Instead workers ideally need to be engaged, involved and included from the start. Like other top-down initiatives and trends over the years, the most common reason for the failure of business process improvement is generally poor internal marketing, poor implementation and poor follow-through. A theoretical model for success devised among senior managers, rarely looks like the same thing further down the organisation.
The origins of BPM principles can be traced back as far as Adam Smith's idea of the division of labour in manufacturing (in 'An Inquiry into the Nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations', 1776). Originally, one person would make one item from beginning to end in a cottage industry situation. When factories became the norm, employing many people who all made items from beginning to end proved time-consuming and inefficient.
Specialisation - 'Division of Labour', 1776
Using the example of a pin maker, Adam Smith argued that breaking up the whole process and creating specialised tasks (or peculiar tasks, as he called them) would simplify and speed up the whole process.
He showed that if the different stages of the manufacture were completed by different people in a chain of activities, the result would be very much more efficient. The business process was born.
Analysis of Specialised Tasks - 'Time and Motion', early 1900s
Over a century later, Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), the US engineer and business efficiency theorist, moved with the future. He merged his 'time study' with the 'motion study' work of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (early US theorists on productivity and workplace science), resulting in new scientific management methods (1911) and the infamous 'time and motion' studies.
These studies documented and analysed work processes with the aim of reducing the time taken and the number of actions involved in each process, improving both productivity and workers' efficiency. This was enthusiastically embraced by employers and viewed with scepticism and animosity by workers. The term 'Taylorism' still generally refers to a highly scientific and dehumanised approach to efficient operation in business, organisations, economies, etc.
Work Process Flow - 'The One Best Way', early to mid-1900s
Meanwhile, Frank Gilbreth was busy developing the first method for documenting process flow.
He presented his paper 'Process charts - First Steps to Finding the One Best Way' to the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1921.
By 1947, the ASME Standard for Process Charts was universally adopted, using Gilbreth's original notation.
Disenchantment with the Assembly Line, 1930s
In the first decade of the 20th century, 'time and motion' was a familiar concept, in tune with the modern 'scientific' age.
However, by 1936, disenchantment had set in, reflected in Charlie Chaplin's film Modern Times. The film satirised mass production and the assembly line, echoing cultural disillusionment with the dreary treadmill of industry during the great depression.
It is perhaps no coincidence that theories for optimising productivity, and those who profit most from them, are more strongly questioned or criticised when the economic cycle moves into recession.
Research and development of office automation flourished between 1975 and 1985. Specialist workflow technologies and the term 'workflow' were established.
While BPM has its historical origins in workflow, there are two key differences:
Document-based processes performed by people are the focus of workflow systems, while BPM focuses on both people and system processes.
The Quality Era, 1980s
In the 1980s, Quality or Total Quality Management (TQM) was the fashionable management and business process theory, championed by Deming and Juran. Used initially in engineering and manufacturing, it is based on the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen or continuous improvement. The aim was to achieve incremental improvements to processes of cost, quality, service and speed. Key aspects of Total Quality Management have now become mainstream and successfully adapted to suit the businesses of the 2000s. Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing are the best-known of these methodologies.
Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR), 1990s
In the early 1990s, Business Process Re-engineering made its appearance and started to gain momentum in the business community. While TQM (at this point facing a decline in popularity) aimed to improve business processes incrementally, BPR demanded radical change to business processes and performance.
In 1993, Michael Hammer (US professor of computer science) and James Champy (a successful corporate CEO, consultant and author) developed the concept in their book 'Re-engineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution' (1993).
Hammer and Champy stated that the process was revolutionary, fast-track and drastic rather than evolutionary and incremental. It was a huge success and organisations and consultants embraced it with fervour. The re-engineering industry grew and triumphed before it began to wane.
By the end of the 1990s, BPR, as a whole-organisation approach, had fallen dramatically out of favour. It proved to be too long-winded for most organisations, was therefore poorly executed and has consequently been sidelined as a whole-organisation approach.
Critics of this completely 'new broom' methodology would say that it is impossible to start from a clean slate in an already established organisation.
Other criticisms were that it was dehumanising and mechanistic, focusing on actions rather than people - Taylorism by another name. Crucially, it is associated with the terms 'delayering', 'restructuring' and 'downsizing' of organisations, all lumped together as euphemisms for layoffs. Not what Hammer and Champy had envisaged..
Business Process Modelling, 2000s
The best principles of this approach still survive in BPM, on a less drastic, less brutal and more manageable scale. Lessons have been learnt. Business Process Modelling can and does work, but it must be treated with caution. The key is in the implementation. When it is conducted and implemented sensitively and inclusively, it can be good for the company, and its staff too.
For a workforce drowning in administration, much of it repeated or re-entered into multiple databases, BPM can be a great thing. It can free up time to focus on the 'value added' tasks that are empowering and rewarding: talking and listening to customers, making decisions or doing what they are good at rather than dealing with dull and meaningless duties.
BPM is effective like any other tool can be. In the hands of an idiot BPM can suffocate and hinder an organisation and its people.
The tool doesn't produce the results - what matters is how you use it.
A Business Process Model is central to a host of other related activities, briefly outlined below. Redesigning a process and implementing it is not a speedy enterprise. It can take months and occasionally years, depending on the extent of the process and sub-processes, how many people and systems are involved and how much of it needs to be redesigned.
As the project develops, the business will change and new requirements will surface, so the approach must be flexible and frequently reviewed and re-prioritised. It is advisable to stage the process in a succession of 'builds', each one completed within a business quarter, so that it can be reviewed and measured for return on investment.
