What is business process modeling?

Business process modeling is a way for businesses to visualize all their current processes from start to finish in a graphical format, for example, a flowchart or diagram visually representing processes and workflows.

Business process modeling can be described as creating a map of what happens within a business, detailing how tasks are carried out, by whom, and in what order. By modeling their processes, companies can see the full picture of how they operate with transparency into even the most complex of processes.

Why is business process modeling important?

Without business process modeling, trying to understand how a company operates is like trying to assemble a puzzle without the picture on the box. It’s possible—but unnecessarily more difficult.

With business process modeling, companies can see the full picture of how they operate, which makes it easier to identify any issues or inefficiencies. This visibility means the business can make better decisions, streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance productivity.

Business process modeling is important for people who want to understand how the business truly operates, providing them with a single source of truth to align strategy with operations.

Benefits of business process modeling

  1. Efficiency
    Visualized business processes allow stakeholders to easily identify bottlenecks, redundancies, or unnecessary steps to streamline operations and operate more efficiently across the board (while also saving time and resources).
    For example, business process modeling can be a fantastic tool for the training and onboarding processes. New hires can quickly understand their workflow and role within the organization and hit the ground running.
  2. Clarity
    A detailed business process model provides a clear, comprehensive view of how things are done within your organization. When everyone has clarity on all processes and who's responsible for what, everyone will be on the same page about how things should flow. This can foster better understanding among team members and stakeholders, leading to improved collaboration and communication.
  3. Consistency
    With a clear model, everyone knows the process and can follow it. They have a reference for what they should do and when, reducing errors and improving the quality of your output. This ensures consistent operations and the same high standards across the board.

What’s the difference between process mapping and process modeling?

Process mapping and process modeling are two methods used to understand and improve business processes, but they do have different focuses.

Process mapping is about documenting and creating a graphic representation of business processes as they are. While process modeling also involves a graphic representation, it is more detailed and advanced than process mapping, allowing businesses to analyze and optimize every process. The graphic representation in process modeling not only defines the task and the parties involved, but it also outlines the resources, time, cost, and rules associated with the process. In addition, process modeling allows for analysis and provides businesses with insights into how the different scenarios or changes might impact operations.

What is business process analysis?

Business process analysis refers to the methods that businesses use to review their procedures and workflows to make improvements. The analysis involves identifying bottlenecks, redundancies, or unnecessary steps that could be eliminated or streamlined.

What is the role of business process modeling in business process analysis?

Business process modeling is essential for accurate and actionable business process analysis. Without a clear picture of business processes, businesses can’t confidently analyze and make decisions on their processes and operations.

A visual representation of processes allows businesses to analyze them in detail to identify inefficiencies and implement changes effectively.

Business process analysis examples

  1. Inventory management
    Analysis for inventory management to determine how efficiently the organization is managing its inventory levels, order fulfillment, and supply chain. This may involve analyzing inventory turnover rates, order accuracy, stockout rates, and supplier performance.
  2. Production
    A manufacturing company might use business process analysis to identify inefficiencies in their production line. For instance, they might find that the time taken to move parts from one stage of the process to the next is causing delays. Analyzing this process reveals bottlenecks, allowing the organization to quickly implement solutions, for example, rearranging the production floor or investing in faster or more efficient equipment.
  3. Customer service
    Customer service can be enhanced via process analysis by revealing that the current customer complaint resolution process takes too long or involves too many steps. By streamlining this process, they can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Risk Management
    Business process modeling and analysis can reveal potential risks in your business as well as identify areas where issues are most likely to arise. By understanding process flow, businesses can put measures in place to mitigate these risks before they become a real problem.

What are the two major types of business process models?

Business process models are created primarily using one of two techniques:

  1. Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), also called Business Process Model and Notation
  2. Event-Driven Process Chain (EPC) Modeling

Both types of process modeling diagrams use a set of standardized symbols and shapes to represent detailed process steps, meaning any employee can understand the model. The choice between EPC and BPMN will depend on the specific needs and context of the organization, such as the complexity of the processes, the skills of the people involved, and the intended use of the models.

Business process modeling notation definition

Business process modeling notation, more commonly known as business process model and notation in recent years, is a modeling notation that is used to create end-to-end process models in a graphical way. It combines different symbols to document working procedures.

Event-driven process chain definition

Event-driven process chain (EPC) is a modeling notation used to model business processes in a flowchart diagram that illustrates processes in terms of events and functions. EPC diagrams can show a simple sequence of events, or they can be used to map out more complex processes in a clear and easy-to-understand way. EPC uses events, functions, process paths, and connectors as its main elements.

What are business process modeling tools?

Business process modeling tools are essentially software applications used to create a visual representation of a business's processes. These tools allow businesses to create process models easily and quickly via a user-friendly and intuitive platform.

Key considerations for business process modeling tools

Different tools offer different features, so it's important to choose one that fits your business's needs. Some might focus more on flowchart creation, while others might offer more advanced features like simulation or analytics.

When looking for the right business process modeling tool for you, consider the following:

  • Will the tool allow you to create models quickly with business notations or OMG standards in a central repository with relevant documents?
  • Will the tool provide ultimate visibility on customer needs, allowing you to map customer journeys and track interactions, externally view processes, and define touchpoints?
  • Does the tool allow you to connect real-world and conceptual data to present KPIs in consolidated, context-sensitive dashboards, allowing you to make decisions based on clear visual insights?
  • Will you be able to model your business comprehensively, visualizing organizational structures, processes, application systems, data, and more?
  • Will you be able to design, document, manage, analyze—then optimize—your business-critical processes all in one place?

Business process modeling with ARIS

A business process analysis (BPA) and management platform is the foundation to keep strategy and operations aligned, and Software AG’s business process analysis (BPA) solution, ARIS, grounds your transformation strategy on an actual operational model, not just on presentations and spreadsheets.

The ARIS Transformation Suite supports organizations in their transformation and to achieve operational excellence by providing visibility into their operations, enabling them to create outstanding processes, and ensuring close monitoring of the business.

Established in 1992, ARIS is a pioneer and the leader in Business Process Management and Process Mining. ARIS is a company’s backbone when it comes to transforming, optimizing, and controlling the way they run their business.

Design, analyze, optimize, and communicate business processes to achieve excellence. Understand what’s going on in your organization by aligning business, people and IT and getting a clear picture of your business landscape and customer expectations. Through more efficient processes, ARIS enables you to respond to changing business and market requirements more quickly while analyzing the impact of various measures and improving customer satisfaction.

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