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What is process modeling?

Explore the concept of process modeling, a visual representation of business processes and operations. Learn how it aids in optimizing resources and improving efficiency, using various models such as flowcharts, process maps, and more.

Process modeling definition

Process modeling is another way of visually representing the process and operations of a business.  It can help managers make decisions about how to optimize their resources and improve efficiency in their process through the development of a process model.  Examples of process models include flowcharts, process maps, swim lanes, process trees, and state transition diagrams which all allow for unique ways to represent different types of processes. Through Process modeling businesses can analyze their costs, opportunities, constraints, and risks in order to reach success.  Process modeling solutions often leverage BPMN a standard international language and a standard format for documenting the business process.

What is BPMN?

Business process model and notation (also known as BPMN) has been one of the most common languages and formats used to document business processes since its introduction in 2004.  Developed as an international ‘language’ for describing business processes, it provides a complete set of symbols and notations to define and describe procedures in a business environment.  The resulting flow charts are intended to visually depict the details of business activities and their flow in an organization.

Unfortunately, due to its complexity, many less technical users without training, education, or experience in BPMN language can struggle to understand large BPMN diagrams. In organizations that benefit from employees accessing, owning, collaborating, and buying into process ongoing improvement, if they can’t understand the process (or need further training to do so) – these organizations will not see the intended benefits.   For more technical users and audiences with BPMN knowledge and the ability to understand the language, BPMN can be an effective way to model your business processes.

What is the difference between business modeling and business process mapping/management?

Essentially the two are the same thing, both visually represent key processes, so businesses can better understand and optimize them.  Business Modeling tools often leverage the standard BPMN language, and Business process management (BPM) tools focus on less sophisticated language, and simplified process flows that are easier to understand, thus promoting ease of access, and encouraging line of business process ownership and collaboration for increased optimization.

Business modeling tools, while more flexible for documenting complex processes, often rely on fewer experienced employees who understand the language, resulting  in a heavier reliance on these individuals, and an impact on the organization’s overall ability to hand process back to employees who are less experienced with the language. Nintex Process Manager includes mapping and additional capabilities that enable ongoing process management, increased collaboration, and business-wide process excellence. 

Many Business process management tools often cater for either the more technical users who prefer to use BPMN language, or only to the less technical front-line teams who prefer more simplistic easy to easy-to-understand maps. 

What is the role of process modeling?

Process modeling is a powerful tool that in most cases leverages BPMN to help optimize business processes. It is a visual representation of an organization’s operations and processes and provides the ability to identify opportunities for improvement.

By creating a graphical model of how work needs to be done, it allows organizations to easily see where resources are being wasted, or where user productivity can be improved. Furthermore, process modeling encourages organizations to stay agile; as customer needs or trends change, models can easily be adapted quickly. It enables businesses to move faster and remain competitive in ever-changing markets and plays an essential role in helping organizations reduce costs and maximize efficiency.

What are the benefits of process modeling?

Businesses can reap numerous advantages from making process modeling an integral part of their regular workflow. Process modeling offers a concrete way to gain a clear understanding of how your business works, as well as uncover opportunities to optimize processes and improve response time. This can be as straightforward as improving customer service or automating certain parts of the production line. Business process modeling also provides visibility over key operations and offers objective examples of how to streamline processes, so teams can work more efficiently together. Ultimately, by having the ability to think objectively about how the business works, it can help you create more agile and effective systems that support greater success for everyone involved.

What are the different business process model techniques?

Business process modeling is a powerful business too used to improve their operational efficiency. It involves analyzing, mapping, and documenting the activities that go into the production cycle to identify areas of improvement. There are several process modeling techniques businesses can use, common languages used within process modeling tools are

  • Business process modeling notation (BPMN) – being the most common
  • Universal process notation (UPN) is another common language used by business process modelers to create and analyze a wide variety of business processes. Less common than BPMN and slightly easier-to-understand language for visually representing flows of operations through graphical symbols, so that non-technical personnel can access the information and
  • Flowchart technique is yet another way to organize and present ideas in business. Also using symbols for each process step such as circles, arrows, boxes, or other shapes, it creates a map of an entire process graphically.

Business process modeling serves as an integral tool for more technical teams comfortable with the BPMN language seeking to analyze, document, manage, and improve underlying processes.

With the recent introduction of process modeling BPMN capability, Process Manager is now the single source of process truth for everyoneIt caters to the more technical teams with additional flexibility to model even the most complex processes with BPMN Without forgoing the needs of the less technical teams that prefer a more simplified way to map, view, manage, and collaborate on processes.