It is essential that the people involved in the process, at all levels, are engaged, all the way through. Not only because their input is vital, but also because they need to be fully 'on board.' Senior management buy-in is important to ensure that the resources are available to involve managers and staff members and overcome any resistance to the change. Without this, the redesign cannot work. Focus groups, formal and informal discussions and workshops are useful at each stage and 'build'.
Stages in Development
Developing the models in practice follows the sequence:
Identify the process and produce an 'as is' or baseline model.
Review, analyse and update the 'as is' process model.
Design the 'to be' model.
Test and implement the 'to be'.
Continuously update and improve the new model.
Creating a Business Process Model
This section provides a guide to creating an initial, 'as is' or baseline model, in other words - the current situation.
An 'as is' or baseline model gives an overall picture of how the process works, now. Any structural, organisational and technological weak points and bottlenecks can then be identified, along with possible improvements at the next stage.
You will need the following information before you start to construct your model:
The desired outcome of the process.
The start and end points (customer need and customer need fulfilment).
The activities that are performed.
The order of activities.
The people who perform the activities.
The documents and forms used and exchanged between functions and from customers and suppliers.
The first draft of the model will involve a lot of positioning and repositioning of events and activities, so make sure you use a method that is flexible and easily changed. Use a flipchart, pens and some sticky notes or a whiteboard and a rubber. If you're working with a group of users, everyone needs to be able to see it.
Once you have established an agreed sequence of events, you can create it as a flowchart on generic software or on specialised proprietary software.
At this stage, you will need to check your model with the users by carrying out 'live' observations of the sequence in practice. People in focus groups or meetings invariably either forget their exact actions or say what should be happening rather than what does happen!
Symbols and Notation
The diagrammatic representation of Business Process Modelling is commonly 'notation'.
If you are using generic software, decide on the visual symbols you will use for the different activities.
There is no definitive system for Business Process Modelling notation (note the small 'n'), although efforts persist to standardise one.
The Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) system (note the upper-case 'N', since this is like a brand name), is an example of an attempt to establish a standard BPM notation system. The BPMN system is maintained the OMG consortium (Object Management Group) which comprises a few hundred computer-related corporations).
Organisations may develop their own notation systems or use the notation of their chosen proprietary software.
Importantly - whatever notation system/software you use - its symbols must be understood within your own group or organisation.
The example below uses four symbols that are widely understood:
It's a flowchart, which makes it very easy to see the process and the key elements within it.
Here is a better quality picture of the same Business Process Model diagram example in PDF format .
Note that while most Business Process Modelling diagrams necessarily include a strong sequencing dimension, there are circumstances where sequence is not so crucial and more of a 'mapping' perspective is appropriate.
Refer to the note about sequence , and see other project management tools for examples of analysis methods which enable non-sequential activity 'mapping'.
Different organisations refer to the elements related to Business Process Modelling in different ways. This is complicated by the fact that acronyms can stand for more than one thing, and are often used interchangeably.
For example, BPR stands for Business Process Re-engineering as well as Business Process Redesign. BPM itself stands for Business Process Modelling/Modeling, Business Process Model, and Business Process Management. In the healthcare sector incidentally BPM would more readily be interpreted to mean Beats Per Minute, relating to pulse rate, which emphasises the need to explain acronyms when you use them.
Organisations develop their own ways of referring to the different elements. They know what they mean, but someone from another organisation could become very confused! This glossary may help anyone feeling lost.
Broadly the term 'business' below is interchangeable with 'organisation'. Business Process Modelling is not only carried out in conventional businesses; the methodology is increasingly applicable to all sorts of other organisations, for example government agencies and departments, charities, mutuals and cooperatives, etc.
' As is' and 'To be' models - The common two perspectives of a modelling exercise - Where are we now?, and Where do we want to be? -
The 'as is' or baseline model is an accurate depiction of what actually happens now. Once the model is developed, it is used to analyse and improve the process.
The 'to be' model is a proposed diagram of how the future process could look, incorporating improvements. This is used to demonstrate, model and test the new process and then to implement it.
Brainstorming - Not usually part of BPM technical language, but actually a very useful initial stage in mapping or attempting to represent/understand/agree/scope a BPM project given little or no information to begin with. Also a useful way to achieve essential involvement, input, support, etc., from people affected by the modelling exercise. See Brainstorming .
Business Architecture - A vague and widely used term basically referring to the structure of a business.
Business Model - A vague term used to refer to how a business aims to operate and make money in a given market. This term is not directly related to Business Process Modelling. A detailed business model might typically contain descriptions of basic business processes implied or necessary for the the model to operate, but a business model is mainly concerned with strategy and external market relationships, rather than the internal processes which feature in BPM.
Business Process - A structured series of work activities, IT interventions and events that generate one complete service or product for an organisation's customers.
Business Process Model - A representation - usually computer-generated and diagrammatic, but can be a low-tech whiteboard or flipchart and marker pens and sticky notes - of a process within a business. Two models are usually produced: an 'as is' and a 'to be'. The process(es) featured in a Business Process Model can be very simple or highly complex, and will typically involve different departments working (hopefully) together while the provision or creation of a product or service flows through different stages and decision-points in an organisation on its way to the customer. A Business Process Model for a large process can be comprised of other smaller modelled processes which contribute to the whole. In theory an entire huge business can be modelled, although for the modelling to be useful and meaningful to people it is normally built in sections, each representing a self-contained process alongside potentially scores, hundreds or even thousands of others, all inter-relating, hopefully smoothly, efficiently and enjoyably. (The 'enjoyable' part is not a technical necessity, but is actually important for any model to translate from theory into sustainable practice.)
