An Exhaustive Overview of Business Process Modeling Tools

An Exhaustive Overview of Business Process Modeling Tools

Business process modeling tools are the practice of creating models of business processes. It helps you to identify and analyze strategies, then redesigns them to improve their performance.

The goal of business process modeling is to understand how your organization works so that you can improve its efficiency, effectiveness, and performance. Thus, business process modeling tools are used by companies to help them get started with this activity. Businesses use these tools to map out their current processes, identify areas for improvement, and create new methods for carrying out tasks more effectively.

It’s important to know what business process modeling tools are, how they work and which ones you should use. We’ll cover all that in this article!

What Is Business Process Modeling?

Business process modeling is a way to represent the current and future state of your processes. These tools help you to design, analyze, automate and improve processes.

There are many business process modeling tools available that can help you visualize processes and make them more efficient. Processes are not just about action steps but also include things like approvals, risk management, and other aspects that need to be considered when building a process model.

Businesses use BPM to improve their performance in two ways:

• Improving the efficiency of existing processes
• Improving the quality of existing processes

Why is Business Process Modeling Needed?

Business process modeling tools can help you understand, improve and design your business processes. These tools provide a visual representation of the current state of a process so that you can have a better understanding of its activities, inputs, and outputs.

Business process management (BPM) is used to improve existing business processes by improving efficiency, reducing waste, reducing costs, or increasing revenue. BPM also helps create new business processes by focusing on effectiveness instead of efficiency as well as providing guidance for future changes in technology or regulatory requirements on how businesses operate.

To Get Started With Business Process Modeling, You Need The Following Things:

A Business Process Modeling tool. You can use either a free or paid tool for modeling your processes. If you are not sure which one to choose, go with the free option because most of them are quite good at what they do and offer support for all business analysis needs.

If you’re looking to get started with business process modeling, there are a number of resources available that can help. The first step is to understand what the different business process modeling tools are and how they work.

Business process modeling tools are software applications that allow users to create and visualize processes in a visual way. Business process management refers to the implementation and use of these tools in order to manage organizational functions and activities effectively through structured analysis models (BPMN) or other modes as per industry standards like ITIL, FIPS 197, ISO 20000, etc., which form integral part of any enterprise system especially those following service-oriented architecture (SOA). It includes workflows, decision tables, and symbols from BPMN 2nd edition standardization by Object Management Group (OMG).

The business process modeling tools are used by both IT and non-IT professionals and can be used to create a variety of different models, including functional and technical ones.

Before you start analyzing and redesigning your processes, you need to understand the following process modeling techniques.

At a glance, the businesses may seem simple with a bunch of tasks combined together. But, when you take a closer look at it, you will understand how many activities and people are involved.

In order to create a process model, you should consider the following business process modeling techniques.

Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a graphical language that helps you to capture the structure of processes and their relationship with each other. It is used in many industry sectors but is most popular in the banking and insurance industries.

Flowcharts are simple diagrams of sequential steps or activities required to achieve a task. They can be used for planning, documenting, and communicating an organization’s procedures, or even as decision-support tools.

In addition to BPMN and flowcharts, there are UML diagrams, Gantt charts, and PERT diagrams which will help you keep track of your workflows and helps you never miss a deadline.

Why choose a Business Process Modeling Tool?

Business Process Modeling Tools:

• Allow you to map, analyze and optimize your processes online.
• Help you to improve the quality of your processes.
• Reduce the time and cost of optimizing each individual process, which in turn reduces customer wait times.

Business Process Modeling Techniques

There are several business process modeling techniques available to support specific business needs. Businesses need to choose from these techniques as per the requirements of their business. With several options available, the choice of the right technique for your business can be challenging. It is important to know and understand some of the commonly used business process modeling tools so that you can make the right choice. 

1. Gantt Charts 

These process modeling tools are among the oldest and most popular ways of visualizing process flows. Gantt charts use a bar style to illustrate a project schedule, task duration, task dependencies, key milestones, and areas of task interdependence. They are most suitable for processes with specific deadlines or time-sensitive processes. You can show and track activities, tasks, or events that occur during certain periods of time using Gantt charts.

