What is Business Process Modeling | Definition and Features (2022)

With many definitions going around and multiple ways to go about it, business process modeling (BPM) can be a bit confusing, especially for a beginner. But when you go deeper you’ll realize that there isn’t much of a difference in most approaches. This business process modeling tutorial will help you learn more about the various definitions, features, history behind BPM. And we’ll briefly touch on the various business process modeling techniques as well.

Definition of Business Process Modeling

Among many definitions available online for Business Process Modeling, following are few that captured ourattention;

  • BPM is a mechanism for describing and communicating the current or intended future state of a business process.
  • BPM is a means of representing the steps, participants and decision logic in business processes.
  • BPM 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.
  • BPM aims to improve business performance by optimising the efficiency of connecting activities in the provision of a product or service.
  • BPM is a set of activities for representing business processes in a formal way enabling analysis and further improvement of these processes.
  • Business Process Modeling is a combination of various process related steps such as Process Mapping, Process Discovery, Process Simulation, Process Analysis and Process Improvement.

With all above being true, it can be summarized ashow work gets done in an Enterprise or an organization.

How BPM Evolved

BPM has emerged rapidly throughout the last two to three decades, and hasreplaced previous organizational efficiency practices such as the Time and Motion Study (TMS) or Total Quality Management (TQM). Such demand for BPM is a result of,

  • Increasing transparency and accountability of all organizations including public services and government
  • Increase in usage of information and communication systems
  • Modern complexity of business

BPM can be considered as a quality management tool due to its I) technical nature, 2) the process emphasis and 3) analytical approaches & responsibilities arising in the improvement of quality, in the market. Business process modeling is highly useful in change management of organizations.

Notable Business Process Modeling Features

Asummarized list of BPM features are as follows;

(Video) Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) 2.0 Tutorial

  • 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.
  • Itmainlyfocuses on processes, actions and activities, etc.
  • A Business Process Model includes both IT processes and people processes.
  • Business Process Modelling is cross-functional, usually combining the work and documentation of more than one department in the organisation.
  • 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 may also include activities of external organisations’ processes and systems that feed into the primary process.
  • In large organisation’s 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 computerized tools or software which is used in applying its methods. These tools evolve with the change of time and therefore it is advised to keep an open mind on how BPM can be used.

Business Process Model Hierarchy

Following hierarchy is mainly used in process modeling forlarge enterprises. It categorizes all the processes of an organization in to five levels so thatit is easier to streamline the outcome.

What is Business Process Modeling | Definition and Features (1)

Historyof Business Process Modeling

The origins of BPM runs centuries back. So lets take a quick run through a summarized history of it.

In ancient times, production in cottage industry happened by one person making one item from the beginning to the end. When factories became a standard, many employees making one item at a time proved time consuming and inefficient.

In 1776 “Division of Labour”– Adam Smith argued that breaking up the production process and creating peculiar tasks would simply and sped up the 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. Hence business process was born.

Early 1900s “Time and Motion” – Thinking forward, Frederik Winslow Taylor merged his “time study” with “motion study” of Frank & L. Gilbreth, which resulted in new scientific management methods (1911) and the infamous ‘time and motion’ studies. These studies documented and analyzed 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 cynicism and animosity by workers.

(Video) What is a Business Process?

Early to mid 1900s “the one best way” – Frank Gilbreth developed 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.

In 1930s disenchantment with the assembly line –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 satirized 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 optimizing productivity, and those who profit most from them, are more strongly questioned or criticized when the economic cycle moves into recession.

Mid 1970s workflow – 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.
  • Workflow is concerned with processes within a department while BPM addresses processes spanning the whole organization.

In 1980s, the quality era – Quality orTotal 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 Sigmaand Lean manufacturing are the best-known of these methodologies.

In1990s, Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)

(Video) Business process modeling the Cardanit way

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 and James Champy developed the concept in their book ‘Re-engineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution’. They stated that the process was revolutionary, fast-track and drastic rather than evolutionary and incremental. It was a huge success and organizations and consultants embraced it with fervor. The re-engineering industry grew and triumphed before it began to wane.