Business Process Modelling/Business Process Modeling - The term which refers to the methodology and techniques of producing a Business Process Model, or several Business Process Models, in the course of business improvement/development or quality management or change management, etc. (Modelling is UK-English; Modeling is US-English.)
Business Process Change Cycle - An overall term for the life cycle of business processes, including the external environment in which the organisation operates. This external environment drives change in the business processes and the organisation responds to it by adjusting its strategy and goals. As the external environment keeps changing, the cycle also changes, prompting continuous change and improvement to business processes.
Business Reference Model - A (usually computerised and diagrammatic) key to understanding and using a Business Architecture Model. It presents certain core structural elements as fixed, thereby encouraging and enabling others using or developing the model to understand and adhere to essential aspects of structural policy and foundation. In this respect a Business Reference model may be relevant to Business Process Modelling
BPR - Business Process Re-engineering (also known as BPI - Business Process Innovation ) - A radical approach to restructuring an organisation in every area, starting with what the organisation is trying to achieve, rethinking its core processes and redesigning every one. It is a way of reassessing and restructuring the whole organisation, all at once, starting from scratch.
BPI - Business Process Improvement - This refers to improving existing processes, continuously and incrementally, reducing waste and driving efficiency. Six Sigma is currently one of the most popular of many BPI approaches in use today.
BPM - Business Process Management - Used in two different ways by two different groups within the business processing community:
Firstly, it is used by the people and process management group to describe the overall management of business process improvement, aligning processes with an organisation's strategic goals: designing, implementing and measuring them and educating managers to use them effectively.
Secondly, it is used by IT people to describe the systems, software and applications that provide the process framework.
BPM - Business Process Mapping - Often used interchangeably with Business Process Modelling, Business Process Mapping is also used to mean documenting all the processes in the business, showing the relationships between them. This provides a comprehensive visual overview of the processes in an organisation.
BPM - Business Process Model/Business Process Modelling - See Business Process Model/Modelling above.
BPMN - Business Process Modelling Notation - A 'branded' Business Process Modelling notation system of the OMG Consortium, representing several hundred primarily US computer-related corporations. (UK-English 'Modelling'.)
BPR - Business Process Redesign - Rethinking, redesigning and implementing one complete process using Business Process Modelling tools.
Enterprise Architecture - Basically the same as Business Architecture. Enterprise is a relatively modern term for a business organisation or company than 'business', probably because business has quite specific associations with profit and shareholders, whereas the word enterprise can more loosely encompass all sorts of business-like activities which might be constituted according to mutual or cooperative rather than traditional capitalistic aims. Enterprise is also a popular way to refer to business development and entrepreneurial creativity. The relevance of all this to BPM is merely the use of the word enterprise in BPM terminology, where previously the word 'business' would have been used.
Gateway - A stage in a Business Process Model diagram or notation at which decision or choice is made because more than one main option or outcome exists.
Notation - The technical term for a Business Process Model diagram or computer-generated map or flowchart.
OBASHI - A methodology, and related aspect of BPM, for mapping and developing how IT systems relate to organisational operations (OBASHI stands for Ownership, Business Processes, Applications, Systems, Hardware, and Infrastructure).
UML - Unified Modeling Language - a visual representation/design system for software-led modelling, overseen by the OMG Consortium (as with BPMN).
What if? (scenario) - A popular term given to discussion or modelling of possible shapes, structures, resourcing and any other options that are available to people considering change in businesses and organisations. The 'What if?' principle extends far beyond Business Processes, but is a useful technique in team-working and attempting to make BPM methods more consultative and involving. This is especially important given that the nature of BPM (the computer systems, terminology, highly detailed aspects) often tend to position the methods as a lone job away from people and groups affected by its implications and opportunities. BPM works best when people are involved - considering questions like 'What if?' - and often fails when it guarded and developed secretively by technocrat minority.
Value-added/Added-value - The principle of increasing the usefulness, attractiveness and benefits of a product or service, which in the context of BPM, ideally improves progressively with each modelling exercise. Added-value is commonly represented as benefiting customers and shareholders (via reduced costs, and increased efficiencies and profits) but should also benefit staff/employees too.
Zachman Framework - In this list mainly because an interesting listing under the letter Z is irresistible. This is a computerised diagrammatic notation system for representing an enterprise (or business or other organisation) - notably its 'enterprise architecture'. It was devised by John Zachman, a US ex-naval officer computer scientist, while working for IBM in the 1980s.
Deming, W.E. (1982), Out of the Crisis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Gilbreth, Frank and Lillian (1924), The Quest of the One Best Way, Purdue University Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Papers.
Hammer, Michael and Champy, James (1993), Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, Harper Business.
Juran, J.M. (1988), Juran on Planning for Quality, Free Press, New York, NY.
Smith, Howard and Fingar, Peter (2003) Business Process Management, The Third Wave, MK Press.
Taylor, F.W. (1911) The Principles of Scientific Management. Harper & Brothers. New York and London.
With thanks to Melanie Allen, and to Tony Markos for raising the matter of sequence in the practical application of business process modelling.