They are popular among project managers who want to provide a single view of the entire process, monitor tasks, and monitor and control all stakeholders. A notable limitation of this process modeling technique is its simplistic approach to process visualization and the inability to accommodate sub-tasks within the process. 

2. Flowcharts 

A process with multiple steps/tasks can be effectively visualized with flow charts. Flowcharts can visualize how a set of steps can progress in a variety of ways, using simple shapes and arrows to show process flow. The interconnection between tasks in the process can be accurately visualized using a flowchart.

They are commonly used for graphic representation of process modeling and help map the progression of tasks to reach specific outcomes. Flowcharts produce the best outcomes when used to represent straightforward processes that generally operate in a preset sequence. The limitations of flowcharts are that they do not effectively depict parallel processes that work in sync. 

3. Data flow diagrams (DFDs) 

These diagrams represent a more specific visualization of data streams, with details on specific actions that can be represented as flow charts. DFDs are best suited for the displaying progression of data throughout the process, how it enters the system, where all does it flow, and how and where it is stored in the system.

This process model example can also be used to provide visualizations and representations of process flows, similar to flowcharts but with more focus on data flow between process steps instead of the activities. The data-centric approach of DFDs is the major limitation in its usability for projects that are not data-driven. 

4. Business process modeling notation (BPMN) 

The BPMN encompasses a set of 100+ standardized symbols and notations that can be used to visually represent a process. This business process modeling example was developed specifically for modeling business processes and is regarded as the gold standard for process modeling. The standardization in BPMN minimizes ambiguity while creating process maps.

Understanding a process is a breeze with this modeling tool, which eliminates communication gaps as well. Companies may choose to enhance BPMN by adding new symbols and notations as per the requirements of their business processes. However, sticking to standard BPMN is recommended for outside collaboration with third parties to save time and effort. Flow objects, artifacts, swimlanes, and connecting objects are standard symbols used in BPMN. 

5. Unified modeling language diagrams 

Unified modeling language (UML) diagrams were originally created by software developers to visualize system designs and interactions in a standardized manner. There are 2 types of representations followed in UML diagrams, namely, structural information and behavioral diagrams.

The structural information provides details on the system’s structure, while behavioral diagrams represent the relationship between objects in a system. The interaction diagram is a subset of the behavioral diagram, which visualizes the control flow. UML diagrams are best suited for documenting processes within software programs. However, with 14 different types of UML diagrams, it can be difficult to understand these diagrams without a strong knowledge of UMLs. 

6. PERT diagrams 

Program evaluation and review technique (PERT) diagrams were introduced in the early 20th century for breaking business process flows into timelines based on the shortest, longest, and likeliest times for the completion of each step in a business process. The value of the PERT diagram is that it not only shows the critical path that leads to favorable outcomes but also helps determine realistic time-frames for the process. This diagram is particularly helpful in setting goals and targets for processes, and in comparing different process approaches to determine the most efficient approach. 

7. Functional Flow Block Diagrams 

Functional flow block diagrams focus on the execution of tasks or functions in the sequence of ordered blocks. These diagrams have been around for a few decades, and are being used in business process mapping. Each functional block in the process is further represented as a separate diagram that shows the sub-task within each functional block.

Although this type of representation results in multiple diagrams, cross-referencing them with reference to the first-level diagram is relatively easy. Despite the need for several diagrams, some businesses prefer using FFDs to visually represent the process. They are relatively easy to follow even for complex processes. 

8. Integrated definition for function modeling (IDEF) 

Integrated definitions for function modeling notations are similar to functional flow block diagrams. Child diagrams in this process mapping technique are derived from parent activities. Among the various forms of IDEF, IDEF0 is the permutation to use for enterprise modeling. This type of process modeling is a sophisticated system that is complex to use. There are totally 15 forms of IDEF focusing on functions, information, data, simulation model, process description capture, etc. 

9. Petri Nets and Colored Petri nets (CPNs) 

Petri nets and colored Petri nets are extremely sophisticated ways of mapping a process that requires users to go through a course of study to understand and use them better. Petri nets are useful in mapping processes that are made up of several sub-processes that are executed simultaneously or need to be synced. Colored Petri Nets consist of places, transitions, and arcs that are expressed using complex mathematical language. Only a person well-versed in their use can deploy them. 