By the end of the 1990s, BPR as a whole-organization approach had fallen dramatically out of favor. It proved to be too long-winded for most organizations, was therefore poorly executed and has consequently been sidelined as a whole-organization approach.

Critics of this completely ‘new broom’ methodology would say that it is impossible to start from a clean slate in an already established organization. Other criticisms were that it was dehumanizing and mechanistic, focusing on actions rather than people (Taylorism).

Crucially, it is associated with the terms ‘delayering’, ‘restructuring’ and ‘downsizing’ of organizations, all lumped together as euphemisms for layoffs. Not what Hammer and Champy had envisaged.

In 2000s, Business Process Modelling (BPM)

(Video) How to Develop As-Is and To-Be Business Process

The best principles of Business Process Re-engineering still survive in BPM, on a less drastic, less brutal and more manageable scale. With the lessons 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 both the company and its staff.

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 methodology can be. In the wrong hands itcan suffocate and obstruct an organization and its people. The tool does not produce the results – what matters is, how you use it.

Various Business Process Modeling Techniques

In Implementing Business Process Modeling, there are many techniques that have been tried and tested throughout the years. Some may have few drawbacks and some proven successful.

  1. Flow Chart Technique
  2. Data flow diagrams—Yourdon’s technique
  3. Role-Activity Diagrams (RAD)
  4. Role-Interaction Diagrams (RID)
  5. Gantt Chart
  6. Integrated Definition for Function Modelling (IDEF)
  7. Colored Petri-nets (CPN)
  8. Object Oriented Methods (OO)
  9. Workflow Technique
  10. Simulation
  11. Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
  12. UML Activity Diagram

A detailed view of the above BPM techniques will be coveredin ournext article. Creately supports most of the techniques mentioned in above list.

Your Thoughts on this Business Process Modeling Tutorial

Your feedback is what keeps us going and it help us to cater our content to better serve your needs. If you have any questions about this article leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

(Video) Business Process Modeling with BPMN

And stay tuned for our next article where we’ll cover various BPM techniques in detail.

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What is business process features and attributes? ›

It can be described based on the following 7 characteristics of a business process: Scope: Starting and end point for the series of steps. Purpose: Overall objective or reason why the process is performed. Steps: Specific actions performed by team members. Sequence: Order in which steps are performed.

What are the key elements of BPMN? ›

There are four main elements of a BPMN diagram: flow objects, connecting objects, swimlanes, and data.

What is the importance of business process modeling? ›

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.

What are the elements of a business process model? ›

BPMN depicts these four element types for business process diagrams: Flow objects: events, activities, gateways. Connecting objects: sequence flow, message flow, association. Swimlanes: pool or lane.

What are the 5 core business processes? ›

At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. Discovering what people need, want, or could be encouraged to want, then creating it.
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

What are four categories of BPMN? ›

Common BPMN symbols

BPMN diagram symbols are categorized into four main groups: flow objects, connecting objects, swimlanes, and artifacts. Read this comprehensive guide of BPMN diagram shapes and their meanings below.

What is the key goal of BPMN? ›

The primary goal of BPMN is to provide a notation that is readily understandable by all business users, from the business analysts that create the initial drafts of the processes, to the technical developers responsible for implementing the technology that will perform those processes, and finally, to the business ...

What are the benefits of using process modeling? ›

A process model allows visualization of business processes so organizations can better understand their internal business procedures so that they can be managed and made more efficient. This is usually an agile exercise for continuous improvement.

What is the advantage of BPMN? ›

Benefits of BPMN

BPMN allows an organization to capture and document business processes clearly and consistently, ensuring relevant stakeholders are involved in the process. That way, process owners can respond to any issues in the processes more effectively.