- ETHICAL MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
- PEOPLE PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL MODEL
- PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS AND TECHNIQUE
- PROJECT SPONSORSHIP
- THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT
- QUALITY MANAGEMENT, HISTORY, GURUS, TQM, PROCESS IMPROVEMENT, ETC
- SIX SIGMA - DEFINITIONS, HISTORY, OVERVIEW
- TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
- TREE SWING CARTOON PICTURES (EARLY VERSIONS)
- STRESS AND STRESS MANAGEMENT
- DECISION-MAKING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
- DELEGATION - HOW TO
- Higher Education
- Intelligent Document Processing
- Low-Code BPA
- White Label
Using Business Process Modeling and Tools
Summer kay september 15, 2020 business process.
Great organizations continually improve their processes over time, striving to make them as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Business process modeling is a tool that organizations use to evaluate their current processes. It allows the creator to visualize a more efficient process. In this post, we explain how business process modeling techniques give you the knowledge to improve performance across your enterprise.
What is business process modeling?
Business process modeling is a technique that involves creating a visual depiction of a business process . This is typically achieved by using business process modeling tools like flowcharts and universal business modeling process notation (also known as BPMN ).
Next, business process modeling is used to identify improvements in an organization’s business processes or workflows. It does this by mapping two different iterations of a given process. The first is the process as it currently exists without implementing any changes. The second is what the process will be once improvements have been made.
It is possible to manually sketch out the steps in a process. This method is, however, far more time-consuming, and less effective than leveraging an automation solution like business process modeling software . With software organizations can easily create and run a process model to identify areas for improvement.
As written in a previous blog post, business process mapping techniques , “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Business process modeling vs business process mapping
The terms business process modeling and business process mapping are often used interchangeably. While the techniques are similar, there is a difference. Business process modeling is generally used to map out low-level processes. In other words, the purpose of the diagram is to provide a somewhat broad overview of how a process works.
Business process mapping, however, can be used to create both broad and highly detailed diagrams. Where maps are detailed, their purpose is to provide operating procedures to guide stakeholders on the efficient completion of a process. Note that both business process modeling and business process mapping are used as part of a broader initiative like business process management .
The benefits of business process modeling
Business process modeling is a highly effective technique that offers organizations a broad range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Identifies areas for improvement . The primary use of business process modeling is to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the way that a process works with an eye towards implementing improvements.
- Transparency . A business process model shows how tasks are expected to be performed, who is accountable for them, and how a process contributes to the achievement of a business objective. This serves an important role in increasing trust and accountability throughout an organization.
- Agility and flexibility . Business objectives and strategies can change in an instant (think COVID-19). With business process modeling stakeholders can immediately identify and implement improvements consistent with new objectives.
- Standardization across departments . Many processes in an organization, particularly in larger ones, involve similar steps and tasks. For example, purchase order requests are often submitted at the unit level rather than the enterprise level. Using process models, stakeholders can identify best practices across units to implement efficient procedures throughout the organization.
Consider this example of an organization:
“… when reviewing a business process flow chart, a company’s senior management team may recognize that departments that offer incentive programs, such as employee of the week, are more productive than those that do not. As a result, they may choose to provide incentives to employees company-wide.”
Understanding, streamlining and automating processes results in more efficient and more profitable businesses. Through the use of process mapping, information is readily available for important decision making. By graphically depicting workflows, the organization gains transparency in the various workflows throughout the business. Having this information at the ready creates a strong foundation for business agility and speeds the go-to-market efforts for new products and services.
Companies use a standardized set of elements provided by the business process modeling notation to model processes. As BPM.com noted in a 2016 white paper, there are four basic types of elements:
- Events , indicated by circles. These can include the start and endpoints of an activity.
- Activities , drawn as rectangles and comprise multiple steps, such as forms and output documents.
- Gateways , identifiable by diamonds. These indicate the various paths an activity can take.
- Sequence flows , marked as arrows (solid, dotted, and so on).
Business Process Modeling Tools
There are many different business process modeling tools that can be used to improve workflows, making them more efficient and cost-effective.
A SIPOC diagram is a tool used in the Six Sigma methodology. SIPOC is an acronym that helps stakeholders to identify the key elements of a process improvement project. The elements are the suppliers, inputs, process that is being improved, outputs, and the customers that receive the outputs.
Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN)
BPMN diagrams are business process modeling tools that were developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI). The technique is like UML diagrams and is a standardized method for creating flowcharts – a step by step diagram of a process. Thus, when creating a process model, you use the elements specified under the BPMN methodology.
Unified Modeling Language (UML) Diagrams
UML is a developmental modeling language that is used to provide a standardized way to visually represent a system. Diagrams include a system’s actors, actions, roles, and classes and help to gain a better understanding of or to document a system. UML was created in 1994 and its rapid rise in popularity led to it being published as an approved ISO standard in 2005.
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping is a business process modeling tool used to analyze the existing and future states of a process. These maps show all critical steps as well as the flow of materials and information through a process.
An IPO, or input-process-output model , is a functional graph that identifies inputs, outputs, and required processes. The inputs consist of the information or materials that are introduced into a business process. This triggers the tasks that are required to produce the outputs that are the objective of a business process.
Gantt charts are simplistic diagrams that provide a visualization of the overall time taken to complete a task or process. More specifically, Gantt charts can show the start and end times/dates of a process, the required tasks, and how long each took to complete.
Modeling process improvements
As evidenced by the different process modeling tools that we discussed in the last section, there are different ways to utilize the method. There are, however, some general steps that are used when the goal is to improve a process. These include:
- Creating a model of the existing process . This can be done using one of the business process modeling tools discussed above or any of the other dozen or so commonly used techniques.