10. Role interaction diagrams 

This business process model example is used for visual depiction of interactions among processes. Role interaction diagrams come in two versions – sequence diagrams and collaboration diagrams. This business process modeling software can be used to display the sequential and parallel aspects of a given business process.

The various interfaces and class responsibilities can also be represented by these diagrams. Sequence diagrams represent the progression of functions within a system and are often used to determine the currently lacking features or functionalities of the system. These diagrams can also be used to determine the future functionalities or features that may be required by the system. Collaboration diagrams on the other hand are used to characterize and illustrate the roles of specific objects in a process flow. 

Businesses can choose the best business process modeling software based on the type and scope of the processes followed by them. A good understanding of various business process modeling techniques is a must for choosing the one that would represent your business processes most accurately. The choice of business process modeling tools has a direct bearing on process improvement or workflow automation initiatives that a business may undertake to streamline its business processes. 

Pros and Cons of Business Process Modeling Tools

Business process modeling tools are a way to visualize the steps in a business process and make the whole process more efficient. This leads to greater accuracy and faster results, which reduces costs. However, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before investing in these tools, as they can be costly with steep learning curves for all involved parties involved. Here are some pros and cons of using business process modeling tools:

It reduces cycle time.

• It reduces cycle time by automating manual tasks
• It reduces cycle time by eliminating redundant tasks
• It reduces cycle time by reducing the number of people required to complete a task
• It reduces cycle time by increasing the speed of task completion

It is easier to make changes.

One of the biggest benefits of business process modeling tools is that they allow you to visualize a process. When you model a process, you can see how changes will impact the process, thus allowing for better decision-making.

You can also visualize how changes will impact the end result and resource requirements needed to complete a task or project. For example, if there are multiple steps involved in completing an activity in your organization, then using a business process modeling tool helps identify whether any steps or activities can be eliminated without impacting the output of that activity or task is completed successfully.

It is easier to detect errors.

One of the key benefits of business process modeling tools is that it makes it easier to detect errors. This is because you can review a model by multiple people, non-technical people, and people at different locations.

For example, developers can review a business process model in order to detect any mistakes in their code. Similarly, project managers can run through a business process model in order to check that everything has been implemented correctly.

It is easier to visualize the processes.

When you are trying to understand how a process works and where it is going, it is much easier to visualize the process. This will help you identify gaps in the current system, opportunities for improvement, and bottlenecks in the system.

It is an effective process improvement tool.

Business process modeling is an effective process improvement tool. Business process modeling is a part of the overall process improvement methodology, which helps you to identify and eliminate waste, improve quality, and identify root causes.

Steep learning curve.

You’ll need to invest time and energy into learning BPMN tools. This isn’t your average software, so it won’t be intuitive or easy to pick up. It’s definitely a steep learning curve, but it’s worth the effort if you want to take advantage of all BPMN has to offer.

Costly investment.

The cost of the software itself is just one of the many expenses you’ll incur when implementing a business process modeling tool. Other costs include training and implementation, as well as maintenance and support.

Business process modeling tools reduce human error and enhance efficiency.

Business process modeling tools reduce human error, enhance efficiency and reduce cycle time. They are also easier to use and make changes in, easier to detect errors and visualize the processes. These tools can be used effectively as process improvement tools.

Business process design tools are powerful tools for improving efficiency, reducing human error, and making it easier to visualize processes. However, they come with a steep learning curve and can be costly to implement. Nevertheless, their benefits outweigh the costs when it comes to improving your business processes.

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Major business process modeling tools

There are a variety of online business process modeling tools available that can be used in different ways. Depending on your needs, you may find one tool to fit all your needs or you might need to use more than one. Here is a list of some of the useful BPM tools that are easy and affordable to use:

1. Cflow

If you are looking for an affordable, code-free BPM tool, then Cflow is your #1 choice. Cflow is a workflow automation and business process modeling tool that can be ideal for users. Cflow offers an intuitive and proprietary visual workflow builder which lets you design workflows instead of BPMN. It is fast and much simpler to use as you don’t need exclusive coding knowledge to use it. Also, its automation enhances your productivity and you can bring all your workflow management under effective control.