What are the benefits of business model? ›

Business model is important because it provides the investors the knowledge about the competitive edge of the company and provides better insight into working of the company. A strong business model leads to cash generation and future expansion.

What is meant by business process model? ›

A business process model is a model of one or more business processes and defines the ways in which operations are carried out to accomplish the intended objectives of an organization. Such a model remains an abstraction and depends on the intended use of the model.

What are some of the techniques used for BPM? ›

Business process modeling technique examples
  • Gantt charts. ...
  • Flowcharts. ...
  • Data flow diagrams. ...
  • Business Process Modeling Notation. ...
  • Unified Modeling Language diagrams. ...
  • Functional flow block diagrams. ...
  • Integrated definition for function modeling. ...
  • Petri Nets and Colored Petri Nets.
27 Apr 2022

Who created BPMN? ›

BPMN was originally developed by the Business Process Management Initiative (BPMI). They released a version 1.0 to the public in May, 2004. In June 2005, BPMI merged with OMG, the Object Management Group. A BPMN Specification document was released by OMG in February, 2006.

What is the difference between BPM and BPMN? ›

What's the difference between BPM and BPMN? While the BPM is a subject, or a managing philosophy that can be applied to businesses, the BPMN is an official standard notation created by this subject, which is used around the world.

How many types of business processes are there? ›

There are Three Broad Types of Business Processes. Every business is different, and the categories into which business processes fall will depend on what your business does. A specific type of task could be a support process in one business and a core process in another.

What are the two methods of business processing? ›

In general, the various tasks of a business process can be performed in one of two ways: manually. by means of business data processing systems such as ERP systems.

What are business processes '? Give two examples? ›

Operational processes (core business processes) are those that bring direct value to customers and the company itself. They are the processes that directly create revenue. Examples include: product manufacturing, order to cash process, and delivering products to customers.

What are 3 core business activities? ›

Understanding Business Activities. There are three main types of business activities: operating, investing, and financing. The cash flows used and created by each of these activities are listed in the cash flow statement.

What are two characteristics of a BPMN group? ›

What are two characteristics of a BPMN group? A group may control the flow of a process and describe shared goals. A group is denoted by dashes and dots and may include activities in two or more pools. A group is denoted by dashes and dots and may include activities in two or more pools.

When should I use BPMN? ›

* BPMN and other flowcharts are used when it's important to understand the steps that are necessary to accomplish something, the order in which those steps need to be done, and who is responsible for doing the work.

What are the diagrams used for process modeling? ›

A flowchart is a diagram that represents a process and can be created with readily available software. Flowcharts contain a starting and ending point. Typically, symbols such as circles, squares and diamonds represent events or activities, while arrows indicate sequential flow and associations between steps.

What is BPMN in business analysis? ›

What is BPMN? For those unfamiliar with this term, BPMN refers to Business Process Modeling Notation. In short, BPMN is the use of symbols to clearly determine the flow and processes of business designed in a process diagram. Its primary goal is to eliminate and confusion when the process diagram is presented.

How many process levels are there as per BPMS? ›

The BPM lifecycle consists of five different stages including design, model, execute, monitor, and optimize. During each stage, specific activities are carried out in order to achieve the most efficient way to conduct business operations.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the business process modeling? ›

First, that process modelling is useful, primarily for understanding and documenting business processes, but also for planning implementation projects. The major downside of process modelling is the risk of over analysis.

What is the disadvantage of business process management? ›

Disadvantages of BPM

It does not allow for processes to be repeated. It tends to limit innovations due to its highly rigid framework. Its structure does not allow flexibility for employees to work on solutions in whatever way they deem fit.

What is a Level 3 process map? ›

The Level 3 process maps are those maps, which have detailed info of the process, it is the micro level process maps. It gives the whole process steps at once if a new processor can understand how to do the task at once.

How is BPMN different then flowchart? ›

Business process modeling and notation is a flowchart method of graphing a business process. It's done exactly the same way as you'd create a flowchart process map, the only difference is that BPMN comes with its own symbols and elements.