- Identifying areas for improvement . Process models highlight bottlenecks and inefficiencies in existing workflows. Consider how these issues can be improved and evaluate how the process is operating from an efficiency and cost perspective.
- Creating the new and improved process . Armed with the knowledge that you gained modeling the existing process, implement the changes. Note that with business process modeling software you can test the new process prior to launching it in real-time.
BPM software features
We mentioned above that business process modeling is not a standalone method. Rather it is used as part of a larger initiative like business process management (BPM). As such, a process modeler is an essential feature of a BPM software solution .
A process modeler allows users to design business processes using an intuitive and easy to use drag and drop feature. Users can drag and drop tasks as well as decision points directly on the modeling canvas. Additional elements like forms, users, and data connectors can also be added. It is also important for users to be able to test their new process designs. This is accomplished with a process validation engine. Process validation engines allow users to test their new process designs to ensure they are working prior to deployment.
ProcessMaker offers an industry leading low-code business process management software that gives organizations access to powerful business process modeling tools. ProcessMaker has helped organizations around the globe to transform their business processes.
bpm Business process management Process modeling
Recommended, 3 weaknesses of taking a manual labor approach to business management.
Managers are saddled with a long list of ad hoc responsibilities. They guide team members through unforeseen obstacles and put out unpredictable fires. But there are also many repeatable components...
The difference between business process reengineering and continuous improvement
In every organization, there comes a time for change. We need to adjust to shifting customer preferences, adopt new technologies, and adapt to mercurial market forces. To affect and manage change,...
5 Business Process Improvement Examples
How can we meet our revenue goals quicker? What changes do we need to make to cut down on operational costs? These are the questions managers mull over every day. But to make these changes, a...
Request a Demo
- Get started for free
- CRM and Sales
- Project management
- Software development
- Finance & Accounting
- Product updates
- monday apps
- monday workdocs
- monday news
- Task management
- Remote work
The complete guide to business process modeling (BPM)
If you’ve been in business for a while, then you understand the importance of your processes. Your profitability is completely tied to your ability to design, manage, and optimize your business processes and operations.
Sadly, many business owners never take the time to actually map and model their processes in a visual way, leading to a lack of understanding of their own business. In this blog, we’ll take you through why business process modeling is essential for modern organizations and how to implement it today. Let’s start with the basics.
What is business process modeling?
First, we need to make sure we’re all in sync about what a process is.
A business process is the logical sequence of events that lead to a particular outcome relevant to your organization. A process includes all the activities or tasks in a chain of events that accomplishes something. Some examples of common business processes are issuing purchase orders, product assembly, shipping products, invoicing clients , and estimating project costs.
Business process modeling is the practice of back-engineering each process in your business to understand the different components needed to achieve the goal and finding potential improvements for each component.
It’s a business analysis and continuous improvement discipline that helps you maximize any process through critical examination. For example, a typical business process model might look something like this:
( Image Source )
Though the above is only one example, there are other popular techniques for business process modeling. We’ll discuss some of these techniques more in-depth a bit later, but first, we’ll look into how process modeling can impact your company.
Benefits of business process modeling
As organizations evolve, so do their processes. We live in a hyper-accelerated world where businesses face massive changes almost overnight. If you don’t have a strategy in place to adapt to this constantly changing environment, your organization won’t survive for long.
In short, if you don’t model your processes, you’ll never know whether you’re operating at your best, and you’ll miss out on huge opportunities.
Some key benefits of process modeling are:
- Better alignment: align your activities with the core goals of your business
- More control: improve the way you control your activities and resources
- Better productivity: maximize your time and focus on what really matters
- Improve your bottom line: reduce inefficiencies, costs, and bottlenecks
- Produce better products and services: build more efficient production processes that delight your customers
A solid process model isn’t just a drawing or visual representation of your process—you’ll need other elements to really get the most out of this strategy.
8 critical elements of business process modeling
Diagrams —like the example we saw above—are just one of the many elements involved. To fully model a process, you must create a document with the following elements:
- Scope statement: a relevant description of the process name, as well as when the process starts and ends
- Outcome: a definition of the desired outcome of the process
- Description: a step-by-step walkthrough of the process description (i.e., the different steps that need to be executed to achieve the desired outcome)
- Exceptions and variations: a description of potential alternative process paths based on conditional data or action triggers
- Entry criteria and inputs: the elements you must have in place to execute the business process
- Exit criteria and output: what must be true once the process is completed
- Dependencies: a description of any other process or activity that’s dependent on this one
- Process flow diagram: a visual representation of the business process and its components
By documenting the entire process using these elements, you’ll have a clearer idea of where to start, as well as be able to communicate your full plan to your team and stakeholders.
It’s important to remember that business process models should include both visual and textual information to analyze each process at a more granular level. With that said, let’s look at some examples.
What are 5 business process modeling techniques?
Now that you understand the elements of a business model, let’s examine how can you represent your processes visually, starting with these five techniques:
- BPMN diagram
- UML diagram
- Gantt chart
- PERT diagram
1. Business process modeling notation (BPMN) diagram
BPMN stands for Business Process Modeling Notation, and it’s a technique that helps you represent your processes in a visual manner through 100+ proprietary objects.
Some of these objects include:
- Process flow object: represents the sequence flow and execution of tasks
- Pool: represents process participants
- Swimlane: define sub-groups and divisions within pools
- Data object: represents information flowing through the process
- Artifacts: used to define how tasks and activities are organized
BPMN provides you with clear specifications for each diagram. By having a unified strategy or “language” to model your processes, you can make sure everyone is on the same page.