2. Bizagi modeler

Bizagi Modeler is a business process modelling tool used to create as is and to be process models in the BPMN 2.0 format. It is a collaborative and intuitive business process mapping tool that lets you create and document the business processes which can be stored and accessed from a central cloud repository.

3. Bonita BPM

If you’re looking for a lightweight business process modeling tool that’s also low-cost, check out Bonita BPM. This software is free to use and deploy on your own server. It allows you to model processes with ease and flexibility. You can also use it for automating workflow management, monitoring workflows, analyzing performance metrics, and generating reports to monitor the progress of your team’s efforts over time.

4. IBM Blueworks Live

IBM Blueworks Live is a business process modeling tool for creating and visualizing business processes. You can use this application to define, design, and manage processes in your organization by using a visual language that leverages flowcharts.

IBM Blueworks Live is cloud-based, so you don’t have to install it on your computer or server. The tool allows you to create diagrams, process models, and workflows that are accessible anywhere on any device with internet access.

5. Joget workflow

Joget Workflow is a service-oriented business process management (BPM) platform that supports the entire lifecycle of process management. It is a web-based, open-source platform that allows you to create and manage your processes in an intuitive and visual way.

Joget Workflow comes with robust features for managing your processes, including workflow modeling tools such as swim lanes and sequence diagrams.

The tool also features integrated case management capabilities so that you can manage all issues related to each task or case through one system.

6. Modelio

Modelio is a free and open-source visual modeling tool. It can be used to model complex systems, for example in domains like business processes or software development.

The tool provides a graphical user interface (GUI) with visual elements, an API for embedding the editor into other applications, and web-based viewing of models on the fly.

7. Novisign studio

Noveisign Studio is a Business Process Modeling (BPM) tool.

It’s an open-source tool that can be used to model business processes and workflows in a graphical way, facilitating their understanding and redesign through the use of tasks, activities, roles, agents, and organizational structures.

8. Orbus Software iServer

If you’ve ever wanted to create a business process model, but have been afraid of giving up your lunch money for a bunch of software that can do it for you, I have good news: there are free tools out there just waiting to be discovered. the server is one such tool.

The server is an open-source project that uses Java to build business process modeling tools. It’s web-based, so if you’re not sure where to start but have access to the internet and some time on your hands (or at least enough time for this article), then this may be what you need.

9. SmartDraw

You can use SmartDraw to create business process models, flowcharts, and mind maps. It’s easy to learn and use because it works like a drawing program you’ve used before. If you’re just starting out with business process modeling, this tool is a good choice. It has all the basic shapes needed to create a diagram: boxes, arrows, and connectors.

SmartDraw also has some advanced features such as text formatting options (bold or italic) or adding callouts (with arrows pointing at something). You can save your diagrams in multiple file formats including PDFs that can be shared with others electronically

10. Tosca Testsuite from Tricentis

The test suite is based on the BPMN2 specification and comprises a set of specific tests for modeling conformance. As a result, it is possible to check whether your model conforms to this standard, as well as any other related models you might use.

The toolkit has been developed by Tricentis, which specializes in business process management tools and services that help businesses improve their processes to achieve better results. It brings together specialized software development experts from around the world who are passionate about creating innovative solutions for real-world problems. The latest version of TOSCA Testsuite 6 allows users to model BPMN 2 specifications with ease using TOSCA Studio (the GUI used for defining flows).

Final Note

Business process modeling is a crucial part of any business. With the right tools, you can speed up your work and create more efficient processes that will help your company grow. Using these tools will allow you to create a good foundation for your business model and make sure everything stays consistent throughout all stages of development.

In this article, we have gone through the different types of business process modeling tools, their advantages, and their disadvantages. We also talked about some popular BPM platforms that are available in the market today. the benefits of using a business process modeling tool are clear. They allow you to create strategic plans, optimize your workflow and identify areas for improvement. It’s important to choose the right tool for your business, so be sure to do some research before deciding which one would work best for your needs.

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