What is an example of a business model? ›

Some types of business models are more popular and work better for certain industries than others. For example, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies often use subscription and freemium business models. This makes software more accessible to customers while providing valuable recurring revenue for the business.

What is the nature of business model? ›

A business model “depicts the content, structure, and governance of transactions designed so as to create value through the exploitation of business opportunities” (Amit & Zott, 2001).

How business process modeling can help improve efficiency? ›

Benefits of Modeling

Improves Efficiency: Proper implementation of business processes allows companies to see a significant decline in their cost with rising levels of productivity. Constant assessment of the processes can lead to high performance and efficiency.

What is a process What are the attributes of a process? ›

Process attributes are descriptive characteristics and measures that define the processes and track its status. These attributes help business improvement teams to plan, monitor, measure, and control processes and its improvements.

What are the attributes of a good process? ›

Six Easy Criteria for Targeting a Good Process
  • A Good Process should be Simple. ...
  • A Good Process should be Robust. ...
  • A Good Process should be Documented. ...
  • A Good Process should be Controlled. ...
  • A Good Process should be Communicated. ...
  • A Good Process is Error-Proofed.
21 Aug 2012

What are the necessary attributes of BPR methodology? ›

The concept of business processes – interrelated activities aiming at creating a value added output to a customer – is the basic underlying idea of BPR. These processes are characterized by a number of attributes: Process ownership, customer focus, value-adding, and cross-functionality.

What type of attributes does a process have in Linux? ›

Process Attributes
  • PID or process ID, an integer.
  • PPID or parent process ID, an integer.
  • Nice number, the degree of friendliness of the process towards other processes (process priority is calculated from nice numbers and recent CPU usage).
  • TTY, the terminal to which the process is connected.
  • RUID , or real user ID.

What is process life cycle? ›

The stages that a physical process or a management system goes through as it proceeds from birth to death. These stages include conception, design, deployment, acquisition, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, and disposal.

What is the concept of process? ›

3.1 Process Concept. A process is an instance of a program in execution. Batch systems work in terms of "jobs". Many modern process concepts are still expressed in terms of jobs, ( e.g. job scheduling ), and the two terms are often used interchangeably.

What are the four characteristics of a process? ›

  • Flow simply means the order of operations or activities within a process. ...
  • Effectiveness: how well does the process meet its targets for cost, time, and quality. ...
  • Storehouse of Value: every process either creates or destroys value. ...
  • Process Value Creation: process value creation must be measured over its life cycle.

What is the effective business processes? ›

An effective business process is built on a set of well-defined and clearly-stated business objectives. These key objectives articulate the ideal performance results that the company expects from that process.

What is a good business process? ›

A business process should exist for one reason, and serve one purpose: to deliver value to both the customer and the organisation. In order to do this, it should be carefully aligned not only with customer requirements and customer satisfaction, but with the business' values and strategy.

What is BPR model? ›

en. Business Process Reengineering involves the radical redesign of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity, cycle times and quality. In Business Process Reengineering, companies start with a blank sheet of paper and rethink existing processes to deliver more value to the customer.

What are key concepts of BPR? ›

The concept of business processes – interrelated activities aiming at creating a value added output to a customer – is the basic underlying idea of BPR. These processes are characterized by a number of attributes: Process ownership, customer focus, value adding, and cross-functionality.

How many types of processes are there in Linux? ›

There are different types of processes in a Linux system. These types include user processes, daemon processes, and kernel processes. Most processes in the system are user processes. A user process is one that is initiated by a regular user account and runs in user space.

How process is created in Linux? ›

A new process can be created by the fork() system call. The new process consists of a copy of the address space of the original process. fork() creates new process from existing process. Existing process is called the parent process and the process is created newly is called child process.

What are Linux processes? ›

In Linux, a process is any active (running) instance of a program. But what is a program? Well, technically, a program is any executable file held in storage on your machine. Anytime you run a program, you have created a process.


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