The example we shared earlier is a fairly simple business model diagram. Here’s an example of a more complex one:
Flowcharts are one of the simplest and most widely-used techniques for process modeling. As the name suggests, flowcharts help you map out the sequence flow of activities you need to perform to complete a specific process.
In a flowchart, you should represent each step in the process with a shape. Then, you should connect those shapes with lines or arrows to indicate the logical progression of each step.
Here’s a simple process model example:
As you can see, flowcharts can use different process diagram shapes to represent different stages of the process. In the example above, we have two different shapes:
- Rectangle: represents start and end points
- Diamond: represents specific activities
In practice, you can use many different shapes to represent the different components of your processes — especially when you’re dealing with a complex process.
Flowcharts are simple yet powerful tools to communicate a business process in a way everyone can understand.
3. UML diagram
Communicating the value of software design isn’t always easy, especially when you’re dealing with a non-technical audience.
This is where UML comes in handy.
UML stands for Unified Modeling Language. It’s a modeling technique that helps you describe the elements that make up a specific software system and how such elements interact with each other.
UML involves different types of diagrams, which can be broken down into 2 main categories: structural diagrams and behavioral diagrams.
Structural diagrams represent the structure of a system. That is, the different elements and objects that make up the software. Some of the most popular structural diagrams include:
- Class diagram: mainly used for data modeling in a system
- Component diagram: describes the physical structure of the system in question
- Deployment diagram: describes the execution strategy and structure of the system
Behavioral diagrams, on the other hand, focus on the relationship between the objects in a system — how the different objects interact with each other to achieve a particular goal. A few common behavioral diagrams are:
- Use case diagram: describe the possible interactions between user and system
- Activity diagram: graphical representation of a user’s activities and actions when using a system
- State machine diagram: represent the behavior of an object within a system
4. Gantt charts
Gantt charts are used to plan a project’s schedule against tasks and dependencies on a horizontal bar chart.
Setting up a Gantt chart is easy on monday.com because you have access to a built-in Gantt View and a widget for your project dashboard . You can also make changes to tasks directly in the Gantt View.
5. PERT diagrams
Similar to Gantt charts, PERT, or Program Evaluation and Review Technique, is a framework to map out task dependencies and estimations for a project’s duration.
This type of flowchart is useful for the early stages of planning when sorting through how all the pieces go together.
Let’s pause quickly; we’ve already covered the importance of business process modeling, as well as some of the most common techniques for visual process representation.
But if you want to achieve the highest level of performance in every one of your processes, you need the right system — a system that helps you centralize all your workflows onto a single place and can automate repetitive activities.
Business modeling processes and monday.com — how to
monday.com is a powerful Work OS that helps you build a custom digital workspace for any type of process, regardless of its complexity. To show you how it works, let’s follow a four-step process to model, manage, and improve your processes and operations.
1. Streamline the process
To improve any existing process, you must break it down into components. Consider what you need to achieve the goal. With the answer to that question in mind, you then need to prioritize those activities based on the impact they make on your bottom line.
Once you organize your activities in a progressive order, coordinate the execution with your team. You may also want to identify which activities can be automated and how.
To achieve all this, you need a flexible system that adapts to your needs and helps you streamline your processes. With monday.com Work OS, you can access fully customizable, pre-built templates to structure different processes in various industries, including:
- Advanced Project Management Template
- CRM Template
- Recruitment and Onboarding Template
- Social Media Planner Template
You can explore our complete list of templates in our Templates Center . We also provide you with over 250,000 automations, so you can speed up your operations and improve your productivity. A few tasks you can easily automate include:
- Recurring activities
- Item creation
- Integration recipes
For more on monday.com Work OS automations, watch this short video below:
Finally, monday.com helps you centralize your entire organization into a single workplace, which makes it easier for you to streamline your workflows and improve your processes. You can create or add documents, files, automations, various views, data, and more all from monday.com Work OS.
Once you’ve defined your processes, it’s time to implement them. Start with a platform that allows you to collaborate with your entire team, remove silos between departments, and track progress with ease.
For instance, on monday.com Work OS, you can invite your entire team from the start and access powerful collaboration tools to improve your communication, including:
- File sharing
- Video conferencing
For instance, you can click any of your items on your boards and add context to each task in real-time. This way, you can brainstorm ideas, get direct feedback from your peers, and improve your operations much faster.
From task management to resource allocation, you can structure and manage all your business processes more efficiently.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. That’s why you need a system that helps you monitor all the information that’s important to you and analyze your progress.
Access powerful reporting dashboards that help you track everything from revenue to productivity, time, sales, tasks, performance, and more on monday.com.
Dashboards make it easy to understand the overall performance of your processes and optimize accordingly. The best part? These dashboards are fully customizable, and you can adapt them to your exact needs.
Finally, you should schedule a meeting with your team to analyze the data you collected in the last step and brainstorm how to improve current process. Consider asking:
- Where are the major bottlenecks?
- Is the team working productively?
- Are you using your resources wisely?
- Where are your biggest revenue leaks?
By answering these questions, you’ll be able to spot major issues in your processes before they start snowballing and fix them fast. Since monday.com Work OS is fully customizable, optimizing and adapting your processes to your new process ideas is completely feasible for any type of organization.
Frequently asked questions
What are the four phases of business process modeling lifecycle or bpm, what are the basic elements of bpmn.
Four elements of BPMN are flow objects, connecting objects, swimlanes, and data.
Ready to improve your business processes?
Hopefully, now you have enough understanding of the overall process, as well as why it’s crucial for the success of your business. And if you’re looking for a platform that helps you optimize each of your processes with surgical precision, then monday.com Work OS may be a great fit for you.
To see for yourself, we suggest you start with our Advanced Project Management Template . It’ll help you get your business process modeling off to a great start.
Try out monday.com today
Optimize all of your processes with precision.
The Importance of Business Process Modeling for Your Organization
The effectiveness of a company’s business process has a direct impact on its bottom line. Unfortunately, many organizations, large and small, lack an understanding of the functions that drive their business. That can lead to breakdowns that hinder an organization’s ability to grow and thrive. Business process modeling allows companies to gain an end-to-end view of the lifecycle of critical business functions.
What is Business Process Modeling?
Business process models are a visual representation of different organizational workflows and any underlying functions. They’re a subset of the business process management discipline that covers the tools, and resources used to analyze, model, optimize, and monitor business processes.
By creating business models, business users gain a comprehensive view of essential business functions, represented by flowcharts and activity diagrams. In addition, business process models provide critical insights into the steps that make up a process and the procedures used to accomplish various tasks.
When you have a clear picture of a business process and its effects, you’re better positioned to help your organization target bottlenecks hindering its efficiency. By figuring out where the holdups are in the workflow, business users can come up with ways to get around those roadblocks and improve the effectiveness of the process.
Business Process Modeling Tools and Techniques
Business process modeling notation (bpmn).
Business process modeling notation (BPMN) is a set of standardized symbols that outline different activities and interactions within a visual workflow. Unlike other methods of notation, BPMN is designed explicitly for process modeling. It’s a standardized format used by those who work as analysts, experts, and consultants in various industries.
Software developers commonly use universal Modeling Language (UML) diagrams to create object-oriented representations of the relationships between actors and systems. For example, users create use-case diagrams that go over different scenarios to which a business process might apply.
Flowcharts are a simple way for users to create visual representations of business processes. They’re often the first step in creating more complex automation or refining current functions within a business workflow.
Business users rely on Gantt charts to break complex tasks down into smaller sub-tasks linked by certain dependencies. Each subtask must execute within a specific timeframe. Gantt charts are ideal for diagramming tasks that must get completed by a particular deadline to achieve optimal results. In addition, they’re easy to edit and help users see the effect different changes have on dependencies and timelines.
Importance of Business Process Modeling
If organizations want to stay viable in today’s business environment, they must try to evolve and grow to meet the needs of their industry. A company that stays the same faces the threat of extinction. For that reason, companies need the ability to rapidly adapt to changing business factors.
Without a strategy, your organization doesn’t stand much of a chance against other competitors in the same industry. The complexity of your infrastructure makes process modeling an indispensable tool. Think of how many applications your company employs daily to accomplish vital business tasks. The sheer number of platforms within a business can make things very chaotic and reduce your organization’s productivity.
Process modeling helps companies locate opportunities for improvement by breaking the current business process down and analyzing the supporting elements. That way, you understand whether your company is operating at optimal levels or if there’s room for improvement.
Business Process Modeling Best Practices
Business process models establish baselines for conducting activities within an organization. Having a good base makes it possible to figure out ways to improve upon established practices. You gain insights into how various functions impact your organization in different ways. Having that documentation makes it easier to redesign your processes to improve performance and productivity.
Set up your best practices for business modeling before you start your initiative. The following guidelines can help companies establish consistency when designing business process models.
Establish your framework
Start scoping out business processes within your organization and use the information you gather to establish a process library. It’s a hierarchy containing the names of all business processes discovered within your organization.
Break down business processes
Work on figuring out how to break down your business functions into the following components:
- Tasks — Provide more details into how each business process comes together
- Roles — Outlines who’s responsible for completing tasks
- Documents — Include any documents required to execute a process
- Applications — Covers applications needed to complete a business process
Minimize the number of tasks included in your process model. Including too many makes it hard to comprehend how your business processes work. Instead, try to break each one down into more digestible chunks of information that’s easier for people to understand.
Use appropriate names for tasks and events
Since tasks represent an action, name individual tasks using verbs that define their purpose within your process model. However, try not to make them so high-level that they become overly generic and unhelpful. A business process model example of how you might do that is to name a task “Tag computer assets” versus “Manage assets.”
Events that happen during a process affect the flow and typically trigger a specific result. Therefore, make sure you label all events in your business process model using a text description that’s 1-2 words long. For example, you might use “Sent” to indicate an email going out after successfully compiling a report for specific business users.
Importance of Process Modeling Software
Your business process modeling software choice is key to setting you on the right path to improving efficiency throughout your business processes. Integrify’s business process modeling tools help you with mapping out the inner workings of your organization with ease. In addition, you can set up customizations suited to your company culture.
Interested in Automating Your Business Processes?
We have a variety of resources to help you on your journey to an automated workflow.
- Workflow Tools and eBooks
- Workflow Ideas Weekly eMail Newsletter
- Recorded Demonstration of our Workflow Automation Software
- Request a Live Demonstration
Automate Any Business Process
To see how quickly you can begin automating your business processes, check out our 2-minute product video.
Business Process Modeling: Definition, Benefits, and Examples
You are Here : Process Software >> Business Process Modeling
Business Process modeling isn't a radical concept–it's been around for a while. However, the changes it can bring about in business productivity and efficiency are nothing short of revolutionary.
But what is it, and why exactly do you need it?
Table of Content
- What is Business Process Modeling?
Why Use Business Process Modeling?
Business process modeling techniques.
- What Do I Need in a Process Modeling Software
What is Business Process Modeling (BPM)?
Business process modeling (or) process modeling, is the analytical representation or put simply an illustration of an organization’s business processes. Modeling processes is a critical component for effective business process management .
Process modeling software gives an analytical representation of 'as-is' processes in an organization and contrasts it with 'to-be' processes for making them more efficient.
Many business process modeling tools end up producing something like this:
Get rid of redundancies through effortless process design.
Your first step in modeling is actually pen and paper. However, to actually run a business process , you will need to digitize that process in a way that a workflow engine can understand.
Business process modeling software allow you to represent your process in a digital way that can then be transferred to a live automated process.
There are many benefits to business process modeling:
- Gives everyone a clear understanding of how the process works
- Provides consistency and controls the process
- Identifies and eliminates redundancies and inefficiencies
- Sets a clear starting and ending to the process
Business process modeling can also help you group similar processes together and anticipate how they should operate. The primary objective of business process modeling tools is to analyze how things are right now and simulate how should they be carried out to achieve better results.
Kissflow, our BPM Software , Streamline your business with superpowered processes.
Business process modeling can be expressed through flowcharts, programs, hypertext, or scripts. There isn’t just one way to implement business process modeling; in fact, you can choose from as many as 12 techniques.
Here are some of the most common business process modeling techniques:
1. Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
BPMN 2.0 has become something of a standard syntax used by process analysts and those who create business modeling tools. It is a relatively simple usage of lines, arrows, and geometric shapes that all communicate the flow and nuances of the process. A process consultant can look at a BPMN 2.0 model and know exactly how it should function.
“Eventually, when [those] companies get their products shipping and crank up their marketing machines, BPMN will be the unquestioned standard for process modeling and execution. But right now, we are still between the news and the reality.” - Bruce Silver, Process Consultant and Author of the book BPMN Method and Style
However, BPMN 2.0 is still a learned language, and although relatively simple, isn’t immediately intuitive for the regular business user. It is a great tool for process consultants, but not helpful for those looking to create their own applications.
2. Universal Process Notation
Instead of having a new language to learn, a more intuitive system is Universal Process Notation or UPN.
UPN provides a simple box for each task to be completed. The box shows what happens, who is assigned to it, and when it happens in the sequence. It is extremely useful for IT to design and analyze processes, for management to comply to business norms, and - more importantly - for end business users to understand processes as intended. Kissflow uses UPN in its modeler.
3. Flowchart Technique
Flowcharts explain complex process flows in a simple yet effective way. They illustrates process steps in their sequential order, going from inputs to actual process to outputs. In fact, flowcharts provide the basic framework for BPMN to display advanced process flows.
Kissflow, our process tracking software , can help your business stay constantly aware of every last business process.
4. Gantt Charts
Rather than showing the steps sequentially, Gantt charts are able to show the entire process using ‘time taken’ as one of the main axes. It does a better job of showing the overall time taken to complete a project than other options.
Traditionally a modeling technique in mathematics, petri-nets are also useful for modeling business processes. Petri-nets classify or color-code complex workflow steps, users, and routes in different colors.
What Do I Need in a Process Modeling Software?
Most BPM Suites include business process modeling tools in them. However, some have the modeler as a separate application.
The modeler is one of the most important elements in a BPMS , and you should spend a lot of time learning it before committing to buy a suite.
Great business modeling tools should:
- Be easy to learn for the business departments
- Be simple for IT teams to communicate with other departments
- Be inexpensive and industry compliant
- Have an integrated workflow editor tool with graphic interface
- Be able to simulate workflow before implementing
Learn more about process modelers .
Check out why these 6 BPM Software are at the top of the competition!
The power of process modelling is undeniable for businesses of all sizes and industry verticals. Embrace the power of modelling everyday processes at your company today, and sign up for a free trial.
You may also like:
- BPM Definition [A complete BPM Guide]
- What is BPMS? How Can It Help Your Organization?
- Business Process Management Software
- 10 Steps to a Successful Business Process Documentation
- BPM Systems – The Best one MUST (will) have these 10 features
- How To Make Simple & Effective Business Process.
Copyright © 2023 Kissflow Inc. All Rights Reserved
Let's get started.
Thank you for signing up.
Someone from our team will contact you soon.
Welcome. Let's get started.
Become a partner, thank you for signup.
Our Team will contact you soon
This report describes the results of business process modeling, the Business Process Model, and includes brief descriptions for business processes, business
Process maps are based on employee reports, are created manually and provide higher-level views of workflows. Process models are data-driven
The term Business Process Model (also abbreviated to BPM) is the noun form of Business Process Modelling, and refers to a structural representation, description
ProcessMaker is an easy to use Business Process Automation (BPA) and workflow software solution. Design, run, report, and improve your business
Standard business processes compatible with flowcharts are employee onboarding, incident reporting, and hierarchical approval processes. Data
Learn what business process modeling is, why it matters, and how to ... Access powerful reporting dashboards that help you track everything
Business process models are a visual representation of different organizational workflows and any underlying functions. They're a subset of the business process
"Business Process Modelling for Participatory Enterprises, Organizations, and Public Aministration Bodies". Reporting.
The objective of BPMN is to support business process modeling for both technical ... flow rule, decision table, report, and thereby decision-making support.
Business process modeling (BPM) (or) process modeling, is the analytical representation or put simply an illustration of an organization's business